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Our Impending Empty Nest

Somehow, I’ve returned to the emotional rollercoaster I rode when I was pregnant with my son twenty years ago. On the way home from work this week, I had myself in tears over our forthcoming “empty nest” status. Then, when I did get home, I had to...

What is Writer’s Voice?

Understanding the concept of “voice” in writing can be tough because voice itself can be hard to define. Last summer I found the best explanation of it in the book True Stories by Rebecca Rule and Susan Wheeler. They wrote, “Voice…is like sex...

My Lone Quilt of 2014

Ten or fifteen years ago a quilt magazine ran an article featuring a prolific and talented quilter. I remember neither the magazine nor the quilter, but I do remember one thing she discussed. Her son was getting married, so she let her future daughter-in-law choose a...

Lessons in Free Verse

Apparently I suck at teaching poetry. Though I failed this year, thankfully the student who shared my shortcomings and his poetic discovery, also provided the solution for next year. In my Creative Writing class, we spend the month of November participating in...

The Meandering Path of my Writing Life

My life as a writer started with this little blog, and over the past four years, it’s taken many turns, some I expected, some not so much. But like any good ride, they’ve all been fun. Since I haven’t posted here in (too) many months, I thought...

How to Find Original Story Ideas

A few weeks ago I had a student, a teen writer, ask me where I get my story ideas. She had been staring at a blank computer screen for quite some time and was feeling frustrated that she couldn’t come up with any “good” ideas. I thought about her question for a bit...

The roundabout way I got my agent

November is the month of gratitude and while this is already December, I found quite a bit to be grateful for in November. In a nutshell, a literary agent offered me representation…happy dance! This is the latest step in a long journey toward reaching a dream to...

Developing Creative Story Ideas

The issue of uniquely creative story ideas and originality has come up several times in the last few weeks, both here on WTW and in class. Here’s what teen writers have been telling me: “I had this great idea, but then I realized (or a friend pointed out)...