Archive for October, 2015

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Writing Barn Workshop

October 12, 2015

Last weekend I flew to Austin and attended a workshop at the Writing  Barn. It was incredible, and although I have lots to say about it, Jennifer did it all for me. She even has pictures. Check it out…

http://jhawks-nest.blogspot.com

It’s really worth the read.

 

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Walk Writing Tips

October 5, 2015

Last month, I spoke at a Walk out of Darkness event, sponsored by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. When first asked, I said no way- I’m a writer, not a speaker, and standing in front of 300 people is not my cup of tea. However, a few passionate volunteers convinced me otherwise.

Our community was hit hard by suicide this year, and I wrote an article for the local paper that went viral, mostly because it struck a cord with so many people. This led to my talk at the walk. When I spoke, I offered three takeaways: encouragement, education, and listening.

After the event, I thought about how these three subjects can be used to help a writer.

Encouragement: writing is a lonely endeavor. Those who don’t write will often mistake the profession with fantastical grandeur- sipping lattes in fancy coffee houses while writing words that will be shared, making millions of dollars in the process. Not hardly. It’s tough, it’s frustrating, it’s rejection-filled work. You must love it, live for it, and endure. From time to time it’s wise to take yourself out for a treat—buy an expensive flavored coffee instead of basic drip, buy a new pen, or pat yourself on the back while indulging in a bottle of wine.

Education: writers must study. Not only do we need to research the things we write about, but also, we must read, read, read. We must take workshops and listen to other writers. It is the only way to improve our craft.

Listen: writers must observe, listen to those around them. Conversations at coffeehouses can provide rich material. Listening to your family, your friends, your community—everyone has a story. Observe body language—it is a type of language! Paying attention is key to the writing process.

At the end of the day, it’s all about the actual writing, but self-encouragement, education, and listening are key components to improving one’s craft.