ARCHIVE FOR Nadine Johnstone

Life-changing Writing Prompts

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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

Revision Made Simple in 10 Steps

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I hate revising. I've got first drafts of essays, stories, and novel starts hanging out on my computer, and I'd rather do anything else besides revise them. In fact, I'd rather write an entire new book than revise one. Think of it in terms of a moving into a new place--hanging pictures on freshly painted walls is so much more exciting than doing a complete spring cleaning on a cluttered house. But we all have to revise, myself included

June 17, 2015 | Nadine Johnstone

Recommended (Non-fiction) Reading

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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


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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

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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