Writing New Material Category

Have a purpose

Why are you writing THAT story? Why did you choose THAT style? Why should readers care about THIS subject? These are questions that all writers must answer if we want editors to publish us and others to read our words. Our stories and writings must have purpose. Purpose means understanding why you are writing that […]

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The lost art of fun

When’s the last time you had fun? What is your definition of fun? If you’re my mom, your definition of fun includes cleaning the house, which is just messed up beyond all get-out. Cleaning is not fun. Necessary, sure. Satisfying to some? Okay. Fun? No. Not in any universe. Mom also likes Sudoku, which qualifies […]

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Join me for an Advanced Memoir Workshop this January!

Fellow writers! If you are working on a memoir-in-progress and want some feedback as well as some inspiration, please consider joining me for an Advanced Memoir Workshop this January in New Jersey. I know, the Jersey Shore in JANUARY?! Yes. The Stockton Seaview Inn is beautiful, spacious, and warm with terrific service and good food. […]

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Write a killer job application letter

Job letters – or the cover letters attached to your resume or CV – are your first impression with a potential employer. If it isn’t clear, specific, and well-written (read that – no spelling, punctuation, or other sentence-level mistakes), you won’t get a call. In fact, if the letter doesn’t kill the employer’s doubt, she […]

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Resurrecting dead stories

If you’re like me, you have a story or two, or a series of poems, or a novel, or even a scholarly article that has been relegated to the dustbin of your productivity. These are the pieces that have been through the publisher or editor rounds at so many places you’ve lost count and received […]

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Pitching stories

When I was a freelance journalist, pitching story ideas was my business’s lifeblood. As an academic now, I also find that sometimes pitching an idea ahead of all the research and writing to gauge an editor’s interest can be a valuable option to save time and be more efficient. First, have an idea. Coming up […]

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Honor your process

Writers often look at other writers to compare themselves. She writes so much more than me! Writing seems to come so naturally to him! How does she do it? And then we look at ourselves and are our own worst critics. We should be faster, smarter, more clever, more productive. What a crock! If you […]

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Making the argument

In the Spring 2011 issue of the bible of creative nonfiction, the journal Creative Nonfiction, Phillip Lopate explores whether the essay is “exploration or argument,” ultimately deciding that the best creative nonfiction essays do, in fact, make an argument, even if implicitly. And he says that teachers of creative nonfiction are at a disadvantage in […]

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