Archives

writing

Keeping Journals

Journal, 1975

Journal entry: New Year’s Day, 1975

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

The Organized Writer: 8 Tips

writer tips for organizationMark Twain liked to write in bed.

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.

  1. Plan time to write. Many writers have a writing routine, like so many hours a day, or word counts. It… Continue reading

The Edge of Abstraction

trafficSometimes 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.

 

Writing in the Classroom

img_7513A 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

My House is Quiet

Autumn in New England

Autumn in New England

My house is so quiet, my ears feel empty. The click of my keyboard is the loudest sound, and when I stop to idly scratch my face, the brushing sound of my sleeve is followed by the fainter brushing of my fingertip against my cheek. It’s a deep and steady quiet, made for concentrating.

I’m happy to be writing. Have I said that lately? Some days, I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have this work.

Otherworldly Other Worlds

The Apple Portal

The Apple Portal

A young writer asked me the other day why I liked to write, and I told her I liked the ability to slip into another world whenever I wanted. I can be in a room at a table with half a dozen other people, and as soon as I set my pen to my paper, I’m gone to somewhere else entirely. The writing of the words pulls me away from the present and into my mind and out some back door to a deeper, different, wilder place… Continue reading

1 2 3 18