Q-A with Editorial Assistant Meg Leder

Ok, you asked what I’ve learned that I might want to pass on to those who Meg Leder was the Writer’s Digest editor who worked with me on Keeping a Journal You Love and A Year in the Life: Journaling for Self-Discovery.  Recently, she made a career move and left Cincinnati and Writer’s Digest Books … Continue reading

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Writing On Love: Lessons From Pablo Neruda and Christopher Smart

About 1020 words In these days just before Valentine’s Day, it seems as if every shop window, radio and TV commercial has turned the volume up on love. “Don’t forget, don’t forget, don’t forget,” whether the one you love is spouse, partner, grandchild, parent or pet, you must tell the one you love — by … Continue reading

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An Email Interview with Sue William Silverman

When fiction writer Janice Eidus (see the From Our Correspondents article of 12/12/02) introduced me to the work of nonfiction writer Sue William Silverman, I knew I wanted to find out what she had to say on memoir writing.  After I read both of her memoirs, Because I Remember Terror, Father, I Remember You and … Continue reading

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Carrying Back to Carry Forward

Sheila Bender, July Poetry Column, 1295 words When an author repeats the same word or words at the beginning of a series of sentences the technique is called “anaphora.” In Greek, it means “a carrying up or back.”  With repetitions, words gather power and resonance.  Anaphora offers an organizing strategy, which allows for deepening of … Continue reading

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Writing All That is Unsolved in Your Heart

Category: Instructional Exercises So many times we find that what we are writing sounds dry and dull compared to what we wish to be writing or what we admire in other’s writing.  “How can we make our work matter?” we ask ourselves, “How can we endow our writing with richer more resonate meaning?”  Or sometimes … Continue reading

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Carrying the Raindrops

When my daughter was 14 months old, we lived in Seattle, and she and I spent a cold, cloudy winter afternoon at the Woodland Park Zoo.  Her favorite animals were the uncaged pigeons she realized she could send into flight by running towards them.  A day later when we saw the newspaper’s front page, we … Continue reading

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Why Poetry? A Novelist Reflects

This article originally appeared in the 1999 issue of The Sampler, the newsletter of the Southern California Children’s Literature Council (formerly the Southern California Council on Literature for Children and Young People (SCCLCYP). When I was seven years old, I wrote a poem to console my father after the defeat of his favorite hockey team, … Continue reading

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Book Marks

Recently I interviewed poet and essayist Rebecca McClanahan for a book on essay writing that I am finishing for Writer’s Digest Books.  When I told her that I had reviewed her essay “Book Marks,” which I’d found in Best American Essays 2001 for Writing It Real subscribers, she offered to allow me to reprint the … Continue reading

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Correspondence with Fiction Writer Janice Eidus

This fall I corresponded with novelist and short fiction writer Janice Eidus to investigate how fiction writers use personal experience in their writing.  I have admired Eidus’ fiction and her teaching for many years now and in 1997, I invited her to contribute to my book, The Writer’s Journal: 40 Writers and Their Journals, published … Continue reading

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Suzan Huney’s “Choice Bits”

At a writing conference workshop on developing the personal essay, Suzan Huney read the draft of an essay spawned by thumbing through her address book.  Her musings on the people she found in her book led to memories of her grandmother’s address book and then to consulting it directly. As she continued her drafting process, … Continue reading

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Using Quotes to Spur Your Writing

I like to keep quotes in an 8 by 5 inch blue-cloth covered three-ring binder. I write down or tear out quotes that strike my fancy.  They come from books and magazines, affirmations I wish to repeat to myself, fortunes from cookies, remarks during a lecture, writings in a program, overheard dialog or something a … Continue reading

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More Than Your English Teacher Ever Told You – Part II

I’ve been editing essays this fall for professionals who are applying to graduate school programs. As always, I am pointing out passive voice constructions and instructing the applicants on how to make them active constructions, and I’m also pointing out dangling modifiers and suggesting alternative wording. I know from looking at my own drafts and … Continue reading

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Bringing Dear Mom: Remembering Our Mothers Into the World

When her mother’s Parkinson’s had progressed, Patricia Hassler quit her job and became her mother’s caretaker.  Realizing she needed a creative outlet, she answered an ad in a local paper for a columnist to write about a nearby suburb where her husband was teaching. The newspaper editor also wanted features about what was going on … Continue reading

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Personal Flights Into Cyberspace

I am delighted to offer readers of Writing It Real this personal essay by writer, editor, and publicist Bob Yehling. In his essay, we get a glimpse of a passionate writer at work, writing from life experience, appreciating the work of others who do so, and looking for places to publish his essays on line.  … Continue reading

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Finished Essay: “When Love is All You Have”

The only thing that distinguished this particular examining room from dozens like it was the huge wall chart of hearts in all manner of disease and disarray.  The rest of the room was familiar and predictable – high narrow table sitting cattycorner, white enamel cabinets with boxes of disposable gloves and canisters of gauze in … Continue reading

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Learning Words by Heart

A few years ago, I invented a way of coming to writing during times when I felt overwhelmed by my need to write, yet stuck in my ability to get anything of value on the page.  The exercise I invented ultimately helped me to create vignettes, essays, and poems from life experience when I had … Continue reading

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Resources for Poetry – A Feast for the Soul

Poetry is a kind of food, shelter, and clothing for which I am thankful.  It nourishes my being, builds a dwelling for my ecstasy and my awe, and keeps me warm when I grieve.  Books on my shelves and on the shelves of libraries and booksellers, poetry sites on the Internet, movies about poetry and … Continue reading

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Must Reads for Essay Writers

“Learning to Drive” by Katha Pollitt in The New Yorker Magazine, July 22, 2002: Click for more information on the columnist  “Learning to Drive” is an engrossing and humble piece of writing from a leftist writer of renown, who refused to shy away from using very personal material. Her essay narrates her driving lessons with … Continue reading

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