Just Write


Layering: The goal of layering in writing is to take unrelated elements and bring them together in a single piece of writing. “Layering means that we’re weaving in different elements of our story, characters, writing craft, etc. Some writers even start with just one element—such as writing their whole story just as dialogue—and then layer in everything else once they have the shape of the story.” — Jami Gold Ideas to add layering in your writing. Start with lists: List #1: Some facts about yourself or your fictional character List#2: Favorite food or music List #3: Favorite movies or TV shows List #4: Philosophical sayings List #5: A type of clothing or furniture Freewrite: #1: Using a word or phrase from each of the lists, spend a few minutes creating a piece of writing. Freewrite #2, Layering: Add an outside event as a metaphor to echo the theme of your freewrite….

Book Reviews

Swimming Grand Canyon and Other Poems

Susan Bono’s review of “Swimming Grand Canyon and Other Poems” by Rebecca Lawton. I am not a person who knows rivers, although some part of me yearns to be. That’s why I’ve been a fan of Rebecca Lawton’s writing ever since I read her essay collection, “Reading Water: Lessons from the River.” She takes me to those places in myself. In “Swimming Grand Canyon” she shows me her love for rivers with lines like, “The water has no bones/but carries things we love.” I expected this and was grateful for it. But I soon became aware that these poems are channeled through the hard gates of life, and that is what sticks with me. She warned me early on in “It’s Like Life” when she wrote, “You think you’ll jump on/and just ride.” Of course, it’s always more complicated than that, and I realized as I read on how much…

Book Reviews

The Oasis This Time

Review: The Oasis This Time, Living and Dying With Water in the West written by Rebecca Lawton. Review by Marlene Cullen. Rebecca Lawton writes in such a personal and friendly manner, it feels as though we’re old friends sitting across from one another on a comfortable sofa and chatting. Her humble and unassuming manner is refreshing. It’s clear she is knowledgeable about waterways as well as bird identification. There are so many gems in this exquisite book. Lawton’s vocabulary and extensive knowledge on a variety of subjects is astounding. Her descriptions are visceral and breathtaking. “Fortynine Palms strings before me, a green necklace. The oasis has a narrow hydric zone in a long, arid arroyo. Fresh water tickles among horsetails, maidenhair fern, willow, and cottonwood where a small bit of flow is enough to fill tiny, clear pools. Glassy surfaces are topped by gaggles of water striders. A buzz fills…

Guest Bloggers

Staying Grounded and Centered.

Today’s insightful post is by guest blogger, Rebecca Lawton. I have a dear friend who jokes that, in 2020, we’ll have no need for glasses. A long-time wearer of glasses himself, this friend also loves punning. With or without glasses in 2020, we who love writing and reading want to see clearly in all our endeavors. For me, seeing clearly means staying grounded and centered, understanding what I’m observing with all senses. Doing so requires that I stick with various creative practices, whether in writing, communicating, playing music, reading the work of others, or learning new skills and ideas. Basically, for everything. I consult writing-related resources as well. This time of year, I offer a list of them on my blog. For the first time ever, I’ve also included a few references for clearing the mind. May your practice buoy good health and happiness, for you, yours, and those you meet. May the goodwill you generate extend to the well-being of the planet. I join you…

Guest Bloggers

Corral your best time of day for maximum creativity

Rebecca Lawton posted “Ring-fence” on her blog in August 2013.  If you are struggling with your writing, or finding a routine that works for you, this might help. Ring-fence What is this malaise? This lack of focus and ennui combined with a skimming restlessness? My mind won’t settle on anything for more than an instant. The piles of paper around me are growing, escaping my recycle bin. I can’t seem to force myself to get to work on them or anything else. Those short stories I was revising religiously every morning? Not today. Today my mind is a cloud pushed by the wind. It could have been a regular workday with a schedule I knew from experience to be effective. Usually I rise between 5:30 and 6:30 AM, head for the meditation chair, sit for 20 minutes, then concoct morning chai for the household. Next I’m off to my writing…


Modeling— Becca Lawton’s Cool Writing Tips . . . Prompt #285

Here’s an entertaining idea from Rebecca Lawton’s Cool Writing Tips. Becca’s advisor at Mills College introduced “Modeling,” — an exercise “in which you select an excerpt of masterful writing … and fill in the blanks.” Rebecca Lawton writes, “Modeling is a sort of Mad Lib exercise, where each part of speech is swapped out for a word of your choice.”


What haunts you? Prompt #284

Sit still for a moment. . . take a few deep breaths. Relax into your chair. For this writing experience, tap into what haunts you. As Rebecca Lawton says in Cool Writing Tips: ” See the detail of the memory with clear eyes and write it down as best you can remember it.” There will be a repeat series of Becca Lawton’s Cool Writing Tips. This will only be available for the month of September, 2016. Sign up now so you don’t miss a single inspirational tip. “Write as if you were dying” features Rebecca Lawton as a guest blogger and highlights one of her Cool Writing Tips. I found her friendly style of writing about writing to be affirming and inspiring. I think you will, too.

Book Reviews

Write Free – attracting the creative life

Write Free – attracting the creative life, revised second edition by Rebecca Lawton and Jordan Rosenfeld If you are seeking to make some changes in your life, but don’t know where to start . . . Write Free might be the perfect resource for you. “Where you place your attention, what you focus on, is where and how you create your life.” With my first reading of Write Free, this line struck me as the heart of the book. I needed to re-read it and break it down to get it. “Where you place your attention, . . . what you focus on, . . . is where . . . and how . . . you create your life.” That sounds so simple and yet is complex to implement. Lawton and Rosenfeld offer practical suggestions, leading to discoveries towards a creative and productive writing life. These techniques can also…