Archive for Classes

Had Enough? Conquer Writer’s Block!

Conquering Writer’s Block, Winter dates TBD

Stuck? Fear-filled? Can’t write?

writers.block

  • He read nightly about how to write from a stack of books at his bedside, sometimes realizing he never kept a pad and pen handy; maybe tomorrow…
  • She dreamed of writing for the movies but prided herself on being her own harshest critic; she overthought every creative choice and never finished the first screenplay.
  • His hero and muse was an 80-year old writer with a stellar career and a case full of awards; the young writer felt he could never measure up, foundering at 21.
  • She argued with anyone who dared read and comment on her work; her novel was never revised or published.
  • He had a hit with his first published book; he became paralyzed thinking lightning doesn’t strike the same place twice and never wrote again.

Every reason not to write has an opposite reason TO write. And you have a choice—choose to believe you can write, use your creativity to find the right path, and put action to your belief!

Conquering Writer’s Block is a 3-week workshop designed to crack the code to your block and get you writing. Through personal writing for clarity and group discussion for perspective, you will discover the limiting messages you feed yourself and gain the courage to stop your creative malnourishment and grow a healthy writer’s consciousness.

  • She had so many stories to tell that she didn’t know where to start; she wrote one story, received encouragement and quickly picked another story to write next.
  • He felt too emotionally distraught to write, trapped for weeks in the same loop; he wrote his fears on paper to witness and release them, clearing the space to persevere with his poetry.
  • She has 5 kids, ranging in age from elementary school to college; when they went to school, she “went to school” and finished her novel.
  • He has noise sensitivity to loud neighbors, TVs, and barking dogs that stole focus; he used his creativity and available resources to give himself the calm he needed to write.
  • She bogged down in personal issues while writing memoir; she discovered fiction, freely changing details and perspective in a way to share what had been impossible to consider sharing.

As you share your work with yourself, build upon the ability to share your writing with others. You will learn how to compassionately protect yourself from reviewers’ slings and arrows, transforming critiques into the gift of feedback…and continue writing.

Conquering Writer’s Block, Winter dates TBD

Procrastination’s Pull

For the ongoing Creative Writers Workshop, a month off is unusual. Before the break, all members affirmed the writing they planned to accomplish.

Upon return, two revealed how their steady flow of writing halted through research.

researchOne writer is drafting fiction within the setting of the politics, culture, and landscape of her birth country. In her weeks off, she stumbled upon information on the hospital system, discovering fascinating facts about how colonizers had built many of these structures.

“After lots of reading, I downloaded and printed a picture of one hospital,” she shared, “then I didn’t do anything with it.” She paused, then admitted the new found history had nothing to do with her story, and honestly, the internet searches had become her “escape route.”

Another writer, striving for accuracy in her memoir about family, has the gift of diaries and letters from several relatives. There were also judicial proceedings involving them in her early childhood, and she has a bound copy of transcripts more dense than a bible.

“I know there’s a companion with some great dialogue in it, but I’ve exhausted all avenues to find a copy. It may have been lost in a fire,” she said with conflicting hints of defeat and lingering determination.

After weeks of research, these writers, who usually produce 2000 or more words each week, had only the 2000 or less they showed up with.

Though research is incredible ground to build upon and important to the reality created in fiction and nonfiction, I reminded them research isn’t the story. The researched details are unique and often vital, but the universality the reader connects with is the humanity of the characters and the conflicts involved in the story.

Researching is a great place for ideas before drafting, and wonderful to secure details during the revision process, but get the story down first. Unless the exactness of the hospital’s location or the court testimony is crucial to the story, leave them for later. Don’t abandon the flow of writing to check facts or create mountains of info looking for a burst of inspiration. Use your imagination, talent with words, and craft with storytelling. These are your finest resources for writing and always at hand.

Teen Instruction: Academic Coaching

Recently, my Academic Coaching was successful for two students, ages 13 and 15. 

teen.4One prepared creative writing and dramatic monologue auditions for an arts magnet school, learning new approaches to excel in writing and presentation.  On her first try, she was accepted!

The other, a high school freshman, worked on getting up to speed with the Common Core Georgia Performance Standards requiring writing and reading in every class.  This former A student was blindsided by the increased workload.  Suddenly, homework was taking five times longer.

Her mother wrote, “Our initial face-to-face meeting with Wayne was amazing.  He brought concepts and strategies to a level she understands, really getting her attention by using analogies between writing and dance, her passion.  He helped her examine and break information into manageable pieces, then organize her thoughts and work to make the writing process more natural.    She meets weekly via telephone and likes his clear explanations.  I like her positive progress and how he encourages her to come up with a solution rather than providing it.”

This student grasped new study strategies and was on the winning track in less than 6 weeks!

Read other success stories about a teen needing confidence, another needing an attitude adjustment, a college hopeful, and a real job seeker.

My work with teens has included students from public, private and home schools.  During six years as a certified tutor, I’ve work with college freshmen, sophomores, dual enrollment learners (ages 16 and up), as well as students from cultures around the world.  I get them to talk, ask questions, and reveal what they want and need.  I start with the skills they possess, have them recognize this, then celebrate each new achievement as they move forward.

*Academic Coaching available by appointment

Teen Writer Success: ‘Real Job’ Seeker

Academic Coaching available

Writing resumes and cover letters can be daunting to students.  This rite of passage on the track from school to career forces them to truthfully examine their lives and, perhaps more difficult, write persuasively about it.

Sixty students piled in the classroom equipped for 25 at my workshop for freshmen at Georgia Perimeter College in Clarkston.

teen writer 4I showed them what the resume and letter represent and the basics of how to craft good ones, then I talked about common mistakes, answering their many questions along the way:

“All I’ve done is study, and I feel like I can’t get a job because I don’t have any work experience?  What can I do?” the student lamented.

“Well, you could give up,” I replied.  The student laughed.  “OR you could highlight the work you’ve achieved — school, extracurricular activities and volunteering.  Employers understand this for an entry level job.  Starting right where you are is perfect!”

“I was thinking I would put my resume on orange paper to get their attention.”  His large personality was even brighter.  “What do you think about that?”

“Well, it will definitely get their attention AND you’ll be remembered. . .but not necessarily for the reason you want.”  Everybody laughed.  “You’re not inviting someone to a party.  You’re showcasing your skills, experience and goals, plus showing how you can fit in the culture of a working environment.  Now if the business throws parties…!”

“I’m from St. Thomas,” she said, her accent thick and her English flawless.  “I removed all my experience gained on the island because it’s another country, but now there’s not much left in my resume.”

“Of course there isn’t!  You’re 19!  Leave your experience in,” I grinned as I saw her sigh in relief.  “Who knows?  St. Thomas could be your foot in the door.  Then it’s up to you.  Never discount your story.”

In the days after the seminar, several students worked with me privately.  One in particular was charged to get his resume out for an open position he really wanted.  The next week, he announced, “I’ve got an interview!”

I coached him on preparedness in answering typical questions like “where do you want to be in three years?” as well as those from his resume.  I even gave him hints about what power tie to wear.

The following week, he came back in.  His enthusiasm was still good, but he informed me he didn’t get the job.

“I wish you had gotten it,” I said, “but that position did its work anyway, huh?”

He shrugged.

“Well, it got you on the fast track to a great resume AND gave you experience in interviewing, both very good things in only a week!”

“You’re right,” he said. “I found two more ads I’m answering today.”

With great attitude and focus to move forward, he’s onward and upward at 18.

This student knows his future starts now.

Here’s another story about Teen Writer Success.

*Academic Coaching available by appointment

Disclaimer —  It’s true: writers write what they know, and, yes, I write from my experiences.  However, all characters and situations in my stories are fictitious fusions, creative amalgamations.  Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, or real interactions with me are purely coincidental.