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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