Jul 10 2019
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Why good readers make good writers

Why good readers make good writers

You have managed to create time and space in your life for a writing practice, and have a bit of routine going that is working for you. It was hard enough to carve out this time for writing, something you love to do, but now you need to find time to read as well? It shouldn’t be hard, you reason. You loved reading as a child, and still occasionally find time to pick up a…

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Jul 01 2019
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Photo writing prompt, July 2019

Photo writing prompt, July 2019

How does the world change underwater? How are sounds and sights different? What does water do to the feel of things? Does the image frighten or excite you? What of the soft fuzz of algae and growth on the smooth stones? Is this a river or a lake? What is just beyond the photo’s frame, or behind those filtered sun rays? How long can you stay submerged in close observation without a breath? What do…

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Jun 26 2019
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Helena Writes #12: On citizenry and alphabetry

Helena Writes #12: On citizenry and alphabetry

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 12th post, Helena muses on what it means to be a citizen vs. a consumer and…

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Jun 19 2019
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How to make writing prompts work for you

How to make writing prompts work for you

  Writers either love or loathe prompts; there seems to be no in-between. Those of us who love them use them to focus, or to explore, or just to write when we are stuck on another project or feel uninspired. Those of us who loathe them feel constrained by their specificity, or think there are no original prompts out there, or just don’t want to be “told” what to write about. At the Center, we…

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Jun 12 2019
Comments Off on What is a writing community and how can you build one?

What is a writing community and how can you build one?

What is a writing community and how can you build one?

Adapted from a 2015 post on creating a writing exchange. At the Center, we use the word community a lot. We have a clear if general idea of what community means to us: writers writing “together”—in our online courses, at our retreats, in comments on our social media posts, in response to our prompts (through the monthly photo prompt contests or One Year of Weekly Writing Prompts), or with us directly in private writing guidance…

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Jun 05 2019
Comments Off on Spring-clean your writing practice in 3 steps

Spring-clean your writing practice in 3 steps

Spring-clean your writing practice in 3 steps

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie shares some practical tips for tidying up your cache of drafts and completed works to make writing time more efficient. Is there anything so ominous as a backlog of unfinished writing? Writers are artists who go through creative and . . . less creative periods. Creativity is marked by productivity. The words seem to arrive on the page with little effort, but that does not mean writing is completed. Raise your hand…

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Jun 01 2019
Comments Off on Photo writing prompt, June 2019

Photo writing prompt, June 2019

Photo writing prompt, June 2019

What about green? What about rain, or is it dew? What about dirt, worms, and bugs, and the beauty that rises from it, cyclical and strong? What about what’s hiding in or under these hostas? What about hostas? What about spring and growth and regrowth, the return of color and light and warmth so forcefully that winter seems once again so far in both the past and future, it’s unimaginable? What do you think about…

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May 22 2019
Comments Off on Helena Writes #11: On teaching by learning, learning by teaching, and voice

Helena Writes #11: On teaching by learning, learning by teaching, and voice

Helena Writes #11: On teaching by learning, learning by teaching, and voice

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 11th post, Helena considers how she became a teacher and learner,…

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May 15 2019
2

Writers, master the art of word economy

Writers, master the art of word economy

Adapted from a 2016 Center post about how to pare down a first draft by looking at specific elements of the writing, one at a time. Word economy is the practice of using fewer words to say more. For less practiced writers, it means revising your work to eliminate redundant, unnecessary, cliché, or weak language to make your writing stronger and clearer. Once you practice word economy enough during revision, you will teach yourself how…

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May 08 2019
Comments Off on Make the absolute most of your writing time

Make the absolute most of your writing time

Make the absolute most of your writing time

You did the hard part already. You shuffled things around in your schedule, prioritizing what needed prioritizing and letting go of what didn’t. You analyzed your “free time” and figured out when and how and where you might fit in a good writing session instead of a Netflix binge, and you created a space in your home specifically for writing, complete with good lighting and your favorite pen. You are ready to go. Now, what…

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