Jan 15 2020
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How to give and receive writing feedback with compassion

How to give and receive writing feedback with compassion

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie discusses the challenges of providing substantive and supportive feedback in a writing group, and what to remember if you want to overcome them. I have taught lots of creative writing classes, and there are two components of these courses that are consistently difficult for students. The first is revision. Inexperienced writers often do not believe in revision. That issue eventually resolves itself. Either the writer will find their work ill-received and begin…

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Jan 08 2020
3

Helena Writes #18: On what is lost and found

Helena Writes #18: On what is lost and found

Helena Clare Pittman, one of the Center’s most dedicated teachers (Writing for Children and Midwifing a Small-Scale Memoir), has written, painted, and taught her entire life. In a blog series called Helena Writes, she shares a lifetime of wisdom, one pearl at a time. Learn more about Helena through the Center’s Teacher Feature, her reflection on teaching writing, and her artist’s website. In her 18th post, Helena shares a piece of memoir writing about her beloved sister and a cherished…

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Jan 01 2020
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Photo writing prompt, January 2020

Photo writing prompt, January 2020

What do you suppose this key locks and unlocks? How long has it been here; how many seasons of fallen leaves, winter snowfalls, and spring thaws has it seen? Who finally found this key, anyway–and were they searching for it, or for something else? What do you think about when you look at this image? Write about it.

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Dec 11 2019
Comments Off on A 4-step process for writing trauma from a place of hope

A 4-step process for writing trauma from a place of hope

A 4-step process for writing trauma from a place of hope

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie (Writing through Trauma to Truth) offers guidance on how writing responsively, not reactively, about difficult experiences can bring about healing as well as better writing. Many of us write to understand and work through difficult, even traumatic, experiences that have shaped our lives. In order to keep that process from miring us in bad feelings that originated in the past, we need to be responsive, not reactive, to our memories. It can…

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Dec 01 2019
Comments Off on Photo writing prompt, December 2019

Photo writing prompt, December 2019

Photo writing prompt, December 2019

  A crystal is formed under intense pressure, just the right composition of chemicals in certain minerals, and over minutes (snowflakes) or a half a million years (the giant pillars of Mexico’s Cave of Crystals). Consider the miraculous perfect storm of their long and tedious existence. Consider the perfection of their points and lines and the imperfections of the organic matter fossilized and preserved within their transparent walls. Look beyond beauty, beyond color and light,…

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Nov 21 2019
Comments Off on Helena Writes #17: On rummaging for memories

Helena Writes #17: On rummaging for memories

Helena Writes #17: On rummaging for memories

Helena Clare Pittman, one of the Center’s most dedicated teachers (Writing for Children and Midwifing a Small-Scale Memoir), has written, painted, and taught her entire life. In a blog series called Helena Writes, she shares a lifetime of wisdom, one pearl at a time. Learn more about Helena through the Center’s Teacher Feature, her reflection on teaching writing, and her artist’s website. In her 17th post, Helena offers an experience of how a vintage store find unlocked a precious childhood…

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Nov 13 2019
Comments Off on Why you need to write about your writing

Why you need to write about your writing

Why you need to write about your writing

I know what you might be thinking: It’s hard enough to find time to write creatively, but now I need to also find time to write about my creative writing? In a word: yes. The thing is, finding time to write isn’t just about finding time to write. It’s about making time where there previously wasn’t any, or even taking time from other, less worthwhile activities. It’s about elevating your practice of writing to a…

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Nov 06 2019
Comments Off on 4 ways a writer’s notebook is a recipe for success

4 ways a writer’s notebook is a recipe for success

4 ways a writer’s notebook is a recipe for success

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie urges you to keep a notebook of writing ideas so you always have something cooking. My first graduate writing workshop opened with the professor assigning all students to obtain a journal in which we would record writing topics, lines and phrases and sensory observations of the world for future use. The task was not to master a craft tip, acquire a certain critical text, or commit to writing a formidable number of…

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Nov 01 2019
Comments Off on Photo writing prompt, November 2019

Photo writing prompt, November 2019

Photo writing prompt, November 2019

What looks imperfect, flawed, or even ugly to one person might be beautiful to another. Take the gourd, for example. Among the final fruits of the harvest, these gnarly pumpkin-cousins are some of the oldest cultivated plants in the world, even appearing in creation myths. They have many uses and come in lots of shapes, sizes, and colors. And some of them are…well, less traditionally attractive than other things growing in your garden. Consider flaws,…

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Oct 23 2019
5

Helena Writes #16: On truth-telling and the love of animals

Helena Writes #16: On truth-telling and the love of animals

Helena Clare Pittman, one of the Center’s most dedicated teachers (Writing for Children and Midwifing a Small-Scale Memoir), has written, painted, and taught her entire life. In a blog series called Helena Writes, she shares a lifetime of wisdom, one pearl at a time. Learn more about Helena through the Center’s Teacher Feature, her reflection on teaching writing, and her artist’s website. In her 16th post, Helena shares a moving experience with a young and injured animal, and how she…

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