Tag Archives: writing

How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Photo of paper with messy writing on it
 

Writing my first novel was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It took me two full years to get through the first draft, and I felt like I was slogging my way through the entire time. I would write sections of the book and read over what I had written and cringe. Sure, I also had days where I felt like I had actually written something good, but most of the time I was full of self-doubt. I had never written a book before, so I had no idea what I was doing. I tried … Continue reading How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

Black & white photo of woman holding small box
 

All my life I’ve gotten into random conversations with people where the subject of our life trajectories comes up, and I always end up feeling kind of weird. This past weekend I hung out with a friend who told me he decided on his career path in high school, diligently researched colleges, applied himself strenuously to his field of study, threw himself at the best internships available, and then went on multiple rounds of job interviews with companies he had also heavily researched, and that’s how he ended up in his current job. He made … Continue reading Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

woman wearing Virtual Reality glasses
 

Have you ever used virtual reality goggles to watch a movie? Imagine that the film starts off in an African village. Ahead of you, you see a hut and can almost smell the smoke rising from a campfire. You hear laughter. On the left, two small boys run past. Behind you, mist rises from the river. On the right, men start arguing loudly. Within a few seconds, you are dropped into the middle of the story, exactly where the screenwriter wants you to be. Watching a movie this way reminds me of how I feel … Continue reading Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

Yes, Writers, It Is Possible to Get Past Your Fear of Marketing Yourself as an Author by Lauren Sapala

Woman writing at table
 

By and large, the biggest problem I run into with struggling authors is the challenge they have around marketing themselves. I hear a lot of different reasons for this: “I’m too introverted.” “I hate anything that has to do with sales.” “I don’t want to be fake or phony,” etc. I get those reasons, because way back in the day when I felt like I had an allergic reaction to anything that had to do with marketing, I told other writers I hated marketing because of those very same reasons. But, here’s the thing. That … Continue reading Yes, Writers, It Is Possible to Get Past Your Fear of Marketing Yourself as an Author by Lauren Sapala

Bring Them to an Art Show: On Teaching Imaginative Writing by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

White horse head morpihing into flowers
 

If a piece of artwork could express itself in words, what would it say? This was the question I pondered while visiting Time Lapse, an art faculty show at Chadron State College (CSC) in Chadron, Nebraska several semesters ago. Here’s the beginning of what Black and White Crease, a painting by adjunct faculty member, DeWayne Gimeson, seemed to say to me: I believe in creases like the ones that form on balls of paper we too often throw away. We rarely see their peaks, their crevices, their unscripted shadows save for the quiet exhale—the curious … Continue reading Bring Them to an Art Show: On Teaching Imaginative Writing by Rich H. Kenney, Jr.

Writing Small by Ginger Moran

Fountain pen laying on paper
 

Writing Small When There Is No Time to Write Big: The Goldilocks Approach to Getting Writing Done I was back from the James River Writers Conference in Richmond when I realized I was dealing with an uncomfortable truth. I had been sitting at the conference, listening to agents and editors and the questions people were asking them. The conference is a good one—not too big and not too small. The keynote speaker was Padma Venkatraman, whose beautiful books I’ve seen before and who exhorted us to both dream and do. She should know—she is an … Continue reading Writing Small by Ginger Moran

Creative Publishing by Ann E. Michael

Black and white photo of books on a shelf with someone's hand reaching for a book
 

Poetry and publishing: two topics that seem diametrically opposed, if you look at them under the perspective that’s the norm in the USA—that of business, capitalism, popular culture. Shake off that norm, however, and publishing can be re-imagined as aural/oral, visual, textual, cinematic, digital, interactive…who knows? When a reader begins to deepen her understanding of creative literature, she will also find it necessary to widen the concept of publishing. Some folks say this is a new world. Or they’ll claim things were better in the old days. Curmudgeons and prejudices abound. In my lifetime, I … Continue reading Creative Publishing by Ann E. Michael

Letter To Self On Lying Fallow by Billie Hinton

Two new plants growing
 

Dear writing one, There will come a day when you will stop writing, for no good reason. There will be no drama, no single event that sinks your writing heels into the ground. You will come home from a writing retreat with good pages and confidence and work still to do and you will intend to keep doing it. Life itself is what will intervene. It is not you being lazy. It is not you being blocked. It is not you abandoning writing. It is not writing abandoning you. You will try to figure it … Continue reading Letter To Self On Lying Fallow by Billie Hinton

Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Concrete stairs surround by greenery
 

Life doesn’t come with an instruction manual. We are not handed a guide at birth entitled Fail-proof Steps to Living This Life. As such, I’ve lived most of my life through a lot of trial and error—heavy on the error side. I’ve also learned that sometimes I just have to take the next right step and try not to run the entire marathon at once. I’m getting ok with that practice. There is a source that I go to often for life advice. Poet Mary Oliver never fails to enlighten me or ease my weariness. She … Continue reading Taking the Right Step by Cheryl Traylor

Poetry of Place by Roselyn Elliott

Ocean
 

Poets and writers of fiction and nonfiction write with a sense of specific place in all languages. Once place is introduced in the piece, emotions are evoked, and a lot of things can happen in that place. In poetry, place provides an outer structure and a vehicle to contain and carry a poem into memory, reflection and ideas. Description of place not only offers knowledge of a geographical space, it allows readers into the poet’s intimate experience. Various theories exist as to why writers use place, including that the poet may seek to write about … Continue reading Poetry of Place by Roselyn Elliott