Posts tagged ‘how to write’

Nov 30 2016

A Writer’s “Four Noble Truths”

I was on a retreat recently, hosted by the Friends of Silence, which was founded by the writer Nan Merrill. Nan passed away a few years ago, and her legacy — the Friends of Silence newsletter — has been inherited by residents of the Rolling Ridge Retreat Center. As a tribute to Nan, Rolling Ridge has built a cabin to house her library, and in that library one can sit in Nan’s rocking chair, and…

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Nov 23 2016

The Back Door Into Creativity

IN MEMORIAM Paul Schulkind 1955-2016. During the Great Depression, there were many “hobos” (today called “the homeless”) wandering across the country. They would often knock on the back door of a house to ask for food. One might say that it was there, rather than at the formal front door, that the ‘action’ happened, that truly meaningful interactions took place. The same can be true for your writing. Is what you want to write about…

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Nov 13 2016
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Imagination: The Writer’s Call

There is a mystery about sitting down to write, an alternate awareness, of a world where imagination and memory, and a mysterious knowing merge, indistinguishable.  A palette of our experience, and perhaps, if Carl Jung is right, the experience of everyone who’s ever lived. How did I know, for instance, when I wrote my story, “The Call of the Dove” (Cricket Magazine, volume 21, number 9, May 1994) how it felt to be a young…

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Oct 30 2016

Is Creative Writing Your Destiny?

Is Creative Writing Your Destiny?

So many doubts assail the writer as she struggles to put fleeting thoughts into memorable words.  He’s tempted to give up, because it’s hard.  There’s little recognition and even less remuneration.  The question keeps coming back:  “Is this really what I’m supposed to be doing?” The great priest-scientist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote beautifully about the process of becoming “something more.”  What he said about the Universe moving towards its Omega Point – its moment…

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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 14 2014
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Getting Unstuck: Beyond Words

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 kind of practical suggestions do you have…

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Jul 12 2013
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A Writer’s First Audience

This week our guest blogger, Judy Halldorson, shares a very useful tip that avoids worries and bolsters self-confidence. I have tried various ways to help myself as I try to upgrade my writing efforts.  Taking Elizabeth’s courses was one way.  Reading a fair number of books was another.  And now I am teaching myself certain techniques from Fiction Writer’s Workshop by Josip Novakovich.  He is really quite a wonderful teacher and gives several excerpts from…

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May 03 2013
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Discovering Point of View

In this excerpt from a letter to a student in her online class Writing for Children, Helena explains issues of voice and discovery that are applicable to adult fiction-writing as well as children’s writing. There is certainly a story to be discovered here, but remember, the point of view has to be the young people, not the adult’s view of the young people.  This is a shift slowly made in understanding and in actually experiencing…

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Mar 22 2013
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Notes Towards Revision

When I discovered Haiku, particularly the Japanese poet, Basho’s, work, I sensed that I’d found an important key with which to approach revision. Words have to work hard in writing, so they have to, each one, mean something.  Like pieces of supportive architecture, words have to construct writing. One word can often do the job of three, and likely do it more potently.  In a Haiku every word is jam-packed with effect. What if I…

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Mar 08 2013

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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Feb 15 2013
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Unsticking Your Writing Practice

In the literature on creativity, four stages of the creative process have been identified.  These are:  inspiration (when you first get an idea); incubation (when the idea percolates in your unconscious); assimilation (when the original idea matures to include new and old ideas); completion (when the work is created that embodies the ideas. I use the word “idea,” which is more relevant to nonfiction writing, but of course, we could be talking about images (for…

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Feb 01 2013
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Surprise: A Writer’s Gift to the World

Yesterday during my morning’s walk, I noticed a ditch along the side of the road, filled with rainwater and clotted with leaves. Dead leaves in a ditch, I thought, but then my brain registered something else:  a mighty fretwork of trees towering loftily above – or were they plunging down below? – into a sky where alabaster clouds drifted by, billowing underfoot, but no, that’s impossible, they must be drifting high above, but no, the…

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Jan 04 2013

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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Nov 16 2012
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How To Mine Irritations for Writer’s Gold

I’m a retired professor of teacher education (Weber State University, Ogden, Utah). Overhearing people’s cell phone conversations often annoys me. I know I’m not alone: in fact, that annoyance is Chapter One of the recent book, Annoying: The Science of What Bugs Us by Joe Palca and Flora Lichtman. Yet these “half-alogues,” as that book terms them, don’t have to be irritating and can actually be interesting, even fascinating, as material for writers. I would…

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Nov 09 2012
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Writing the Truth That Must Be Revealed

“I can’t think of anything; I certainly can’t think of that!” Has something like that ever silently passed through your mind, perhaps when you were searching for something to write? Of course, it has. We all have thoughts that seem inappropriate and that we’re not going to expose. When images and ideas flash through our minds, we censor them. Either they are just not interesting or impressive enough for our writing, or they are somehow…

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Oct 26 2012

A Writer Looks at Halloween

A Writer Looks at Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a reflection on the holiday I wrote several years ago.  “Baking for the Holidays” is excerpted from my newest book, Invitation to Wonder:  A Journey through the Seasons.  “Lay me down like a stone, raise me up like bread.”  As prayers go, this one’s a champ, don’t you think?  I picked it up from a character in Tolstoy’s War and Peace…

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Oct 12 2012

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

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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Sep 28 2012
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A New Language

how to write, tips on writing, nature and creativity

The seed of the botanical world has finally cracked open for me. I walk as though I were the first man on earth, taking slow steps, my eyes wide. I ask the names of everything I see, testing the patience of those around me, jotting this new language in pocket-sized notebooks: Marigold, begonia, pansy, violet, poppy, chive, iris, pansy, hollyhock, petunia, lilac, shasta daisy, cala lily. In the early spring, the tender shoots in a…

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Sep 07 2012

Weaving Words

the words teach writers how to write

I’m taking a weaving class, and my teacher said something the other day I found illuminating for the writer’s life. She said that she never plans a project.  Instead, she goes into the store to see which yarns call out, “Take me home.”  Then she sits with them at home and lets them speak to her as she asks questions of them.  Are you soft and yielding, needing to be made into an airy shawl…

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