How Not to Support a Writer

A partner once asked me why I never shared my writing with him. “I’ve shown you stories,” I reminded him. “The ones I won that award for.” “Everybody saw those,” he said, dismissing them. I don’t think he’d bothered to read the stories, because that wasn’t the point of this exercise. What mattered to him—what threatened him—was that I had an inner life, one I didn’t share with him. If he truly mattered more than everybody else, I needed to prove it by sharing something unfinished, something no one else had seen. I never caved to that pressure, but that … Continue reading How Not to Support a Writer

November is National Novel Writing Month

It’s a big job, writing a novel, but NaNoWriMo turns a daunting ambition into a celebration, hundreds of thousands of writers coming together to cheer each other on through this mad dash at creation. 50,000 words. 30 days. It’s absolutely doable. Except, my head would explode if I started something new right now. Between seasonal depression and holiday angst, I feel like I’d be setting myself up for failure. But maybe that’s a good reason to try a little harder this month. Not having a new project to embark on or any hope of writing 50,000 words of anything before November … Continue reading November is National Novel Writing Month

‘Tis the Season to Be Creeped Out

I’m a chicken. But I’m a chicken who loves a theme, so every October I steel my nerves and look for scary reads. Most years I gravitate toward the classics, safely familiar stories like Dracula, Carmilla, or Frankenstein, because I like the trappings of horror without the actual being afraid part. And last October when we challenged each other to write horror stories, I kept mine pretty tame, because I wasn’t quite in the mood to scare myself. This year feels different. So for the next two weeks I’ll be reading more horror and more about horror, trying to figure out what … Continue reading ‘Tis the Season to Be Creeped Out

The Writing Community

Been a quiet fall so far. I’ve been itching for chats with our writing group but there aren’t many of us at the moment. In lieu of meetings I’ve been sampling writing podcasts and reading every article on writing that crosses my path. It’s not the same, but I’m learning a lot. The internet is the best thing to ever happen to writers. When we formed this group last October, Twitter had for years been my substitute for a writing group. I’d followed a few writers so I’d know when they published new books or stories, and suddenly my feed … Continue reading The Writing Community

What’s the Point?

This is sort of our favorite topic these days. Recently someone asked me, “How’s the writing going? Have you published yet?” We won’t discuss my awkward handling of that conversation. Instead I’ll give you the answer I wish I’d given: “It’s going well, and no, but that’s not why I’m doing this.” People assume things. “Don’t forget us when you’re a bestselling author!” said a relative I’d never met before, when I said I wanted to write books someday. “It’s not very practical. You need a good backup plan,” warned a former high school teacher when she heard I was … Continue reading What’s the Point?

Writing Resources

The Creative Writing Club at Penn Highlands spent two semesters sharing our favorite writing aids and sources of inspiration with one another. With a new semester just beginning, it’s a good time to gather all those helpful resources in one place. Share your favorite writing tools down in the comments! Not sure what to write about? The Time Is Now offers three writing prompts every week in poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction. Abulafia collects random generators for pretty much any facet of storytelling you could ask for to help jump-start your writing. Story Cubes and Nanofictionary were favorite storytelling games at our writing club … Continue reading Writing Resources

We Need to Talk About Writer’s Block

I don’t know if it’s shame, denial, or something else that makes us cling to the concept of writer’s block when life provides so many real roadblocks to writing. We can’t set aside work, family, and other responsibilities; we can’t control how illness, disaster, and trauma swallow up our energy and skills. Why enable more barriers we can’t control? Maybe artistic pursuits are so romanticized that we don’t like to admit how much hard work, patience, and failure goes into them, especially when we don’t always know what our efforts will yield. How do we excuse the days spent staring … Continue reading We Need to Talk About Writer’s Block

Looking Forward

Now that you’re through the crush of finals and have (hopefully) had a chance to relax, it’s a good time to think about your summer writing goals. It can be hard to imagine finding time to write while working, taking summer classes, or planning vacations, but during the last two semesters we found that we were better able to make the most of our scant writing time when we had other writers to encourage us. The writing group was a source of inspiration, encouragement, accountability, even commiseration when needed. Whatever the topic, our discussions always left us inspired and eager … Continue reading Looking Forward

Minutes from April 15, 2019 Meeting

Thursday, April 18 is Poem in Your Pocket Day! Share your favorite poem down in the comments if you’d like us to add it to the packet we’ll be sharing from throughout the day. Yesterday we shared some original poems and talked a bit about our relationship to poetry. We’d had a great time creating found poems last week but struggled when it came to putting together a satisfying poem using our own words. While all art is subjective, poetry doesn’t have as many concrete rules as fiction does. It’s harder to gauge a poem’s quality—even its doneness is a … Continue reading Minutes from April 15, 2019 Meeting