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,...
A Practical Alphabet for Writers: O is for Open

A Practical Alphabet for Writers: O is for Open

O is for Open Everything we’ve talked about up until now builds to this vital function: to stay open. The muscles of the hand, unused, cramp up, clamp down. The storyteller begins to believe she made herself up. The story narrows, the way forward shrinks, the power...
A Practical Alphabet for Writers: N is for Notes

A Practical Alphabet for Writers: N is for Notes

N is for Notes Note-taking is one of the most important parts of writing, and yet it goes largely unmentioned. Dialog with self happens on the page. Figuring out your questions and the range of answers and then narrowing down to what you’ll pick and moving forward:...
A Practical Alphabet for Writers: L is for Look

A Practical Alphabet for Writers: L is for Look

“To be an artist means never to avert your eyes.” Akira Kurosawa This is quite a commitment. To stay awake and aware. To look when perhaps you might prefer to look away. That social gesture, also a gesture of self-preservation, to avert the eyes, glance away, not see....
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