Creating a Writing Practice
create a writing practice. And, you know, what is often said is make sure you write every single day. And some people even say, you know, write 500 words or 1000 words every day, no matter what. I won't tell you that because, as you've already heard me say, I think that one of the greatest problems that people get into his writing before they know what they have to say. So I believe in dedicating a portion of every single day to thinking about my writing. And that may well include scribbling a whole lot of ideas on my white board. Um, it probably includes taking a very long walk or a long swim, or if I'm really lucky. And I'm in my home state of New Hampshire when the weather is just right along skate. But, um, I am I am focused on the work. And sometimes that looks like this. And sometimes it looks like this, um on and you need to respect your own body clock. I happen to be a morning person. Um, I could not write a good essay to save my life after eight PM Truly, I could not, um, but ...
get me out of bed at three in the morning and tell me I need to write. I'll do it. Stay up till three. Won't work very well, but if I tell myself it's morning and not a very late night, I could do it. And in fact, I love to do it. Um, for many years I was writing a za parent of very young Children, and you have to get up pretty early in the morning to be young Children. So that's what I did. And I was up before the sun, and sometimes I got my day's work done before. 6 a.m. And I've actually the Children are are long gone out into the world, but I've never broken that habit. I, um I like to be up with the sun, but that's certainly not something that applies to everybody. Some people are nighttime writers. Just know what you're good time is, and honor it and give your writing if it all possible. And I know this is hard for people who have day jobs. Give your best hours to your writing, not the ones that were left over after you've taken care of absolutely everything else, but save your best hours for the writing. I don't schedule appointments for the morning because I know morning is my good time. By four o'clock, I could go to the dentist. But I'm not gonna If I go to the dentist today AM my writing day is shot on for me. And this also definitely was shaped by years of being a parent and then a single parent. Um, the idea of writing every single day was not possible because there were lots of interruptions and there were lots of other things that I had to take care off. And for me, one of the most challenging things was what I call giving into the zone. Um, putting away all the cares of my day and getting into the zone once you're there, then I could stay there for quite a long time, but to have to get into the zone every day for 45 minutes didn't make much sense. So for me, I would get more accomplished and did and have in five very concentrated days when I left the world used to look like just checking into a cheap motel in Brattleboro, Vermont, or Yeah, you know, I went off to odd little places and wrote, and I could doom Or in those days, and sometimes the whole book was written in those cheap motel rooms. Um, my novel where love goes I was by the side of the Connecticut River in a $25 and I motel room, and I just decided I'm not coming out until it's done. And I had a Children's spring vacation spring break when my kids were with their dad and and I did not walk out of that motel room until the end of the break, and and I had the rough draft of a novel when I did, um, but that was me, Um, for me. I Years before I discovered the actual phenomenon of a real writing retreat. I created writing retreats for myself. And if you don't, if you don't have the luxury of being able to write every day every week, every month, locate ah, couple weeks, locate even six days where you can just go and take yourself away and and remove all distractions during that period,
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Full-length class: Writing Your Story with Joyce Maynard
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Everyone’s got a story to tell. Some are funny. Some are inspiring. Others are tragic. But no matter how compelling your story might seem, it won’t resonate with readers unless you’re able to effectively translate your concept onto the page.
Celebrated journalist, novelist, and memoirist Joyce Maynard will give you the tools you need to transform your brilliant idea into an absorbing memoir that readers won’t be able to put down.
Maynard will begin by walking you through the process of identifying your story and how best to tell it. She’ll then help you develop your story through language, story structure, dramatic tension, dialogue, description, and editing. Finally, she’ll address the challenges of the writing life, such as how to create a productive practice, design a comfortable writing space, deal with rejection, and find an audience.
In this class, you’ll learn how to:
- Understand the difference between telling what happened and exploring your journey.
- Figure out what to include in your story and what to cut out.
- Decide on a point of view, a point of entry, and a structure.
- Get over your fears of revealing embarrassing truths about yourself.
- Stop worrying about being judged.
- Deal with loneliness and find your tribe.
- Develop the arc of a sentence, a paragraph, and a story.
- Listen to the sound and rhythm of your sentences.