About Sheila Bender

Sheila Bender has worked with people who write personal essays, poetry, nonfiction books, stories, writer’s journals, and application essays since 1980, helping them acknowledge a place for writing in their lives. Learn about her instructional books, memoir and poetry at About Sheila.

Beating Artlessness to Heal and Save Ourselves and Hopefully, Our World

Emma Lazarus’ 1893 sonnet engraved on a plaque on the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty has been made famous again this week. The New Colossus Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame, With conquering limbs astride from land to land; Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand A mighty woman with a … Continue reading

Writing About Grief, Writing to Protest and Take Action

Three mass shootings within seven days. Since January 2019, 979 people injured and 246 dead in such shootings. Waking up each morning to learn what new trick the current administration has for lowering morale in our country and treating people like rodents (that word, “infestation”). The rise in the number of cases doctors in our … Continue reading

4 More Podcasts of Writers in Conversation and 7 More Writer Resource Links Sure to Help and Entertain You in Your Writing Life

The list is endless, of course, but here are some of my favorites. First, four more podcasts from the Writing It Real archives and then seven more resources I’ve learned about and very much enjoyed recently. My hope is that each of us can get a hit of the old-time lazy hazy days of summer … Continue reading

Listening to Writers–New, Emerging and Well-Published

Every month, two of my 30-minute interviews with writers air on  KPTZ 91.9 FM. Over many years now, I have interviewed not only well-published poets, journalists, novelists, memoirists and other creative nonfiction writers, but those who are at the beginnings of their writing lives or have just had their work accepted by literary journals and … Continue reading

Tattle Phone, a Writing Exercise

A few months ago, I was listening to Ira Glass on NPR while doing an errand. He was talking with David Kestenbaum about a preschool experiment in which kids were encouraged to say their complaints about unfairness into an unconnected red telephone in the classroom rather than to the teacher, who was tired of the … Continue reading

20 Online Sites to Increase Your Reading Pleasure Despite Today’s Pressures and Lack of Time

This week I am posting links to 20 sites that I’ve been “reading around” online. It’s summer and supposed to be those slow, lazy days, but there is so much going on for so many of us, that we may long for some online literature to come to our rescue when we aren’t quite settled … Continue reading

We All Have Opinions: The Argument and Persuasion Essay

Following the opinion pieces by Amy Hewes posted over the past two weeks, here is instruction on writing the argument and persuasion personal essay. It appeared in Writing It Real in 2014. I look forward to hearing from you in the comment section about your own experience writing in this form and about how this … Continue reading

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Writing to Explore Influence and Admiration, Part 1

Writing a litany of praise for anyone to whom you owe gratitude for life lessons will work in interesting ways if you take on the seemingly unpraiseworthy as if it were praiseworthy. You will get interesting results that push your writing past easy sentimentality or blinding anger to the important waters of insight. Praising What … Continue reading

Learning from Others’ Pieces Written in the Second Person

A participant in my recent online class,”You: Writing in the Second Person” shared a website with us: Dead Housekeeping: Moody Home Tips, which features a string of short pieces in the second person contributed by writers on subjects as disparate as how to feed the yellow cat, how to have a house guest, and how … Continue reading

Recipes for Living Our Lives

We all have favorite recipes we’ve used for food preparation and sets of instructions we have followed to succeed in putting something together. What recipes or instruction sets might we write up concerning what we have learned in negotiating other aspects of our lives: instructions for facing disaster, surviving loss, or failure? What would we … Continue reading

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Omniscient Narrator–Have fun with the all-seeing!

I’ve made a short video for a program called 11 Stories that has “aired” for the people in that program. I am sharing it with Writing It Real members this week. In the video, I give a lesson on the third-person omniscient point of view in writing.  I think those of you writing flash nonfiction or fiction … Continue reading

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Writing for Young Children: What’s an Easy Reader?

Author Beth Bacon is teaching her popular online workshop “Writing for Young Readers ? Words of Honesty, Hope, and Wonder” for Writing It Real members March 15 – April 12, 2018. When I called Beth recently and asked her how things were going, she was very enthusiastic about a new batch of easy readers she … Continue reading

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You: Writing in the Second Person

There are many strong essays and stories written in the second-person point of view. One I’ve come across recently, “Bread” by Margaret Atwood, is especially instructive for its use of scenes to build an argument.  With just the right details of place, situations, and people in those places, the you (who is her character and … Continue reading

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