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Discovering Your Personal Metaphors

Discovering Your Personal Metaphors

Do you write about life, love, the meaning of family, and relationships? Do you include ideas about education or politics or spirituality? All of these topics are abstract concepts that readers understand according to their lived experiences. This means that the concept of “family” will be understood in two completely different ways by two different people, based on what their families of origin were like. As a writer, your challenge is to communicate your particular version of these ideas in a way that your readers can grasp. Metaphor is one of the most effective ways to accomplish this task. When we use a[...]
How to Write Better Dialogue

How to Write Better Dialogue

DO YOU STRUGGLE with writing dialogue? If so, you're not alone. Writing dialogue that feels natural and moves the story forward has always been a challenge for me. For that reason, I’ve had to study dialogue — what makes it good (effective) and what makes it bad (ineffective). - Before I get into the particulars, let’s look at what dialogue does for your story Dialogue brings your characters to life on the page and allows the reader to get to know them faster than just about anything else. How people speak — their diction, accents, and colloquialisms — convey socio-economic status, education, place[...]
Allowing Yourself Time for Purposeful Non-Productivity

Allowing Yourself Time for Purposeful Non-Productivity

TODAY’S ARTICLE WAS SUPPOSED TO BE the latest in the Read Like a Writer series, in which I would write about how Sue Monk Kidd Structured her memoir, The Dance of the Dissident Daughter. But when Sunday, the day I write my blog posts, rolled around, I found myself procrastinating. And then procrastinating some more. I felt such a strong inner reluctance to write, that it pulled me up short. Upon reflection, I realized I was simply tired. Ask anyone who knows me, and they’ll tell you I push myself pretty hard most of the time. I’m all about productivity and[...]
Journaling About Birthdays

Journaling About Birthdays

I KIDNAPPED MY SWEETHEART this weekend for a birthday getaway to the California Coast — a sweet spot just north of Gualala, courtesy of AirBnB. We definitely needed some time away from the relentless household chores and everyday responsibilities, and we’ve gotten to the point in our lives where we don’t need any more “stuff.” For us, experiences make much better birthday presents than possessions. The excursion was wonderful and made me think about birthdays and the meanings we assign to them. In my family of origin, we didn’t really celebrate birthdays once you were older than ten. When you became[...]
Are You Brave Enough to Write your Story?

Are You Brave Enough to Write your Story?

SOME PEOPLE only write their stories when they've got nothing to lose. But others write their truth even if they’re risking their reputation, their livelihood or their close relationships in order to do so. Certainly we can see this in books and movies. Take The Help as an example. This is the story about an aspiring journalist in the 1960s who wants to uncover the effects of racism and how poorly white upper class people are treating their black “help.” But the maids don't want to talk to journalists. If they get caught badmouthing their bosses, they can lose their jobs.[...]