I’m giving a TED talk!

Very exciting news, folks. I am so honored and thrilled to announce my selection as one of six TEDx Lehigh River speakers for this salon event on January 31! My talk is titled “I am a Settler-Colonizer” and will explore how we settler-colonizers erase indigenous peoples – and what we can do to reverse ourselves and do better.

More information on the event and all speakers here: https://www.tedxlehighriver.com/copy-of-salon

Tickets at $10 and available here: https://whennow.com/event/tedxlehighriver—intention-by-design

Hope to see you there!

Announcing new workshop this January in NJ!

Take a workshop with me this January 2018! I’ll teach you how to make money as a freelance writer. Prior to being a university professor, I made my living for a decade as a professional freelancer. I still get paid to write. I’ll teach you how. Sign up today. 

Click here for details on the workshop and to sign up – https://goo.gl/mpcNSG

Announcing NEW Online Writing Course for everyone

Take Amanda’s newest ONLINE WRITING WORKSHOP: Write Your Life Story: Getting Started

Check out her promo video and free previews of course content here. 

Everyone has a story to tell. Amanda will help you get started! Invest in yourself today.

Sign up today for this interactive online workshop course – get personal feedback from Amanda on YOUR draft, get a half hour video chat with the professor, AND work at your own pace!

“Amanda Morris is an excellent teacher in that she gives individual attention and zero’s in on what would help you the most. She packs a lot of information into each class and challenges her students while encouraging them at the same time. This is my second year in her workshop and I feel she advanced my writing.”
~ Susan, Creative Nonfiction Participant, Newtown, PA

Join Amanda’s Writing Workshop this January

Amanda will be leading the Getting Started with Memoir workshop at the Poetry & Prose Getaway this January 2017 in New Jersey. You have a story to tell and Amanda will teach you how to begin. Sign up today – only six seats left!🙂

Learn more and register here.


Writing workshop in New Jersey
January 13-16, 2017
Led by Amanda Morris

Getting Started with Memoir Workshop NJEverybody has a story to tell. It does not need to be earth-shattering to be compelling; it just needs to be well written. We will start with a “snapshot” of memory—a recalled taste, sound, texture or smell—and learn to make it rich with sensory details, well-chosen words and a clear point of view. After looking at short memoir excerpts, we’ll discuss how these authors create dialogue, move around in time or capture a sense of place. Then we’ll work on exercises designed to tap into our memories, experiences and ideas, practice new storytelling techniques and learn how fictional tools help the memoir writer. As we share our developing stories, we will also discuss how to expand them into publishable pieces.

*Limited to just 10 participants.* 



“Amanda Morris is an excellent teacher in that she gives individual attention and zero’s in on what would help you the most. She packs a lot of information into each class and challenges her students while encouraging them at the same time. This is my second year in her workshop and I feel she advanced my writing.”
~ Susan, Creative Nonfiction Participant, Newtown, PA

A Professor Writes Back: Why I Stay

“AADUNA IS GOING TO PUBLISH FLIP AND FLOP!!!! I just HAD to let you know!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for everything that you taught me in this class!! I’m so excited!”

– former Advanced Composition student, March 2014

“I just wanted to send you a quick email letting you know that the second piece I wrote for your class “Fat” was accepted by Crab Fat Literary Magazine, the one that I submitted it to for class! I never expected to get published so quickly!

Thank you so much for everything!”

– former Advanced Composition student, June 2015

“At this moment, I am very aware that your classes were the most influential in my entire college career. In case you don’t hear it enough, feel good about what you do. You have made a difference more than you know. Not only did you teach me, you indirectly are teaching my son now as I talk openly with him about stereotypes and have to re-teach history lessons his school is teaching him. “

Thank you for that.”

– former Introduction to Contemporary Indigenous Rhetorics student, September 2015

“Your help and guidance is what I credit a lot of my success to so you have definitely been a blessing and beyond thankful that you were my professor and that you took the time you did with me. You have a very approachable demeanor and create a great classroom environment so I wanted to thank you for all your help.”

– former Writing for the Workplace student, September 2015


I am a professor.

I stay in academia because of students, time, and the opportunity to make a difference.

Ian Bogost laments in a recent Atlantic piece that “No One Cares That You Quit Your Job,” and asks for more “staypieces.” Please consider this my response to that request.

The messages (above) that I receive regularly from former students about their successes, their new view on the world, their ability to navigate difficult situations because of something I taught them or helped them do, is why I stay. I teach over 200 students a year in a variety of writing and rhetoric courses, and often do not have any immediate gratification.

Teaching is labor, learning is labor, and the process is fraught with frustration and challenges because I require my students to step outside their own comfortable wheelhouses and see the world through a new lens; a lens they didn’t even know existed. Take my former students from the comments above. In my Advanced Composition classes, I teach the genre of creative nonfiction, from what this genre is and where it came from to writing, revising, and submitting two original creative nonfiction pieces for publication outside the university.

My students spend the semester in a constant state of shifting understanding as they learn to accept that they are better writers than they realize, that they have stories worth writing, and that they can do the work to make those stories publishable.

I stay in academia because I can make miracles happen in 15 weeks.

The truth is, academia deserves criticism for being an imperfect work environment.

I don’t know anyone who stays in this industry who doesn’t have moments of doubt, wondering why am I still here, given the difficulties? My own answer starts with the students, and then moves to time.

Tom Hanks’ character in A League of Their Own makes an astute comment about baseball to Gina Davis’ character toward the end of the film that also applies to academia: “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

As many “quit lit” pieces have noted (such as Oliver Lee’s recent Vox essay), constant budget cuts lead to an atmosphere of crisis, which is stressful. Change and innovation in this professional world moves at a glacial pace, which is frustrating. Begging for money for things like travel to present research, which is also a requirement of our contract, is time-consuming, humiliating, and often unsuccessful. The atmosphere of “do more with less” is exhausting. Our adjunct colleagues are treated like second-class citizens, which creates tension, sadness, and despair for them and for those of us who are tenured and heartbroken at our own impotence to change their plight.

Yes, there are problems. Yes, there are soul-shattering disappointments. Yes, there are seemingly insurmountable odds. But we tend to forget that all careers have these characteristics, cloaked in different surface details. I spent eight years in advertising as a media buyer and planner and ten years as a freelance journalist, working with a wide range of peoples and organizations, and learned these lessons. Perhaps that is why the frustrations of academia haven’t driven me to pull the “I quit” trigger.

I also stay in academia because this career gives me the most valuable commodity of all – time. When school is in session, much of my time is spent teaching, prepping for class, grading, attending and conducting meetings, doing committee work, advising, mentoring, responding to emails, writing letters of recommendation, presenting my scholarship at conferences, conducting programmatic assessment, and handling all of the other unseen work of the university.

During the semester, no matter how busy I am, I manage to carve out snippets of time to do my own writing and research. And then winter break hits – five whole weeks to revise an academic journal article or write a new creative nonfiction piece, even while teaching an online winter course. Fifteen more weeks of high speed, high intensity, demanding work, and then summer. Three and half months of time during which I can prepare fall courses, create student events, rally support for projects, write letters of support for colleagues and former students, write blog posts and new academic and creative pieces at my leisure, on my own schedule, in between working in my garden, traveling, and spending time with friends and family. Pure heaven.

Finally, the value of what I do as a professor does not directly connect to my salary, which is more than I ever made as a self-employed journalist. Influencing how people think, impacting how others see the world, and helping individuals see their own potential and future possibilities in a new light is more valuable than money. This does not mean that I want to work for free. I am a hard-working, highly educated professional, and deserve a good salary and health benefits, as any other professional expects in any other field.

What I do and why I stay goes beyond money. As Taylor Mali declares in his excellent performance “What Teachers Make,” “I make a goddamn difference, now what about you?”

Rejection, Acceptance, and Opportunity

Yesterday, I received a rejection for a creative nonfiction story that I crafted this summer. It was from a high profile and very competitive journal. But that’s okay. It’s okay because they received over 550 stories in response to their call, and I’m a writer, which means I immediately submitted that same story to four other journals for consideration. Because rejection is part of life as a writer. Remember that.

Last week, I received an acceptance for a creative nonfiction story that I wrote two years ago. My first round of submissions resulted in form rejections, so I went to my writing group for advice, received clarity, made some important and substantial revisions, and then submitted to a new round of journals. That second round of rejections were Golden Ticket Rejections and that gave me hope and confidence that I was almost there. That was last year. I changed the title and submitted it to another round of journals this year. And yesterday, it found a home. I’m a writer, and rejection, revisions, rethinking, and resubmitting are part of the process and the life. Remember that.

Today, I received an acceptance for a creative nonfiction story that I wrote in June. Only three publications have considered it and the third one said yes. That feels good. Because I’m a writer, and sometimes acceptances happen fast. Remember that.


I’ve had some more scholarly public writing published this week, including a post on Teaching Tolerance asking readers to “Reconsider Columbus Day” when teaching this week, and a piece on Bitch Flicks about a terrific Native American film called Imprint that has a strong female lead and a poignant “ghost” story. Because I’m a writer and I’m always seeking out new venues for my work. Remember that.


Finally, I want you to sign up for my Creative Nonfiction Workshop this January in NJ. I know it is the Jersey shore and it is January, but the Stockton Inn is GORGEOUS, comfortable, and has a heated indoor pool, a bar, and good food. All necessary elements for an energizing writing weekend. Sign up with a friend if you can because this experience should be shared! Even if you come alone, you WILL meet so many writers of a like mindset – it’s amazing. I love teaching this workshop and teaching with Murphy Writing of Stockton University. If you are a teacher, you can even get course credit for your professional development! Here’s the actual pitch from the Getaway site and the link when you want to register. Only 10 participants means that you will receive my personal attention to your work. You will improve your skills, gain confidence, and have fun. Treat yourself and register today. Because YOU are a writer, and deserve this trip. 🙂

Writing workshop in New Jersey
January 15-18, 2016
Led by Amanda Morris

Creative Nonfiction Workshop NJCreative nonfiction has been called “the music of what happened” (Blake Morrison) and “the hum of perpetual noticing” (Cynthia Ozick). It starts with writing many small moments—a childhood memory, a dream, an image from the TV news, a funny remark overheard, even a stubbed toe. In this workshop, we’ll do exercises to evoke moments that might become stories. We’ll practice strategies that draw readers in. As we share material generated in class, we’ll look for narrative potential and implicit themes and discuss ways of turning these pieces into larger works such as memoirs, humor essays, travel stories, or contemplative essays.

*Limited to just 10 participants.*


“Amanda Morris is an excellent teacher in that she gives individual attention and zero’s in on what would help you the most. She packs a lot of information into each class and challenges her students while encouraging them at the same time. This is my second year in her workshop and I feel she advanced my writing.”
~ Susan, Creative Nonfiction Participant, Newtown, PA

Click here to register!

Outreach, writing, and workshops!

Greetings, lovely people! Finding time to write can be challenging when your job and personal/home life keeps you busy, but we writers find a way!

Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with a high school English class about contemporary Native Americans, which is related to my specialty of Indigenous Rhetorics. Showing these students such indigenous meaning makers as stand-up comics, fashion designers, and musicians was absolutely delightful.

Another aspect of my faculty position is a requirement to write for publication. For promotions, we are required to write academic essays that appear in scholarly journals that are often only accessible if you have access to the paywall, usually through a university library. Although I enjoy writing in this genre, I enjoy my public writing even more because I have the opportunity to investigate more subjects that are important to me and because public writing has a much bigger audience. One of the reasons I am a writer is because I enjoy having others read my writing, so the bigger the audience, the better! My latest post on Feministing discusses the importance of women embracing our ages to fight the national narrative that women aren’t allowed to age.

Finally, one of my greatest joys is teaching. My students consistently bring equal measures of joy and fear, and excitement and trepidation to their writing practice, which in turn enlivens and informs my teaching practice. Every student teaches me something and I strive to bring this accumulation of knowledge to all of my classrooms and workshops. If you would like the opportunity to work with me, I will be teaching the Creative Nonfiction workshop at the Murphy Writing of Stockton University’s Poetry and Prose Getaway this January 2016 in New Jersey. It is a wonderfully supportive and productive weekend and I hope to meet you there!


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