Category Archives: Writing Advice

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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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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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Writers with Responsibilities: Ode to the Late Bloomers

Julia Child didn’t start cooking until she was close to forty and I didn’t either. For me it wasn’t the Le Cordon Blue School, but a need to finally be heard. I found my voice after my fourth child was … Continue reading

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Episodia 2.10: Writing About Other People

I spent the past few years writing a memoir about a secret I kept throughout my adolescence, and the book is set to debut next Tuesday. When I was ten years old, a beloved piano teacher in my small hometown … Continue reading

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Writers with Responsibilities: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Perhaps, you’re one of those people who cry on the first day of school. For those of you putting your eldest on the kindergarten bus for the first time, I’ll give you a pass. For the rest of you, get … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Stop Chasing “Childlike Creativity”

Earlier this month I got to spend a week leading creative writing workshops with children in the foster system, some of them as young as six-years-old. And while many of you work with six-year-olds all the time, I usually teach college students or teenagers in … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Embracing Hard Truths About Writing

Okay writers. My last Round-Down was about the impact of self esteem on our creativity. Several readers asked for a followup about how to cultivate said esteem, and for a half-second I was so on it. But I can’t deny that the news around … Continue reading

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Of All Things: The Signature

Congratulations! You’ve published a book, and people are lining up to buy it. Now begins the trickiest part of an author’s journey: signing your own book. You’ve read an excerpt, charmed the crowd. You’ve perfected the swooshy drama of your signature. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Labels, Action, and Confidence

A couple weeks ago, author and marketer Ryan Holiday wrote a piece for Thought Catalog titled, “Can You Call Yourself a Writer?” In it, he argues that “[j]ust because you have done something, doesn’t mean you are something.” In other words, calling yourself … Continue reading

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