Friday, March 16, 2018

Inside The Writer's Center - Monthly Member Newsletter

Roof, Renovation, and Relief

Our beloved building is about to get some much deserved TLC! With help from the county, we’ll begin replacing the roof in March, so please expect some noise if you meet at the Center on a weekday. We will move as many workshops and meetings as possible to the lower level, which should mitigate the disruption. However, if you have ADA issues and need to meet on the main level, please be aware that the roof work will be in progress. This project should take 6 to 8 weeks to complete.

For a variety of reasons (one of which is the roof!), the date for breaking ground on our upstairs renovation has been pushed back to the beginning of May. The good news is that we can finish the Winter/Spring semester on-site. The bad news is that our re-opening date has been pushed back, as well. We will host our summer and fall workshops at the Regional Services Center in Bethesda, along with our regular Capitol Hill and Glen Echo locations. Once the plans are finalized, we will post details on our website and in a special email to our members.

NEW! Teen Classes Coming This Summer

In an effort to continue supporting the next generation of writers, we are expanding our workshop offerings this summer to include courses for teens (ages 14-17). This will include five new classes: Prepping for the College Essay, Techniques and Style for Contest Entries, Creative Writing for Teens, Virtual Fiction Camp, and Fearless Writing for Teens. Visit our website for registration starting in mid-March.

We’re Feeling Festive This Spring!

There are a lot of reasons to look forward to spring, and literature lovers have even more with a season full of festivals that celebrate the written word. We’re proud to partner with the Kensington Day of the Book on Sunday, April 22, and the Gaithersburg Book Festival on Saturday, May 19. Join us at these fabulous festivals, and stop by our table to say hello!

The New Issue of Poet Lore Arrives in April!

Like a dream—or a poem—the cover image of the next issue of Poet Lore unsettles the distinction between inside and out. The framework of doorways, shutters, and walls is called into question by a rowboat in shallows and clouds roiling overhead. Inside the magazine, you’ll find work that subverts expectations in much the same way—blurring boundaries between memory and perception, the self and the world. Maybe shelter’s less a matter of what we keep out than of what we keep close.

Subscribe now »

Front Desk Staff Needed

We’re looking to hire additional part-time staff to support the Center on Saturdays and weeknights. Primary duties include answering the phone, supporting instructors and guests, room set-up, processing registrations, and occasional special projects. The job offers $15 per hour, free parking, and one free class annually. Help us get the word out!

View the job description »

Interested parties should email

Monday, March 12, 2018

3 Ways to Access Your Writing Talent

By Patricia Gray, The Writer's Center Instructor

Some of us write using a different genre based on what we have to say—an essay to clarify an idea, a poem to capture a moment. Others use the same genre because it suits whatever we have to say. How do you discover what your best mode is? There is no right way to write, but here are some ideas for accessing your talent.
  1. Definitely keep a journal. Write something in it every day, even if you have no time. The Artist’s Way author Julia Cameron is famous for her “morning pages” idea. She suggests writing three pages each day as a way to get past whatever hurdle crops up that day. Write without stopping or editing or putting the pencil down, she advises. I agree, no one need read your journal but you, so you are free to be absolutely honest. In the first few paragraphs you’ll probably write the commonplace—things you already know—but if you keep writing for about three pages, what comes out can be wonderfully surprising. It might even be used in your next story or poem.
  2. Consider your favorite movies (books or poems) and why you like them.  Was there a gut-wrenching conflict that got resolved in a totally unexpected way? If so, you might enjoy writing an action story with deep-felt emotions complicating the plot. Did you fall in love with the protagonist, the male or female lead? As an author, you could develop a character, the kind you, yourself, would like to meet and fall in love with (Hopefully, he won’t be Heathcliff). Was the movie full of exciting visual images? Poems often reply on creative visual images to give resonance to the lyric moment or the main metaphor.
  3. Have you noticed that in recounting true stories, the teller often builds interest or suspense the way a good novelist does? If you write about true events from your own life and master narrative timing in the process, you’ll have a very readable memoir.
To discover more about yourself and your style, consider taking The Hill Center workshop I’ll be teaching March 24 and 31, 2018. It’s called “Getting Started: Creative Writing” and meets on two Saturday afternoons from 1-4pm. Learn more and register »