Shameless Self-Promotion and Super-Human Writers

Forgive me, please, but I’m about to do a little shameless self-promotion to remind you of my E-workshops for writers after which we’ll get back to this week’s thoughts about writing.

I often teach writing workshops near the place I live, but since you and I don’t live in the same places, E-workshops are a way for us to connect without so much as a short walk required unless it’s the walk from your refrigerator to the computer.

I’d love to work with every Skylark reader personally, but this is the next best thing.

E-workshops for writers are designed to get you started if you’re a beginner and keep you going if you’ve been writing a while. These are four-week personal communications from me to you around a particular theme. E-workshops are appropriate for writers of fiction, nonfiction or poetry.

Current themes are “Among My Souvenirs,” “Make Mine Music,” “Poetry in Motion,” and “Places I Remember.” Choose the one that sounds interesting to you, and every week for four weeks, I’ll send a variety of writing prompts. You’ll use them to write wherever and whenever you like. Write at your desk, in the local coffee shop or in your pajamas at 3:00 a.m.!

I’ll write to you on Monday, Wednesday and Friday each of the four weeks. You can send me a couple of pages of prose or a couple of poems at the end of each week, and I’ll send you a little feedback. I don’t do a full critique but I do send back thoughts about the work. Some writers send something every week and others send nothing. It’s entirely up to you.

Writers who’ve done the E-workshops have found the prompts particularly helpful when applied to work in progress or in getting them started on pieces that either will, or already have, become longer.

The fee for four weeks is $40. If you’re interested, you can drop me a line at jazzcookie@centurylink.net. I’ll let you know where to send your check (sorry no credit cards or PayPal), and once I receive the check, I’ll send you a welcome message with more details and we’ll begin the following Monday.

Okay, end of commercial. Now back to our regular programming.

A would-be writer friend and I have been talking about writing lately. He’s led an interesting life and met a lot of colorful characters. I love listening to the stories he tells. He wants to write about them, but finds it daunting to sit down and write an entire story or memoir-type chapter. And yet, these characters and their stories are too good to lose.

I’m encouraging him to think about sketches instead of stories or chapters. He likes the idea and sees that writing can be much less daunting when you break it into pieces. And I’m sure once he gets the sketches – one or two pages – about each of these characters, he’ll find the rest of the material just waiting in the wings to be introduced and to shine.

If you feel daunted by your writing, ease up. Maybe sketches are a better way for you to go. In her book, The Writing Life, Annie Dillard notes that stories about writers who are so prolific it hurts add to our anxiety about writing.

She says, “Some people lift cars…Some people enter week-long sled-dog races, go over Niagara Falls in barrels, fly planes through the Arc de Triomphe. Some people feel no pain in childbirth. Some people eat cars. There is no call to take human extremes as norms.”

Don’t be intimidated by writers like Faulkner who supposedly wrote As I Lay Dying in six weeks while working a full-time job. You don’t have to write like that and God knows you don’t have to eat a car, go over Niagara Falls in a barrel or leap tall buildings in a single bound either.

Just sit down now and write one (1) single page and call it your own little miracle for today. It will be that.

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