On Writing

In this section, I’ll share with you some of the insights I’ve found helpful in my path to becoming a writer. I’ll post some of the handouts I use in my classes, and sometimes add exercises and further thoughts on writing.

In this essay, I talk about the ways in which verbs can be emotional. You can read the essay, which appeared in the Draft column of the New York Times, here.

A rock made me into a writer. You can find out how this happened in my essay “The Accidental Writer,” which appeared in the Sunday New York Times Book Review, here. 

This is one of my favorite quotes on the creative process, from Martha Graham to Agnes de Mille: our mother passed on this quote, and I think it’s great.

“There is a vitality, a life force, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all time. This expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it.

It is not your business to determine how good it is, nor how valuable it is, nor how it compares withother expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep open and aware directly to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open.

No artist is pleased…there is no satisfaction whatever at any time. There is only a a queer, divine dissatisfaction. A blessed unrest that keeps us marching and makes us more alive than the others.”

Karen Bender’s Ten Commandments for Becoming a Writer

Read Karen Bender’s 10 Commandments for Becoming a Writer here.


Ten Ideas for Revision

Read Karen Bender’s 10 Ideas for Revision here.