Writing-Defogging Blog


Tuesday, August 30th, 2016

Happy end of summer.  I hope you’ve kept cool and perhaps got away somewhere nice.

Now that it’s back-to-school time, it’s a good time to start thinking afresh about your writing and how to go the next step.  Here are some things you might want to try.

1. Read all the books of a writer you love.  I  just finished doing that with Jhumpa Lahiri, and was deeply inspired.

2. Try writing on your computer with a different font and font size.  See if that shakes up things a bit.

3. Write a list of topics you want to write about by the end of 2016.  Try to include a topic you’ve considered for a long time, as well as a topic that recently popped up in your awareness.

4. Follow Natalie Goldberg’s (Writing Down the Bones, etc.) idea and write in cafes, many of which now have a place for you to plug in.  Be sure to order something, and if you stay a long time, order more.  If it’s a place with servers, be sure to give a generous tip.

5. Try writing in a new genre; it keeps you fresh.  If you’re already writing poetry, try a new format (triolet, sestina, haiku, etc.)

6. Read a new how-to or inspiring writing book.  If you’re only turned on by one concept from the book, that’s enough — and if you’re open and receptive, usually you’ll get more.

7. Learn something about grammar, maybe punctuation, that you never understood.

8. Reread a book you loved.  This time, try to keep track of what about you love about the writing.

9. Yes, this is old fashioned, but keep paper with you all the time; you may be in situation in which you can’t or shouldn’t access your higher-tech devices.

10. Finally, find a writing group or coach — LIKE ME!  Here’s the information about MY ONGOING NON-FICTION WRITERS GROUP, which will start up again on Thursday, Sept. 15, 10-12, at my home in Elkins Park.

We will meet on a series of five Thursday mornings: Sept. 15, Sept. 29, Oct. 13, Oct. 27 and Nov. 10; we can tweak those dates if necessary.

Here’s how it works: If you write something, you send it to me and the others in the group to read.  When we get together we go over each person’s work and offer useful input.  Giving a close read to other people’s work helps your own writing.

If the group wants me to teach about a particular topic — such as the basics of personal essays — we can do that as part of, or instead of, discussing each others’ work.

The group will be limited to six people.

The cost for the five sessions is $275.

This group has been extremely useful to past participants, some of whom went on the publish their writing.

And if you’re new to writing, or blocked about writing, or have no experience writing personal non-fiction, I can handle all that in this group, too.

Call me if you’d like to discuss this at 215-635-1698.  PLEASE FEEL FREE TO SHARE THIS INFORMATION WITH PEOPLE WHO YOU THINK MIGHT BE INTERESTED.  Thanks.

I hope you’ll want to sign up.

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