As founder and co-editor of River Heron Review, I blog regularly about writing strategies, maintaining a writing practice, and living the writer’s life at the GBH (Great Blue Heron). 

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Most writing shared in writers’ groups and workshops are early draft pieces. So why not call them what they are?  If you are sharing a first or early draft, introduce the writing accordingly. If it helps, share that this is a new piece, a first draft, a piece that has not been revisited and let the others in the group respond in kind. Just don’t verbally put your writing down.

2. Write What You Can
Most masterpiece’s are not created in one writing session. Sure, we’ve all been at the reading where someone gets up to announce that what they are about to read was just written that morning, and sometimes those pieces are surprisingly good. But most times, they are not yet close to what they could be in a more finished form. For most of us, good writing usually takes time.

Are you identifying the moments in your writing which call for a deeper delve into the details? Do you catch those phrasings, which provide a near perfect set-up for the insertion of new metaphor, imagery, or backstory? I call these moments entry points. Are you utilizing them?

If you’re not, you need to reconsider your writing strategy.

To begin writing is to often begin in medias res., in the middle of things. You start where you can. For many writers, especially those who are inexperienced, jumping right into the midst of a first draft and staying with it requires the letting go of any doubts, and insecurities. You have to just go with it.

In addition to getting some actual writing completed, every writer needs to be attentive to the health of their personal writing practice. Here are three recommended tried and true tips to help you maintain a writing practice that is viable, consistent, and productive.

Thus, the same idea of looking closely and critically at a working draft applies. When I print out a hard copy draft and am readying to refine it, I am looking for anything that appears out of place or that could be further fine-tuned for clarity, flow, or impact

Your editor’s eye and ear should be actively at work here. The rereading phase allows the writer to really listen to the cadence of things and whether or not the writing is as clear as is intended

Writers forget that being engaged in the writing process involves more than just the act of writing. We tend not to give ourselves enough credit for all the things we do, in addition to actually writing, that are valuable aspects of our writing process.

Take advantage of this autumnal transitional phase to reevaluate your writing practice. Be like the seasons and let go of what is no longer working and retain what is.

Look at the this reevaluation period as an investment in your creativity, yourself, and your writing.

With further crafting, a potential-laden first draft can be worked into something more. There is value in cultivating a series of assorted first drafts. For a writer, nothing else can emerge without them.

"As the story goes, one morning I believe I said, “We should start our own literary magazine, I’ve always wanted to do that.” And Robbin’s immediate response was, “Let’s do it.”

And we did. That was last December."


"...There is mystery to this aspect of the job, since so much of it requires that the writer remain blissfully unaware of the realization that every living moment experienced in some way could eventually be worked into something, a line, a phrase, a description."

"...The very act of writing poetry requires, what I consider, that seemingly magical blend of courage, commitment, time, and imagination. Couple this with the ability to tap into the details of the present moment or the perceptions from the past, and you have some brave writing taking place."

Finding the TIme

May 7, 2018

"...Let's be serious. No one person can do every thing well. And poets who are going through life phases that require them to be a lot of things to a lot of people will need to prioritize and be patient with themselves and their writing practice."

In Honor of Poetry Month

April 19, 2018


"...Some say that due to all the hoopla surrounding Poetry Month, the market for poetry is now on the rise. This is good news for poetry journals and for publishers of poetry books, not to mention the poets themselves and their audiences. Whether you are all about, as poet, Lauren Yates puts it, “poetry on the page or poetry on the stage,” you can’t deny that the month of April, coupled with the impact of the Twittersphere and other social media sites, has helped to connect more poets than ever to growing audiences. "

A Challenge

March 29, 2018



"Accept the challenge to memorize all or part of your chosen poem. But, be smart about it.

Segment and chunk the poem in phrases, lines, or stanzas as you go. Know thyself in terms of how you’ll manage learning the lines best. If you need to consider the poem line by line over the course of a week or a month, then do it. If you are a quick study and can memorize a stanza or two easily within minutes or hours, go for it.

If you need a few days or weeks, who is watching? If it takes you months, no one will be the wiser. This is not a competition.."

When Creativity Calls

February 26, 2018


"...Creative energy often manifests when we come across that which deeply resonates....Some moments are akin to the loud person in the room whose voice and words rise above all else. In this case, if you’ll excuse the Arthur Miller allusion, attention can’t help but be paid. But what about those moments that are more subtle? The soft spoken persons in the room also have something to say..."