ARCHIVE FOR Nadine Johnstone

Life-changing Writing Prompts

grubstreet Image

The other day, I ran across this headline on NPR's site: "The Writing Assignment that Changes Lives." It's an article about how writing affects students' emotions and motivation. But it got me thinking about which writing prompts have changed my writing career. It was hard to narrow down, as I've taken many classes with talented Grub instructors who gave prompts that fueled a piece towards publication. But there are definitely three prompts that stand out as game-changers.

July 15, 2015 | Nadine Johnstone

The Writing Life

Recommended (Non-fiction) Reading

grubstreet Image

Every month, I try to think of an interesting new blog post idea. This month I sat down and considered the types of blog posts I most like to read. For me, it's recommended reading lists. It's such a gift to receive essay or book ideas from someone else. It made me wonder why I haven't posted my own reading list. 

So, below you will find my favorite non-fiction reading recommendations. Happy Reading!

April 15, 2015 | Nadine Johnstone

Books & Reading


grubstreet Image

In every class I teach, my students most commonly discuss the issue of prioritizing their writing. 

"I just don't have the time," they say. 

As we all know, the same excuse could be made for exercise, cleaning, and all of the other task that we dread. These things make us feel good, but only after the hard work is put in.

Maybe it's easier to be held accountable when there is an editor or agent bugging you, but for most writers, this is a non-reality. So how do we continue writing when no one is chasing us to produce?

March 18, 2015 | Nadine Johnstone

The Writing Life

Be Nothing

grubstreet Image
The San Miguel Writers' Conference


Here's why the conference rocked:


-Naps on the back lawn of the hotel. Seriously, they lay out blankets and pillows and you can rest while listening to the fountains. 


-Excursions to places like La Gruta Hot Springs


-A fiesta with tequila shots, fire jugglers, native dancers, and authentic Mexican food (with a guest appearance by a donkey)


February 18, 2015 | Nadine Johnstone

The Writing Life

Positive Ideations

grubstreet Image

The past weekend, we Launch Labbers had our last session together. We reviewed what we had learned and discussed future goals, then we had one final guest speaker visit us before we parted ways. The always entertaining, best-selling author, Jenna Blum, joined us, and I don't think that I am the only one who left her talk feeling totally jazzed.

After Jenna gave us a run down of all the things she did to market and publicize her books (talking to every book club she could find, making t-shirts, using social media to its fullest), she gave us a writing exercise. 

December 17, 2014 | Nadine Johnstone

The Writing Life