7 Oct, 2013

Writing about Real People

October 7th, 2013|Tags: , , , |

Writing about real people, especially family, is probably the number 1 issue writers of personal stories worry about. But it is not just an issue for nonfiction writers... In my [...]

1 Oct, 2013

The Gift of Morning Pages

October 1st, 2013|Tags: |

Writing Morning Pages has become an important daily ritual for me ever since I read Julia Cameron's book The Right to Write. That book was so transformative for me in [...]

22 Jul, 2013

Why Writers are Fortunate

July 22nd, 2013|Tags: , , |

For our June class, my Advanced Memoir Workshop at StoryStudio Chicago read Rosanne Cash's memoir Composed. It's not the kind of memoir I would have chosen to read myself, but [...]

25 Jun, 2013

Anatomy of a Writers Workshop

June 25th, 2013|Tags: |

Adirondack chairs abound on campus At the Kenyon Writers Workshop as a Fellow in Rebecca McClanahan's Literary Nonfiction Workshop, June 2013: Arrival - The friendly reception makes me feel welcome; [...]

6 May, 2013

Patience, A Writer Must Have

May 6th, 2013|Tags: , , |

Patience, the trees seem to say, we're not ready to be green yet. My kids have been into Yoda lately, thus my inverted title, but I really feel that Yoda's [...]

13 Dec, 2012

12/12/12 – A Quiet Day

December 13th, 2012|Tags: , , , |

Inspired by Xanthe Berkeley's challenge on Shuttersisters to create a time capsule of 12/12/12, I decided to capture this ordinary day so that sometime in the future, maybe 20 years from [...]

12 Nov, 2012

Guest Blog by Shirley Hershey Showalter: Writing About Faith

November 12th, 2012|Tags: , |

As announced last Monday, I am happy to welcome Shirley Hershey Showalter as a guest blogger today. We met in the online world last year; I was initially intrigued by her [...]

5 Nov, 2012

Writing About Family

November 5th, 2012|Tags: , , |

My grandmother and me at my wedding I'm thrilled to be guest blogging on Shirley Showalter's blog today. Topic: Writing About Family. It's the hairiest issue in writing memoir, at least [...]

6 Aug, 2012

Guest Blog by Kelly Hashway: Writing Every Possible Second

August 6th, 2012|Tags: , |

Today I'm happy to host Kelly Hashway. Kelly is a prolific writer of children's, middle grade, and young adult books, and she's also the mom to a beautiful little girl. I've [...]

30 Jul, 2012

Guest Blog by Liz Sheffield: Rediscovering Writing through Motherhood

July 30th, 2012|Tags: , |

Adding to my Moms Who Write series, today I welcome Liz Sheffield as my guest blogger. Liz and I met during last year's Blogathon and have supported each other's blogging [...]

16 Jul, 2012

Guest Blog by Tia Bach: Have Laptop, Will Travel

July 16th, 2012|Tags: , |

Further in my Moms Who Write series, I am happy to welcome Tia Bach today, whom I consider one of my good blogging friends. We met during last year's Blogathon [...]

25 Jun, 2012

Guest Blog by Sandy Suminski: Making Writing a Priority

June 25th, 2012|Tags: , |

 Sandy's back porch, all set up for writing. As part of my current series on Moms Who Write, I am happy to welcome my long-time student Sandy Suminski as my [...]

4 Jun, 2012

Guest Blog by Stephanie Springsteen: Writing in the Car or in Bed

June 4th, 2012|Tags: , |

 Candid camera: Stephanie in bed, trying to write. As part of my current series on Moms Who Write, I am happy to welcome my longtime student Stephanie Springsteen. Her [...]

21 May, 2012

Guest Blog by Gillian Marchenko: Making Space for the Necessity to Write

May 21st, 2012|Tags: , |

Gillian's writing nook (I must say, I am a little jealous...) I am developing a little series here on how mothers fit writing into their lives, and today I am [...]

14 May, 2012

Guest Blog by Sun Hee Yoon: Writing as Young Mom

May 14th, 2012|Tags: , , |

Sun Hee and her daughter in Montreal last summer Today is guest blog exchange day on the Blogathon, and I pleased to welcome Sun Hee Yoon, a fellow memoir writer. [...]

2 May, 2012

A Finite Number of Words

May 2nd, 2012|Tags: , |

"I'm convinced that there are only so many words per day in the human body: If you do some longish emails and a few tweets, you feel done." Anna Quindlen [...]

8 Mar, 2012

Impressions from the AWP Conference

March 8th, 2012|Tags: |

Photo courtesy of Sun Hee Yoon - it reflects a serenity hardly found  at the conference It's taken me some time to recover from the last week's AWP 2012 Conference [...]

21 Feb, 2012

First Person versus Third Person

February 21st, 2012|Tags: , , |

 Checking my notes at the writersandcritters conference Today I'm sharing the recording of a short conversation on the merits of writing in first, second or third person that we got [...]

16 Feb, 2012

The End in Memoir

February 16th, 2012|Tags: , |

Here's a little chuckle for you on a genre that often leaves little to chuckle about. Last Sunday I went to a memoir event: Moment Magazine was presenting the winners [...]

26 Jan, 2012

Reading Out Loud

January 26th, 2012|Tags: , |

I've been a bit quiet on my blog here because I've been loud otherwise: I've been using every free minute I have alone to myself to read my book manuscript [...]

16 Jan, 2012

Guest Blog by Marcia Pradzinski – A Residency at Ragdale

January 16th, 2012|Tags: , |

Tree at Ragdale - photo courtesy of Barbara Terao Poet and nonfiction writer Marcia Pradzinski has been a member of my Advanced Memoir Workshop at StoryStudio Chicago for a while, [...]

8 Jan, 2012

Dr. Seuss’s Creative Process

January 8th, 2012|Tags: , , , , |

The Christmas Around the World exhibit also wrapped up today. Fittingly, the Great Hall with the big Christmas Tree was decorated with Grinch posters. Today was the last day of [...]

15 Dec, 2011

When Inspiration Strikes

December 15th, 2011|Tags: , |

Why do great ideas always strike at the most inopportune moments? Like when I'm brushing my teeth, or taking a bath? Or, like the other evening, while I'm chopping fruits for [...]

7 Dec, 2011

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Garber: Artist Residencies – Stimulation at VCCA versus Serenity at Jentel

December 7th, 2011|Tags: , |

Following up on my post “Why a writer’s residency is a good idea,” I am happy to welcome my writer friend Elizabeth Garber of Maine, whom I was fortunate to [...]

28 Nov, 2011

Finding Focus in Writing

November 28th, 2011|Tags: , |

Finding focus in our writing is a big challenge, especially when you're writing personal narrative. How do you whittle down a big life into one small story? My tips: Use a [...]

14 Nov, 2011

Why a Writers Residency is a Good Idea

November 14th, 2011|Tags: , |

The studios at VCCA are housed in the former barn complex. During my second time there, we had a terrific blizzard. This pictures shows the brilliant day after the storm [...]

3 Nov, 2011

Reflections on a Writers’ Conference

November 3rd, 2011|Tags: |

On my fourth day back home from the writersandcritters conference in Sterling, VA, I am still exhausted. Writers conferences will do that to you, even a small and intimate one [...]

27 Oct, 2011

Greetings from the Potomac River

October 27th, 2011|Tags: , |

Greetings from the misty banks of the Potomac River where I am at a writers' conference. More detailed reports are found on Nancy's blog but I do hope to report [...]

7 Oct, 2011

Literature in the Making: Rewriting

October 7th, 2011|Tags: , |

I've spent the last few days reviewing student manuscripts, and I have to share what a joy it is to witness literature in the making. Not that I don't try to create [...]

12 Aug, 2011

On Vagueness – “And he was like, you know…”

August 12th, 2011|Tags: |

In case you thought the overuse of the word "like" is a new phenomenon, or at least one of the recent decade, you will be as surprised as I was [...]

21 Jul, 2011

Guest Blog by Nancy Julien Kopp: The Benefits of an Online Writing Group

July 21st, 2011|Tags: |

Welcome to one of my writer and blogger friends, Nancy Julien Kopp. Thank you, Nancy, for sharing your take on participating in an online writing group: Annette asked the right [...]

14 Jul, 2011

Guest Blog by Joyce Finn: How to Keep an Online Writing Group Thriving

July 14th, 2011|Tags: |

A travel writing class I took online many years ago became the turning point in my life as writer. Not only did I receive the best writing advice ever, but [...]

6 Jul, 2011

Practice Makes Perfect

July 6th, 2011|Tags: , |

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." - Aristotle This quote came through on the Happiness Project's daily email today and it [...]

3 Jul, 2011

Hemingway on Writing

July 3rd, 2011|Tags: , |

Today is the 50th anniversary of Ernest Hemingway’s death, and an article by Jeffrey Meyers in the Wall Street Journal on Hemingway’s literary achievement reminded me of that. He died, sadly [...]

28 Jun, 2011

Read to Write

June 28th, 2011|Tags: , , |

About a year ago I was discussing where we write with my memoir class. One student, a flight attendant, said that he often wrote on the plane during his break [...]

8 Jun, 2011

The Best Writing Advice I Ever Got

June 8th, 2011|Tags: |

Today I’m sharing with you the one piece of advice that was the key to me becoming a writer. Many years ago I took an online travel writing class taught [...]

3 Jun, 2011

Don’t Tell If You’re Going to Show

June 3rd, 2011|Tags: , , |

I often find, in student manuscripts, instances where the writer tells me something, only to go on to show it. And then tells me again what she’s already shown me. [...]

29 May, 2011

Literary Life – Attend Literary Festivals

May 29th, 2011|Tags: |

Another way to pursue a literary life is to attend a literary festival. In Chicago, the Printers Row Literary Festival is coming up next weekend (June 4-5), offering lots of book [...]

24 May, 2011

Where I Write

May 24th, 2011|Tags: |

Today's Blogathon topic is "My 5 Favorite Places to Write." However, I only have one favorite place to write: my couch. In the photo I'm leaning forward, probably because my [...]

23 May, 2011

Writing Is My SecondAct

May 23rd, 2011|Tags: |

Thank you, Michelle Rafter, for featuring my blog on SecondAct, the online magazine for people reinventing themselves after 40. I have to admit I never quite saw myself as engineering [...]

21 May, 2011

Formulaic Writing

May 21st, 2011|Tags: |

The one insight gleaned from today’s seminars at the Queens MFA alumni conference, courtesy of Alan Michael Parker who was talking about taking risks in writing: Most plots, especially in [...]

20 May, 2011

Read the Old Masters to Steer Clear of Period Style

May 20th, 2011|Tags: , |

My greatest insight today from the Queens MFA alumni conference: William Butler Yeats apparently advised a young poet who had sent him some of her poems to read and study [...]

15 May, 2011

Helene Hanff on Writing Memoir: You’ve Left Yourself Out of It!

May 15th, 2011|Tags: , |

Since I’m still in the rosy glow of my crush on Helene Hanff’s classic epistolary memoir 84, Charing Cross Road, I will share with you one of her priceless insights [...]

15 May, 2011

The Literary Life: Amazon Reviews Make a Difference

May 15th, 2011|Tags: , |

Now that I'm into writing reviews on amazon as part of my quest for a broader literary life, I was happy to read on the Creative Penn that those ratings and [...]

3 May, 2011

Writing Rituals: The Writer’s Notebook

May 3rd, 2011|Tags: |

Any writer worth his or her salt keeps a notebook. Most are particular about what kind. I know I am. Mine has to be spiral bond, size 5x7”, with lined [...]

1 Apr, 2011

Poem A Day

April 1st, 2011|Tags: , , |

Reading poetry is a wonderful way to infuse your mind with the beauty of words, and for me April as National Poetry Month is a good reason to get back into [...]

23 Feb, 2011

Check in with a Buddy

February 23rd, 2011|Tags: |

Another writing ritual that keeps me going is checking in with my writing buddy Harriet. Every Friday we e-mail each other to report how many submissions we sent out, what [...]

18 Feb, 2011

Keeping a Log

February 18th, 2011|Tags: |

Yesterday, during a trial run for an authors’ roundtable, I was asked about my writing rituals. Did I have any habits that keep me writing? I do. One is my [...]

7 Feb, 2011

A Snow Route as a Metaphor for Writing

February 7th, 2011|Tags: , |

Walking along the snow covered lakefront, where the blizzard left its plentitude, is very much like writing. On my walk this morning, the path initially was clear, not down to [...]

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