Tag Archives: Podcasts

Week Three: Summer 2018 Online Writing Group

It’s the third week of this summer’s online writing group — and I’m already behind! We’re about to get a blog pile-up. (like when you’ve been waiting 17 minutes for the #65 Grand Avenue bus and then three show up all at once? it’s like that.)

And when we start writing, nothing will stop us!


Via Giphy



Week Three goals are a little different. I hope to spend a few minutes each day this week brainstorming very high level plot ideas for a story. I’ve been struggling to get anything written, so perhaps if I change strategies and first try to figure out what to write, that will help.


Alissa (goals coming soon!)


Amy (goals coming soon!)


Anne D.

My goal this week is to work some more on a piece that I started in my bachelor’s program.


Anne H.

As predicted, I didn’t get anything done this week on my course project, though I did go to two intense conferences.

Next week’s goal is a comprehensive list of lessons.



Week Two accomplishments: I wrote TWO blog posts, mailed my letters, and organized some notes for the new letter I’m working on. The garden and chicken run were flooded Monday night. The chickens are fine. Jury is still out on the garden. So I’ve been dealing with the various muddy messes, moping, and worrying about our poor tomatoes.

Week Three goals: continue work on the letter; do another blog post, stop feeling sorry for myself. I will start a gratitude journal!


Connor (goals coming soon!)



Joe Goals: I didn’t do the thing I said I’d do! I’m going to work up to it, instead. I’m having a game night with some friends soon, so I’m going to try and write a decent scenario for them. I’ll also play around with some exercises. (Joe, 97% of the time I don’t do the thing I said I’d do. Welcome to the party.)



I continue to be a terrible group leader, posting our updates late and not getting myself into a pattern or schedule of any kind. I’ve been working ten hour workdays because our campus is closed on Fridays; and since I don’t like to do personal writing at work, and since I’m wiped out after a ten hour workday, I collapse into the couch and stare at the t.v. or a book instead of writing.

This is just an excuse — and not a good one — and I will get my shit together this week to write.



I did not do so well this week. Too much summer happening over here!

My goal for week three is to finish the poem I started this week. (Lisa, I love that you’re working on poetry!)



So my second week goal was going to be finish the middle few pages of the story I was revising. Going into this group, I just made my third switch of narrator in this damn story but realized I picked the right narrator finally, I just had to do a lot of rewrites to get the events I’d already written properly in her perspective. I made slow progress all week — a few hundred words a day — but was starting to doubt the plot. This afternoon, on a long minivan ride down to Oak Brook with my kids, I realized I don’t have one story with two plot threads — I have two totally different stories. I wrote (in my head) the first hundred or so words of a completely new version of one of those two stories and then ignored my kids for ten minutes while I frantically typed the new draft into a note on my phone once we got where we were going.

Goal for week three? Finish a first draft of one of these two new splinter stories.



I hit my (very minimally ambitious) goal to “start writing” my short story. It is kind of a stream-of-consciousness handwritten mess but it’s better than the blank page that was there before!

This week, I plan to work further on this draft and get closer to my target word count.



Report: wrote 3,456 words this week. The goal was 7,000, so I did about half. This next week I‘ll be in Florida for the rocket launch, with my daughter’s experiment (sending bees to the International Space Station!), so I don’t expect to get much written, maybe one or two thousand words. I‘m getting close to finishing the first draft of the novel. Exciting!


Sarah (goals coming soon!)


This week I wanted to focus on academic writing. We have a couple of writers this summer who are doing academic writing projects, and other writers in this group and past groups have done research-based academic writing during earlier sessions. And while the ideas about project management, writing schedules and routines, and sticktoitiveness (not a word) apply across all writing forms and styles, there are myriad differences between creative and academic projects.

For any of you doing or thinking about doing academic writing, I recommend listening to the Research in Action podcast produced by Oregon State University.


The most recent episode (#118) featured an interview with Dr. Nancy Segal, a psychology professor at California State University Fullerton. Segal studies twins and has written extensively, publishing her own books as well as contributing chapters and articles to other publications.

Dr. Katie Linder, the host of the RIA podcast, asked Dr. Segal how she approaches the different audiences she write for: the academic, expert audiences she writes for when contributing to peer reviewed journals, and the general audience she writes for when composing her own books or giving lectures at a non-academic conference. Segal had this to say about how she makes the adjustment:

So what I tend to do is I imagine myself having a conversation with people and I talk about the same findings, the same concepts as I would in a more scientific setting, but I just try to make the concepts more understandable, much clearer, really trying to explain to somebody who is hearing it for the first time—giving examples. (Segal, RIA Episode #118 Transcript)

She also mentions that giving talks to mothers of twins groups helped her figure out the best ways to explain her concepts and findings to non-expert audiences. She gave a number of talks to groups like this, and it allowed her to “polish up” her explanations to make them the clearest and easiest to understand for the general audience.

And that, writers, is your task for this week: find a person or small group of people who are not experts in the field, who don’t know the jargon, and who will not immediately get the context or intent of what you’re writing. Let them read your writing and be open to their feedback. It’s likely they’ll ask you to define or clarify terms, or to include more detail for a step you may have glossed over because you’ve thought about it and done it hundreds (thousands) of times. Listen to what they have to say, and then revise.

Good luck, and write on!


Week Six Summer 2017 Online Writing Group

It’s week six of the Summer 2017 Online Writing Group — we’re closing in on the summer and on our project goals!

Here are our week six goals.

Week Six Goals:


I need a Patriot Pass for last week, but I’m continuing with Gardner this week.


Week 6: I am going on vacation and will keep a journal of my trip.


This week, I have two goals:

1.  Continue with writing and revising my Library Assessment course group project of doom.
2.  Continue to find and annotate sources for my Law Librarianship course in advance of Thursday’s online workshopping session (nothing like a deadline to make me produce words)!


I didn’t make progress on my creative writing, but I did some writing for my graduate class. This week I need to write another annotated bibliography, and catch up on my blog posts.


Last week was fun, but I got NO writing accomplished.
This week, I hope to write five pages.


Week 5: Revised a few more pages of my short story, continuing with the third-person-to-first-person conversion I started last week. Realized I still had some logistical and motivational issues to sort out in the plot, so I started thinking through those as I revised (eliminating altogether some of the passages that had troubled/bored me the most upon my initial re-read).

Week 6: Complete revisions (ahem, again) while doing some research into antique reselling and siblings screwing each other out of family heirlooms, since that is the key backstory in my short story, and there’s just not enough detail there yet to make it fully come to life.


Admittedly I’ve been slacking a bit this week with writing group—but mostly because I’ve been writing other things, so that’s good, right?? (YES!) One of the essays I’d written last year (around the time of winter writing group, actually) is being published later this week, so I’ll cheat a little and say that was an accomplishment :/ This week is a little crazy at work and I know I’m going to have limited creative energy, so I’ll shoot to go through my old notebooks and flesh out some of the stuff I’ve written before, to stock up for my blog. Love that low-hanging fruit!


This week wrote 4,153 words. Next week’s goal is 7,000.


Coming soon…


This week’s resource post is about listening: listening to the people around you and finding other resources to listen to.

I tell my creative writing students that good listening skills are essential to writers. We need to listen when others talk if we’re going to write realistic and believable dialogue; and we need to listen to what people say to identify what they’re revealing and what they’re hiding. We learn someone’s life story by listening to what they say, but we learn someone’s character by identifying what they leave out.

We also need to listen to the world around us because it’s our environment that provides the richest details for our writing: we just have to pay attention. Right now, there’s a garbage truck rolling through my neighborhood, picking up and dumping trash cans. The cans aren’t really cans at all, but thick rubber, and the sounds they make thudding back on the ground from the truck’s fork lift is an uneven thud. The truck’s brakes gives a dirty sounding wheeze whenever it stops in front of another house, and I can hear that it’s about three houses away.

We can also seek outside resources to listen to in the form of podcasts. I’m a huge fan of podcasts, and because they’ve become so popular in the past few years, there seems to be a series for everything and everyone. It’s not surprising, then, that there are tons of writing podcasts out there. One of my favorite reading websites, Book Riot, put together a list of good podcasts for writers.

Some series are long and some are short; some you’ll love and some you will…not love. But there’s something in there for everyone, so give them a listen!

Until next week, writers: keep your ears open and your pencils ready.

Write on!