Keeping a Writer’s Journal

Writers write. A journal is way to do that, without knowing where you are going with the writing, to unload thoughts, obsessions, insights and observations, and sometimes to imitate other writers, seeing how your perceptions might come across in the voice and sentence structures of those they admire. Sometimes you can imagine your writing addressed … Continue reading

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27 More Tips for Writers (76-102)

If you don’t know how to start a piece of writing about a person, try remembering something that person believed. Write that belief out and attribute it to the person. What can you write that bounces off of those words? (You can do this when you have a non-personal subject, too, by starting with a … Continue reading

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A Personal Essay and a Contest It Inspires

This week’s article is an essay by one of our treasured correspondents with a contest announcement for Writing It Real subscribers inspired by the essay. Janice Eidus’ essay was to have appeared in an anthology that explored the theme and experience of being Jewish edited by the great comic Alan King, but when he died … Continue reading

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Four Writers on Writing, Part 2

We pick up where the email thread left off last week. Sheila starts: I wanted to respond to what Lisa said: “And I wanted to raise this idea about how writing has repercussions that go far beyond whether you are published or not,” What we spend our days writing affects us in many ways. If … Continue reading

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Four Writers on Writing, Publishing and How Their Careers Are Shaping Up

In the fall, I consulted with freelance, technical and creative writer, Michelle Goodman about publishing with regional presses. By way of thank you, she arranged for two other writers to join her in an email conversation with me about themselves, their writing, and their publishing. We all benefited from the conversation, and I share it … Continue reading

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Writing from Anticipation

Here in the Northwest, despite the unusually cold temperatures we recently experienced, daffodils, crocuses and blossoming fruit trees add yellow, purple and pink to our current landscape. And under a week of consistently sunny skies, we find ourselves anticipating spring. We wake to light and prepare dinner before dark. The winter season’s short daylight slowed … Continue reading

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25 More Tips for Writers (51-75)

Always take some time to read what you are writing aloud after you have finished a draft. Note the places that are hard to say or seem to go flat or inspire you. Try taking out the flat spots, extending the inspired spots and rewriting the hard-to-say-out-loud spots– the difficult places often require more or … Continue reading

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SELF-Esteem and the SELF-Published Author

Hannah Goodman is the author of My Sister’s Wedding, a young adult novel that addresses the effects of alcoholism on individuals, friends and families. She self-published it in 2004 (a sample chapter appears in the WIR Gallery) and now often presents lectures on self-publishing and shares the steps involved, the pitfalls and how to avoid … Continue reading

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Fatherhats

After reading Jack’s instruction last week about narrating a day in your life to find material, you will be interested in looking into this story to find the quantity of details that come from such close observation, from the way one of the characters tugs at his beard and the other covers his ears and … Continue reading

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A Day in the Life of a Writer

Jack Heffron’s simple, masterful writing prompt will have you realizing how much content you have to write about in no time–well, in the time it takes to live a day and read the notes you put on paper. Taking notes in the way Jack suggests plus the bit of Fitzgerald he includes to show you … Continue reading

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Relying on the Lyric

On July 8, 2004, I posted an instructional exercise article, “Put Summer on the Page,” encouraging writers to use the opening of Ray Bradbury’s novel Dandelion Wine for inspiration in writing their own memories. Recently, I worked with Michelle Vanstrom on the writing she created from the exercise, which yielded a moving eulogy to her … Continue reading

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Poems, Pastries and Politics

Why connect the writing of poetry with an appreciation of good food? On first consideration, the juxtaposition of poems and pastries might seem frivolous. Isn’t poetry sustenance for something more than the physical body? Recently, I taught a workshop at a local college advertised as “O Taste and Write: Food Poems,” and perhaps a subtext … Continue reading

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Ten Signs of a Scam Book Doctor

Long time professional editor, Jerry Gross developed a widely used code of ethics for editors and book doctors. Here are his 10 points to consider when evaluating someone to work with you on your manuscript. Ten Signs Of A Scam Book Doctor by Jerry Gross Working with an expert, ethical book doctor can often make … Continue reading

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Working with a Writing Mentor

As a writing instructor, it is always interesting to me to talk with other writers who teach.  I enjoy hearing about the parts of the teaching process that excite them.  This past June, I had the opportunity to talk over breakfast with New York writer Janice Eidus.  She said: When I guide writers in their … Continue reading

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