How to write - part one

My daughter is nine, she just pulled up some crazy good jazz to listen to while she works on her morning writing journal before class. One of the benefits of remote learning — she also wants to be able to listen to her own garageband compositions while she writes. This is what happens when you love kids and encourage music, art, writing. I have been exposing her to classical and rock and punk music but I think her teacher got her more into jazz.

I write these days in quiet or listening to ocean sounds. I used to like the sounds of cafes, people, before parenting and covid. I can listen to my daughter’s fourth grade class on zoom right now because it’s fun and this is not difficult writing for me, unlike say editing a memoir…

My fourth grade teacher Mrs. Price got me into reading books, like the Wind in the Willows, and other teachers after her praised my writing. Asimov really inspired me to want to be a writer of sci-fi, and I think Hesse and others got me into literature as a high schooler, Vonnegut also was a bridge from sci-fi, to literature. The Brothers Karamazov, Dante, Frost, Henry Miller, Melville. Thoreau was a bridge to zen. Joyce and Beckett were inspiring in college along with Coltrane and great to meet other people who supported me as a poet and writer in college in London. Dorothea Brande is also good. (She inspired me to start reading philosophy…)

Since I was in elementary school I have been considered a great writer. Teachers can be so critical from elementary up through college. In high school I started a great daily journal practice and in college started writing poetry and my first novel. Eventually I published that novel and after reading and publishing poetry also published a second novel and now have written several hundred pages for a memoir. Reading the Intensive Journal Workshop book in high school inspired me to write in my journal every day, even if it was only one word, and this habit was great and saved my life, probably, in my twenties. To be able to write every day is a great habit.

To be able to do other art like painting when I am blocked has also been good.

Here are some notes and ideas for what I hope is an ongoing series about how to write. Maybe this will help you also, hopefully not overwhelming….

How do you write a lot, daily, consistently, well?


in elementary school — teachers and my aunt jo ann

in london — friends who told me I was great

reading poetry live in my twenties to a very supportive group in Ohio. A great poetry teacher and other great teachers who helped me improve my writing.

obsessive writing in my 20s in philadelphia, wanting to be a great writer. Writing to stay sane and stay alive.

10k hrs. idea. Deliberate practice with and vs. inborn talent…

reading a lot and reading things that are different from your writing

using art and other things to overcome writer’s block

setting goals and writing a little bit every day or every week — it adds up

why no nanowrimo for me. editing and revisioning. The rough draft may not be that long, and the editing and revising can start to happen earlier, although not too early.

having a normal job and writing. Having a life and doing a lot of things and writing. Being a single dad and writing.

stay tuned bat-friends….suggestions?

Essays, poetry, and prose. Published novelist, working on memoir/ novel, art, and other things.

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