Writing (or not) in Crisis

I haven’t posted on this blog in several weeks because, as some of you know, my life has gone all upside down with my husband’s health crisis. Since the end of August, we’ve spent forty five days in the ICU as he’s undergone twenty two...

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...

Hate poetry? Try these

As little kids, we almost universally like poetry. Think about it. What were some of your favorite stories? I’m willing to bet some of them were narrative poems. Kids love the rhyme and rhythm in these stories. Then, we get to school and something terrible...

Becoming Creative

They say that every story has been told. As writers, then, we must somehow figure out how to make our stories original and unique. We must push the boundaries of the expected and come up with creative details, characters, phrasing, and plots. This can be...

Work on Your Writing Strengths

As a writing teacher, I spend a lot of time helping students improve. Because of this focus, teens tend to want to know what they’ve done “wrong,” or their weaknesses. I’m going to posit that this is the wrong approach. Instead, writers,...

Why do you write?

Last week I was talking to a friend who works with all kinds of writers. She started listing all the reasons people write: to tell their family history, to tell stories, to answer their “call” to write, to relax, to make a living, to get published, to get...

How should you set yearly writing goals?

This is that time of year when everyone talks about what they’ve accomplished and what they want to accomplish. I’ll be honest, to me the whole New Year’s Resolution thing can get a little annoying. Not that there’s anything wrong with setting...

Trading Places Writing Practice

When I write, I go to one of three favorite places: my corner desk, my comfy chair, or the red napping couch. I don’t nap, but it’s super comfy and a great place to write. I feel inspired in these places, and when I sit down in them, for some reason...

Why Poetry?

Since school started, I’ve been reading a poem a day to my Creative Writing students, and since I’ve been searching for great poems to read, I’ve been reading even more poetry than that. I’ve never read poetry quite so consistently before, and...

Finding YOUR Story

Have you, by any chance, read any novels lately that have a vampire or a werewolf in them? You have?!? Actually, I’m not shocked because it seems that ideas come in waves and writers tend to follow trends. Now, the market is glutted with vampire stories, and I...

Epic Adventures and Writing

One of the highlights of this summer was a trip to San Francisco where we decided to have an adventure. We rented a tandem bicycle and rode it from Fisherman’s Wharf to the Golden Gate Bridge. This might not sound like an adventure, much less an epic adventure,...

What’s your writing routine?

Ah summertime . . . no school . . . we have all the time in the world to write. Right? Maybe? How many of you start the summer with big writing plans but then get sidetracked with . . . whatever it is you manage to get busy with besides writing? Maybe it’s watching...

Craft Matters

I spent the last three days at the Ventana Sierra Advanced Writer’s Workshop – wow! The biggest lesson I learned, a lesson that I heard over and over, was that mastering the craft of writing matters . . . a lot. I met and talked with writers like Ellen...

Taylor Swift Inspiration!

I went to the Taylor Swift concert this past weekend. The girl can SING! About halfway through the show, she came off the main stage, and bravely walked through the crowd with her guards. She got on another smaller stage at the end of the arena. There, she had a stool...

Writing IS fun!

Besides this online community, I also have a live, in-person Creative Writing Club at the high school where I teach. Last week, the students came in and filled my classroom with light – that might sound odd, but its the truth! Were they carrying flashlight?...

Maggie Stiefvater Interview (from youtube)

This is a great interview! I hope you enjoy it. Her best quote is when she says after writing thrillers, she says, “when I really started feeling comfortable in my writing skin, it was probably sixteen or seventeen, I settled into writing about what I really...

Does Writing Come First for you?

Every few weeks I have conversation with a student that goes something like this: “Mrs. Isaman, I really want to __________, but I can’t. I’m sooo busy, and I have so much that I HAVE to do.” Generally, whatever is in the ___________ is something that they truly love...

Rejection . . . A Necessary Evil

This past weekend, I talked to a friend about the idea of rejection, and why it’s so scary to put our writing out into the world. In order to avoid rejection, my strategy seems to be that I will decide that the person who I was considering sharing my writing...