Introducing WriteCoach365.

Introducing Writecoach365: Creative Writing Coaching.
After hearing from several former students and current writing clients, and in response to their feedback, I am happy to announce a brand new option for individual (and, individualized) creative writing training: WriteCoach365.
Find more about this program, launching March 5, 2014, at http://www.WordsMatterESW.com/writecoach365

Hey, writers…

This is a quick post. A sort of poll question, if you will…

What service or resource have you tried to find to help you with your writing, but have been unable to find, either on-line or in person? Or, another way to ask: What is something you’ve said, “If only I could find _x_ it would help me be a better writer!” but have been unable to find?

If something comes to mind, feel free to post it below, or send me an email. Ask other writer friends to chime in. I’m curious to hear…

There are no wrong answers. 🙂

Don’t Forget…

My website, Words Matter Creative Writing Instruction, has information about my publications and creative writing teaching and coaching services.

My website, Words Matter Creative Writing Instruction, has information about my publications and creative writing teaching and coaching services.

Hey, I know it’s not cool to over-promote one’s self on his or her own blog, but I do, from time to time, like to remind people that I have a website which features not only links and information about some of my publications, but is also packed with info about my creative writing teaching and coaching services.

I always enjoy meeting new writing students and clients. Working with other writers, and helping them along the path to their own creative vision, is always a learning experience for me. Whether it is Legacy (personal history, non-fiction) writers or fiction writers, there is always something new I learn about the world, and my place in it.

So, I hope you’ll forgive this little moment of shameless self-promotion. And maybe, if you haven’t stopped by my website in a while, you’ll want to take a minute to do so, or to pass my information along to a friend.

Have a great week, folks.

Happy Writing!!

Community Is Important for Writers

To be honest, I’ve been pretty down for the last week or so.

As I’ve shared before, I have been teaching Legacy Writing classes via the Lifelong Learning Academy here in Sarasota-Bradenton. It is a great opportunity for me to share some of my knowledge about creative writing and meet some really great people. The most recent academic quarter, I had a class filled with writers who had taken earlier classes with me and were eager to keep their writing momentum moving forward. This was a great group of adult learners who had some really magnificent stories to share.

Near the end of the eight weeks of class, several of the students were fighting various illnesses: a broken knee-cap, vertigo-like symptoms, heart problems, and other medical issues.

And then, I found out one of the students passed away last week, only hours after our last email exchange. He was a student with a long writing background, and his work showed it. The selections he brought to class to share with the group were outstanding. I had been hoping that the two classes he’d taken with me were just the beginning of an ongoing literary friendship. I was looking forward to many years of chatting about writing and sharing work together.

And then, he was gone.

It wasn’t as if we were great friends. And yet, his passing has left me very sad. I wanted to know more about his life; I wanted to read more of his words.

Putting down some literary roots can help encourage and deepen your writing.

Putting down some literary roots can help encourage and deepen your writing.

Just last week, I was telling my writing students about the need for a writing community. We learn and grow best when we are surrounded by those people who can offer us a healthy balance of support and critique. One of the reasons I teach classes like the Legacy of Words class is because I gain more knowledge and experience in creative writing every time I teach. And, I gain new literary friends.

Tonight, I met a new writer friend. She reached out to me, having stumbled upon my website, because she is at one of those points all fledgling writers get to: she’s in need of her own literary community. We talked for an hour and a half, and I walked away feeling re-energized and excited having spent time with someone who has such passion for the written word.

It doesn’t matter if it is a client/student, a writing peer, or someone whose masterful knowledge of the craft I hope to learn from: having other writers to talk to, share with, help, and learn from is a key ingredient in my development as a writer. We don’t have to be in the same classroom, at the same coffee-shop, or even on the same continent, but putting down those literary roots so we can soak up the nutrients around us is a valuable thing.

I hope you are writing, and that the words you write matter.

***

As I finished this post, I was reminded of this line, from the song, I Don’t Want to Waste Your Time, by Over the Rhine. (Link to YouTube video version.)

But I don’t wanna waste the words
That you don’t seem to need
When it comes to wanting what’s real
There’s no such thing as greed
I hope this night puts down deep roots
I hope we plant a seed
‘Cause I don’t wanna waste your time
With music you don’t need

Read the lyrics to the whole song at Over the Rhine’s website.

Two Writing Courses Offered

Blog readers come from all around the world. According to the WordPress stats, I have regular visits from readers in Moldova and Argentina. Go figure.

But, I know I also have some local and semi-local readers in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas of Florida. This post is (mostly) for you.

The winter quarter is fast approaching and I will again be offering two writing courses through the Lifelong Learning Academy. The classes will be at the University of South Florida – Manatee campus, and both will be offered on Fridays, starting January 18th.

The two courses will be:

You can read the course descriptions by clicking on the course title above, and you can register at the Lifelong Learning site.

As of today, the Fiction class only has ONE participant. I need four or five more in order to have the class, so if you, or anyone you know, is interested, please pass this info along and sign up now, before I get that dreaded call: We’re going to have to cancel…

The Legacy Writing class is always more popular, and I love teaching it, but I’d be really sad if the Fiction class is cancelled. You don’t want me to be sad for Christmas, do you??? 

🙂

I do have some news about the Spring quarter: I heard from the curriculum committee this week, and I will be teaching both an Intermediate Fiction class and a Legacy Writing Workshop for those of you who have already been through the initial courses. More information about that, as it becomes available. 

Reading and Responding are Great, But…

Don’t get me wrong: I think reading, responding, and critiquing the work of others is important. It was important to me as an undergraduate because deconstructing the work of others was a great way to figure out my own narrative weaknesses and begin to find ways to shore up my own shaky bits. That was even more true as I pursued my MFA in Creative Writing; there was no shortage of “even better” things to learn from “even better quality” stories.

Even now–even as a MASTER of the craft, as my diploma tells me I am–when I teach beginning level writers and respond and critique the submissions of private writing clients and other writer friends, I find the work of reading the writing of others with a kind-yet-critical eye to be an opportunity to learn.

Sometimes, being focused on reading, critiquing, and responding to the work of others can leave me feeling dizzy and distracted.

But, man, it can be a little overwhelming. It can also become a convenient excuse to not write.

I met with a couple of local writer friends today. We spend time eating and catching up on personal lives and all sorts of things, but we also spend time asking each other some key questions about our writing: what are we working on, what successes we are having, where are we struggling, creatively. Today, as I was talking about all the non-writing things I’ve been up to the last couple of months, I realized just how much time I’ve spent focused on the work of others, and how little I’ve spent on NEW writing for me.

This isn’t a disaster. I do get value from doing that work. But, it’s also time for me to make sure I’m carving a little more writing time for myself.

There have even been a few days when I’ve chosen to work on responding to others and put my own writing aside. Literally. And that, dear reader, is a warning bell: When the desire (and opportunity) to write is supplanted by something that–while good and valuable–isn’t actually moving your own writing forward, you’ve got a problem.

It may be creative fatigue, it may be the writer’s fear, it may be any number of “reasons” that we use to delay the hard work of writing, but it is most definitely a sign that you’d better take a good look at yourself and weed out whatever creative obstacle you’ve placed in your road.

So that’s where I am, this afternoon: proactively seeking answers in my own creative life. I’m taking a look at where I am, where I wanted to be by now, and where I can establish my next benchmark for moving toward the bigger and better writing life I have in mind.

I hope you are being creative and active in your writing life, but if you aren’t maybe you can join me in a little planning and strategy session to get things back on track. And, as always, let me know if I can help.

Have a great day, and Happy Writing!!

 

P.S. No. I don’t ACTUALLY consider myself a Master Writer, just because my diploma says I am… 😉

photo credit: shoothead via photopin cc

Fall In-Person Creative Writing Instruction

I will again be offering two courses through the Life Long Learning Academy at the University of South Florida Sarasota-Manatee Campus. Both classes run for eight weeks, on Mondays, beginning October 1st, 2012.

Mondays, 9 a.m. – Fiction Writing Basics

Mondays, 1:30 p.m. – Leaving a Legacy of Words

Each class is one hour and twenty minutes long, and packed full of creative writing goodness. If you are in the Sarasota/Bradenton area and interested, please register for the class of your choice (or, both!) sometime soon. These are great classes for fledgling writers, or for anyone who just wants a bit of structure to invigorate their writing life.

If you aren’t in the local area, but are interested in some creative writing feedback, instruction, or critique, I also work with writer’s one-on-one or in small, virtual groups via Skype or FaceTime…feel free to contact me with questions, or, for more info, you can always check out my website.

I slept a little better last night, and hopefully will be much more productive this week! I wish nothing but the same for you, blog friends. Happy writing!