Just Write

Another reason to Just Write!

“Studies show that writing by hand, rather than typing, improves information processing as well as the ability to remember what you’re writing about. Take your learning to the next level by using your brain for what it does best: fusing existing and new information. . . . Crack open a book and once you’ve finished it, write a Goodreads or Amazon review. You might be surprised at what you come up with while mulling it over again.” — “Brain Fitness,” November 2015 Real Simple magazine. Note from Marlene: You will be helping authors and improving your brain fitness at the same time when you review a book and post on Amazon or Goodreads. And if you are inclined, consider writing a review of the Write Spot Books and post on Amazon. The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Discoveries The Write Spot to Jumpstart Your Writing: Connections The Write Spot: Reflections…

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About Anthologies

What do you think when you hear a book is an anthology? Some people may be delighted with thoughts of reading from a variety of authors. Others may groan, remembering antiquated stories in outdated books. Me? I’m excited to produce anthologies so that a diverse group of writers can be introduced into the writing scene. My third anthology, The Write Spot: Reflections was recently published with the help of two authors who didn’t even know they were cheering me on. Eleanor Henderson and Anna Solomon, co-editors of Labor Day: True Birth Stories by Today’s Best Women Writers, wrote an article, “Labor of Love,” printed in Poets & Writers magazine, May June 2014. “Labor of Love” was my steadfast companion on my journey from “What am I doing?” and “Will this work?” to the completion of three anthologies. Excerpt from “Labor of Love” “We’ve always loved anthologies. As new writers, we…

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Write Memoir in Voice of Narrator

Whether you tell your story chronologically, or with flashbacks, or with intercutting, it’s important to write your memoir in the voice of the narrator. Examples of these different ways of telling a story are used in The Write Spot Anthology: Discoveries. “Maintaining a solid narrative structure is critical to ensure readers move in step with the sequence of life events. . . When they [readers] can follow your progression as a character, they can also fully enter your story.” —Dorit Sasson, “Refresher Course,” The Writer, February 2016 Note from Marlene: When writing about something that happened in childhood, use appropriate age-based language. Show character growth by using adult language when writing about the character as an adult. Examples of narrative structure, character growth and details on how to use intercutting in your writing can be found in The Write Spot Anthology: Discoveries.

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Personal Essay As Therapy

“One reason we choose to write essays instead of another kind of nonfiction piece is because we can use the personal essay as a kind of therapy. Sometimes the act of writing gives us the opportunity to work through the conflict and come up with another way of looking at the situation. As the writer explores her problem, owns it, and then comes up with a resolution that will change how she relates to her problem in the future, the reader will be looking at her own life and doing the same thing. That’s why the essayist must be committed to the process of discovery and must be as honest as she possibly can be about what she uncovers. More than any other piece of nonfiction, the personal essay has to be written and rewritten and rewritten, often many times, to get to the heart of what it is we…

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Thumbnail sketches

Figure drawing classes often start with timed gesture drawings of initial poses lasting as short as five seconds before the model moves. Gradually the time increases to 10, 15 and 30 seconds. By the time you get to a minute, it feels as if you have all day to capture the pose on your sketch pad. The idea is to keep you free, dexterous and more focused on process than product. Such short bursts also keep you from taking yourself too seriously—otherwise, you’d quickly become frustrated. —“Train Your Eye for Better Writing,” by Tess Callahan, Writer’s Digest September 2017 Tess suggests you can do the same with writing. “At odd moments throughout the day, in a diner or in transit, jot down gestures, expressions or snatches of overheard dialogue. . . . Whether or not these little moments make it into whatever story you are writing, they will deepen your…

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I don’t know what I’m doing . . .

“Eventually, I stop looking back and being prissy about the beginning, but I’m pretty prissy about it for a long while. At a certain point, I only go forward. I allow myself to write a chunk where I can say, ‘You know, I don’t know what I’m really doing here. It’s a bit messy.’ I cut myself some slack. I can also write with blind spots where I say, ‘I know I’m going to have to figure this out later I don’t know what the answer is right now but that’s OK,’ and I can keep writing.” —Julianna Baggott Excerpt from “Pure Writer,” by Elfrieda Abbe, The Writer Magazine, January 2016 Note from Marlene: When you get to a “stuck” place in your writing, type ‘xyz” or “something here” in red at your sticky spot.You can come back to that unsettled place later and fix it.  Take a break. Get…

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Emulate Writers to Improve Your Writing

The following is an excerpt from “Train Your Eye for Better Writing,” by Tess Callahan, September 2017, Writer’s Digest: “I encourage my students to read deeply a broad range of writers, and after each one, try writing a few sentences in that wordsmith’s style. For example, take a signature line from William Faulkner. . . and, while keeping the sentence structure intact, pluck out all of the nouns and verbs and replace them with your own. Don’t place these emulated lines directly into your own writing. . . Instead, the idea is to practice emulating lines so that the many different styles can work their way into your brain, spin around in the blender of your subconscious, and serve to inform your own unique voice. No art form exists in a vacuum. The impressionists were friends and rivals who hung around in the same cafes, shared, traded and borrowed, and…

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 Nervous about sharing your writing?

“Do you ever feel nervous about sharing so much in print?” Roxane Gay answers, “Absolutely. The only way I really have the courage or stupidity to share my writing is by believing that no one is going to read it. I have to tell myself that because I‘m actually very shy and private in real life. It’ hard to share such personal stories. But here I am! It’s difficult at this point to maintain the delusion. It was much easier when I was publishing in small literary magazines and nobody knew who I was.” Roxane Gay, September 2017 Writer’s Digest Note from Marlene:  So, even prolific writers are nervous about their work being made public.  Here’s a thought:  Don’t worry. Just write! Roxane Gay’s writing appears in Best American Mystery Stories 2014, Best American Short Stories 2012, Best Sex Writing 2012, A Public Space, McSweeney’s, Tin House, Oxford American, American Short…