06 Aug

A Short One

Posted in MFA and Beyond

Hi everyone!  Today’s post will have to be short because I’m packing for Ireland.  We leave tomorrow but I promise I’ll do my best to post while I’m away and if I can, I’ll put up pics of some of the places I visit.

Today I wanted to direct your attention to the VP blog.  I did a post there earlier this week about how the MFA brought us editors together.  Since iggi and I are getting ready for our DIY MFA extrabloganza, I thought the VP post would be relevant.

Also, VP is still taking submissions so if you have any short stories or essays or poetry that you think would be interesting to a teen audience, check out the VP submissions and send it along!


22 Jun

Advice About Teaching…

Posted in MFA and Beyond, Teaching

…that also applies to the writing life.

Not too long ago, I took a class called “Teaching of Writing” as part of my MFA.  What with graduation and looking for teaching gigs, I promptly put away my notes from that class and forgot all about them.  This weekend, while glancing through my notebook, I came across notes from the final “Teaching of Writing” class and I realized that a lot of the advice the professor gave us applies not only to teaching, but also to building a fulfilling writing life.

Here are some lessons I learned in that class that can also apply to writing.

1.  Say “yes” to every opportunity.  Just as freelance teachers need to be open to opportunities, so should a writer.  Sometimes an opportunity may not seem like what you’re looking for, but it can lead to something.  And that something might lead to something else and somewhere down the line, you might wind up finding exactly the type of writing what you wanted to do.   

2.  Teach any subject (at least once). Similarly, as a writer it’s important to be open to writing any type of piece, at least once.  Who knows, maybe you’ll find that you love writing a how-to piece just as much as that paranormal romance novel.  The only caveat with this point is the “at least once” part.  If you find after you’ve tried something that it’s really not your thing, look for something else that’s more your style.  It’s easy to get sucked into a niche and once you’re there, it can be very difficult to break out. 

3.  Build a CV. This one’s a no-brainer.  As with any field, you need to show credentials, but in writing this can be tricky, what with submissions being so competitive.  I’ve found the only solution to this problem is: submit, submit, submit.  And when you’re done submitting, submit some more. 

4.  Do it for free (at first). There are lots of volunteer opportunities out there.  For starters, a lot of literary magazines (especially small ones) don’t pay for publications and writers submit simply for the joy of having their name out there in the world.  Blogging, being a guest blogger on someone’s site, all these things are ways to get your writing “out there” even if you’re just doing it out of a love of literature and words. 

5.  Be versatile.  In teaching, this means looking for scenarios where you might be able to teach writing in unconventional venues.  This same type of creative problem-solving can be helpful in expanding your publishing prospects.  Try to think of places outside the norm where your writing might fit.  Maybe your short story about a grandmother teaching a child to knit could be perfect for a knitting magazine. 

6.  Understand the way they run things…  and prepare yourself accordingly.  This is especially true when submitting your work to literary magazines or agents.  Each place has its own way of doing things and you need to play by the rules.  After all, the last thing you want is for some intern or first reader to toss your work in the reject pile just because your formatting is weird or you didn’t include an SASE. 

7.  Make your 100% better than 100% so you’re allowed to have a bad day.  This is especially true for writers who have blogs.  It’s important to keep the content consistent and strong, to give yourself the flexibility to have a “bad posting day” or skip a day when you need to do so.

    Any other teachers out there?  If so, do you have advice to someone who’s teaching her first live Writing Through the Senses class today?  How about teaching advice that also translates to writing?

    Wish me luck!  And don’t forget to check in tomorrow for our first online WTTS class.


    16 Jun

    Writing Through the Senses

    Posted in MFA and Beyond, Teaching, Writing Through The Senses

    As promised, here is the third project.  I mentioned in a previous post that I was teaching a creative writing class in NYC, starting next Tuesday.  Then I thought, why limit the class only to people in NYC or people whose schedules fit class time?  That’s when I came up with this plan. 


    Welcome to Writing Through the Senses Wednesdays!

    Starting next week and going for five weeks, I’ll be posting a condensed/modified version of my class on this blog.  We’ll have all sorts of goodies like links to readings and fun exercises to get the creative juices flowing.  I’m also hoping to get some discussion going on the weekly topics, which is where you come in.

    If want to qualify for the Writing Through the Senses Challenge, just follow these simple steps:

    1. Post a comment below so I know you’re participating in the challenge.
    2. Post a link on your blog, if you have one (optional, but you’ll get an extra contest entry)
    3. Read the Writing Through the Senses posts (5 Wednesdays, starting next week) and post an on-topic comment.

    That’s it!  Easy, right?

    Prize:  One bright, shiny and new Moleskine notebook and a few surprise goodies.

    One week after the challenge is over, I’ll announce a winner (most likely selected by using the ultra-scientific method of picking a name from a hat).

    Think this sounds like fun?  Then join the challenge.


    15 Jun

    Paying it Forward

    Posted in Literary Magazines, MFA and Beyond

    I am frequently amazed at the generosity of writers and how many of them do things that go above and beyond in order to help or encourage other writers.  Yesterday, I was particularly inspired by a few fellow bloggers (Elana Johnson, Casey McCormick, and Co.) who have organized WriteOnCon, a virtual writing conference that will take place in August.  Unfortunately I will be out of the country at the time and most likely will be sans email.  I’m sad to miss it because I know this conference will be wonderful.  And what a great idea to do it on the web so that anyone can participate.  Kudos!

    WriteOnCon got me thinking about this idea of giving back to the writing community, especially now that I have graduated from my MFA.  This idea inspired me to post about a few writing projects and events I’m helping put together.

    Verbal Pyrotechnics This literary magazine will launch at the end of 2010 but this summer we officially open for submissions.  We’re looking for emerging and established authors with a unique voice who write for the teen audience.  Visit the Verbal Pyrotechnics blog for more details and submission guidelines.

    Get Your Read On:  This reading series is sponsored by Verbal Pyrotechnics, and will resume this summer.  More information coming soon.

    There’s a third project too, but that’s the subject of another post.  So check back tomorrow to learn more!

    One comment »

    Iggi & Gabi - All rights reserved © 2010-2011

    I am a HowJoyful Design by Joy Kelley