Getting Started

Retreat: Writers Writing

To write, a retreat is needed – whether it’s going into a room in your own house and closing the door for an hour, or finding space at Starbucks for your computer, or driving up to the mountains and leaving your daily life behind. People who don’t write (usually your family) can have a hard…

What’s Your Story?

Tomorrow, Sunday 7/17/16, I’m part of the WriteTeachers Workshop (with Victoria Zackheim and Anne Perry) at Flintridge Bookstore in La Canada.  My first workshop is ‘Writing Your Life Into Story’ and I decided to make a post out of my notes for it (below).  If any of you haven’t started writing yet, or are stuck,…

How To Write An Essay

Here’s the thing about writing an essay, or a novel or a memoir – each time you do it you learn how to do it all over again. At least I have to. I’m writing an essay now that’s due in January for an anthology on faith. Ever since I signed the contract for this…

Writing With Strangers

I taught a writing workshop for UCLArts&Healing today and a wonderful group of people showed up. They wrote poems and stories from prompts such as “I remember…”  and a list of stuff from their current life that might be turned into personal essays. And I’m thinking (as I always do) that people who show up…

Good Advice For Writers

Phyllis Theroux, my favorite pen pal, sent me this wonderful quote from The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer last week. It rings especially true for writers: “‘You must do everything that frightens you, JR. Everything. I’m not talking about risking your life, but everything else. Think about fear, decide right now how you’re going to deal with…

About Blogs

A dear friend and student emailed me last night about feeling burned out – she just had a baby, just moved into a new house, has a consuming profession, has had a past history of scary medical surprises, etc. And she was now frustrated about being unable to write and feeling burned out. I wrote…

The Big Moon

Did you see it last night? In Santa Monica it was coming in and out of clouds. I was emailing to friends who were also watching it, and it seemed like this wonderfu community event. And it was! Another community event this weekend was all the amazing people who showed up Saturday for my writing…

Diesel Books

Thanks to everybody who came to Diesel Books in Brentwood last night. Especially to eight of my students who read their amazing work from Kicking in the Wall:  Tom Hartman, Kathy Katims, Cynthia Lim, Bob Goldman, Barbara Lodge, Erica Jamieson, Jeri Okamoto Floyd, and Ruth Rudnick. Thanks also to Diane Leslie who makes Diesel feel like you’re…

Breaking Through Writer’s Block

Here’s an article I wrote for my publisher about Kicking In the Wall. It’s also posted on the New World Library website. KICKING IN THE WALL  5 Minute Exercises: A Key to Overcoming Writers Block Early in her career, Patti Smith got writer’s block: “I would go as far as I could and hit a wall,…