The Writer's Notebook

Read and discuss articles on craft, critique, career advice, publishing, teaching, choosing an agent, or choosing the best creative writing program or conference.

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  • What is Literature of Witness?

    Ian King | December 2017

    Witnessing something, whether it be a great moment in history or the view from one’s window, is something we, as human beings, do all the time, arguably even when we are asleep, witnessing something or other in our dreams.

  • Research Beyond the Archives

    Julia Gordon-Bramer | November 2017

    Whether you have a term paper, a graduate thesis, or you’re planning to write a book, graduate writing students usually end up in library archives at some time in their academic career.

  • How to Make Your Literary Magazine More Inclusive

    Marlena Chertock | October 2017

    Creating a more inclusive journal is one of the biggest challenges editors face. The issue is inherent in their role as gatekeepers.

  • Creative Paradox: Writers Who Think “Inside” the Box

    Tess Callahan | September 2017

    From Miranda to Murakami, discerning writers reject the cliché: “think outside the box.” Instead, they custom-make boxes and wedge themselves inside.

  • Kindergarten, When You’re a Writer and a Solo Mom

    Alison Stine | August 2017

    At the door we say goodbye. He hugs me. I tell him I love him, hand him his lunch. He’s already shouldered on the backpack. His teacher shakes his hand, as she shakes the hand of all the children and wishes them good morning. He goes into the classroom determinedly. He doesn’t look back.

  • Making Poetry Pay: Five Ways to Increase Your Poetry Income

    Erika Dreifus | July 2017

    Not everyone writes poetry for financial profit. But for some writers, earning payment beyond bylines, copies, and karma matters. Sometimes, it matters a lot.

  • Talking to Neil Aitken about De-Canon and POC in the Creative Writing Classroom

    AWP | June 2017

    On Tuesday, June 20, a series of posts written by Neil Aitken for his site De-Canon: A Visibility Project came to the attention of AWP staff.

  • Eight Things This Fiction Writer Learned About Historical Research

    Leslie Pietrzyk | June 2017

    I’m not a natural researcher, so Lord only knows what I was thinking, deciding to write a novel set in 1899 in Chicago.

  • Fiction Hunger

    Askold Melnyczuk | May 2017

    Nearly every aspect of the world in which I was raised in Northern New Jersey had been translated from elsewhere.

  • "Off from the Center Like Horses": Structuring Short Story Collections

    Siân Griffiths | April 2017

    The seed of my question was selfish: I wanted to know how to put together a collection so that I could put together my own. I wanted a manual. I wanted how to.

  • Why Write?

    Daniel M. Jaffe | March 2017

    Having taught creative writing for more than twenty years, I am accustomed to the standard student questions of “why write?” and “why create art?” My replies about the importance of exploring self and helping readers feel less alone, although sincere, have grown somewhat formulaic and time-worn. Unexpectedly, a recent tour of Terezín, the Nazis’ ghetto-concentration camp outside Prague, has led me to renewed contemplation of writing’s value.

  • About Authorial Identity

    Ronald Goldfarb | February 2017

    The literary world is pondering the disclosure in the US and abroad, in four languages, that the books by internationally celebrated author Elena Ferrante, most noted for her quartet of novels (2011–2014) set in Naples, Italy, may have been written by her translator, Anita Raja.

  • The Challenge is Respect

    Colette Lunday | January 2017

    He was holding his hand to me and I could take it if I wanted to be a better writer.

  • Sounding Out Poetry

    Emily K. Michael | January 2017

    As a blind woman, I do not court silence. The absence of sound in the presence of other people often makes me apprehensive. With no audible messages, I’m left to wonder what others are thinking and doing.