I had a journalism student–who shall remain nameless–quite a few years ago, who was a marginal student. He did just enough to get by. I found myself constantly having to push him to put enough effort into classes just to pass the class, and I worried about what his career would be like when he … More Something To Say
I was just out mowing my lawn in the early morning hours, trying to beat the Texas heat, when I heard Billy Joel sing his song, “Piano Man.” If you listen to the words, most of it is about people who wish they were doing something other than what they were doing. Henry David Thoreau … More If Not You, Then Who? If Not Now, Then When?
It’s been a slow beginning to summer. Graduation was last Sunday, and even though I have been looking forward to being free of classes for weeks (months?), the many duties and obligations that have shackled me have kept my mind strapped down more than I care to admit. I told myself that Monday–last Monday–would mark … More Rude Awakening
Back in 1998 I was hired to come to Texas and teach students how to be a book, newspaper and magazine editor and how to write books and magazine articles. I had 25 years experience in doing that very thing, and I figured that would be my claim to fame from that point on. But … More The Medium Isn’t the Message
I watched an interview with Octavia Spencer on Late Night with Steven Colbert a couple of nights ago. She plays the leader of the Amity faction in the new film Allegiant, the last segment in the Divergent series. Colbert asked her about her many acting roles over the years and the number of times she … More One of a Kind
“I hate writing, I love having written.” –Dorothy Parker It’s been crunch time for me, well, for probably most of the semester. For some odd reason the onslaught doesn’t seem to let up. And when real life responsibilities seem to get overwhelming, I start dreaming about writing. I long to be working on a novel, … More Being, Doing, or Having Done? What’s Your Writing Motivation?
I’m sitting–actually standing–in my Writing for Publication class while they sweat out their final project. They are required to self publish something on Smashwords before their final exam next Tuesday. I’ve been warning them of it all semester, but now they’ve run out of time and out of excuses. I’ve told them the project is pass/fail. … More Crunch Time
Fear is the mind killer. —Dune, Frank Herbert We’re two weeks from wrapping up the fall semester, and my Writing for Publication class is sweating out the likelihood of getting published and getting a passing grade for my class. In the process, we’ve talked a lot about the life of being a writer. “How do … More The Writer’s Secret Weapon
This September will mark the eighth year that we have had a student-led creative writing club on the campus of my university. The Rough Writers have become a home for many would-be writers who never had the courage to share what they have written, or to dream of writing something in a genre they enjoy. … More What Readers Want
One of the most annoying things I say in my writing classes–and believe me, there are many–is this statement: “Writing is easy. All you have to know is where to start, where to stop, and what to include in the middle.” My students don’t seem to like my simplistic answer, and I am currently becoming … More Writing Is Easy….