Posts tagged ‘becoming a writer’

Oct 30 2016
12

Is Creative Writing Your Destiny?

Is Creative Writing Your Destiny?

So many doubts assail the writer as she struggles to put fleeting thoughts into memorable words.  He’s tempted to give up, because it’s hard.  There’s little recognition and even less remuneration.  The question keeps coming back:  “Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?” The great priest-scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote beautifully about the process of becoming “something more.”  What he said about the Universe moving towards its Omega Point – its moment…

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Oct 04 2014
Comments Off on On Teaching Writing

On Teaching Writing

I teach writing and I also teach painting. Sometimes I teach them together. Recently, I taught a weekend workshop at Gallery North, in Setauket, Long Island. There were five of us: four students and me. We painted flowers, freesia and roses, then wrote, describing the flowers. I worked along with the other four. It was a pleasure for me but also a way to make myself vulnerable while holding the hands of my students while…

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Feb 14 2014
Comments Off on Getting Unstuck: Beyond Words

Getting Unstuck: Beyond Words

In April 2013, I was interviewed by writer Julie Leuk for an article called “Overcoming a Writer’s Identity Crisis: Find Your Writing Joy Again,” published in Wow! Women On Writing.  I incorporated Julie’s questions into an evaluative segment of my Writer’s Eye online writing class, and I’m publishing Michele Burnett’s answers because I thought they were particularly illuminating.  Here Michele answers this question, originally put to me:  “What kind of practical suggestions do you have…

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Feb 07 2014
Comments Off on Overcoming Fear in Your Writing Practice

Overcoming Fear in Your Writing Practice

In April 2013, I was interviewed by writer Julie Leuk for an article called “Overcoming a Writer’s Identity Crisis: Find Your Writing Joy Again,” published in Wow! Women On Writing.  I incorporated Julie’s questions into an evaluative segment of my Writer’s Eye online writing class, and I’m publishing Michele Burnett’s answers because I thought they were particularly illuminating.  Here Michele answers this question, originally put to me:  “You have started a creative writing center to…

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Jan 31 2014
Comments Off on Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing was a prolific British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. She was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the Prize the Swedish Academy described her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.  She died in November…

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Jan 24 2014
Comments Off on Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing was a prolific British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. She was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the Prize the Swedish Academy described her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.  She died in November…

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Jan 17 2014
Comments Off on Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing was a prolific British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. She was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the Prize the Swedish Academy described her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.  She died in November…

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Jan 10 2014
Comments Off on Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing was a prolific British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. She was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the Prize the Swedish Academy described her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.  She died in November…

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Jan 03 2014
Comments Off on Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing on the Writing Life

Doris Lessing was a prolific British novelist, poet, playwright, librettist, biographer and short story writer. She was awarded the 2007 Nobel Prize in Literature. In awarding the Prize the Swedish Academy described her as “that epicist of the female experience, who with scepticism, fire and visionary power has subjected a divided civilisation to scrutiny”. Lessing was the eleventh woman and the oldest person ever to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.  She died in November…

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Dec 27 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (E.L. Doctorow)

Great Writers on Writing (E.L. Doctorow)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Dec 20 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (Stephen King)

Great Writers on Writing (Stephen King)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Dec 13 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (Anne Lamott)

Great Writers on Writing (Anne Lamott)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Dec 06 2013
1

Great Writers on Writing (George Eliot)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Nov 29 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (Zora Neale Hurston)

Great Writers on Writing (Zora Neale Hurston)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Nov 22 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (Edna Ferber)

Great Writers on Writing (Edna Ferber)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Nov 08 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (Cyril Connolly)

Great Writers on Writing (Cyril Connolly)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Nov 01 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (Annie Dillard)

Great Writers on Writing (Annie Dillard)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Oct 25 2013
1

Great Writers on Writing (Franz Kafka)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Oct 18 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (Toni Morrison)

Great Writers on Writing (Toni Morrison)

Elizabeth suggests:  “In this series, you’re asked to look at what master wordsmiths have to say about the activity which is central to their lives.  See if you can invite their passion into your writing life.  Try copying out the quote onto an index card and pasting it above your desk.  Contemplate it, live with it, noddle it around in your head.  Journal about it.  Try to come up with one concrete way to incorporate…

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Jul 05 2013
1

Memoir Writing: the Deep Truth

Recently, the English writer Hilary Mantel wrote this about memoirs: “It’s hard for beginners to accept that unmediated truth often sounds unlikely and unconvincing.  If other people are to care about your life, art must intervene.  The writer has to negotiate with her memories, and with her reader, and find a way, without interrupting the flow, to caution that this cannot be a true record: this is a version, seen from a single viewpoint.  But…

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Jun 28 2013
Comments Off on Advice To Fledgling Writers: Fear of Being Creative

Advice To Fledgling Writers: Fear of Being Creative

 This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS:  “I haven’t been writing for very long, and it’s thrilling and terrifying at the same time. Sometimes, when I’m writing, I lose track of time. I feel like Something Else is…

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Jun 21 2013
Comments Off on Advice To Fledgling Writers: Getting Started

Advice To Fledgling Writers: Getting Started

This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS:  “I have lots of wonderful ideas. But they float through my head and I Don’t write them down. When I do sit down to write, all the ideas disappear! How do…

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Jun 14 2013
Comments Off on Advice To Fledgling Writers: The Inner Critic

Advice To Fledgling Writers: The Inner Critic

This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS: “I have a fierce inner critic.  What should I do about it?” Elizabeth responds: Remember that your inner-critic problem is exacerbated by a very real outer critic problem. Most people have…

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Jun 07 2013
Comments Off on Advice To Fledgling Writers: Avoiding Perfectionism

Advice To Fledgling Writers: Avoiding Perfectionism

This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS: “I have really great ideas. But as soon as I get the first sentence out, I compare it to what’s in my head, and it sounds so stupid, so primitive, so…

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May 31 2013
Comments Off on Advice to Fledgling Writers: Moving Beyond the Personal

Advice to Fledgling Writers: Moving Beyond the Personal

This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS: “I’ve been keeping journals all my life. I like to write poetry, too, but I never show it to anyone. Lately I’ve wanted to write something a little less personal, but…

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May 24 2013
1

Advice to Fledgling Writers: Discipline

This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS: “I’ve never written before at all. I just thought it’d be fun. I need a creative outlet in my life, but I also know I need discipline.” Elizabeth responds: Discipline! When…

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May 17 2013
Comments Off on Advice to Fledgling Writers: Discouragement

Advice to Fledgling Writers: Discouragement

This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS: “I love to write, too! But when I compare what I’ve written to the books I read, I get so discouraged. I’m afraid I’ll never be that good. I guess I’m…

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May 10 2013
1

Advice To Fledgling Writers: You’re Not Wasting Time

This series of blogs, “Advice to Fledgling Writers,” is excerpted from the book, Writing the Wave: Inspired Rides for Aspiring Writers by Elizabeth Ayres.  Here, a typical student expresses a common fear and Elizabeth responds. Writing the Wave is also an online writing class. TS: “I’ve always loved to write, to keep journals, to make up stories and poems, but I never seem to get anywhere. I feel like I’m wasting my time, goofing around, pretending…

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Apr 19 2013
1

Moving On In Your Writing Practice

Recently, I was interviewed by writer Julie Leuk for an article she’s working on about how a writer handles a changing identity within her or his writing practice.  Here’s her third question and my answer. JL: What suggestions do you have to help writers move past the self-imposed “shoulds” of their writing career, release them, so they can embrace the “coulds” of the future? EA: I think the most important suggestion I could make is…

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Apr 12 2013
Comments Off on If Your Writing Needs To Change…

If Your Writing Needs To Change…

Recently, I was interviewed by writer Julie Leuk for an article she’s working on about how a writer handles a changing identity within her or his writing practice.  Here’s her second question and my answer. JL: What kind of practical suggestions do you have to help people get “unstuck” if their current writing path isn’t satisfying for them? EA: The very first suggestion I would have is to take seriously the nudge to do something…

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Mar 15 2013
Comments Off on The Sound Of Inspiration

The Sound Of Inspiration

In a recent post, I quoted E.B. White, who said, “All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the Self escaping into the open.” I’m intrigued by this notion of writing as self-revelation, because it’s what keeps me coming back to my desk day after day.  Not because I have a message for the world, not because I have a story to tell, but because as I find the words…

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Mar 01 2013
2

A Guilt-Free Writing Practice

Many of the aspiring writers I’ve worked with seem to feel guilty that they can’t keep up with all of life’s demands and still have time to write. I would like to encourage all of you to adopt an attitude beautifully expressed by Isaac Asimov in his book, Asimov Laughs Again: I was once being interviewed by Barbara Walters in three segments, all at once, though they were to be run on three separate days….

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Jan 04 2013
1

Why Do You Write?

Why Do You Write?

As the new year begins, I invite you to reflect on why you write.  And don’t be ho-hum hum-drum — put some muscle into it!  That special muscle available to the writer called “imagination.” As a warm-up, please read the following, excerpted from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest Williams. Dearest Deb: You asked me why I write…. I write to make peace with the things I cannot control.  I write…

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Dec 14 2012
Comments Off on The Writer You Are Becoming

The Writer You Are Becoming

The Writer You Are Becoming

The other day I was wandering around nearby Leonardtown, after my appointment at the dentist’s and before the bookstore opened.  In the yarn store there was this woman sitting in front of a loom, doing mysterious things with her hands and feet that transformed stiff, straight rows of brightly-colored thread into soft billows of patterned fabric.  The me that has always been a weaver said, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to weave,” and I…

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