May 23 2018
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4 workout tips to strengthen writing muscles

4 workout tips to strengthen writing muscles

Feeling motivated to make some writing gains but overwhelmed and not sure where to start? Shawna Ayoub Ainslie shares some workout advice that translates easily to overcoming challenges on the page. When you want to develop any skill, you practice it. When I learned to play basketball, I started with dribbling and passing drills that improved my hand-eye coordination and in-game reflexes. When I learned to swim, I practiced floating. When I learned to write…

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May 16 2018
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Teacher feature: Shawna Ayoub Ainslie on writing as “an avenue to wellness”

Teacher feature: Shawna Ayoub Ainslie on writing as "an avenue to wellness"

Writing through Trauma to Truth teacher Shawna Ayoub Ainslie shares some insights into both her teaching and creative processes. Director Stacia M. Fleegal: What excites you, inspires you, makes you grin from ear to ear about your Center class? Where is the joy for you in the teaching? Is there any relationship between the pleasure you feel teaching and the pleasure you feel when you’re writing? SAA:  Writing has been a powerful coping tool for the…

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May 08 2018
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How to end your story already! (in 3 steps)

How to end your story already! (in 3 steps)

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie shares some tips for placing the final puzzle piece in a story that doesn’t seem to want to end. If I am being very honest, I am not great at endings. Writing beginnings and middles feels natural to me, as I am swept along by possibility. An ending puts, well, an end to the joy of the writing journey. Once I’ve committed, there is still revision to do, but it is (hopefully)…

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May 01 2018
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Letter from the director: May 2018

Letter from the director: May 2018

Dear writers, May Day, mayday! If your writing is in distress at this start of May, let me remind you: just like a late winter storm, this too shall pass. In the creative world, we talk a lot about blocks. I’ve said before and will continue to say that I don’t believe in writer’s block. There are too many tried and true techniques to steer around blocks or banish blocks entirely, too many tips for…

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Apr 25 2018
Comments Off on Teacher feature: Teneice Durrant on the pleasure of choice in writing

Teacher feature: Teneice Durrant on the pleasure of choice in writing

Teacher feature: Teneice Durrant on the pleasure of choice in writing

Poetry Writing teacher Teneice Durrant shares some insights into both her teaching and creative processes. Director Stacia M. Fleegal: What excites you, inspires you, makes you grin from ear to ear about your Center class? Where is the joy for you in the teaching? Is there any relationship between the pleasure you feel teaching and the pleasure you feel when you’re writing? TD:  For me, the pleasure that comes from writing and the pleasure that…

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Apr 18 2018
Comments Off on 3 reasons not to fear your writing haunts

3 reasons not to fear your writing haunts

Don't fear your writing haunts, embrace them!

Writing through Trauma to Truth instructor Shawna Ayoub Ainslie defines recurrent themes in her work as “haunts,” but explains why you shouldn’t let that characterization scare you off. In graduate school, one of my writing workshop instructors waxed poetically about writing haunts every time she reviewed my work. I had several. My short stories often contained abused female characters trying to break free of their cultural or parental bindings. In retrospect, the reason my writing…

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Apr 02 2018
Comments Off on Letter from the director: April 2018

Letter from the director: April 2018

Letter from the director: April 2018

Dear writers, I don’t know where you are in the world right now, but in the Northeast U.S., spring is taking its sweet time to arrive. The waiting truly is the hardest part, and that’s what I want to talk about as March closes and April opens: how the creative process so often feels like delayed gratification. Maybe you are waiting to take a writing class, attend a retreat, or join a group. Maybe you’re…

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Mar 21 2018
Comments Off on Take yourself seriously as a writer in 3 steps

Take yourself seriously as a writer in 3 steps

Take yourself seriously as a writer in 3 steps

You want to write, and maybe you even want to publish your writing someday. You hear lots of advice from established writers about developing a routine, writing every day, reading widely, and so on. You want to apply this advice, but you still aren’t quite sure you can or should do this writing thing. Do I have anything interesting to say? Would anyone want to read what I write? Will I ever be any good…

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Mar 17 2018
Comments Off on American Life in Poetry #677

American Life in Poetry #677

American Life in Poetry #677

BY TED KOOSER, U.S. POET LAUREATE I’m devoted to yard and garage sales, and love to spend time with friendly strangers in scuffed front yards and oily, dim garages. Here’s a poem by Matthew Brennan, who lives in Indiana, from his 2016 Lamar University book, One Life. Yard Sale “There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful.” —  Emerson, Nature The renters bring out their greasy table, End of the month again:…

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Mar 14 2018
Comments Off on Teacher feature: Tawni Waters on connection and discovery through teaching

Teacher feature: Tawni Waters on connection and discovery through teaching

Teacher feature: Tawni Waters on connection and discovery through teaching

Writing the Wave and Writing to Reclaim Your Sacred Self teacher Tawni Waters shares some insights into both her teaching and creative processes. Director Stacia M. Fleegal: What excites you, inspires you, makes you grin from ear to ear about your Center class? Where is the joy for you in the teaching? Is there any relationship between the pleasure you feel teaching and the pleasure you feel when you’re writing? TW:  Teaching at the Center…

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