Summer mini-writing workshop: On nonfiction writing


Providing examples of pitches or query letters can help your reader; if they find your information useful, they’ll be coming back for more, maybe even sharing your ideas. 

I have found, in reading my old posts, how much my mind was changed because life changed it for me. That’s what makes more personal posts like a time capsule—a polished journey entry or historical document—depicting not just my life but how I saw my life and where I saw myself.

We all have our personal histories (or herstories). The story has already been lived; it is simply up to the writer to write it well.

I love to write about the writing process or the story behind the story; sometimes, these overlap.

The personal essay is the art of self-reflection. (It is not a sermon.) I learn more about myself by writing this way; by asking the questions, I am not seeking the answers, but rather, the answer comes to me.

We all have our reasons for writing. What does writing mean to you? What does it do for you? How has it improved your life?

It isn’t just the big moments, but the little moments that make up the big moments.

What helps you with your writing might help someone else with theirs. Share your writing habits and start new ones.

Finding the extraordinary in the ordinary is part of being a writer. The more you write, the more aware you become of the subtleties—those specificities that illuminate your narrative.

Keep a list of life lessons; in every one of them, there is a story.

Being relatable is what endears you to your readers. After all, who cannot relate to working in customer service?

There are just-so stories and things that are just not so.

We all have personal geographies—places we’ve been that helped shape us or at least changed our perspective.

When you write from memory and personal experience, research isn’t required. You get to know yourself better through writing about what, or who, you know best.

Will your story be one of redemption or contamination? I try to live the story I want to tell or the story I want someone to tell about me.

We all have our words of wisdom (or foolishness), which make great list poems.

Query letters (not to be confused with cover letters) are an art form. Think of them as appetizers that will make your readers want you to read the main course (i.e., the book). Query letters should be informative and entertaining. They should leave the reader wanting more.

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