Sunday, October 25, 2015

Before A Writing Coach Session

My writing coach sessions are writer-led. Unlike a class in which you are given an assignment, in a writing coach session you tell me what you are looking to accomplish.

This open-ended quality of a writing coach appointment can be inspiring or paralyzing. It is meant to be inspiring, of course.

Here is a list of things to think about before our first session. We will discuss most, if not all, of them:

What is your writing experience? 
What is your academic, professional, familial, linguistic and geographic background that might influence your writing?
What are your goals (short and long term)?
Why are these your goals and/or what motivates you?
Who is your audience? (Are you looking to publish in literary journals, sell your book or self-publish a book for your family and friends?)
How much time do you have to work on your project? 
What kind of feedback are you looking for? (Overall, line-by-line, or somewhere in between?)
How much direction do you want? (Should I be offering you prompts or do you already have an outline to follow?)
What do you like to read? 
Are you looking for a reading list? 
Do you attend readings, conferences, festivals, etc.?

I like to get to know my clients and understand them. My goal is to help them to intensify their own voices and, ultimately, find readers.

Click through for more on my services as a writing coach.

Monday, October 19, 2015

College Application Season: You'll get it done

High school students are starting - and finishing early! - their college applications and personal statements.

Ok, many are waiting until the last minute and are still frozen with anxiety.

Deep breath, folks. It will all get done. It must and it will.

Early applications are due as early as Nov. 1st. If you haven't started drafting your personal statement yet, start brainstorming now. What experiences in life influenced you? What would you love to do next?

Here's a three part starter prompt for almost any essay prompt: 
Take out a piece of paper and write down your most important moments. Then, write another list of what you wish to have happen. Finally, think about how experiences in college might be able to connect the two. This final step, in which you analyze and draw conclusions about your experiences and goals is the most important part of your essay.

Are you expected to know exactly who you will be in college? Of course not. (If you knew everything, why even go to college?) Do the college essay prompts suggest that you should? Unfortunately, yes. Focus on doing your best to present yourself clearly and fairly. It is expected that the classroom and campus learning experiences during college will change you, but you should have some insight into your experiences up to this point.

Believe in what you write and think at this point in our life. Try your hardest not to second guess yourself. No one at graduation will hold up your application essay and demand to know why you changed your mind after four years.

Give yourself some time each day to brainstorm, write and then edit and revise your essay. Read it first thing each morning, return to work on it in the afternoon and then read it again before you go to sleep. The time between drafts and the time thinking about it both actively and passively will help you to develop a clear essay.

You might also be interested in these posts:
Brainstorming Identity for your Personal Statement: Who are you?
College Application Essays: Think Inside Your Box
Valuing the Creative Side: Thoughts from Harvard Admissions

Need some one-on-one help? I'm available to work with you on your personal statement as your private writing coach. For more about my services, please see this link

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Presenting & Reading @ IASA in Washington, D.C.

I'm looking forward to presenting on two panels at the Italian American Studies Association's (IASA) annual conference in Washington, D.C., this Friday. Stop by and say, "ciao" if you're at the conference! More details here on IASA's website.

Added Value: Food as Symbol in Italian-American Writing
Participants: Chloe Yelena Miller and Rose Solari

Memoir in Contemporary Italian-American Poetry: Balancing Family and Values
Participants: Chloe Yelena Miller, Joey Nicoletti, Rachel Guido De Vries

Monday, October 5, 2015

Quotation & Creativity

I've always liked this quote by the painter Georgia O'Keeffe:

I like an empty wall because I can imagine what I like on it.
    - Georgia O'Keeffe

I've come back to this quote as it relates to writing. Yes, you should always read. But you should also write the book you want to read. That is to say, fill the blank pages.

In or around Santa Fe? Visit the museum dedicated to her work.