Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Gold in Them Notebooks, Part 4

Welcome to the fourth in a series of posts on what I find while taking a random cruise through a pile of notebooks from my MFA program.

From a discussion during a nonfiction workshop about writing while feeling stuck:

•Try this: Keep writing this sentence, filling in the blanks anew each time: "Part of me wants _____, but part of me wants _____."
•When you feel you can't write about something, write at it. Write in pieces – individual sentences, paragraphs.
•When you have something (or even if you think you don't) make your margins very wide and print it out, with text running down the center of the page only, so you can write in longhand on the sides of the paper (especially transitions), then…get some scissors and literally cut and paste. See what happens.
•Ask yourself if there is a part of you that is hiding behind the stuff you are not writing.
•Forget about explaining a concept like "forgiveness" – do it with scene, image, moment, emotional clarity.
- Richard Hoffman, memoirist and poet; Writer in Residence, Emerson College.

You can read the first three MFA notebooks posts here.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Looking at what you're not writing about is great advice. If my writing is flat or aimless, I stop and think, What am I most afraid or ashamed of? Then I try writing about that, and almost every time the writing wakes up.