21 Tips for Writers [in 21 Days] for 2011


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21 Tips for Writers  

[in 21 Days]






Revise with your heart.

"Become more expressive, with a love of language and all its uses. Revise with your heart in your hand."     

~ Merridawn Duckler, Attic Institute Faculty 








Do not wait for the muse.

"The act of writing always creates more writing!"   

Matthew Dickman, Attic Institute Faculty 






St. Patrick's Day edition





Make it hot.

"Do not wait till the iron is hot, but make it hot by striking." 


~ W. B. Yeats








"Writing a story or a novel is one way of discovering sequence in experience, of stumbling upon cause and effect in the happenings of a writer's own life."     

~ Eudora Welty 









Write short.

"A snapshot, a fragment, a sentence -- these are often as informative, useful and interesting as a great long piece. "     

Katrina Hays, Attic Faculty  








Take a walk.

"Be a stranger in your own neighborhood.

Look out for nuance and texture"    

~ Rebecca Koffman, Attic Faculty







Write it.

"If there's a book you really want to read

but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it." 

~ Toni Morrison









Dig deep.


"Into the research, the structure, and the writing. " 


~ Elizabeth Rusch, Attic Institute faculty 









Devour every morsel.


"I love teaching students who want to devour every morsel of knowledge that makes them a better writer and appreciator of writing. I hope my students realize that their "success" isn't based on that ephemeral thing we call talent; it's about what they put into into the process -- what they're willing to put into it -- that makes them great writers." 


~ Liz Prato, Attic Institute faculty 







The one and only thing.


"Don't try to figure out what other people want to hear from you; figure out what you have to say. It's the one and only thing you have to offer. " 


~ Barbara Kingsolver





Sit down.


"You sit down and you do it, and you do it, and you do it, until you have learned to do it."


~ Ursula K. Le Guin







Delete it.


Substitute 'damn' every time you're inclined to write 'very'; your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be."


Mark Twain








"My students make my happy -- I love the discussions, the eye-opening moments, the passion and drive. Especially that moment  where they tackle whatever writing bugaboo has haunted them forever, and they win the fight."


~ Shanna Germain, Attic Institute faculty







Know about grammar.



"Grammar is a piano I play by ear. All I know about grammar is its power."


Joan Didion









Stand up.



"How vain it is to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live."


~ H. D. Thoreau










"Writing is not a job description. A great deal of it is luck. Don't do it if you are not a gambler because a lot of people devote many years of their life to it. I think people become writers because they are compulsive wordsmiths." 

~ Margaret Atwood   





Type a little faster.



"If my doctor told me I had only six minutes to live, I wouldn't brood. I'd type a little faster."

~ Isaac Asimov








Give up.



"I don't know much about creative writing programs.

But they're not telling the truth if they don't teach,

one, that writing is hard work, and, two, that you

have to give up a great deal of life, your personal life,

to be a writer." 

~ Doris Lessing






"The business of the poet and novelist is to show the

sorriness underlying the grandest things, and the

grandeur underlying the sorriest things."

~ Thomas Hardy








"I am inclined to think that as I grow older I will

come to be infatuated with the art of revision, and

there may come a time when I will dread giving up a

novel at all."

~ Joyce Carol Oates







Be fascinated.



"Even if my marriage is falling apart and my children

are unhappy, there is still a part of me that says,

'God, this is fascinating!'"


~ Jane Smiley

A Statement of Our Values

The Attic Institute of Arts and Letters opposes the legitimation of bigotry, hate, and misinformation. As a studio for writers, we do not tolerate harassment or discrimination of any kind. We embrace and celebrate our shared pursuit of literature and languages as essential to crossing the boundaries of difference. To that end, we seek to maintain a creative environment in which every employee, faculty member, and student feels safe, respected, and comfortable — even while acknowledging that poems, stories, and essays delve into uncomfortable subjects. We accept the workshop as a place to question ourselves and to empathize with complex identities. We understand that to know the world is to write the world. Therefore, we reaffirm our commitment to literary pursuits and shared understanding by affirming diversity and open inquiry.