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

The Secret to a Great Arc

Make your characters want something right away, wrote Vonnegut, even if it’s only a glass of water.

 

And as soon as we pick my four-year-old up from pre-school and strap her into her car seat, she tells us that she wants some water.

 

But a narrative, at its most basic level, is driven by the relationship between what a character wants and the obstacles in their way, and it just so happens that my daughter’s water bottle is empty.

May 9, 2018 | Ben Berman

Craft Advice The Writing Life

Reading and Writing Poetry as an Invitation to Wake Up

Guest post by Nadia Colburn, PhD

Nadia is teaching "Poetry as a Contemplative Practice" on May 18th, 10:30-1:30. Click here for more info. Nadia holds a BA from Harvard and a PhD in English from Columbia University

May 2, 2018 | Nadia Colburn

Books & Reading Community

The Trouble with Transitions

My daughters were supposed to be getting ready for bed when I walked into their room and found my four-year-old naked, kneeling on all fours with her butt in the air, her older sister slapping her bottom.

 

What are you doing? I asked.

 

Playin’ the drums, my older daughter said.

 

And though part of me was relieved to see my four-year-old finally using her butt for something other than a wind instrument, I immediately stopped the show and escorted her to the shower.

April 11, 2018 | Ben Berman

Craft Advice The Writing Life

On Breaking the Rules that Taught Us

There's a distinctly rebellious air about the Muse and the Marketplace Conference this year. Come April 6-8 at Boston's Park Plaza, #Muse18 presenters will be letting loose on the writing rules that have held our manuscripts hostage for far too long. To kick off the conversation ahead of the Muse weekend, this year's Muse series explores the writing, publishing, and workshop rules, conventions, and accepted norms that authors, agents, and editors at the Muse love to hateand why they'd love to see them broken. Some presenters will also offer their own rules or conventions that ...

March 22, 2018 | Sarah Colwill-Brown

Craft Advice