20 Challenges That Will Make You a Better Writer

1. Read a book written by someone who is different from you.2. Analyze the lyrics to your favorite song.3. Write for 100 days straight.4. Familiarize yourself with The Chicago Manual of Style.5. Sign up for The Hot Sheet. 6. Hire an editor. 7. Read poetry for a month.8. Talk to a stranger in line and make him…

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The Most Important Thing a Writer Can Have

It isn't a room of one's own (though it certainly helps). It isn't a fancy Mac or the nicest pen (not that I don't love those things). To quote Huey Lewis and the News: "It don't take money; it don't take fame."  It is something that is free, but it is hard to obtain (the rhyme…

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A Writing Lesson from Japan

It was a Thursday night in Tokyo. I was having a blast at a get-together with a bunch of ex-pats at a bar (the fast bonding that is depicted in Lost in Translation is real), but I was getting tired. I was still a bit jet-lagged (a thirteen-hour time difference is no joke), and my introvert…

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There’s No Writing Like Snow Writing

Today's newsletter is written by our very own Emily Hogenson! If you are lucky enough to live somewhere where it has already snowed, like I do, you may have already gotten in some snow writing. Snow writing is that wonderful writing that gets done when you are trapped inside, under a blanket; there is a…

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An Unexpected Writing Resource

Sometimes the internet is a dark place. A really, really dark place. But I've found a bright spot of sunshine. It's called I've Pet That Dog. What is this magic place of puppies and happiness? It is a Twitter account run by a young man named Gideon who takes pictures of cute dogs and writes…

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My (First) Writing Lesson from Japan

Where in the world have I been the last two weeks? I was in Japan! (Unlike Carmen Sandiego, I was unfortunately not wearing a red fedora.) While I have tons of great writing lessons for you, I decided to just give you one today. (Okay, okay, my jet lag has told me that I should…

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The Mythical Land of “Ready”

Once upon a time, I believed there was a land of "ready." When I reached this place, I would be transformed. Things I was currently afraid of or felt unprepared for would suddenly be easy. I would handle all those dreaded things with grace and perfectly. When I reached this place, the timing would always…

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A Back-to-School Assignment

Call me a nerd (I admit it freely), but one of my favorite things to do as a child was back-to-school shopping. While most of my peers were groaning about heading back into the classroom, I was clicking my heels at the prospect of buying a new Lisa Frank notebook or a Trapper Keeper. (My…

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Yet Another Permission Slip

Tomorrow is an exciting day for me; I am going to a writing retreat in the Hamptons. Am I going to lounge on a private beach? Yes. Am I going to look for Beyonce everywhere? Absolutely. Am I going to work on revising my latest novel? Nope. I am going to pause here until the…

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25 Writing Challenges

Write about an unusual scent. Tell a story about a silent world. Go to an art museum, and write a story about the first painting you see. Create a character about the fifth person you see on the street. Read the dialogue from your latest piece out loud. Write a romance with an ending that…

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