Category Archives: Instructional Exercises

Awakening the Travel Journal Keeper Within

 In 2008, I published a version of this article based on the writings authors Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Robert Hellenga contributed to my 1991 book The Writer’s Journal: 40 Contemporary Writers and Their Journals. Both writers talked about a way in which the entry they share in the book ended up in a finished piece of writing.…Continue Reading

Finding Form

Tarn Wilson delivered this paper for a panel on “Hydra-Headed Memoirs & Well-Connected Essays” at the 2015 Nonfiction Now conference. I am delighted to have her permission to post her words for Writing It Real readers. Tarn’s lovely memoir is The Slow Farm. She uses her experience writing it to inform other writers about her…Continue Reading

Clear the Debris of Abstraction and Sentimentality

As the Presidential candidates for nomination continue to gather followers with predictable phrases, and pundits attempt to predict who the will be the frontrunners, I am reminded of the importance of writing toward felt insight. We need to leave abstracting and sentimentality behind if we are to find insight and make deep connections with ourselves and others through our writing.…Continue Reading

Use the Letter Form to Open Your Heart

The essay in letter form is, as you know, one of my favorites. I find that whether I intend to send the letter I write or, more often than not, don’t plan on sending it, I benefit greatly from the writing as I find an opening in my heart. With feelings running high this week,…Continue Reading