Tag Archives: writing process

Crossing the Bridge

Bridge-crossing is a metaphor, of course, and a clichéd one at that.  It’s also an action grounded in regular habit for anyone who lives near water:  to get to work, to school, to home, we cross a bridge. Growing up, I crossed one bridge most often:  a world-famous landmark, its International Orange towers looming on movie posters, picture-book covers, and tourist postcards.  As a girl, I knew it as the slightly eerie, almost ghostly passage home from my grandfather’s house.  Miles of highway, city boulevard, and then, the fog-swirling bridge itself, huge lights casting the air outside the back window … Continue reading

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On Deadline

I’m on deadline. I’ve written that before, many times,  for the most part about a self-imposed deadline. Even this blog, which I try to keep posting to every-other-Friday, is a voluntary act.  As much as I hope that some of you enjoy reading what I write here, I’m under no delusions that anyone waits with baited breath to read these words.  Still, I do it, just as I sit down at the keyboard every weekday morning for a minimum of four hours to work on a novel that no one, as yet, clamors to publish. We need our discipline, our … Continue reading

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Try, Try Again

Whatever works for you, I tell my students.  There’s no one way to write, no hard-and-fast rule that guarantees success, as much as we want one.  And yet, certain koan-like statements have made it onto my bulletin board or refrigerator.  My current favorite, from Samuel Beckett quoted by Colum McCann a year or so ago in the New York Times:  “Try. Fail.  Try again.  Fail better.” In my writing classes at UC Berkeley Extension, I emphasize process, the messy trajectory of moving a piece from first draft to polished prose.  So, last July, when Jane Anne Staw mentioned “process” as … Continue reading

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Voices in Our Heads

This week’s post follows up on last week’s discussion of Jane Anne Staw’s talk on the five components of a writing practice, given at the Fiction Writing Intensive this past July at UC Berkeley Extension.  Last week, I wrote about her tips on creating a safe place – both external and internal – for writing.  Today, we’ll look at the next component:  No Uninvited Guests. Some years ago, in grad school, as a T.A. preparing to teach my first class, I went a little nuts.  I spent months reading every book I could find on craft, scouring anthologies for the … Continue reading

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