Tag Archives: teaching writing

Writers and Natural Talent: More About that MFA essay

Recently, Ryan Boudinot wrote an essay for The Stranger titled “Things I Can Say About MFA Writing Programs Now That I No Longer Teach in One“. Among other things, he observed: Either you have a propensity for creative expression or … Continue reading

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On Writing: Can You Do It Wrong?

Are you putting words on the page? Then you are doing it right.

You may not be creating publishable words. You may not be creating amazing words. You may not be creating words you like. But by creating words, you are doing something actual, tangible, verifiable. And that puts you ahead of all the people who aren’t writing.
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Writing Outside One’s Comfort Zone

We’ve all got a comfort zone, the place where we can function easily, where we know what to expect. It’s a nice place. It’s…well, it’s COMFORTABLE. Hence the name. It would be easy to stay there all the time.

But for writers, I think it’s very important to go outside on a regular basis. For one thing, your characters are going to be outside their comfort zones, being challenged, tested, thwarted, more often than not, because one thing about comfort zones is that they can be pretty darn boring to read about. Who wants a character for which everything goes right? (This is, I will argue, why the Richie Rich comic books were pretty darn bland.) How can you write a character outside their comfort zone if you don’t know what it’s like?
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Teaching and Burnout: Taking a Break

I’ve been teaching online classes for a few years now. They have been awesome and one of the coolest things has been the number of talented writers I’ve had the privilege to work with. However, I’m scheduling a break from teaching during the latter half of 2014, and it’s for a few reasons.

The first and most important is that I can feel a little burnout creeping up around the edges. I’ll be talking in a class and think to myself, “I know I’ve said this before,” and it will be because I have said it before, repeatedly even — but not to that class. I can tell that if I don’t take a break, that feeling is going to drown me.
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