Guest Author/Teacher: Diana Stout

When I began this series of blog posts featuring multi-talented authors, I knew that I needed to include someone who teaches others how to write. I didn’t have to look far – I see Diana Stout regularly at meetings of two local romance author groups, and she hosts twice-weekly Zoom write-ins where I manage to get a lot of writing done. Dr. Diana certainly has the credentials to teach writing; she taught creative writing at Davenport University, presented self-editing and other writing-related workshops in person as well as online, and she’s working on a series of reference books for authors (she shared the first book in the series on this blog – you can read about it HERE).

I’m so pleased that she agreed to share her journey toward teaching writing with us. Here she is!

Joy in Teaching Writing

My name is Diana Stout, and I’m both a writer and a teacher. It took me nearly half my life to identify my life’s purpose, which was to become a teacher of writing through accredited classes, which would provide a full-time career where work became play.

So, why did I return to school late in life, at a time when most of my peers were thinking about retirement?

At the time I returned to school, while I was good at my jobs, which involved office work, bookkeeping, and being a supervisor, none of them brought me joy. They were all a means to an end: an income.

While I’d started writing at 19, my early writing journey involved a newspaper column, magazine articles, short stories, and then writing novels. First a children’s novel, then half a dozen romance novels before I would sell what was my third one written, at 42. Sadly, I wasn’t earning an income from my writing; hence, the need for a day job and additional supplemental part-time jobs.

But, in my spare time, I was always writing. It was where I found complete and utter joy.

The publication of that first book brought me my first teaching opportunities performed through online writing communities and community college adult enrichment programs. In the classroom—whether online or inseat—was where I found the second part of my joy.

At 49, that’s when I thought: why not marry the two joys together full time as a career in accredited college classes? Teach writing.

To make teaching a full-time job with benefits that could take me into retirement, which no current or past job was doing or could do, I needed to return to school and get the appropriate degrees.

I thoroughly enjoyed the learning, which broadened and deepened my writing knowledge and experiences. I added playwriting, poetry, grant, and academic writing to my already arsenal of creative fiction and nonfiction—short and long, children and adult to my résumé.

From that very first class I taught as a Graduate Assistant, I was filled with joy. Watching students discover they were good writers despite what they’d been told in the past, or watching new writers find their passion for the first time, made me smile. In fact, my students told me I smiled when I talked about writing. I discovered the more I taught and talked about writing, the more passionate I became with my own writing.

Today, as an indie publisher, I still enjoy teaching about writing—about the craft of writing and in getting published—anytime the opportunity presents itself. Teaching writing has been a wonderful journey I wouldn’t have wanted to miss.


You can read more about Dr. Diana’s journey in the first book of her self-help series, Finding Your Fire and Keeping it Hot, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other outlets!

Dr. Diana Stout is an award-winning writer in multiple genres, a screenwriter, author, playwright, blogger, and writing coach who travels with a crowd: characters who want their voices heard through publication and folks giving voice from the other side. You can learn more about Dr. Stout at her website, Sharpened Pencils Productions.

Do you struggle with procrastination? Check out her upcoming June 5-16, 2023 class, Master Class: Using (& Avoiding) Procrastination, limited to 25 people, so don’t procrastinate in signing up!


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
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14 Responses to Guest Author/Teacher: Diana Stout

  1. Welcome, Diana, and congratulations on all of your accomplishments. It’s wonderful to support help and inspire others; heaven knows most need it. So many want to start and try too hard and then give up, or get discouraged and give up. Good for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Jeff Salter says:

    welcome to 4F1H, Diana.
    Love this quote: “Watching students discover they were good writers despite what they’d been told in the past, or watching new writers find their passion for the first time, made me smile.”
    Although I am NOT a creative writing teacher, I’m definitely a creative writing ENCOURAGER… and I can’t even guess at how many people I’ve encountered who were shut down or shot down at some point — usually during their school years — about their writing.
    Sometimes it was parents and/or teachers urging them to “shelve” all that writing and focus on “important” things like grades / college prep / employment etc.
    Or it was family / friends who criticized or even ridiculed their early writing efforts.
    So sad to learn of how the creative urge to write was basically drummed out of them.
    Wonderful to know that you and others — including my own minor efforts — attempts to heal those wounds and reverse that track.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Diana Stout says:

      Jeff, I so agree with your comments. It takes only one teacher early on to tell a young student they don’t know how to write. Just one. Then, it takes a village, all of us who encourage, to get them back into that joy of writing. Thanks so much for your comments! It’s wonderful knowing we aren’t alone in our encouragement.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jeff Salter says:

        Though it’s not a writing anecdote, this story often comes to mind when I think of teachers / adults who quash a student’s writing dreams:
        Supposedly a Hollywood studio talent scout assessed an audition of an aspiring singer/dancer, thusly: “Nothing to look at. Can’t sing. Dances a little.”
        And as you likely already know, that audition was by Fred Astaire.
        way too many teachers cannot spot talent or potential in student writing. So sad.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Enjoyed getting to know you better, Diana. I’m another who returned to school for another career– teaching. Congratulations on your success.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Lucy Kubash says:

    I was very fortunate to have a high school English teacher who loved a paper I wrote for her class and gave me some nice compliments as well as a good grade. She also gave a young aspiring writer hope. I’ll never forget Ms. Lindenfeld. P.S. Finding Your Fire and Keeping It Hot is excellent! Recommend it highly.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Elaine Cantrell says:

    I enjoyed learning a little about you, Diana. I wish you much success as you follow your passion.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Alicia Dean says:

    Great post. I’m sure you’re a wonderful teacher. I’m sure you have helped many authors on their path to publication.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Diana Stout says:

    I certainly like to think that I’ve helped a number of authors. What’s been fun, though, is seeing past students now writing books. That’s such a reward. Thanks for commenting, Alicia.


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