Keeping Your Computer Organized

A month ago, when I asked Writing It Real subscribers if they would like an article on technical computer issues writers face, there was a big response. Almost all the comments were about hard drive organization: Any tips you can give, sequentially and logically, to organize my hard drive would indebt me to you forever. … Continue reading

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The Limits of Skepticism

describes a time of not writing but enjoying the garden of a rented London apartment.  Her husband thinks she is avoiding her writing, but actually she is cultivating it. Sometimes writing is allowing the senses in without direction. In the garden, specific blossoms stir specific memories of her mother. Weimer sits and plants and remembers. … Continue reading

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Interview with Joan Weimer

Joan Weimer’s second memoir, Awestruck: A Skeptic’s Pilgrimage, just out this year, opens with a dramatic prologue: The plane is so near the ground I can make out individual palm trees, their fronds whipped into a frenzy by a tremendous wind. Wet red tiles on the roofs are close enough to count. Abruptly the left … Continue reading

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Getting to the Details

I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work with people in developing their essays. Writing It Real subscriber Beth Einstein entered our spring essay contest and recently took me up on my offer to work with her essay for a Revision Diary article. I thank Beth for her continuing work on her entry (the … Continue reading

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Overcoming Writing Inertia

Recently, I read Writing Brave & Free: Encouraging Words for People Who Want to Start Writing by Steve Cox and Ted Kooser to learn how they encourage others who want to write. As always with books on writing, I am on the look out for sparks that ignite the exercise-making part of my brain.  In … Continue reading

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You are My Heroes

It isn’t an easy path to write from personal experience. There are no guarantees that editors will want to publish what we have to say and no guarantees that we will successfully find a way to say it, publication or not.  What is guaranteed is that committing words to the page and revising our writing … Continue reading

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The Freelance Writer’s Bible by David Trottier

A lot of books claim they can help authors who are in a hurry to get paid for their writing. This one is enthusiastically subtitled Your Guide to a Profitable Writing Career Within One Year, and it certainly does include supportive, direct information a freelancer needs to achieve such a goal. Author David Trottier has … Continue reading

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Bio for Maria Moustakas

Maria Moustakas began writing poetry and stories while in the third grade. She did not reach college until her late 30s, earning a scholarship to Vassar College, where she graduated with an English degree in 1979. While at Vassar, participated in an invitational class and had the opportunity to learn from well-known poets and writers, … Continue reading

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On Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction

In their book, Writing True: The Art and Craft of Creative Nonfiction, writers and writing professors Sondra Perl and Mimi Schwartz offer a straightforward, encouraging look at how any of us can write our own moving and insightful accounts of life experiences. In addition, they include an anthology of creative nonfiction and offer tips on … Continue reading

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It’s a Short Trip to Guilderland

Most of the time, I am one of the most annoyingly politically correct people I know. I am so PC that even the word “tolerance” strikes me as a tad intolerant. But there is one minority group I can’t stand, and I make no apologies for it: I cannot abide Guilders. Don’t bother checking your … Continue reading

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The House of the Seven Gambles – Revised

When I judged Mary Ann Payne’s essay submitted for Writing It Real’s first 2006 personal essay contest as our runner up, I wrote to her with comments about her ending and ideas for strengthening it.   Here is the essay she submitted followed by those comments and Mary Anne’s revision: The House of Seven Gambles By … Continue reading

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Alan Should Have Rented a Car

This essay is reprinted here from Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed by Mimi Schwartz by permission of the University of Nebraska Press. Copyright 2002 by Mimi Schwartz. Available wherever books are sold or from the University of Nebraska Press, 800.526.2617 and on the web at nebraskapress.unl.edu. No further use may be made of these materials … Continue reading

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Writing About Family: Is It Worth It?

This article originally appeared in The Writer’s Chronicle, October/November 2001 I made up my mind at the beginning of my writing life not to write about my family and friends, since I want them to remain my family and friends. –Novelist Carol Shields Write what you know!” is the advice given freely to writers not … Continue reading

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Q & A with Memoirist Mimi Schwartz

This week’s article begins with an excerpt from Mimi Schwartz’s memoir, Thoughts from a Queen-Sized Bed. Entitled “Jimmy and June, ” this second essay in the collection illustrates the way Mimi Schwartz writes about ordinary life to “get it just right,” a phrase her husband used describing his reaction when he first read it at … Continue reading

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An Interview with Sondra Perl Followed by an Exercise for Memoir Writing

SheilaLast week, in Writing It Real, I shared a section of your memoir, On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate with readers. I think the section we posted demonstrates the way your memoir developed from a turning point in your relationship to the teachers with whom you were working. I’d like to … Continue reading

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Excerpt from On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate

The following is excerpted with Sondra Perl’s permission from Chapter 2, “History Becomes Real”, of her memoir, On Austrian Soil: Teaching Those I Was Taught to Hate, published in 2005 by State University of New York Press, Albany, NY. Writing It Real reviewed Sondra’s first book about writing, Felt Sense: Writing With The Body, December … Continue reading

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Ted Kooser’s The Poetry Home Repair Manual

I’ve been teaching poetry writing since 1981, when I began working on my Masters in Creative Writing at the University of Washington. As a teacher, I have continually applied all that I learned through trial and error creating and revising my own work and all that I learned in the company of the many great … Continue reading

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On Deep Light, New and Selected Poems 1987 – 2007 by Rebecca McClanahan

Already familiar with Rebecca McClanahan’s essays about her family from her book Riddle Song (as well as her other Writing It Real articles), I was delighted when I found that a new and selected volume of her poems was coming this year. I feel moved every time I read one of the volume’s 91 poems, … Continue reading

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Becoming a Haiku Poet

Last week, you read Michael Welch’s instruction on writing haiku. This week you’ll learn more about haiku and publishing from a transcript of my email interview with him. It includes the treat of some of Michael’s poems at the end as well as links to more of his writing and several sites of interest. Sheila … Continue reading

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Lasting: Poems on Aging, Edited by Meg Files

Which of us has not looked intently at the markings of age in others and then looked for those markings in ourselves? Which of us doesn’t hope for some wisdom to come along with the signs of aging? Which of us doesn’t hope it all means something? Finally, we have a volume of poems on … Continue reading

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