Tag Archive for writers


Sometimes it’s hard to know where you are until you’ve been somewhere else. I’ve been on a ranch for ten days in Montana and just got back to L.A.  I love to be home, but no matter how much I’m telling my students (and you) to wake up and pay attention, take notes etc., the…

the writing clinic

Thanks to the people who sent in questions and problems. (Below are the first three sent in. The rest will be answered next week.) Please send yours in this week too – either click on the comment button below, or send an email. Brooke and I look forward to hearing from you. (click on the title to continue reading)

Getting Started As A Writer

ArtsDay LA was held Saturday on campus – kind of a buffet of panels celebrating the arts taught at UCLA Extension. I had a dream panel – novelist Kerry Madden (Gentle’s Holler), playwright, director and actor Leon Martell (The History Of Fairfax According to a Sandwich) and novelist Noel Alumit (Letters to Montgomery Clift). All of them terrific writers, very articulate and passionate about teaching, and very funny. The subject of our panel was “Getting Started As A Writer”. The thing about getting together with other Writers’ Program instructors is that you learn as much as anybody in the audience. At least I did; I took notes as they talked. Before doing the panel we shared experiences of – shall we say, less than celebrity status appearances at bookstores. Tragedy plus time equals humor (according to Carol Burnett) so we laughed a lot about those readings when just one person shows up (with his dog), or it turns into a one-on-one with the bookstore manager, or a loudspeaker in a big chain bookstore announces “Author on aisle three!” like you’re a box of soap. (to continue reading, click on the title above)

courage and community

Who is your community? The more I teach, the more I realize how important community is for writers. The world at large will not support your writing and doesn’t care if you ever get a word down on paper. Your writing will make your family and friends nervous and anxious because they’re afraid you’re going to spill the beans and expose their life. And then they’re afraid you won’t, that they’re not interesting enough for you to write about, you don’t care enough about them. It’s a non-win situation. It’s best to not even talk about your writing to your family. And for God’s sake, don’t let them read it.