Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Book Review: Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg


Yesterday, I finished "Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within," by Natalie Goldberg. I started reading this book years ago.  I began this book, when I was attending the University of Mississippi Writing Project Summer Institute.  This Summer Institute was designed to teach teachers how to write and teach writing. At that time, I was only a special education teacher with a Master's degree in English, yearning and longing to teach English. Who would have thought that years later I would finish this book and use it in my English class on the collegiate level?


This book is really great. What I like about this book is that you are taken away from the constraints of "normal" writing. You are encouraged to write. Goldberg's writing tips are beyond the realms of what is considered to be the normal method of teaching writing. Of course, I love her for this fact.  Perhaps, I love her because I am different...hmmmm. Ok, I need to focus on the book.


Today, I used one of the writing techniques from the book. I did a writing marathon with my students at Jackson State University. I put my students in a circle and put topics in a basket. I had a student pulled topics out of the basket. Students have a choice to write on the topic or write what's on their mind.The session is timed. I did four sessions of 10 minutes. After the first 10 minutes of non-stop writing. Students read their work. No one comments. As the instructor, I participated by writing and reading, just like my students. I opened up the floodgates of writing with this today!!!  


Thanks to Goldberg I was able to recognize something about myself that I never thought I would come to terms with.  I am an "English Professor." I have inspired my students to write. Listening to my students read their work, I heard them profess what I had ignited into them.  I had my students forgetting about a 7 am writing class. I had them dwelling within the confines of their soul and providing remnants of their souls to the world through writing. I am excited about using this method with my class at Holmes Community College.

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Monday, July 18, 2016

Guest Post: The Importance of Reading for Writers According to a Writing Consultant and Editor

The Importance of Reading for Writers According to a Writing Consultant and Editor The Importance of Reading for Writers According to a Writing Consultant and Editor
By Megan Easley-Walsh
Hello!
Reading and writing naturally go together. Not only is reading the effect of a writer's work, though, but it is also what should proceed writing. Writers are some of the most voracious readers! Here are a few good reasons to read if you're interested in writing.
1) Reading actively engages the imagination and creates better thinking. Studies have shown that this can be true for up to five days after reading a novel. Writers of fiction are therefore not only entertainers, but "brain boosters"!
2) Reading alerts you to what is popular in the market. This does not mean that it should be mimicked. It does, however, show types of things that are of interest to readers. Perhaps, more importantly, it can show what is missing from the market. An original is better than a 1000th copy of something already known.
3) Reading classics is important to determine what creates longevity in character or plot. Style changes can cause classics to seem aged or stagnant to their era by their diction or syntax, but there is a reason that certain books remain classics while their contemporaries fade through age. Examine what makes a character, scene or plot unforgettable-and thereby timeless-and remember that. This is also true of themes.
4) Reading enlarges one's vocabulary. Words literally sink into your brain and may insert themselves into your writing. If you're not quite sure if the word was used right-look it up! Chances are, your mind has already supplied you with the perfect word through what you have subconsciously learned while reading.
5) Reading inspires. Laura Ingalls Wilder, of Little House on the Prairie fame, advised reading a good story before writing. I've often heard other writers say that reading a book has inspired them to write. Reading good fiction inspires good writing.
6) When reading fiction, I often hear agents to advise reading within your genre to see what works, what is popular, how it can be done well, what should be included, etc. This is true, but I would suggest reading outside your genre as well. At the root of every story is character and plot. You can still learn about character and plot from a genre vastly different from your own. Even a book that you don't like can teach you something, even if that's just what you want to make sure not to include in your own writing.
7) It's important to not only read fiction as an author of novels, but also non-fiction as well. As an author of historical fiction, this is obvious. I have to learn about the past and its details to write. Even for contemporary writers, though, non-fiction can provide information on a character's career or hobbies or a location for the setting. Or, perhaps, a personality portrait of the character's type can be explored through a book on psychology.
Happy Reading and Happy Writing!
My best to you all,
Megan
Megan Easley-Walsh is a writing consultant and editor as well as a writer. She has degrees in history and geography focused international relations and has taught writing to college students. For over eight years, she has helped other writers and can be reached at http://www.extrainkedits.com/
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/expert/Megan_Easley-Walsh/2296330
http://EzineArticles.com/?The-Importance-of-Reading-for-Writers-According-to-a-Writing-Consultant-and-Editor&id=9439690


Let's connect on Goodreads.
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my currently-reading shelf:
Cassandra Hawkins Wilder's book recommendations, liked quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (currently-reading shelf)
Check out my other blog: Transitioning to Me: Life after Divorce.

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