Writing Tips

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Frankensteining: An Exercise in Scraps

“My brain hums with scraps of poetry and madness.” –Virginia Woolf As writers, we are each of us part observer, part critic, part dreamer, part mad scientist: we start with an idea or image and begin our furious stitching from there. But so often our creations go unfinished: we get stuck on a particularly difficult …

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Plein Air Haikuing

Cottonwoods anchor banks above the Missouri. Chartreuse leaves dancing. A cormorant flies low over the gray water like a black arrow. For the past eleven years, I’ve spent a morning and afternoon on the bank of the Missouri River at Clay County Park near Vermillion, teaching children to write haikus, and haikuing alongside them. On …

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30 Quick Writes

November is NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month). It began in 1999 as a way of encouraging authors to write a certain number of words on their novel every day. Undoubtedly, it has resulted in the publication of novels that would not have been written otherwise, and that’s a good thing. I adapted that idea to …

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The Writing Practice cardboard box

Hope in a Cardboard Box: The Writing Practice

When I was younger, I only ever wrote when inspiration struck. I typically wrote poetry or song lyrics (song lyrics included a melody in my head and usually included more repetition and yeahs). My notebook would collect dust between emotional outpourings. And the first page often read something kind yet firm “If you are picking …

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Re-Seeing: The Role of Revision in the Writing Process

“Writing Process” refers to a method or way of approaching the practice of writing; it’s a series of recursive activities that begins with generative writing and ends with a polished text. I use “writing “ and “text” generally because I use this process for all kinds of writing that I compose, including poetry, memoirs, essays, …

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