Barbara Abercrombie blogs advice and inspiration for writers, plus anecdotes from her life as a writer on her Writing Time blog. She has taught award winning creative writing courses in the Writers' Program at UCLA Extension for the past twenty years and also conducts private writing retreats. Her fourteenth book, A Year of Writing Dangerously: 365 Days of Inspiration and Encouragement, was published by New World Library in 2012. Barbara's most recent books have been Courage & Craft: Writing Your Life Into Story, and an essay anthology, Cherished: 21 Writers on Animals They Have Loved & Lost (featuring Anne Lamott, Jane Smiley, Mark Doty etc.). Learn more at BarbaraAbercrombie.com.
An inspiring and encouraging collection of writing anecdotes, lessons, quotes, and prompts from A Year of Writing Dangerously. Includes "nuts-and-bolts solutions, hand-holding commiseration, and epiphany-fueling insights from fellow writers, and Abercrombie's students who have gone from paralyzed to published."
Through her years teaching writing at UCLA Extension, Barbara Abercrombie has heard repeatedly that writing is painful, scary, even dangerous. In this Q&A, Barbara discusses what dangerous writing means, why it's important, and how Writing Dangerously is different from other books on creative writing.
So you're sitting there reading this, your screen aglow, computer humming, and maybe you're thinking someday I'll start writing. Or: someday I'll go back to writing or: someday I'll dig out that story I started and finish it.
I realize there's comfort in numbers for writers. We all have a magic number, a formula for you. Write your own formula, your own numbers. A page a day? A poem a week? Ten minutes every morning for your journal? A chapter every month? Give yourself assignments and deadlines.
You read personal essays to understand your life, to find humor, to discover a new way of looking at the world. You write them for the same reasons. This kind of essay is about your journey through an experience, commonplace or traumatic any situation you've felt strong emotion about and what you learned or didn't learn from the experience.
We write personal non-fiction essays, memoir and autobiography not to gaze at our belly buttons and muse over how wonderful or awful our lives are, but to put down our own small, individual truth.
Writing your own history is a way to make sense of your journey through this world. And finding a way to be heard, expressing what you think and feel, and at the same time bringing order and meaning to your life isn't this why we all yearn to be creative?
Regular journal writing benefits emotional health and helps form a writing habit that will serve you well as you record life's little details.
Barbara Abercrombie teaches in the writing program at UCLA Extension. The author of novels, children's books, and many essays and articles in national publications, she also wrote A Year of Writing Dangerously. ...