Spirit of Writing: Week 1

(For the last 12 weeks of 2014, in thanks for my phenomenal year of growth here at Negression and in my overall writing life, I am offering my Spirit of Writing practices here. I have taught these lessons and sessions in schools, libraries and community programs. in Chicago and New York City. I will post new segments each Wednesday. Happy writing!)

Spirit of Writing is a simple, gentle introduction to the identity and professionalism of being a writer, in a format designed to boost confidence and practice.  No matter what level you have written to and no matter how long you have waited or stayed in denial of your true calling, you will finish with new belief in yourself and serious respect for the art of writing.  It would be helpful for you to pick up two practice-driven books, Pencil Dancing: New Ways to Free Your Creative Spirit by Mari Messer and The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing by various authors from Writer’s Digest books, articles, etc…

Handbook of Novel Writing Pencil Dancing

You can expect to boost confidence, clarify goals and determine if writing is something you wish to continue to pursue and a passion you wish to continue to feed. You should expect to give life, care and nourishment to singular ideas that often sprout with group momentum, encouragement, inspiration and guidance. You should expect to turn a solitary endeavor into a worthwhile and encouraging discipline to take you to higher goals. You should also plan to put time into at least 3 writing assignments, for your own self-development and growth.

Are You Serious?

People think because most of us can type or pick up a pencil to write, that “writing” is an easy possibility for anyone.  It is not. In fact, writing (either for a living or for a passion) can be one the most challenging, non-profitable and patience-testing artforms there is. The misperceptions of ease, accessibility and openness to anyone who can type or use a pencil have sentenced this much more challenging artform to higher floods of would-be-artists and “wannabes.” Some wanna be able to brag. Some wanna be famous. Some wanna be rich. Whatever it is, the limited opportunities for publication, dwindling shelf-space and crowded market must be considered and taken seriously if you want to do this.


1) Information about Richard Smolev, corporate lawyer and novelist. Smolev’s essay, “Why We Write: Life Seems Inconceivably Rich,” appeared in Poets & Writers Magazine in Jan/Feb 2014. On January 2014, Smolev succumbed to the ALS disease. He retired from law upon his diagnosis and used his last few years, up until the last few weeks of his life, to write fiction as he had always wanted to do.  Author Sandy Sonnenfeld’s tribute to Smolev in The Lyon Review.

2) Kalisha Buckhanon Gives Writing Advice, Part One.

EXERCISE: Find one important online article, video or literacy organization/publication page which addresses the state of publishing books, the Internet’s impact on print media and publishing, new media forms of publications and the publishing industry’s challenges with waning societal interest in reading.

Spirit of Writing

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