The Secret to Reading Poetry? First Dates

The Secret to Reading Poetry? First Dates

Happy Poetry Month! My students often scowl when I announce we’ll be reading a poem or covering *heaven forbid* an entire unit on poetry. Poetry often bothers people—it certainly bothers me in the best possible way.

Sometimes poetry feels lofty and pretentious and seems to say, “I know something you don’t know,” which is obnoxious, like an older sister taunting us. Some poetry makes us scratch our heads and say, “What the heck was that all about?”

But if we keep reading, poetry often moves us in ways a paragraph can’t. It requires a compression of language and meaning, tucked inside precise words that create concrete images. Poets, with a wink and a wry smile, trust us to read well. (Writers of all genres: we can learn so much from the poets!)

Best Book Writing Software: Grammarly Versus Hemingway

Best Book Writing Software: Grammarly Versus Hemingway

Can book writing software replace an editor? Nope. But it can help you improve your grammar and readability.

You were born to tell stories and share your message with the world. But you sit down to type and something terrible happens. Your fingers misspell things. Verbs switch tenses as you type. Nothing works quite like it did when it was still just a compelling idea in your head.

You reread and catch a few errors, but what if you’ve reached the end of your grammar prowess? Need some book writing software to help improve your writing?

5 Sneaky Ways to Steal Time to Write

5 Sneaky Ways to Steal Time to Write

Every morning, my alarm rings, and I launch into the day, getting four kids off to three different schools before heading to my campus for a full day teaching high school. What do I write? Fourteen restroom passes.

In the evenings, between dinner and soccer practice, I argue with at least two children about homework or chores, and check that I didn’t forget to pay the bills online. What do I write? a grocery list and my signature on reading logs or permission slips.

All the while, the ideas in my creative writing journals sit simmering, waiting to be told. Sometimes I get twitchy thinking about the stories I haven’t told yet. I think about my drawer of stories waiting to be finished. There just isn’t enough time in my day to get it all done and write. Right?

Wrong.

How I Write Through Distractions With Freedom

How I Write Through Distractions With Freedom

You’ve set your intentions with Kellie and planned and plotted with Monica. Now it’s time to write. Ready, set, . . . get distracted.

As writers, we lament our lack of time, but how often do we let distractions steal the little time we do have? In this post, I’ll show you how I use Freedom, along with a few other tricks, to keep me focused, even when life is crazy.

One Essential Writing Tip From Mark Twain

One Essential Writing Tip From Mark Twain

Mark Twain is one of my favorite writers. When I read his essays last year, I came across a bit of revising gold in a 1906 essay titled “William Dean Howells.” Most of the essay praises Howells’s prose in general, but the final paragraphs address what Twain calls “stage directions.”

In a play, stage directions are only visible to the audience through the movement and actor’s inflection during the performance. In a novel, we rely on description to set scenes, give context, and deepen characterization. When done well, stage directions don’t distract from the character or action.

When done poorly, however, Twain has something to say about them.