Nov 13 2019
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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
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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
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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
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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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Oct 16 2019
Comments Off on How revisiting old writing can inspire new ideas

How revisiting old writing can inspire new ideas

How revisiting old writing can inspire new ideas

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie suggests a little time travel to light your way out of a writing rut—and offers a great exercise as guidance. Sometimes the path to a new, exciting writing project leads back through a well-worn path. Writers, when you’re stuck in a rut and it seems like you’re writing the same story over and over—or worse, you aren’t writing at all—try going backwards instead of forwards by blowing the dust off some old…

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Oct 09 2019
1

How to get back on the writing ride

How to get back on the writing ride

Shawna Ayoub Ainslie shares a metaphor to get writers back in the saddle. I once took a writing class with an avid equestrian who offered a riding metaphor for every writing exercise. I loved the way she related her two passions to each other, both of which are creative art forms that require science to build skill. I’m a writer, not a rider or scientist, but that won’t stop me from passing along some of…

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Oct 01 2019
Comments Off on Photo writing prompt, October 2019

Photo writing prompt, October 2019

Photo writing prompt, October 2019

Most of us probably have a memory of leaping into small mountains of autumn leaves. They change color, fall, and we drag them into piles to be taken away in garbage bags and trucks, year after year. The rake is our tool of choice. Consider tools, then. Consider our human attempts to control, collect, and clear nature and the natural world from our consciousness. Does it feel positive or negative to you? Practical or impractical?…

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Sep 25 2019
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Helena Writes #15: On found time, process, and the gifts of writing retreats

Helena Writes #15: On found time, process, and the gifts of writing retreats

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 15th post, Helena shares the surprises of planning and leading a memoir retreat, along with some…

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Sep 18 2019
Comments Off on How (and how not) to compare yourself to other writers

How (and how not) to compare yourself to other writers

How (and how not) to compare yourself to other writers

We all do it. We all compare ourselves to the people who are good at what we want to be good at, right? Sometimes such comparisons motivate us. Other times, they erode confidence and can lead to chronic negativity and even self-sabotage. Here are four things you need to know to make the right kinds of comparisons, the ones that will light a fire under you to write more and better:

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Sep 11 2019
Comments Off on Develop these 3 points of connection for more memorable writing

Develop these 3 points of connection for more memorable writing

Develop these 3 points of connection for more memorable writing

Think of your favorite stories, the ones that have stayed with you the longest. Perhaps you first read them as a child or young adult, then passed them onto your children or grandchildren. Or maybe you are revisiting a beloved book year after year, delighting in new observations or different perspectives as you move through different stages of life. Have you ever wondered why those stories are so memorable? Chances are, the authors created characters…

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