Writing by Hand vs. Laptop and a Trick to Better Stories

This week I started writing my fiction longhand. I’ve always been a laptop guy, but my writing professor this semester recommended we all try writing with pen and paper. Typing lets you go as fast as you want, lets you follow a train of thought without missing a beat. I always thought writing longhand was inferior because of this. If I think faster than I write, why ever abandon my trusty Mac? Well, I gave it a shot, and I’m here to say that I’m gonna write longhand for the foreseeable future. It’s slower, sure, but it feels more deliberate. …

What Is an MFA and Why I Applied

Over the last few months, a few creative friends asked me about my plans for after graduation. I told them I was applying to get a Creative Writing MFA, and a handful of them asked, “What’s that?” These are people who have awed me with their work in class. This post is for them and any other creatives unaware of an opportunity to practice their craft (and get paid.) Creative Writing MFAs usually last two or three years and can be pursued in fiction, poetry, or creative nonfiction. You participate in writing workshops, learning from fellow graduate students and your …

Stress and Waiting

You want to know now if you got that job or got accepted into graduate school. But you can’t, of course, so you wait anxiously until you find out, postponing the good times until everything’s just right. But that mentality won’t let you live. You need to take a step back and realize that there will always be something you’re waiting for. “I’ll be happy/relaxed/satisfied/ready when (fill in the blank) happens.” I’m sure you’ve said something like that to yourself, and it’s something I was forced to think about during my MFA application process—which I’m done with, thankfully. It got …

Happy Birthday, GaryVee!

I’m a young novelist in a world that tells young novelists they’ll just be unemployed. When I tell someone that writing fiction is my plan for after college, I know what they mean by the blank stare or the deadpan “That’s cool.” My family still tells me to go to law school. But voices like Gary’s help me back to what I love, back to center, back to the certainty that nothing does it for me like working on a novel day after day after day. I’m sure he’ll go down as one of the greats because he inspires millions …

How I Let My Creativity Flow

Writing—or doing anything risky—will always trigger self-doubt. Always. The key is to immerse yourself in the process of writing consistently and allow yourself to watch the story unfold. That way, doubts won’t dominate your mind. This post is about letting your creativity flow. I’ve been tasked with writing a 20-page story for my Creative Writing workshop class, due Monday, and it’ll be critiqued in class Wednesday. All week, whenever I sat down to write this story, I couldn’t get the class out of my head. I couldn’t forget the critical gaze of “the reader.” So I judged every word. There …