Nonfiction in ten minutes or less

Apologies for missing a Thursday fellow writers. I recently went to the Austin SCBWI conference and it was phenomenal. If you every get a chance to go to an SCBWI conference and you write for kids, go! I still haven’t come down from the post summer-camp high of being in close proximity with so many amazing writers for two days. But I promised Thursday posts, and it must be Thursday still somewhere, (barely missed it here…I promise!) so here’s a book that is one of my new favorites for quick writes.

I have a family, part-time jobs, works-in-progress, and some chronic illness thrown in. Like most of us, I’m always juggling. But I’ve found when I can find time, even just ten minutes, I can create a little, stay connected to craft, and generally feel better. Because I do feel better when I create. Always. Especially, when I push myself and try something new.

This book sucked me with short exercises at the end of each short (did I mention short…) essays about writing by great nonfiction writers. I’m always looking for concrete things to try after reading about the process of an author I admire, and this one fits the bill.

From Lee Gutkind (founding editor of Creative Nonfiction, which you will love) helping you know not just to kill your darlings, but how to wield the knife to Hope Edelman’s specific strategy for pushing you to see the specifics in your characters, especially those so close to you their uniqueness might fade into the familiar, each phenomenal writer pushes you in different ways.

Pick it up. Try it. I did. And now I have the skeleton of an essay about the impact of social media when it intersects with death, not what I thought I’d write about at a playground. You’ll have to stay tuned for how it turns out. But for now, I am thinking about my writing differently, have a new tool in my writer’s pencil bag, and am excited, which is essential for me to keep going. I had ten minutes. I used it. My writing is better for it.

Have fun and happy writing!


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