Your fingers hover the keyboard. You inhale deeply. Then you do it: you type the words “The End.” You exhale. You blink back tears of joy. You’ve finished the first draft of your story! It hasn’t been easy, but you’ve pushed through. You’ve done the thing. You finished your draft. Then you think, “Now what?” First, take a break. Read that book you’ve been putting … Continue reading How to Edit Your First Draft
My dearest internet writers who have chosen quantity over quality and eschewed the laws of grammar in the name of poorly constructed stream of consciousness sentences, this one is for you. Rather, I suppose, it is meant for you, but it is really and truly for the grammarians and pedants of the world who will read this and agree with it and perhaps even share … Continue reading Stop Putting Commas Before Verbs!
We are a culture of no. Like toddlers learning autonomy for the first time, we bandy about rejection with reckless zeal. No, I don’t want to go out tonight. No, I won’t help you unless you help me first. No, I won’t eat that donut. No, I won’t make the first move. Self-care gurus and influencers praise the merits of staying in and being selfish, … Continue reading Just Say Yes
From March through the end of August, I experienced a major creative dry spell that convinced me I wasn’t a writer anymore. I was just a person who happened to write sometimes. But my dad, another evening writer, gifted me The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron because his friend said it was life-changing. I’m sure it is, but I barely made it past Week One, … Continue reading Mourning My Morning Pages
I should read more, but I just don’t have time. We’ve all heard it. You may have even said it at some point. Either way, it’s most likely a lie. It’s a known fact that our world is busy. People race from work to pick up the kids from school or soccer practice to go grocery shopping and make dinner to play sports or video … Continue reading Making Time to Read, Not Excuses
It is common knowledge among book readers that the movie version will almost always be inferior to the book it’s based off of. It’s a popular refrain by moviegoers, dinner guests and librarians everywhere. And to some degree this belief is well justified. There are a lot of bad or utterly forgettable book adaptations out there that deserve to be purged from popular memory. Hollywood … Continue reading Get Off Your High Horse, the Book Is Not Always Better Than the Movie
You see them lurking in the shadows. You hear their howls on the wind. You feel them brush past, prickling awareness on your skin. As vegetation begins to rot and a chill invades the air, they sneak back into our collective consciousness en masse, awaiting their rightful place as the kings and queens of Halloween. Monsters. If there’s one thing we can learn from their … Continue reading What Does Your Favorite Classic Monster Say About You?
As writers, we’ve all been there. Staring at a blank page, an idea humming in the back of your mind. You write a sentence. Read it. Delete it. Rinse and repeat. You know what you want to write. You have ideas and characters and a general idea of the setting or aesthetics. But the words won’t come. The story won’t spark. What do you do? … Continue reading How to Spark Your Writing with Mood Boards
There’s a rampant hatred of the five-paragraph essay among academics and writing instructors, and I’ve heard many a teacher express the desire to do away with it completely. The arguments for its destruction usually revolve around students’ stunted writing abilities, especially in terms of writing for a specific audience, but every criticism I’ve found is a criticism of general writing instruction rather than the specific … Continue reading The 5-Paragraph Essay Will Be Your Best Friend in College
This is not about body language. It has nothing to do with tone of voice or eye contact or facial expressions. This is about the unconscious linguistic associations that people will make while reading your writing, and why ignoring things like etymology and prosody makes you a really bad writer. But first, What is prosody? Prosody, for the purpose of this article1, is the musical … Continue reading You’re Saying More Than You Think You Are