Try This: Haiku

janav Creativity, Try This, Writing 2 Comments

While on vacation recently, I spent a lot of time writing haiku. For those who are unfamiliar with it, it’s a Japanese form of poetry that has very strict syllabic limits. The first line is 5 syllables, the second is 7 syllables, and the third is five syllables. Seventeen syllables total. They often mention the season or some natural element, and have a cutting juxtaposition that is meant to make a new connection in the reader’s mind. I was reading Matsu Basho’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North, and got inspired since I was also pretty far north, in …

Write It Down, Make It Happen

janav Creativity, Resources, Writing 0 Comments

I came across this article a while ago, about how one of my favorite authors, Octavia Butler, wrote out her success before she had it. She wrote exactly what she wanted to accomplish: the awards, the bestseller lists, and why she wrote. If you haven’t read anything by Octavia Butler, she wrote science fiction as a black woman in a world of mostly white, mostly male writers. She succeeded in topping numerous bestseller lists, and won major awards, including a MacArthur Fellowship Genius Grant – the first science fiction writer to do so. (Read the article for a fuller list …

Try This: Writing as Deliberate Practice

janav Try This, Writing 0 Comments

And they still have to practice. In writing, we often assume that talent is enough, or the most important thing. We might accept that talent needs to be paired with writing a lot of words before we become good. We set our daily word goals, or have a goal to finish a major project like a novel in a year. Words are the units we measure progress in. Sometimes it’s a certain number of hours per day. But just putting down words, or putting in the hours, though crucial, isn’t enough. In the same way that guys who want to …

Ten Ways to Boost Your Writing (That Aren’t Writing)

janav Creativity, Writing 0 Comments

1. Sleep. Know how much you need, and create a schedule that allows you to get enough. I wish I was one of those people who can survive on 5 or 6 hours per night, but I’m not. I need 7, preferably 8 hours if I’m not going to fall asleep every time I sit down to the computer. 2. Eat. If you want to have enough mental and physical energy to do creative work, you need to feed your body healthy food. Too much sugar, caffeine, or foods you’re intolerant of (that cause physical symptoms or brain fog) will …

Friday Favorites from the MFA Residency

janav Creativity, Friday Favorites, Resources 0 Comments

One of the great things about being involved with an MFA program is the kinds of conversations you get to have about writing, and all the books and resources people mention that they’ve found useful or inspiring. So today, I’m going to share with you some of the bits and pieces that have come up over the last week or so. Bull – by David Elliott. A retelling of the myth of the Minotaur, in verse. With a very funky (and profane) Poseidon as narrator. He read from it and it was hilarious (of course – it’s by David!). Not …