Writers and Writing

Discussions on the writing process and those who do it.

  • Productivity,  Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions,  Writers and Writing

    Perfectionism and Writer’s Block — It’s All About the Baby Steps, Baby!

    This week, I’ve been trying to come up with a riveting blog post idea and I’ve spent nearly two hours dithering, avoiding the problem. Rather than picking one of the hundreds of topics I’ve collected for times like this, I logged onto Joseph Michaels’  UnChained Writers, my favourite online chat group for writers, where I knew I would find others who’d understand and commiserate when I whined and complained about how stuck I was feeling.   “Why do we do that to ourselves?” I said, and gave myself a little pep talk…“Okay, goofball! Just pick one and run with it. Something will come out of it, even if it’s not…

  • Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions,  Writers and Writing

    Creative Cross-Pollination

    Recently, in an online chat group, a friend of mine posted this quote:     “My work is not merely about making and achieving a final product to wear or hang. They are my journey, my feelings, and my stories.” — Reiza Wahid   I think that could apply to any of our creative efforts. It’s not just the destination. It’s the journey, the learning, the transformation.   My friend went on to say, “It’s hard to explain that my diaries and origami give me such joy when there’s not much productive to show at the end.  Transformation is the key – transformation of us and who we are.”  …

  • Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions,  Writers and Writing

    Declutter your Memoir

    Recently, I had to mop up a flood in my basement, which forced me to move a lot of stuff I’d been storing, keeping and generally shoving out of sight and out of mind, some of it for decades.     You know the kind of thing…”Oh, that’s useful.  I’ll keep it until the other one, the one I’m using right now, breaks or wears out or runs out of power/ink/paper” (or whatever is necessary to keep it running).     Or, “That belonged to my grandparents.  It’s worth something.  Maybe Antiques Roadshow will pay me a lot of money for it.”     Or, “I just can’t throw out…

  • Creativity,  Productivity,  Thoughts, Opinions and Philosophical Discussions,  Training, Lessons,  Writers and Writing

    Are you a terrible writer?

    Have you ever suddenly decided halfway through a writing project that it’s all crap?  That everything you’ve done up to this point is garbage and you’ll never be a “real” writer?     Do you habitually reach a point in your drafts when you convince yourself that it’s not good enough, it’ll never be good enough, and you should throw it out and start over, but you desperately try to stick with it, even though you have an overpowering urge to delete your work and start again with a different style or P.o.V. or…anything?   Welcome to the world of the frustrated writer.   Anyone who’s any good at all…

  • Creative Writing,  Productivity,  Writers and Writing

    The Evils of Comparison

    “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde  The saints are the sinners who keep on trying. — Robert Louis Stevenson   Do you think you’re a crappy writer? Why do you think that? Did someone tell you that your writing sucks? Where did this belief originate?     Whose voice do you hear in your head? Was it a teacher in the third grade or the fifth or the tenth, telling you that you’re not good enough to be a writer?   I call bullshit! You’re not being fair to yourself — You’d never ask a child to paint like Rembrandt, dance like Nureyev, or sing like Pavarotti,…

  • Creative Writing,  Memoirs,  Training, Lessons,  Writers and Writing


    I’m sitting in my recliner, teaching a creative writing class on Zoom, tea cooling beside me, about to show the class how to use short stories in autobiographies.  I’m using the “Homework for Life” exercise from Matt Dicks’ book, “Storyworthy”.  This is an exercise I’ve adapted to fit my short story workshop series and it works like a kind of free-writing or stream-of-consciousness process similar to Julia Cameron’s Morning Pages.    I’ve called this exercise “Snippets” and it’s a ten- or fifteen-minute activity in which students go back over their day and try to find a moment or incident that for some reason sticks out for them.  It also works…