Writing Coach Insights: Frankenstein and Einstein

By Johannah | March 24, 2011

True genius, a deep and authentic sense of creativity, is only possible if, at some level, you accept the process of constantly becoming, if you know yourself to be both Frankenstein and Einstein–because only the beginner’s mind is capable of genius.

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Writing Coach Insights: Being Frankenstein

By Johannah | November 22, 2010

You must be a beginner before you can be brilliant, which is why there is so much honor in starting anything new, in putting your hands in the dirt and planting a new seed. As you learn to write, it is critical to know that ignorance is a critical stage of genius.

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Writing Coach Insights: Going Deeper

By Johannah | October 4, 2010

I’ve always been a little bit uncomfortable answering the question “What is good writing?” Sure, it’s easy to cite technique: freshness of language, specific sensory detail, and the like. But, of course, it’s more than that. My first college writing teacher called this “plumbing the…

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Writing Coach Insights: Worry and Other Creative Drains

By Johannah | August 17, 2010

Being creative means living richly and bravely, of feeling and experiencing and allowing instead of suppressing. Sure, maybe propelled by the energy of fear alone, you can force yourself to finish that report or project, but then, you are creating from the energy of constriction and resistance and suffering, whereas true creative energy is characterized by ease and joy.

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Writing Coach Insights: Turning Frustration Into Good Writing

By Johannah | October 11, 2009

“Annoyed” can be an interesting emotion to explore in writing. It is not a reflection of shallowness or immaturity, but perhaps an indication of significant needs and motivations. Notice what bothers your characters. Do they do something about it, or do they simply stay annoyed and put up with the bothersome situation? How does each option influence the story’s plot and the character’s responses to conflict?

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Writing Coach Insights: The Power of “Yes”

By Johannah | September 28, 2009

“No big whoop” and “yes” are attitudes of allowing, ones that free you to make mistakes, to be eccentric, to be imperfect and thus intriguing. This is what the use of specific detail in creative writing is about: capturing those unique traits that make something come alive on the page by distinguishing it from anything else of its kind, picking out one or two or more key features that tell something essential about a character or an interaction or an object.

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Writing Coach Insights: Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

By Johannah | April 12, 2009

Did you ever notice that some of your most prolific times, writing-wise, have occurred when your life has been highly unpredictable, when circumstances you’d depended on for a long time–whether related to health, friendship, money, love, sex–are called into question? I don’t think this is because you have to be unhappy in order to write well. You just have to be open. You have to let go.

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Writing Coach Insights: Writing in Your Sleep

By Johannah | March 9, 2009

As writers, we can take advantage of this pre-existing creative content by recycling the moods, images, characters, and events of our dreams as poems and stories.

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Writing Coach Insights: Qualities of Light

By Johannah | March 1, 2009

Learning to write is largely about remembering how to notice the world around us—to re-awaken to our own experiences.

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Writing Coach Insights: Being a Beginner

By Johannah | February 15, 2009

Sometimes, all we need is the first step. . .more

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