Tag Archives: Writing Help

Welcome to the Information Age

Snip20150702_40The internet is the most wonderful thing that has happened for college students in many decades as it allows us to have an infinite amount of information at our fingertips.  Gone are the days of debate about who won the 1998 World Series (New York Yankees) or who won the Best Actress in 2005 (Hilary Swank for Million Dollar Baby).  Anything we want to know is only a moment away.  Seems great right?

The unfortunate side of the information age is the quality of information our students use in their research.  High school and college students today are so used to using Google and Wikipedia in their personal lives that they transfer that into their studies.  And while technology literacy is a wonderful attribute for them, understanding the pros and cons of the internet when writing and researching is essential to success.

In this blog piece, I’ve decided to take a look at the positive and negative aspects of the internet when it comes to certain aspects of the writing process.  Hopefully, this will make students aware of some of these pitfalls before doing their next paper. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under Higher Education, The Writing Life

Everyday I’m Scribblin’

I was recently reminded of a harsh reality about writing: the only way to write, unfortunately, is to write. An obvious, simple, yet (for me, anyway) an f-ing elusive truth, and always easier said than done.

At the end of May, I experienced a huge setback with my PhD dissertation (a major research project estimated to run 200+ pages), which forced me to draft a lot of material in a short amount of time–40,000 words in four weeks! And I’m proud to report that I met that goal–and then some.

Snip20150709_53Now, what I ended up with wasn’t highly polished, carefully edited prose. Far from it. But I did get exactly what I needed: a finished first draft, always the hardest part of the writing process for me, which I now can spend a few weeks revising before submitting to my dissertation committee at Duquesne University at the end of July.

How did I achieve this Sisyphusean feat–a trip to my local crossroads at midnight? Nope–no Satanic bargains for me, thank you very much. I just stopped thinking (ie judging myself negatively) and started writing. I broke the project into small, daily writing goals: 1600 words a day, every day–no matter how tired, or how frustrated, or how bored, or how anxious I was. Most professional writers I know–and all of the “writers on writing” books I’ve read–say the same thing: daily, regimented writing routines are how writing happens. Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Writing Life

The Professional Writer: James G. Piatt Encourages Emerging Writers to Follow Their Bliss

 

When it girl-writing-starscomes to writing, James G. Piatt sees far more than the bottom line. He sees an opportunity to do something that gives him joy. That, for him is the most important thing. “You must decide on what your goals are. If it is to make money, you must do those things which will make money. You will have to write for the prevailing audience, do heavy personal marketing, travel, make speeches, make business contacts, do loads of book signings, etc. etc.” says Piatt, a retired teacher and artist with numerous publishing credits under his belt. “ If it is to release the creative spirit in your soul, then create and be happy with the outcome.”

“Chase your dreams. Do what makes you feel worthwhile and satisfied. Life is short; Make the most of it; Spend your time doing those things that make you happy.” ~ James G. Piatt, author

By focusing on his passion for writing, James has found an audience that loves his creative work. Along with two poetry collections, thirty four of his short stories have been published.  His method is to write and revise, then send his polished pieces out to publishers. His poems and stories have been published in over 100 magazines, anthologies, and books. He says if you are doing it to make money, emulate the celebrity writer and don’t worry about literary value. But if you want a lasting voice, hone your craft and follow your heart. Be persistent and work hard, and success will come to you.  To read James G. Piatt’s creative work, see the poetry below and check out his poetic collections, here.

Inequality

I sense the heartbreaking weeping of souls
hungering for equality mirrored in their lifeless
reflections in a fading blood colored moon: The
unfortunate find hope is only a thin pallid wash
attempting, without success, to cover their
frozen moments of hopelessness.

I reflect sadly on the fervent prayers of golden-
haired angels playing poignant songs on silver
bells, hovering like burning moths over the flame
of the world’s calloused indifference… and sob:

Trying to forget the inequities, I guzzle peach
Margaritas in a sleazy bar where sad women
swing their bodies like gaudy birds. My mind
lacking reason, like the money drunk elite, feigns
to comprehend the misery of splintered
nightmares in rundown ghettos, where cheap
wine is served and hotdogs are grilled over
coals of need in a rusted garbage can, while the
rich sailing on a yacht, slurp mimosas, eat $400
a tin caviar and gobble down fresh Dolphin meat
from Madagascar.

 

Weep No More Robin Williams

Weep not Robin…
For peace comes on summer’s wings,
As bards write poems to overcome
Your sadness, they will wipe away
Tragic tears from your lonesome being,
Awaken in your heart a sudden gladness:

Weep not Robin…
Eirene’s warm embrace
Will take you to higher and
Higher splendors of peace,
Expunging the dim world of your Darkened
rhyme under the bountiful Bouquet of a rose
covered arbor:

Weep not Robin…
Eleos will break the spell of your Darkened
night, and enclose in your Heart a gleaming halo
at dawn, she will Bring into your being a blissful
delight, And into your soul, she will create a
Rebirth, and a sweet song.

Leave a Comment

Filed under Poetry, Profile, The Writing Life

Find Your Inspiration at Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writers’ Wordshop

withSonia

Former Harrisburg Poet Laureate, Iya Isoke, poses with nationally acclaimed Black Arts poet & activist, Sonia Sanchez, performance poet Maria James-Thiaw and Wordshop founder, Nathaniel Gadsden, also a former Harrisburg Poet Laureate.

WWlogoLovingly known as “The Wordshop” to local poets, Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writer’s Wordshop is celebrating its 37th year as a hub for poetic expression in the Harrisburg area. Many published authors can look back to what they experienced at The Wordshop as being transformative and instrumental to their success. The Wordshop invites all budding writers and spoken word artists to join them Friday nights at 7 on the Second Stage at the Midtown Scholar Bookstore (1302 N 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA)  for Cafe Word. These open readings and educational workshops are free and open to the public. Here is what you can expect in December:

Friday, December 5th

“A Poetic Kwanzaa Celebration” with Harrisburg Poet Laureate Emeritus,

Dr. Nathaniel Gadsden

 

Friday, December 12th

“Poetic Interaction” with York City

Poet Laureate, Christine Lincoln

For more information about Nathaniel Gadsden’s Writer’s Wordshop, contact Wordshop advisory board member and poet, Maria James-Thiaw at events@mariathepoet.com.

1 Comment

by | November 18, 2014 · 9:06 pm

The “R” Word: Revision

There comes the point in the life of a writer when their work emerges from its dusty hiding place under the bed, or stops serving as a coaster on the night stand, or leaves the expansive margins of the Basic Algebra notebook. This is the moment when the budding writer steps out into the light, and makes the declaration to the world:

I am Communicator, Story Teller, Poet.

They claim their name and walk in that truth, but before their transformative process is complete, they must embrace one important part of the writing process: the dreaded R word! Continue reading

Leave a Comment

Filed under The Writing Life