Working with Mentors, Both Near and Far

This school term, I have been mentoring Kathy Lockwood, a student enrolled at Alaska Pacific University, where she is doing independent study in writing poetry. Very recently, she sent me an email with a letter attached describing her lack of writing at the moment and her deep disappointment with herself over her slow down. I … Continue reading

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Build Your Writing Life

When I think about how I began cultivating my writer’s life, I realize had been doing so even before I knew what I was doing. But once it began a more conscious process, about a year later, I became overwhelmed. I didn’t know writers’ jargon or the prerequisites for developing into an accomplished writer. I … Continue reading

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Pep Talk and Tips on Submitting Screenplays

Chantelle Osman recently approached me about sharing information about her work as a screenwriter and producer with Writing It Real subscribers. Those of you interested in pursuing acceptance of screenplays for production will enjoy the hit of energy you’ll get from Chantelle’s energetic words. Her enthusiasm for the process and absolute trust in the ability … Continue reading

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“The Blue Hornet” by Nicki Jack

It is with pleasure that we post our third place winner in Writing It Real’s 2008 No-Contest Contest. Nicki narrates a Christmas morning in a way that goes beyond Christmas memories. She does a fine job of helping us see life through the eyes of an eight-year-old girl with two brothers. Her use of setting … Continue reading

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“White Bird Morning” by Mai Lon Gittelsohn, 2nd Place Winner Winter 2008

I enjoy “White Bird Morning” by Mai Lon Gittelsohn for many reasons. The poem situates me in the familiarity of an early Sunday morning and then takes a turn into territory that is new to me. It isn’t long before the rich detail informs me that the poem is about the circumstances of a particular … Continue reading

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“The Legend of the White Zucchini,” An Essay by Mardi Link

Mardi Link’s essay is a wonderful example of how narrating a story about a time you found something important to you allows you to weave themes of sadness and joy together into a full experience for the reader. The details in this essay, from the ones about the speaker’s sadness and lethargy following a divorce … Continue reading

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The Conversation Itself

Jack Heffron is one of the most versatile writers I know. I’ve read his short fiction, creative nonfiction, books on writing, books that he has ghost written and books that he’s edited (including my own). Recently, I read some of his interviews and it brought up some questions that I wanted to ask him. Sheila … Continue reading

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“Embarkation”: A Poem by Meg Files

Embarkation by Meg Files The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. ¬†–Marcel Proust We believe we are prepared for this trip: all-terrain shoes, tiny clotheslines, mesh-sided shirts, new underwear, Columbia shorts, everything cute enough for each other. At the Quito airport, the driver holds a sign–Sally … Continue reading

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Sometimes Writing is a Matter of Memory and Resolve

How do writers decide what to write about? In “Death on a Quiet Street“, by Jack Heffron and John Boertlein, Cincinnati Magazine, April 2008, Jack Heffron writes: Last September, I was having dinner with my friend John Boertlein when the Bricca murders came up. John, who grew up in Delhi and has known about the … Continue reading

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Confessions of a Writing Teacher

[This article first appeared in Lizard, Victoria University’s Professional Writing and editing program’s magazine. The University is in Melbourne, Australia where Meg Files did a Doris Leadbetter Teacher Exchange between Pima College and VU’s Diploma Professional Writing and Editing. –ed] Writing is a lonely business, Ernest Hemingway said in his 1954 Nobel Prize acceptance speech. … Continue reading

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A Personal Essay Waiting to Be Written

Our new President is a writer, which focuses national attention on trusting in the power of words. It helps those of us who write from personal experience re-invest in the importance of what we do as we write, hoping to contribute our part in the song of human experience. Newly sworn in, President Obama ended … Continue reading

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How to Overcome Writing Procrastination

This week I got a note from a student who said she was looking forward to taking my advice about writing more this year if she could only figure out how to stop working 60 hours a week. I had another student who took a month off work to write important application essays for graduate … Continue reading

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An Essay and a Poem

Love And Hate On Night Watch By Katrina Hays Originally published in Sea Stories Journal, Winter 2008 Offshore sailors have ridiculous and sublime ways to spend their time. One of these exercises in necessity and boredom is the night watch. I both adore and despise night watch. There is no middle ground here. Being awake … Continue reading

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Interview with Writer Katrina Hays

I met Katrina Hays this past summer at Pacific Lutheran University’s Rainier Writers’ Writing Workshop’s (RWW) graduation day discussions and ceremony. I was there to talk about how students in the graduate low-residency writing program could choose to work on Writing It Real articles to meet a required “outside experience.” Last year, Tarn Wilson from … Continue reading

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