Writing

I’ve become a caricature

Today is the first in my weekly series called Manifest Mondays, where I will chat exclusively about writing and the writing life. What is the first thing you think of when someone tells you they are a writer by trade? I know what I think of: a hunched body with bloodshot eyes (insert gender here), pounding feverishly at their typewriter, floating ghost-like amongst crumpled papers, a stack of books nearby, open, lined journals within reach, empty coffee cups and even more empty liquor bottles surround the desk they’re bent over in a room with one window facing the back garden to which they occasionally gaze out and towards wistfully. I never saw myself in that role, even when I was saying I wanted to be a writer. It sounds and feels positively stifling to feed that romanticized view, to become the stereotype. Writing – for me – has always been…

There’s something dying on the street

I was rejected from a job that I had very much convinced myself that I was going to get. I went into a very dark place, and of course, it all fell apart in public. I’m hesitant to share it but to hide it away wouldn’t be true to myself. Here we go: I want a job. I hate being this mooching burden even if I know that they know that this is a transition period. I am reestablishing myself in a town where I never belonged. I don’t belong anywhere. Panic activates asthma that I was born with. I’m unable to breathe properly from having to deal with the embarrassment. I had to call my mother from the dealership like a child who forgot their bag lunch. They won’t take her card on my behalf without her ID. I understand. Doesn’t mean it still doesn’t sting. I know they…

The arts are not a way to make a living

Post 20 of 24 They say you should never meet your heroes, they’ll only let you down. But what if you write them a letter asking for advice and they throw this blisteringly awesome observation in your face? You don’t have an excuse NOT to get into the arts anymore. It’s like daaaaamn, dropped the mic on y’all. Here is a lesson in creative writing. First rule: Do not use semicolons. They are transvestite hermaphrodites representing absolutely nothing. All they do is show you’ve been to college. And I realize some of you may be having trouble deciding whether I am kidding or not. So from now on I will tell you when I’m kidding. For instance, join the National Guard or the Marines and teach democracy. I’m kidding. We are about to be attacked by Al Qaeda. Wave flags if you have them. That always seems to scare them…

29 Ways to Stay Creative

Post 11 of 24 I’ve been carrying this infographic for ages. I figured it was time to share with my fellow creatives. I know another list. But truthfully, I have employed almost all of these tactics at one point or another in my writing life, and they’ve helped. This graphic is pretty though, so that’s why I posted it! Make lists Carry a notebook everywhere Try free writing Get away from the computer Quit beating yourself up Take breaks Sing in the shower Drink coffee Listen to new music Be open Surround yourself with creative people Get feedback Collaborate Don’t give up… Practice, practice, practice Allow yourself to make mistakes Go somewhere new Count your blessings Get lots of rest Take risks Break the rules Don’t force it Read a page of the dictionary Create a framework Stop trying to be someone else’s perfect Got an idea? Write it down…

I’m Terrible, or How I Spent My Summer Vacation

As you may already know – or maybe you don’t – I am heading into my final semester in the MFA program for Writing at the University of San Francisco. Last summer, I took the first of two thesis classes, where you work one on one with an instructor. Your primary focus is to continue creating or begin revising the submission(s) for your thesis, which is required to graduate successfully and on time. This fall, I am to complete the second step of the thesis, where I am to focus on final revisions and formatting. I tuned out this summer from nearly everything. When I should have been working on my thesis for real, I simply withdrew from reality. I’ve said it before. So much was going on in the real world (terrorist attacks, celebrity deaths, Black Lives Matter) that I couldn’t focus on myself or anything important to me.…

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