In case you haven’t noticed, we in New England spend half of each year without leaves. This allows for countless opportunities to appreciate the moody grace of our trees. Here’s one, for instance, overlooking the churlish waves of Long Island Sound. Note, too, how nicely it compliments the leaden sky and dingy, dormant grass.
Gloomy? Of course. But it’s the kind of gloom that inspires and transports. I’m reminded that Heathcliff’s name was a combination of heath (the habitat), and cliff (a… Continue reading
When I turned in my manuscript of The Keep of Ages last Friday for it to go to copy edits, I was so elated with the book and so pleased to reach the milestone that I went out for hot chocolate with my husband to celebrate, and later in my chorus rehearsal, I sang exuberantly. It is amazing to reach a point with a story, after months and months of labor, when I’m deeply satisfied with the work and excited to see it moving onto the next stage. The energy… Continue reading
Writing your thoughts down in private is a nifty way to discover what you think, especially if you’re puzzling through something complicated or emotionally charged. Recording events lets you relive them with a double ownership. Putting the words on paper or typing them letter by letter focuses your attention into concrete expression, and at the same time, it frees the mind to go racing ahead toward the next idea. It’s at once liberating and therapeutic.
By contrast, reading a journal can be a mixed… Continue reading
I picture him there with his cigar ashes, his coffee, and his crumby sheets, and I know I couldn’t do that. I need a certain degree of order around me in order to be productive, and though I’m a seat-of-the-pantser in terms of plot, that doesn’t mean I’m without systems. If you’re a writer, too, you might find the following organizing tips helpful.
- Plan time to write. Many writers have a writing routine, like so many hours a day, or word counts. It… Continue reading
Sometimes my writing takes me to a strange place where the normal world drops away and I’m dealing with an abstract, dream-like landscape. Artistically, it should be intriguing, but honestly, it’s a very uncomfortable place to be. I fear my readers will be confused, or that I’m cheating by letting images stand in place of more conventional explanations. I have to hold my own hand for courage and dip my toe off the cliff into gray, weightless space.
A new teacher friend of mine recently asked for some practical steps to increase writing in her classroom. She said she was experienced with teaching essays of the “academic” sort, but her students weren’t naturally engaged, and the curriculum didn’t provide much room for creative writing. She also wasn’t confident about how to begin.
It’s my belief that students need to do far more writing than their teachers can ever read, and we’re cheating them out of some real fun and growth if we don’t provide them with chances to… Continue reading