Writing Wishes Can Come True

heavysnow 2Photograph by Ellen Blum Barish

Is the prospect of a long, cold winter weighing you down?

Revise that old script you have for winter.  It’s a great time to get back to your writing!

If you’ve been thinking about working with a writing coach, but the price has kept you from giving it a try, this is the time!

Until December 31st, 2013, I’m offering  a 25% discount for a one-hour coaching session and a 30% discount for three or more sessions. So if you are working on a personal essay for publication or pleasure, a memoir, a family history, dissertation, academic paper or essay for college or graduate school applications, take advantage of this first-time-ever fee!

If you were thinking about purchasing coaching time for a friend, consider a gift certificate at this greatly reduced price. Certificates are good for 2014 but must be purchased before December 31, 2013.

For more information about this holiday purchase price or gift certificates, email me at ellen@ellenblumbarish.com.

All the best for this holiday season. Hope to see you in 2014!

Warm wishes,

Ellen

 

 

 

 

 

Writing as Risk

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She’s writing a memoir of that year in Paris to remember. He wrote the academic journal article on book preservation for professional advancement. She’s finishing a personal essay on that anxious stretch of time during her pregnancy for fun. He described how his dreams inform his painting for that college application essay. She wrote a summary of a medical journal article for a school assignment.  He’s putting the final touches on a collection of essays on family life that spans fifty years for posterity.

Writers bring their words to the page or screen for a range of reasons and in a multitude of forms. But with each project – work I’ve been witnessing from my private coaching clients – no matter what the mission, there is risk in the writing.

There’s so much at stake. Hurting someone’s feelings. Inaccuracy. Negative response. Rejection. Changing your mind. Putting your work out there. Getting your work out there, and not feeling seen or heard. Like taking a running leap from a lush green pasture into a white, open sky.

Continue reading “Writing as Risk”

Summer Isn’t Just for Reading

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Photo by Ellen Blum Barish

With its flood of light, summer may be time to read, but for those of us who like to write, it is, most definitively, writing season. Time to curl up on your favorite armchair with your laptop on your knees or sprawl on a café table with a Sharpie and a yellow legal pad. Pick your position and your tools. Read something well written. Add a well-selected prompt. Claim 20 minutes (30 if you can!) Mix in a deadline, some friendly feedback and you have, most definitively, impetus to write.

If you are looking to rouse slackened writing muscles or just keep them from atrophying, let me help facilitate. I’m teaching two writing workshops this summer – a six-week Tuesday evening workshop and an eight-week Wednesday afternoon workshop to accommodate all schedules.

Identify the stories that are circling around you, stalking you, or taunting you to write them, and transform them into personal essays, memoir, or even short fiction in my Tuesday evening workshop titled “Find Your Story” at StoryStudio Chicago beginning on June 4th.

If you can’t get enough of personal essays, then consider my Wednesday afternoon workshop at New Trier Extension that starts June 5. In this eight-week workshop, “A Close Look at Personal Essay,” we’ll read essays that fall into themes and write our own based on our discussions. You can find the online catalogue here (go to page 38 for the workshop description and details), and fill out the online form or register by phone at (847) 446-6600.

It’s easy to keep that picture of yourself writing in your head. This summer, commit to taking it from your imagination to the page. Feel free to email me with questions or if you’d like me to direct to one of my former or ongoing students. You can learn more about my background and teaching style here.

Or, if you’re thinking you’d rather do this without a group – one-to-one –  I’m scheduling private coaching sessions this summer utilizing my workshop readings and assignments so you can join in from the comfort of home via screen or phone receiver.

May the words you read this summer be your own!

 

 

 

 

 

Great Openings

“Trailing plastic tubes, Paul made his way across the room, steeped in twilight, and I was struck by how the body sometimes looks like the sea creature it is, a jellyfish with long tentacles, not really a fish at all but a gelatinous animal full of hidden symmetries, as well as lagoons and sewers, and lots of spongy and stringy bits.”

This is the opening line of my favorite memoir of 2012,  Diane Ackerman’s One Hundred Names for Love: A Memoir.  It sets a scene, paints a picture and gives us something to think about all at the same time (“a gelatinous animal full of hidden symmetries”). 

What’s particularly amazing about this memoir is that it manages to braid a love story with a story of a healing, a mission to educate about stroke and celebrate love of language.

Here’s Diane and Paul in a short Youtube video about the book: