Weekend Edition – You Are Not Alone Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips


Live to Write - Write to Live

You Are Not Alone

Image by Luis Barros. Follow him on Instagram (@luishb) for wonderful images, each one brimming with story possibilities. Image by Luis Barros. Follow him on Instagram (@luishb) for wonderful images, each one brimming with story possibilities.

Being a grown up can be lonely.

Being a writer can be lonely.

Being a grown-up writer can be seriously lonely, but it doesn’t have to be.

Last weekend I watched my daughter compete in a mountain bike race. It was my first time at this kind of event. Mountain biking is something she does on weekends with her dad. The wooded trails with their steep drops, tight turns, and obstacle course of mean rocks and wily roots are his territory.

There were more than four hundred riders, many with friends and family in tow, milling around the trampled corn field that served as a staging area for the organizers preparing to release the different classes of riders onto the course. We haven’t had any real rain here…

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June in Blogging U.: Blogging 101 and Photo 101


The Daily Post

Blogging 101 and Photography 101 both return in June! We’re looking forward to working with a new group of bloggers and shutterbugs.

And you'll get a badge! Who doesn't love a badge?

Blogging 101: Zero to Hero — June 8 – 26

Blogging 101 is three weeks of bite-size blogging assignments that take you from “Blog?” to “Blog!” Every weekday, you’ll get a new assignment to help you publish a post, customize your blog, or engage with the community. Whether you’re just getting started or want to revive a dormant blog, we’ll help you build the blogging habits and connections that will keep you going over the long haul.

You’ll walk away with a stronger focus for your blog, several published posts and a handful of drafts, a theme that reflects your personality, a small (but growing!) audience, a grasp of blogging etiquette — and a bunch of new friends.

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Photography 101: A Photo a Day — June 8 – July 3

Photography 101 is a photo-a-day challenge. You’ll publish new…

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Writing 101 starts Monday. Have you registered yet?


The Daily Post

If you’ve taken Writing 101 before: yes, these will be the same prompts and twists. Blogging U. courses always repeat unless we specifically indicate that a course is new.

Writing 101: Building a Blogging Habit is a write-every-day challenge designed to help you create a writing habit and push you as a writer.  Read on, or jump right to registration.

What is Writing 101?

Who else is really building their writing habit?… I wake up multiple times each night to check the time and see if it’s time to get up and write because I’m so excited. I’ve never felt this way before! I think I’m in lurve.
Molly, Knocked Up Knocked Over

Writing 101 is a four-week course that runs from Monday, April 6, to Friday, May 1, 2015. Each weekday, you’ll get an assignment that includes a writing prompt and an optional “twist”; prompts are your topic inspiration…

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Short and Sweet Advice for Writers – Break Your Story Down to Build It Up.


Live to Write - Write to Live

VW bug cutawayWhen we read a finished story, whether a thousand-word piece of flash fiction of a thousand-page novel, we perceive it as whole. It’s similar to the way we see each other. You don’t think of your friend as a collection of distinct elements. You don’t perceive her as a particular combination of skin and hair and eyes, scarf and jeans and shoes. You don’t see the individual bones, muscles, or cells that make up her body. You don’t consciously perceive all the discrete events and experiences that make up her personality and character. You just see Jane.

Stories are like that. We experience a story as the sum total of its parts. And, as with a person, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Still, those parts are there. Without them the person or the story would not exist, at least not in the form you perceive.

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Weekend Edition – Your Writing Matters plus Good Reads and Writing Tips


Live to Write - Write to Live

Yes, your writing matters.

Image by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design Image by Ryan McGuire of Bells Design

I find comfort in unexpected patterns of discovery. When I am wrestling with a question, serendipity never fails to serve up a chain of touchstones that offer, if not an answer, perspective and guidance, or – at the very least – the knowledge that I am not alone in asking my question. This week I experienced just such Universal benevolence around the question, “Why bother writing?”

It’s a harsh question. I know.

But, I think it’s one many writers struggle with. In my case, I looked around at all the injustice and pain and suffering in the world and my desire to write seemed petty and insignificant in comparison. It felt frivolous and self-indulgent. Other people are out there doing Important Work – saving lives, inventing things, righting wrongs. And here I sit – hacking away at the keyboard…

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Quotes about The Craft of Writing by Famous Writers


Compassion in Politics: Christian Social Entrepreneurship, Education Innovation, & Base of the Pyramid/BOP Solutions

“We are all apprentices in a craft where no one ever becomes a master.”
—Ernest Hemingway

“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
—Samuel Johnson

“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
—Elmore Leonard

“Write. Rewrite. When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts.”
—Larry L. King, WD

“Know your literary tradition, savor it, steal from it, but when you sit down to write, forget about worshiping greatness and fetishizing masterpieces.”
—Allegra Goodman

“One thing that helps is to give myself permission to write badly. I tell myself that I’m going to do my five…

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Toward Clarity: Three Tips for Better Writing


The Daily Post

Building on Cheri‘s previouswork, we’ve got three more ideas to help you identify needless phrases and excise cruft to create clear, original prose.

1. Excise “at the end of the day…”

New here? Looking for more tips on how to improve your writing? Check out our previous articles in the Language and Grammar category.

Looking for inspiration for daily writing practice? Check out our writing prompts.

How many times have you seen this phrase, “at the end of the day,” used to introduce a summary, or preface an important point, often with resignation? “at the end of the day” is a classic example of “throat clearing,” where a writer uses a phrase to work up to their main point. The phrase has been so overused in speech and in print it’s become a cliché. In the spirit of “omitting needless words,” excise “at the end…

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