Three tips: Writing classes, ‘Quiet’ book, body parts

Click this:

I try not to promote myself too much here, but I have to let you know that I have four online classes for writers starting new sessions on Aug. 1. In each class, students receive weekly email lessons and assignments which are due the following week. I offer extensive critiques of student work and responses to questions any time throughout the course. My students, both online and in person, have gone on to publish extensively, and I welcome the chance to help you do the same.

I have two new classes, Create and Maintain a Successful Blog and Writing and Selling Freelance Articles. Returning are two of my favorites, How to Write and Sell a Column and Reviews and Opinion Pieces. For an overview of all four classes and to sign up, visit

On the Classes page, you will also find information about my editing and critique services. I would love to help you with your writing.

Read this:

I just finished reading Susan Cain’s book Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Cain has done extensive research on personality types and the differences between outgoing folks who like to be surrounded by people and quiet folks who prefer to spend their time alone. Although this is not specifically a book for writers, it does offer fascinating insights into how people are wired, and it might give you something to think about as you write about real or imaginary characters.

Try this:

(borrowed from poet Barbara Drake’s workshop)

Pick a body part and come up with as many different metaphors for it as you can in 15 minutes. For example, I used my elbow in our workshop the other night and called it a hinge, a right angle, a bend in the road, etc. If one or more of these inspire a poem or something else, shut off the timer and keep writing.

Now go write

Three Tips: shy writers, summer journals, a writing prompt

Here I offer three quick tips you can read and use without taking too much time out of your writing. If you have suggestions for books, websites or writing prompts, please include them in a comment or email me at


The Shy Writer Reborn by C. Hope Clark. Are you an introvert? Do you find that you’re comfortable at your desk but would rather get your teeth cleaned than go out into the world to sell your writing? In this all-new edition of an older book, Hope Clark, the Funds for guru and author of the Carolina Slade mystery series, tells us how to work around our fears to succeed at the writing business. Lots of good advice here.


Diane Lockward’s “Blogalicious: Notes on Poetry, Poets and Books” offers a fabulous list of literary journals that accept submissions in the summer.

Try This

Start with the words “Ask me” and continue writing a poem, essay, article, short story or whatever comes to you. Thanks to William Stafford’s poem for the inspiration.

Now Go Write

Three tips: writer advice, breakout novels, changing perspective

Here we are again with three quick tips for writers. The idea is to give you something you can use right away and then get back to your writing. If you have suggestions for websites, books or prompts to list here, please add them to the comments.


Literary agent Donald Maass knows how to produce books that sell, and he shares that information in his books for writers: Writing the Breakout Novel, The Breakout Novelist: Craft and Strategies for Career Fiction Writers and The Fire in Fiction: Passion, Purpose and Techniques to Make Your Novel Great, His books cut through the gobbledygook and tell you what it really takes to succeed as a novelist.


The web is riddled with writers giving advice to other writers (I know, I’m doing it, too). But Carol Tice’s Make a Living Writing site is truly helpful. Recent posts include how to write pitches and queries that actually work, what kinds of assignments writers should NOT take, and how to sell that piece you haven’t been able to sell.

Try this

Click on a random photo you have stored in your computer or other device.

1. Write a poem or prose piece about what was happening when that picture was taken. Describe the scene, the emotions, and what was happening before or after.

2. Now tell it from the point of view of somebody else who was there or a fictional character that you invent. Use your imagination.

Now Go Write

Three Tips: Writer’s Workout, weekly feast, try this

Once a week I offer three quick tips that you can use right away. For those of us who would rather be writing than reading blogs, this is a place you can grab something useful and get back to work. If you have suggestions, please share them in the comments section.

Read This

Not sure what to do next in your quest to be a successful writer? Try a page from The Writer’s Workout by Christina Katz from right here in Oregon. Katz, writer, teacher and platform powerhouse, has put together 366 tips, tasks and techniques to get you going. Writing, networking, marketing, climbing out the swamp when you can’t write–it’s all here.

Click This

I just clicked on and almost didn’t come back because there were so many great things. Markets, how-tos, comparisons of the different print-on-demand publishers, trivia, and more! Subscriptions are free.

Try This

Finish this sentence: “After he ___________________”

Now Go Write

Three tips: self-publishing insights, flash nonfiction, a new point of view

Once a week I offer three quick tips that you can take and use right away. For those of us who would rather be writing than reading blogs, this is a place you can grab something useful and get back to work. If you have suggestions, please share them in the comments section.


Alison Baverstock’s “Ten Ways Self-Publishing has changed the Books World,” published in the UK’s Guardian online last week, offers a great overview of the changes wrought in publishing by the emergence of self-publishers. As an author who has some books that are self-published as well as others published traditionally, I find it both fascinating and comforting.


The Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction, edited by Dinty W. Moore, The Rose Metal Press, 2012. “Flash” writing is hot these days. If you can writing something powerful in under a thousand words, you’ll find a lot more markets than you will for longer works. Dinty W. Moore, editor of the long-respected webzine Brevity, has put together essays from some of the best writers of short creative nonfiction. Each author talks about the craft, offers examples, and gives a writing exercise that will get your pen moving or your fingers dancing on the keyboard.

Try This

“I had a blood test this morning.” “You had a blood test this morning.” “She had a blood test this morning.” It’s surprising what changing one pronoun can do. Shifting the point of view from its original first, second or third person can bring new life to any kind of writing. Take a poem or bit of prose that you have written and rewrite it in a different point of view and see if that doesn’t give you a whole new perspective.

 Now Go Write

Feb. 1, 2013: Three quick Tips for Writers

Dear writers,

I have been AWOL here quite a bit lately because I’m writing, writing, writing on a couple of new projects. Also, I don’t know about you, but I don’t have time to read long blogs these days. So I’m going to try something different. Once a week I am going to offer three quick tips that you can take and use right away. I’ll probably throw in something longer occasionally, but otherwise, this will be a blog you can get in and out of quickly and go back to work.

Click this:

Blogs for poets and other writers: Robert Lee Brewer, senior content editor for the Writer’s Digest Writing Community, puts out two blogs, Poetic Asides,, and My Name is Not Bob, At Poetic Asides, he offers prompts and inspiration for poets and hosts two annual poem-a-day challenges. Today at the Not Bob site, he has published a great list of blogs for writers.

Try this:

This prompt from the November Poem-a-Day challenge blew my mind. It’s so logical, but it never occurred to me to do it. Take the last line of the last poem you wrote (or the last story) and use it as the first line of  a new poem or story.

Read This:

Ploughshares is a well-respected literary journal that has been publishing poetry, fiction, essays and memoir for many years. It’s a great market to aspire to and a great journal to read. Now they have gone into the digital world by not only making Ploughshares available for e-readers but offering what they call Ploughshares Solos, stories that are too short for a book and too long to fit in the magazine. Check it out at

Now go write.