Archive for the ‘Nonsense’ Category

Overcoming Vanity; Just Write

April 14, 2014

“I want to make something of myself. I believe it’s called a statue.” –Jarod Kintz

Lately I’ve been having a problem, concerning my writing, that has affected my personal blog, a few pieces I’ve been asked to write as an “expert” on being inside of juvenile detention centers, and even in my creative writing classes. Okay, particularly my creative nonfiction class. I constantly find myself falling victim to “impostor syndrome,” a condition characterized by the inability to take credit for one’s own work, or in my case, the constant feeling that what I’m writing is self-indulgent, unimportant crap that nobody cares about.

To spare everyone the tedious lecture, I’m going to avoid a long, preachy blog post where I pontificate about self-confidence. That would be incredibly dull and the last time I checked, I’m not exactly qualified to be giving people self-esteem pep-talks. (See what I did there?) Anyway, I want to focus on the writing part because that’s the theme of this blog, and that’s what really matters.

During my first residency, all of the speakers emphasized the importance of our unique voices and unique perspectives that we can use to bring our writing to life, but I just can’t help feeling a little less than unique lately. For example, I’ll be typing up an assignment for class, when I look back over the material, I’ll see some awful cliché and think to myself, “I’m the most boringest person ever!” Then I criticize myself in my head for bad grammar, then I begin to wonder about the neuroses behind correcting my inner monologue’s grammar, then I wonder if it’s normal to be having this discussion in my head, and then I end up on Web MD for several hours researching mental illnesses. The point is, instead of just writing, I stare at the page for unprecedented amounts of time, fighting off an anxiety attack because I can’t reconcile with the fact that—yes—making an effort to write with the intention of sharing my experiences with a large audience may be slightly self-indulgent, but it does not make me a bad person or some sort of ego-maniac. It makes me a writer.

Excuse me for a moment while I act like a hypocrite and provide you with some possibly needless preaching to suggest that we all want to be validated. Everyone wants to feel that his or her experiences are unique and that they deserve to be heard. Just because people don’t alwaysFunny Cry for Help Ecard: Me? Vain? Oh I just took all those shirtless mirror pics of myself to prove my photography skills to Facebook. put it in writing, doesn’t mean they don’t constantly do the same thing when they talk to co-workers, family and friends. I mean, just look to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter if you’re worried you might sound a little vain or self-important . People express their unique perspectives every day, and they don’t sit at a computer screen frantically typing “narcissism” into Google about it.

Needless to say, even this post was a huge obstacle for me. What will people think of me, I wondered, Will they be offended by what I have to say? Will people feel I am unqualified to speak on this subject?

The truth is, fretting about whether or not people are going to believe your opinion is valid is the most egotistical thing you can do. You’re not being humble, you’re being obsessive, and according to Web MD you are expressing several symptoms of narcissism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, anxiety, depression, and…well, you get it.

Just sit down wherever it is that you write (I personally enjoy doing so at my little desk in the creative writing office—all this typing makes me sound very busy, and I don’t have a 90 pound puppy whining loudly at my feet), and write something down. I’m sure we’ve all heard this enough times during residency, but stop thinking about the writing and just write! Get something down; then worry about whether or not it’s any good, or if you might sound like you don’t know what you’re talking about. Chances are, if you say it confidently enough, people will be too impressed by the writing to know you’re an impostor sense your self-doubt.

butttrumpetHillary Transue is a current student in the Wilkes Creative Writing program and the editor of The Write Life blog. She spends her time engaging in futile attempts to train her 11-month pit-bull puppy and thinking up really good excuses not to write–most of which she finds at 3am on Web MD.

Cohort to Cohort: Thesis Wisdom

December 12, 2012

With the January residency just around the corner, what better way to prepare for the master thesis term than hearing what those in the heat of things have to say? A sampling of students currently wrapping up the CW 520 course, Master Project Semester, have shared a few words of wisdom for the next cohort….

This is coming from an unorganized person, but organization is the key in the thesis semester. It’s a very hands-off term regarding mentors, so get out your calendar during residency and map out a specific plan of action. Mark your goals, i.e. reaching X amount of words or trying a new character, then note when you realistically plan to reach each goal and when to discuss them. That said, it is a creative project, so try to keep some elasticity in your plan. – Kait Burrier

***

Don’t procrastinate! – Heather Lowery

***

Write through it. Even when you think it’s not coming together, write through it! – Laura Duda

***

Plan ahead and carve time to revise and edit once the project is completed. This requires a lot of organization indeed. – Edith Trenou-Dackey

***

Start work before the semester officially begins so you aren’t rushing at the deadline. – Ashley Supinski

***

As with any endeavor, what you put in is exactly what you’ll get out. – Pauline Hill Threlkeld

***

Thanks to the current 520 group. Best wishes for those starting the intensive term ahead!

A Night at the Movies

July 20, 2011

It’s the middle of July. It’s hot. You’ve dipped in the pool. You’ve sat in the shade. You’re one iced tea past your taste bud tolerance and it’s time to get back to writing. But, it’s so darn hot. Perhaps you’re feeling defeated and deflated, that it’s just too hot to do anything, even write. Your motivation needs some cooling fuel, some air conditioning for the creative mind. Maybe, just maybe… it’s time to watch a few movies about writers/writing so you can get back to your own creative cave.  

Here, in random order, are 25 funny and/or moving and/or depressing and/or light-hearted flicks about this creative vice we share. Cool off with a cold one, put the feet up, and enjoy a summer night (or afternoon or morning) with some potentially inspiring (or self-affirming) movies. 

Wonder Boys

Iris 

Barton Fink 

Sunset Boulevard 

Howl 

Misery 

Naked Lunch

Pandemonium

Sideways

Finding Forrester

The Squid and the Whale

Mrs. Parker and the Vicious Circle

Capote

The Hours

Miss Potter

Becoming Jane

Sylvia

Adaptation

Gothic

Shakespeare in Love

Almost Famous

Deconstructing Harry 

Harriet the Spy

In Love and War

Secret Window

Enjoy!

The Write Life Returns!

March 30, 2011

Welcome back to The Write Life, the official blog of the Wilkes University Creative Writing Program.  As you can see, we have changed things up a bit.  Each week, we will be posting articles written by professionals from every nook and cranny of the writing industry.  These articles, essays, and personal experiences are meant to enhance your writing life, and to provide you with the tools to sustain an independent career.

My name is Amye Archer, and I will be your host and guide as we traverse this literary landscape.

Your Tour Guide!

I am an MFA student at Wilkes, and will be graduating this June.  I am a mother of four-year-old twin girls, and I also teach part time at some local universities.  As a writing mom, I will also be sharing some of my experiences with you as I try to balance writing and family.

The Write Life is a collaborative effort, written by writers for writers.  With this in mind, we’d love your feedback.  Please feel free to submit ideas for future posts or any ideas or suggestions to  amyeba@gmail.com In the upcoming weeks, The Write Life will feature craft articles, Q&A’s with agents, advice from editors, and personal accounts of people writing  in every genre.   Some areas of the site are still under construction, so bear with us!  We look forward to providing you with valuable resources to help create your Write Life!