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MFA Confidential Blog

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

5 for Friday: Publishing

5 writers on publishers and publishing from Advice to Writers, compiled and edited by Jon Winokur “The rules seem to be these: if you have written a successful novel, everyone invites you … Read more

Finding Balance in Our Writing Lives

Sometimes it feels good to hibernate. To hibernate, lock the doors, and do nothing but write. I spent the last few days writing until my fingers fell off. My husband would come … Read more

Cut, cut, cut!

Some great advice as I move into the final edits of my thesis: Chop away your darlings! It’s so hard to do sometimes, but doesn’t it make all the difference? “Cut phoniness. … Read more

5 for Friday: Inspiration from Anne Lamott

On Wednesday, I said to my husband—It’s a wonder what a difference a day makes. Because Tuesday was bad. Very Bad. Has that every happened to you? You go from having a … Read more

The Importance of Specific Details

Every character who appears in your story must been seen. Where did I read this? It was a quote by a famous writer, I believe.  This writer expressed the importance of the … Read more

5 for Friday: Ways to Get Inspired

I am tired of waiting for inspiration to arrive. It’s a finicky thing, inspiration, the harder you wish for it, the more resistant it is to showing up. And so there’s this: … Read more

On Trusting Your Voice

“Give a piece to one hundred people, you could possibly get one hundred different opinions—not absolutely different, but lots of variations. This is where the depth of your relationship with yourself is … Read more

On Ending a Creative Drought

The advice below was much needed today. I opened Julia Cameron’s book for some inspiration and there is was. I’ve felt this heaviness lately, this seriousness, when it comes to my writing. … Read more

Is Your Story Worth Saving?

I am not knee deep in the revision process. I am neck deep. So deep that I often feel like I’m drowning. It’s Thesis Time and I’m weeding through all my stories, … Read more

On Observing

“Most of us, most of the time, shunt most of what we notice into the same recycling bin where we dump what we imagine. Luckily for writers, at least a little of … Read more

How to make your story truly your own

The Thirty-Six Dramatic Situations is a list George Polti created to catalog every dramatic situation that might occur in a story or performance. Every last situation. Essentially meaning: no other situation exists … Read more

How does your writing practice benefit you?

According to A Writer’s Book of Days by Judy Reeves, these are the effects of a writing practice. What do you think? And what would you add? ·         Daily writing practice sessions … Read more

On Patience

“Nothing is ever wasted. I thought I was writing a novel and it ended up being eight hundred pages of crap around one thing that was real and alive, and unfortunately all … Read more

5 for Friday: How NOT to get discouraged with writing projects

When you become a writer, when you choose this life for yourself, you choose the long road. Writing is a process and as writers we are constantly evolving. We don’t get good … Read more

Give, give, give! Why giving away some of your time, advice, and experience may benefit you.

  I’m always struck by how generous some people are when it comes to mentoring young writers. There are those people out there, the ones who kindly give their time and experience, … Read more

5 for Friday: Dialogue

  One of my most favorite things about writing fiction is writing dialogue. I love figuring out how my characters speak. I love portraying how people communicate, and I love, even more, … Read more

Creating Characters

  Developing characters can be a lot of fun. Some people say their characters just come to them, they’re taking a shower and boom!—they hear a voice, and from that point on … Read more

On Writer's Block

“It would probably be too strong a statement for me to say I don’t believe in ‘writer’s block.’ But I almost don’t believe in it. I think the term is a bit … Read more

Transforming fear and breaking through the writing wall

It hurts. Being pushed artistically. Being pushed to reach higher, dig deeper. Sometimes we’re pushed by a teacher, a mentor. Other times we have to push ourselves. Years ago I took an … Read more

Your idea in motion

I’m realizing one thing that gets me stuck, that freezes me up, is that I want so badly to get it down perfectly the first time. Who was it that said our … Read more

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 … Read more

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 … Read more

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