Kate Monahan 2009-2010

More Writing Life Advice

I stumbled upon more writing life advice and thought I’d share it with all of you. I know I am always hungry for this type of information. There is something comforting about hearing how others live and write, what their trials and tribulations have been, how they make it work. I...

5 for Friday: The Writing Life

As I approach the end of my MFA program (only 3 plus weeks till I turn in my thesis!) I’ve been thinking a lot about the “writing life.” Sure, I’ve had a writing life of sorts for many years now, but the one I am now about to embark on will...

On Listening

“Writing, too, is 90 percent listening. You listen so deeply to the space around you that it fills you, and when you write, it pours out of you. If you can capture that reality around you, your writing needs noting else. You don’t only listen to the person speaking to you...

5 for Friday: Literary Journals You Must Read

I love nothing more than a great short story. In fact, most of the real estate on my book shelf is occupied by short story collections. Sometimes I plow right through an entire collection from cover to cover, other times I like to pick up the collection and simply savor one...

10 Ways to Stayed Fired Up with Your Writing Goals

The goal is a steady flame. So I’ve been noticing something lately. I’ve been noticing that there is a serious ebb and flow at work in terms of my motivation. Some weeks I am fired up beyond belief—I am ready to conquer the writing world. And other days, I am caught...

Style’s Greatest Quotes

I’m a little late on the 5 for Friday, but I thought I’d still have an installment of quotes from writers… So here they are: 5 writers on STYLE from The Sound on The Page, by Ben Yagoda. As Yagoda says, these are “Style’s Greatest Quotes.” “The style is the man....

On Sounding like Yourself

“Getting it to sound right is always the big, crucial thing. When does it sound like me, but not like an imitation of me? Unless you’ve gotten the voice right in the beginning the whole enterprise is hopeless—every paragraph is going to lurch around, bumping into things. Once I manage to...

Some Thoughts on Writing Advice

I’ve been thinking about a quote I posted last week by Katherine Anne Porter. The quote speaks about the idea of “being ready,” of waiting until one’s work is mature enough before beginning to pursue publication. Porter says, “I think it is the most curious lack of judgment to publish before...

5 for Friday: Audience

5 writers on audience from For Writers Only, by Sophy Burnham   “Any writer overwhelmingly honest about pleasing himself is almost sure to please others.” -Marianne Moore “Why I write. Of course I stole this title for this talk from George Orwell. One reason I stole it was that I like...

On the Ideas Behind the Stories

 “I suppose I’ve never set out to write a novel in which nothing happens…only to write a novel about the lives of certain characters. That nothing “happens” in their lives is beside the point to me; I’m still interested in how they live, and think and speak, and make some sense...

5 for Friday: More Writing Encouragement

Here are more encouraging words from 5 writers, taken from Advice to Writers, compiled and edited by Jon Winokur.  Enjoy and Happy writing! “For a true writer each book should be a new beginning where he tries again for something beyond attainment. He should always try for something that has never...

Has writing arrived in search of you?

Do you remember the time you wrote a sentence, a line, and realized that this is exactly what you wanted to do? What you had to do? That writing was the only thing that made your heart feel that particular way? I remember saying to my husband once–It’s almost like falling...

On Courage

“What “real artists” have is courage. Not enormous gobs of it. Just enough for today. Creativity, like breathing, always comes down to the question, “Are you doing it now?” The awful truth is that there is always some small creative act for which we can find the courage. If you can’t...

Five for Friday: Just getting it down on the page

  “Don’t get it right, just get it written.”–James Thurber * “Whether or not you write well, write bravely.” –Bill Stout * “Don’t think of literary form. Let it get out as it wants to. Overtell it in the matter of detail—cutting comes later. The form will develop in the telling....

Why Encouragement Matters

Yesterday, I picked up one of my short stories from my mailbox at school and a professor had written only this on it: You’re on your way. I didn’t know what it meant and I knew what it meant. It wasn’t specific, wasn’t especially useful feedback, but in the same sense,...

Your True Self and Your Art

Recently, my husband and I watched a documentary film called Every Little Step. The film follows the lives of a few dancers, dancers who are auditioning for a part in the Broadway revival of A Chorus Line. It also weaves in commentary and testimonials from the original show, specifically exploring the...

On Imagining

“‘Writing a novel is gathering smoke,’ says Walter Mosley.  ‘It’s an excursion into the ether of ideas.’ Most people dismiss most of their imaginative life with amused indifference, and maybe even a little contempt. That is where you must part with most company.  Your fantasies are a resource, and the place...

On Telling the Truth

    “Writing is the way I ground myself, what keeps me sane. Writing is the way I try and make sense of my life, try to find meaning in accident, reasons why what happens happens-even though I know that why is a distraction, and meaning you have to cobble together...

Writing is Revising

  One of my teachers always said that the revision process required an entirely different part of the brain. When it comes to revision, she said, you have to think more like a scientist, like a problem solver. I posted about “solving the puzzle” not too long ago… the idea that we...

On Words Flowing and Why It's Worth It

  “You begin by hard work and discipline, digging in the dirt until your fingers are bloody; and suddenly the characters find themselves. The setting is in place. The cellos have picked up the mood and are keeping the whole act together, while the background a low drum beats. Now you...

On Making Wishes Come True

  “A choice at a time, we execute our lives, placing into them what matters to us. We buy houseplants because we hunger for green life. We Windex our windows, yearning for more light. We may write down “next time, a sunnier apartment.” We all have things we wish for more...