Posts tagged ‘courage for the writer’s journey’

Nov 27 2016
Comments Off on Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Since its emergence 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe has been a creative journey into ‘something more.’  From hydrogen and helium we get complex elements.  From a supernova explosion we get our sun and solar system.  From the alembic of Earth’s oceans we get one-celled organisms, worms, vertebrates, reptiles, mammals.  From seaweed we get ferns and oaks.  This is the evolutionary impulse, individuals sharing their characteristic energies in always-greater and more complex unions. The characteristic…

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Oct 04 2014
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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 21 2014
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Moving Past Shoulds

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 suggestions do you have to help writers…

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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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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
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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
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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
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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 15 2013
Comments Off on Great Writers on Writing (William Styron)

Great Writers on Writing (William Styron)

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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Apr 19 2013
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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 05 2013
Comments Off on A Writer’s Chrysalis

A Writer’s Chrysalis

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 first question and my answer. JL: You have started a creative writing center to help writers transform themselves creatively. The key word here is transforming, which implies change. For some people this is scary. How do you help people move past the fear of change…

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Mar 08 2013
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Finding an Authentic, True Voice: One Writer’s Story

This week our guest blogger, Karen Karper Fredette, describes the risks — and rewards — of discovering a true and authentic voice. The need to write was hounding me but whenever I tried, my thoughts flitted in fifty odd directions, and whatever I produced was scattered and shallow.  A habit of concealing my feelings, my fears, and my weaknesses kept me spinning my wheels, writing only superficial events. I seldom wrote directly of myself or…

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Mar 01 2013
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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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Feb 22 2013
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Solitude in the Writing Life

With the popularity of social media — 10 million people networking 24/7 on Facebook — and given the cultural bias in favor of extroversion, it’s difficult for the writer to claim for herself or himself the one thing without which nothing can be written:  solitude. For that reason, I’ve provided a set of inspiring quotations on the value of solitude for the writing life.  You can pin these up on the closed door of your…

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Feb 08 2013
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A Writer’s Valentine

A Writer's Valentine

My Valentine’s Day wish for you is a torrid love affair with your own words, ideas, stories, characters, images. So when they pass around those heart-shaped candies, nibble one in celebration of your passion for writing. XOXOXO  Elizabeth

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Jan 25 2013
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A Writer’s Sacred Duty

One of the reasons I founded the Center for Creative Writing was to provide aspiring writers with an awareness of artistic endeavor as a sacred call, a holy vocation, a divine mission to a people starved for wisdom.  Recently I came across this quote in a book called Creativity: Where the Divine and the Human Meet by theologian Matthew Fox. All artists have to let go of the modern world’s silly and reductionist notions that…

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Jan 18 2013
Comments Off on Failure: A Writer’s Constant Companion

Failure: A Writer’s Constant Companion

One of the laments I hear often from my students is that the words they’ve poured out onto the page seem shabby imitations of the story or poem or essay they really want to create.  For that reason, they tear up their papers and toss them in the wastebasket, considering themselves failures and giving up on the whole dream of becoming a writer. That experience — of being unable to capture the shimmering vision —…

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Jan 11 2013
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A Writer’s Homeland

In his poem, “Boast of Quietness,” Jorge Luis Borges writes, “My homeland is the rhythm of a guitar, a few portraits, an old sword, the willow grove’s visible prayer as evening falls.” The writer, it seems to me, is one whose true homeland is the imagination.  And if that’s true, then whenever we’re caught up in other endeavors, we’re in exile, longing for home.  I know that’s how I feel when I’m not writing.  And…

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Jan 04 2013
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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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Nov 23 2012
Comments Off on Procrastination: How To Write Around It

Procrastination: How To Write Around It

A famous quote most writers can relate to is Dorothy Parker’s: “I hate writing, but love having written.”   This quote might mean different things to different people, but to me it speaks to one thing above all else: procrastination. Without a doubt, my biggest weakness as a writer is my penchant for procrastination.  I’ve been blessed with the ability to never really have true writer’s block.  I’ve always been able to think of ideas and…

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Oct 19 2012
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The Pains of Publication

Recently I’ve had two pieces accepted for publication — I’ve mentioned these in other blogs.  (See September 14th and September 21st.) The word ‘publish’ means ‘to make public.’  Because we live in such a results-oriented culture, a writer can be seduced into thinking that the act of making the work public is the important thing, the critical thing, the thing without which a writer can’t go on, and the frustrations of not being able to…

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Oct 12 2012
2

A Writer’s Voice

how to write, how to be a writer, writing prompts, writing tips

I’m taking a weaving class.  I’m learning on a small, portable loom, but it has all the necessary pieces of a traditional loom, and it’s great fun to learn an entirely new language, with words like “heddle” and “thrum” and “shed” and “apron” and “shuttle.” I’m learning how to “warp the loom:” to set up the long threads that provide the structural integrity of woven fabric.  It’s extremely complicated, requiring a lot of math and…

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Oct 05 2012
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Writing Prompts Help

A recent prompt from the Center’s e-mail newsletter led me to a truly serendipitous experience.  As a retiree approaching my 75th birthday, I look around at other folks my age and see many who just stop ‘living’ when they stop working. Here’s the prompt you shared, courtesy Poets & Writer’s:  Pick a poetry book off of your shelf and open it to any page. Read the poem you’ve opened to, then write one of your…

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Aug 31 2012
Comments Off on Writers Are What They Read

Writers Are What They Read

This is no new insight, but it does bear repeating:  if you aspire to write well, you must fill your mind with the very best writing. Nutrition provides a good metaphor.  If you want to be healthy, you must eat well.  You must put into your body only the best food. If you want your mind and imagination to remain healthy, you must feed it with the best writing you can find.  This is especially…

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