The Letter Form: To Say It in Writing is to Hear It

Recently, Samantha Smith, a middle school student from our town, placed as a Washington State champion in The Library of Congress’ national contest Letters About Literature. Each year, students are asked to write a letter to their favorite authors, living or dead. The winning essays from each state are sent to Washington DC and national … Continue reading

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Four Tricks that Keep a Writer Going

Don’t Think. Write! Many authors who write about writing say, “Don’t think. Write!” I am one of them. But I also think it is fair to say to those who write, “Don’t think. Play!” If you allow yourself to play when you come to the page, you are more likely to create a unique world … Continue reading

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Images Are What Pop for Readers, Not Telling: Exercises to Increase Your Expertise

Most of us find it hard sometimes to believe that the specifics of what we see, taste, touch, smell and hear relate our inner perceptions and feelings (or those of our characters) without explanation. We may be writing with specifics and then, without realizing it, begin to explain and annotate, argue and attempt to persuade … Continue reading

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Carrying the Raindrops – Journey to Writing Poetry

Just after she’d learned to walk, my 15-month-old daughter and I spent a cloudy afternoon at Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo.  Her favorite animals were the birds that wandered the grounds because she saw she could send them into flight by toddling towards them.  A day later, we saw ourselves in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer.  A reporter … Continue reading

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The Non-Writing Writer

When Writing It Real member Jean Erler sent me the following essay as part of work she wanted to further develop, I knew that Writing It Real members would relate to what she was describing, a stance we writers take all too often toward our role as authors. I helped Jean polish the essay, and I … Continue reading

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Writing Does Make a Difference: A Conversation with Barbara Field On Expanding Women’s Voices Through Writing

I was fortunate to meet Barbara Field when we both presented several years ago at the Whidbey Island Writers’ Conference in Washington State. When I heard from Barbara about recent developments in her writing life, I was eager to share what she’s  been up to in joining new projects. The work she tells us about … Continue reading

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Remedies for Writer’s Envy

In her blog on her writer’s life,  the author of When the de la Cruz Family Danced shares her personal approach to dealing with what she calls “writer’s envy.”  Whether you have published or are seeking to publish, it is not hard to identify with what Donna reveals. Writing takes a lot of energy and … Continue reading

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There are Limits

There is a place for essays of every length in the world of creative nonfiction. Susan Bono, publisher and editor of  Tiny Lights: A Journal of Personal Narrative, offers us some thoughts on writing short personal essays as well as examples of her own.  Noticing what subjects appeal to you and how you place yourself … Continue reading

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Experience at a Writers’ Conference on the State of Publishing

At every writer’s workshop and class I teach, participants ask about self-publishing and publishing with established presses. Here’s novelist and short fiction writer Donna Miscolta’s blog piece on being in the midst of learning what presses and agents are saying and how writers seem to be feeling in the midst of it all. When I … Continue reading

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Casting On

Christi Killien and her husband, who she refers to as the Bearded One, have been developing what they call a farmlet on their property in Washington State, learning about sustainable living. A fiction writer who suspended story projects for many years, Christi found her interest in writing rekindled from the couple’s ongoing projects on the … Continue reading

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The Yoga of Writing

Personal essayist Brenda Miller is keeping a blog entitled Spa of the Mind, a phrase she borrowed from a chapter in William Powers’ book Hamlet’s Blackberry. By keeping this blog, Brenda is dedicating herself  to exploring “the ways we find respite for our weary minds in a connected world.” She wonders how “we find and cultivate inner space … Continue reading

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How to Write (a book) — a wee rant

Sometimes we need to be reminded that being a writer is about writing, first and foremost. As writers, we have to sit down and get our words on the page whether or not anyone has asked us to do so–and most often, not having been asked is the case.  We write to find out more … Continue reading

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Dreaming a Job, Defining as Essay

On a writing retreat, I read through a manuscripts-wanted listing in an arts commission newsletter and noticed a magazine asking for short essays by women on work. I thought about my work roles and how I felt about them–mother, teacher, co-owner of my husband’s computer networking business, poet. How I wished that my “job” as … Continue reading

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Of Eucalyptus And Elm Trees And Fathers, Too

The guest judge for Writing It Real’s summer/fall 2011 writing contest was Susan Bono, who chose “Eucalyptus And Elm Trees And Fathers, Too” as our third place winner. Susan wrote about the work that it “flowed so naturally. The writer uses the eucalyptus tree that used to be part of her view to trigger a … Continue reading

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Making Peace

Susan Bono, our guest judge for the Summer/Fall Writing It Real contest, chose the following essay as our second place winner. She writes of the essay: “I felt like the writer touched all the bases as she ran home. I was very satisfied with its shape and scope. This writer takes the simple act of … Continue reading

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