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

Writing to Deadlines

Hello Creative Writer, The topic I’d like to discuss briefly this week is working to a deadline. We are all writers here so we can be honest, like artists, we can be temperamental. Writing might slow or stale if inspiration doesn’t come or when other life concerns are more pressing. But what do you do when you have a deadline? Whether it’s a paper you must right for your Psychology class or a report at work that needs to be turned in by a certain time, some writing can’t wait for the muses to smile. I abhor deadlines but if … Continue reading Writing to Deadlines

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?

Reading: The Best Friend of Writing

There is nothing like being a writer and opening a book that someone else wrote. When I was younger I was thoroughly intimidated to write after reading the likes of Dickens, Wordsworth and Shakespeare. Who wouldn’t be? You think, how can I call myself a writer when I know darn well I can’t write like that? You might be discouraged before you even even put pen to paper. As i’ve gotten older though I look instead at these powerhouses and more as my goals and teachers, my mentors and friends. I read to learn- what do they get right and … Continue reading Reading: The Best Friend of Writing

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

Diversity in Writing

Last week we spent quite a long time talking about how to use diversity “correctly” in our writing. All to often when we try to be inclusive we end up being judged as pandering, detrimental to the cause or just plain wrong and even offensive to the group we are trying to convey. We went over using race, economic background, disability, sex, religion, cultural differences and more but one thing we did touch on was age. Writing about an age that you aren’t anymore of haven’t been yet can be very difficult. As someone creeping slowly toward “middle age” it … Continue reading Diversity in Writing