A Practical Alphabet for Writers: T is for Tenacity

A Practical Alphabet for Writers: T is for Tenacity

Much that is immediately visible to you will conspire against you. For many of us, a voice arises when we go to write or think about writing that says, “What if it’s terrible?” The only answer a writer can give to that question is to shrug. What it it’s terrible? It’s...
A Practical Alphabet for Writers: S is for Story

A Practical Alphabet for Writers: S is for Story

I was in a memoir class not too long ago, as a student. There were about ten of us and each had a story to tell. Some were experienced, even published writers, and others did not even have a particular affinity for writing, but we all had an idea of what our books...
A Practical Alphabet for Writers: R is for Reading

A Practical Alphabet for Writers: R is for Reading

You have at hand so many master writers, living in your house, clustered in your writing space, by your bed. They will teach you not just what they know but what they did, for you have them in the form of their books, their stories, the words on the page, the images,...

Bad Writing: The Secret to All Writing

“A day of bad writing is always better than a day of no writing.” Don Roff This morning I remembered my own advice to my students: Write badly. You’ve heard it before (famously, Anne Lamott’s Shitty First Drafts), but have you ever tried? Really tried? Do your best to...

Doors Open–and Why I Take Classes

My first book was published by a prestigious New York publisher (FSG) when I was twenty-eight years old. I’d always loved teaching, and was already teaching at community colleges and privately. Instantly, I became a mentor. I taught a group of women mostly twenty to...

What Writers Need: 3 Keys to Success

There are three key elements I would venture to say you must engage to be a writer, to produce your creative body of work, your stories, your book, and to find your voice in the world. First, you must write. You must—by reading primarily, and through community if you...

Paying Attention: A Writer’s Breath

I’ve been listening to guided meditations lately as part of my morning writing and meditation practice, and it’s led me to a more subtle understanding of the idea of following your breath. Every time I hear that phrase — “follow your breath” — I find...

Commitment to Write

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.” ―William Hutchison Murray One time my sister and a friend were having a really hard time scheduling a lunch date. At this time one had a conflict, at that time...

Play: A Writing Trick for Summer and Other Seasons

In the morning yesterday on the playground after the bell rang for the start of school, my kids’ teacher said to me, “I’m letting them play. They love to play.” She said, “I realize watching them how we’ve stopped playing, as if we’ve forgotten how. But they just...

Do the Math: Seven Steps to Story

This year I’ve been teaching my way through seven key story steps by finding examples in memoirs, novels and stories to serve as models for our own projects—mine and my students’ books and stories. I’ve read the books I draw from, of course—Wild, by Cheryl Strayed,...
0

Your Cart