At the beginning of the semester, I made three Writing Resolutions. To Exercise! (Physically, mentally, and writer-ly) I think I did one What If exercise this entire semester, if any. I was marginally better at keeping up with my physical workout schedule, but I still can’t do the splits. I’m not sure I’ve made… Continue reading Reflecting
In community college, I needed to take a course called “Music Appreciation” to fulfill some sort of arts credit. I scoffed when I registered for the class, all the while thinking: I don’t need a class to help me appreciate music. Ppptthhp! I was already being a generation rebel by tuning my radio to WRR every few… Continue reading Why the World Needs (Magazine) Writers
I believe the internet has shortened our attention spans, and it seems many others agree with me! The internet has forced writing to condense itself. Twitter requires you to get to the point in 144 characters. Online articles get shorter and shorter, and on some ultra-modern sites you can even get the lazy “tl;dr” brief. In many… Continue reading What’s the Effect of the Internet on Writing?
I feel like critics are simultaneously constructive and destructive to our culture. On the one hand, we need critics in order to make society, politics, and art better. Looking at our behavior as human beings with a critical eye draws our attention to flaws in our way of thinking. Critics call us out when we’re… Continue reading What’s the Role of the Critic in Culture?
One of my favorite writing exercises from What If asks for you to create a character just by describing what their surroundings are. What’s on their nightstand? What do they keep in their closet? What’s in the fridge? What’s in the glove compartment of their car? You can tell a great deal about a person… Continue reading All the Things We Carry
One of the most difficult things I learned to do for my writing was to start with no beginning in mind. I used to stare at the blinking cursor with nerves tying knots in my intestines. Ideas would flit through my mind one by one, but none of them felt right enough. If the cursor… Continue reading The Writing Process: What’s Hard/Important to Learn About Writing
I just read part I and part II of The Innocent Man in one two-hour sitting. Not sure I’ve ever been so entrapped by assigned reading before. The Innocent Man doesn’t just tell the story of Michael Morton, there are at least a dozen different perspectives within the narrative. There’s the story of Eric, his… Continue reading Why Tell Other People’s Stories?
For “The American Man, Age 10,” Susan Orlean immersed herself in the world of a young boy. In “The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever,” Michael Mooney seamlessly integrated more innocuous facts about bowling than I knew existed. Both writers went beyond interview and pulled us into a story by creating their subjects worlds’ through research. Research… Continue reading The Role of Research in Writing
Every writer has to be a reader first, it’s the natural order of the universe. It is through reading that we learn the stories that inhabit the world around us and begin to craft our own stories and worlds. Writers should all be readers, preferably mad-crazy hungry readers who are never satiated. I find more often… Continue reading What Do Writers Learn from Reading?
For as long as I can remember, I have carried a journal and a book in my backpack. I consumed elementary school novels by the dozen. I graduated to adult supernatural thrillers by seventh grade. Today, I will read anything and everything. Ancient epics, war memoirs, the latest YA dystopian thriller, and the Reader’s Digest. Old… Continue reading Why (I) Write. What Do I Want to Learn about Writing?