I’ve recently turned a longtime dream into a reality: I’ve published a book of lesson plans for teachers who use Sin and Syntax in the classroom. This is something I have been working on since 2008. I kept adding to the lesson plans, teaching more workshops, expanding my dream, and imagining the day when I would stop tinkering, seriously edit them, find a copy editor, and put the materials into some more credible form than a Word document. This material is now an e-book.
advice for writers
Today I’m excited to announce that I’ve just turned a longtime dream into a reality: I’ve published a book of lesson plans for teachers who use Sin and Syntax in the classroom. Its 372 pages come with ideas for discussions, in-class exercises, homework assignments, handouts, answer keys, and even a big grammar test. There are readings galore, of my heterodox favorite passages (from Charlotte Brontë to Muhammad Ali!).
A friend and colleague recently shared an experience on social media that I, and many other professional writers, could relate to. When an aspiring writer approaches you for feedback or advice beyond what you have the capacity to give freely, how do you graciously decline?
Ernest Hemingway, I’ll bet, was not a fan of books on writing—or things like MFA programs. His advice to novelists was famously pithy: “Write hard and clear about what hurts.” But many of us find solace in the advice of others, and need inspiration when we get stuck.
As the authors of, between them, eight books, the faculty at the 2015 Mokulē‘ia Writers Retreat will draw on wide experience as they share their wisdom with writers at the Hawaii gathering. They’ll have a whole week to guide writers through exercises, but we asked them to share just one secret with readers of this blog.
Last September, the New York Times Book Review introduced a new section called Bookends. Each week two writers respond to a question about writing and the book world.
One question that stood out to me was “‘Write what you know’—helpful advice or idle cliché?” That was asked of Zoe Heller and Mohsin Hamid in March, 2014. Both Heller and Hamid get to the heart of what the adage truly means, that writing what you know can extend beyond just your personal experiences.
Because I work with writers to develop, edit, and polish stories—and then place them in top publications—I’ve developed some tips that have helped me make it as a freelance writer. These suggestions cover the business of freelancing, rather than the craft of writing.