Creative and Memoir Writing

Carol Brennan King  May 3, 2023

Wanna write a book this year?

Last week was the final week of my ten-year journey teaching Creative and Memoir Writing for the Abington Library in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. But it is not over. The teaching gig!

I thought about what it would be like to get up every day and not have anyone with whom I could share this writing journey of mine, other than my husband He always says encouraging things, but he won’t help me try to get better. It’s not that he’s a bad guy or anything. It is just that writing is not his gig.

I felt like I did ten years ago when I retired from the University. That time it took me nearly a whole summer to discover I would never make a painter or sketch artist or a quilter. All I could do was cook, bake, and travel if someone would fund that travel….and write or teach about writing. So that is what I did. Started teaching and working on a book or two.

Here I am again, with no classes to attend except the ones I take. (and that’s a bunch.)

So I decided to invite you to join me on my journey to publishing. Not just me doing the publishing either. I hope that as I share what I am learning, maybe you might like to try it out as well.

If you want to publish something, you must recognize you have lived a lot of stories. I encourage you to get a big yellow pad or a spiral-bound notebook, or even open a file on your computer. Label it something that will make you want to write in it. How about My Adventures? And write. Let it flow with joy. After all, no one is going to see these words. At least not for a while.

That’s because the first time you write something, that first draft, you are just getting the words down. Enjoy it, this time of letting the words flow with no concern about how perfect they will be. Right now, your errand, if you will take it, is just to tell the story.

Type it or write it; I like a good Pilot Varsity non-refillable ink pen if I am writing in a notebook.

Then let it rest, longer if it is a longer manuscript. The rest period is so that when you go to edit it, you can look at it as though someone else wrote it. You are freer to find mistakes. And, this time, read the thing out loud. That enables you to hear errors your eyes and head would otherwise translate to the way you meant them to sound.

OK, that’s enough for this part of the post this week.

Now…let me encourage you to go to this site:

This is the class I watched for the second time: Lecture: The Art of Poetic Efficiency – Strategies for Elevating Your Prose and Poetry presented by Michael Kleber-Diggs.

That may sound a little lofty, but he talks to you like he was one of your favorite highschool teachers. Or maybe if you were lucky enough to have anyone like him.

And I promise you, this is not my last time through this class. He was that good.

NOW, MY BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: I sent my first novel query off to a real agent at a real literary agency. I will keep you posted on how it goes.

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