Resources and posts about the writing process

Nurturing Creativity

2019-11-12T01:14:21+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Perhaps one of the most challenging and time consuming stages of my writing process is finding out what I want to write. Finding an idea—a good idea is essential.

I have often tormented myself sitting down across from a blank screen. However, this is not where my ideas generate. I discovered that […]

Beyond Rules

2020-03-31T23:40:04+00:00Tags: , , , |

I recently went through a box of ephemera from high school, including old essays. Each one I read started with a dictionary definition. According to Merriam-Webster, rigid (adj.) means inflexibly set in opinion, or strictly observed. I think an English teacher told me that one possible way to start an introduction is to define a […]

Using Richard Feynman’s Technique for Writer’s Block

2019-11-17T00:35:12+00:00Tags: , , , , , , |

Richard Feynman was a Nobel Prize winning physicist who famously challenged colleagues to explain difficult concepts in simple language rather than “hide behind” the esoterica and arcane language of their fields.  A popular faculty member at CalTech, Feynman was dedicated to ensuring that his students learned the material rather than simply relying on rote memorization […]

Finding Clarity Despite the Clutter

2018-11-19T16:49:44+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Like many, I multi-task throughout the day, juggling various responsibilities at the computer. Today, I’m juggling emails, finishing reports, editing texts, and writing this reflection.  If I am not careful, a variety of documents stack upon each other on my screen, and multiple internet browsers lie open, tempting me to explore […]

Rethinking Writer’s Block

2019-11-18T22:28:58+00:00Tags: , , , , |

“I’m not a writer. I don’t want to become a writer. I just want to finish this document. Could you wordsmith it for me?” I hear this, or something like it, all the time at work. If someone really has to put some words down, they follow up with, “I can’t write. I have writer’s […]

A Tale of Two Sentences

2019-11-20T04:21:20+00:00Tags: , , , , |

Every good thing I have written has two introductions: one for the reader, and one for myself. The former is my objective, but I inevitably begin first drafts with the latter. These rough beginnings clarify my topic and jump-start my thinking. Consider this example from an old first draft:

“Vietnamese politics in the twentieth century were […]