Category Archives: Writing

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: The Right Way to Write

As the year wraps up, I’ve been collecting articles that encourage writers to trust ourselves: To find our own practices for creativity, or shun the idea of practices altogether. To choose between quick first drafts or taking more time, based on what works in the moment. To define success case-by-case rather than … Continue reading

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The Abstract Mathematics Behind Freelance Writing

About two and a half months into new motherhood, looking to get back into the swing of things, I applied to several blogging gigs. The editor at one publication, with whom I had been in contact in the past, emailed back … Continue reading

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Writers and Their Pets: Melissa Scholes Young

The “Writers and Their Pets” series began with my own desire to celebrate my dog Sally, and since then I have also invited other writers to share with the rest of us the details of their lives with beloved pets. Today, please enjoy this essay … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: “Not Everything We Need Is In Ourselves”

Creation is often imagined as inherently isolated and intimate: a Walden Pond-esque activity improved by seclusion and destroyed by wifi, phone calls, and . . . well, friends. So I’ve been thrilled this month to see a few books being celebrated for challenging … Continue reading

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The Tangible, The Visceral

Touch is the sense common to all species. So wrote Aristotle in Historia Animalum and De Anima. And so is the premise for the art show Ann Hamilton: the common S E N S E, which I’ve been helping out … Continue reading

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You’re So Vain, You Probably Think this Post is About You

A friend once asked if I’d based the guinea pig (mentioned, but offstage) in my first novel on his daughter’s imaginary friend (of whom I’d never heard tell). In his defense: they had the same, unusual name. In my defense: … Continue reading

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What’s Done is Done is Done Again

As a creative writing instructor, I get asked two questions more than any others. The first is easy enough to answer: “How do I find time to write?” There’s no secret here—set a schedule and get to your desk. The second … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Why You Should Plan Experiences

It’s mid-October, and some of us are gearing up for NaNoWriMo, or NaNonWriMo. Some of us are just inspired by the changing seasons, and want to finally try some new thing we keep putting off. Or maybe we just want to actually read one of … Continue reading

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Drunken Acknowledgments, 2 A.M.

A book is a labor of love, and this novel would not have been possible without the help of several people, and several bottles of wine—the last of which I’m enjoying right now. Infinite thanks to my editor, X, who … Continue reading

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Escalating Conflict

In fiction, only trouble is interesting. For the conflict averse, instilling a story with juicy conflict may take some practice. Someone who has read many drafts of many of my short stories once dubbed me “Anca Did She Forget the … Continue reading

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