ARCHIVE FOR Ben Berman

The Secret of Gifted Writers

We often think of gifted writers as people born with natural talent. But in this post, GrubStreet Instructor Ben Berman explores whether being gifted is more a matter of aptitude or attitude.

 

 

There is an exit off the Mass Pike where cars merge from so many lanes at once that driving feels like the physical manifestation of writer’s block.

 

October 10, 2018 | Ben Berman

The Writing Life

Why Creativity Requires Both Playfulness and Discipline

Inspiration is wonderful, but it doesn't go far on its own. In this post, Grub Instructor Ben Berman explores the push-and-pull of inspiration and productivity.

 

Whoever said there’s no such thing as a free ride hasn’t met my five-year-old.

 

Whenever it’s time to walk home from some outing she will start to deflate like a football in New England and will refuse to take another step forward until I hoist her over my head and onto my shoulders so that she can bounce up and down as we walk home, picking leaves off the trees or pretending that ...

September 12, 2018 | Ben Berman

The Writing Life

Make Room for Surprise in Your Writing

There’s nothing wrong with writing what you know. But in this post, Grub Instructor Ben Berman looks at how the writing process also offers us the opportunity to discover what we know.

 

My five-year-old always protests whenever she sees me bring out my poetry bag—the briefcase I use when I go out for readings—knowing that I won’t be home in time to tuck her in.

August 8, 2018 | Ben Berman

Craft Advice The Writing Life

How Writing Returns us to Wonder

Given the busyness of our lives, finding time to “dwell in possibility,” as Emily Dickinson writes, isn’t easy. In this post, Grub Instructor Ben Berman thinks about how the writing process returns us to wonder and gives us the chance to “contemplate this world with a mixture of reverie and reverence.”

 

We are in the CVS parking lot, waiting for my wife to finish some errands, when my five-year-old notices an inchworm on her car window and starts to panic.

 

It’s okay, I say. It’s on the outside.

 

I don’t care, she screams. Kill it!

  ...

July 11, 2018 | Ben Berman

The Writing Life

How to Deal with Setbacks in the Creative Process

It can be disheartening to hit a stumbling block when working on a piece of writing. But GrubStreet Instructor Ben Berman helps us see how setbacks are often a natural and necessary part of the creative process.

 

The other day I was cooking dinner when my five-year-old crawled on over to me. Goo-goo, ga-ga, she said, putting her arms in the air. I picked her up and patted her back until she burped.

June 13, 2018 | Ben Berman

The Writing Life