Category Archives: Writing Tips

How to Write a Personal Essay (That Stands a Chance)

How to Write a Personal Essay will cover the following:

How to generate material compelling to both you and your readers

How to build up that material step-by-step into a essay

How to revise your opening paragraph so it catches an editor’s attention

How to build a story and an argument

How to land the final paragraph 

How to find markets for your essay

How to write a zinger pitch  Continue reading

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Q: Do I need connections to find an agent?

Q: Do I need connections to find an agent? A: No, you can find an agent without connections, but you do need to be prepared before you initiate the search. Here are some guidelines: 1) You need to be at … Continue reading

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What Will My Family Think?

I just finished my quarter as the Distinguished Writer-in-Residence at Seattle University. I hadn’t taught college-age students in a long time and was a bit nervous, but they were so, so engaged. So willing to dig in. So brave. And … Continue reading

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How to Write a Memoir Book Proposal (That Stands a Chance)

Learn how to write a memoir book proposal. Continue reading

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Last-day-of-School Advice for Writers

My two yearlong classes met for their final class meetings this week. We still have our class readings ahead (Many thanks to University Bookstore and Elliott Bay Book Company), but the classroom work is officially behind us. A number of … Continue reading

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4 New Year’s Resolutions for Memoirists

Want to finish  your memoir this year? Here are four resolutions to help you create an enduring memoir that transforms your individual experience into a universal one that speaks to a wide readership. 1. This year I will make myself … Continue reading

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Two Good Reasons to Read Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit

I first learned of Twyla Tharp’s book The Creative Habit from Claire Dederer, author of Poser: My Life in Twenty-Three Yoga Poses, when she quoted Tharp during a guest lecture for my memoir class. The quote? “You don’t really have … Continue reading

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How to Keep on Writing that Freaking Book!

Question: When is 9 months “a year”? Answer: When the 9 months is spent in a manuscript class. I teach a memoir manuscript class here in Seattle at Hugo House. The class runs 9 months from September to June, and … Continue reading

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“I want to double down on me.”

I’ve been pretty obsessed with Jill Soloway’s series Transparent this winter break, which led me to reading Ariel Levy’s fabulous profile of Soloway in The New Yorker titled “Dolls and Feelings.” There are a dozen reason why any emerging writer should read this profile, but the juncture of Soloway’s story that keeps replaying in my head is the one at which her career was at its lowest point and she made the decision to “double down” on herself. Continue reading

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How to Write a Modern Love (That Stands a Chance)

You can purchase a copy of the recording of this class here. Here’s what one participant had to say about the How to Write a Modern Love Teleseminar: “This was one of the most wonderful, insightful, and useful seminars I’ve … Continue reading

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