Tag Archives: Jennifer Egan

The Writers Studio @ 30-Five Pieces of Writing Advice From Philip Schultz

We all write for the same reason: to reveal what lies hidden in ourselves, to uncover truths that we would otherwise be too self-conscious to unearth.
View this in your browser
Update For People Who Write

From Lit Hub, May 3, 2017

Five Pieces of Writing Advice From Philip Schultz

Beware The Shitbird
By Emily Temple

In 1987, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Philip Schultz founded the Writers Studio, which grew from a casual workshop in a West Village living room to an established school with four locations, online programs, a reading series, and a nonprofit branch that gives students free access to writing workshops. Last Saturday, May 6th, the Writers Studio celebrated its 30th anniversary and the release of the anthology The Writers Studio at 30 (Epiphany Editions)—which contains work by current and former faculty and students, as well as Writers Studio Advisory Board members including Jennifer Egan, Robert Pinsky, and Edward Hirsch—at an event at the Strand’s Rare Book Room.

Schultz himself is a longtime teacher—in addition to the Writers Studio, he also founded and directed NYU’s graduate program in creative writing—and so, in advance of this weekend’s celebration, we asked him to share some of his valuable insights on writing with us.

From Philip Schultz:

1. Aim high


Tell yourself your life depends on what you might write that day. That a great truth lies beneath the surface, just within reach, waiting for you to find the courage to discover it. Hemingway got himself to write each morning by reminding himself that he’d always written before and would now; all he had to do was “write one true sentence,” the truest sentence that he knew. The truth, after all, is what readers most want to hear; a truth that only you can tell, that is personal, peculiar to you. Because it’s theirs, too.

2. Escape the Shitbird

At the Writers Studio, the school I started some thirty years ago, we have a name for the negative force that makes writing so hard: the Shitbird. It’s a black bird that perches on our shoulders, whispering perverse, ugly things designed to stop us from finding the truth. Its purpose is to cleanse us of all our desires and dreams, to censure how we really feel. It tells us we’re not smart or gifted enough to say anything of value. It feeds our fears and undermines our confidence, tells us we can’t possibly stay cooped up in a room alone, that under no circumstance can we render ourselves vulnerable to others by revealing who we really are through our writing.

The Shitbird’s main weapon is invisibility. It can’t sell us its negative theology if we recognize who’s speaking. When we hear ourselves being negative, fearful and doubtful of our abilities, we can be sure it’s there, behind the curtain, saying things like I don’t know what this story is about, or Even if I knew, I probably wouldn’t be able to write something like this. Once we teach ourselves to recognize the voice of the Shitbird, we can ask ourselves out loud what we’re so afraid of in this material, what exactly feels so shameful. Surprisingly, more often than not, we know. And knowing will allow us to think about good things like form, structure and music, which will then allow us to move forward and write. The Shitbird works undercover, in a fog; the last thing it wants us to do is see it in a bright conscious light.

3. Try writing from someone else’s perspective

The method we teach at the Writers Studio is persona writing: using another writer’s narrator or personality to tell our stories. It’s a technique that allows us to look at our stories through the prism of an invented speaker who doesn’t suffer from our fears and inhibitions, who’s, say, more ironic, or funnier, or crazier than we are, and to whom we can therefore give permission to say what we can’t ourselves. A thirty-year-old J.D. Salinger used a seventeen-year-old Holden Caulfield to dig up old buried feelings we all identified with; a fifty-year-old Mark Twain pretended to be young Huck Finn to recreate the lost world of his youth. Men write from the point of view of women, women from the point of view of men, all for the same reason: to reveal what lies hidden in themselves, to uncover truths that they would otherwise be too self-conscious to unearth.

4. Don’t be afraid to switch genres

I wanted to write fiction but discovered the brevity and depth of poetry allowed me to develop further as a writer. The poetic persona suits me better than the fictional one. At our school poets discover they’re really fiction writers and vice versa all the time. The right technique gives us permission to be wrong, and bad, and unfair, things we perhaps always longed to be; it allows us to be ourselves, irrevocably.

5. Become both ventriloquist and dummy

It helps to distance yourself from your characters’ anxieties so you can look at them more objectively. A good way of doing this is to imagine your story being played out on a stage, with your narrator, first person or third, directing all the characters. You can do this with a poem by turning it into a scene in which your narrator describes his or her feelings about what’s taking place. I once wrote a poem about fathers standing in the cold waiting to get a popular electronic game for their sons. In speaking about others, the narrator was free to reveal his own fears and vulnerabilities about fatherhood in a way I hadn’t been able to previously.

The ventriloquist isn’t responsible for what the dummy says; he isn’t really speaking, after all. By pretending to be a ventriloquist, we underscore the difference between ourselves and our characters. We might even be horrified by what they do and say.

As for the dummy: imagine your story being told by a favorite writer. Imagine how he or she might go about describing your most intimate fears and desires. Find the pleasure in the telling, the imagining. Objectify yourself to the point of casual indifference. Surprise yourself by what you hear yourself saying. Is this really the story you intended? It seems so strange suddenly, so unfamiliar. Try to amaze yourself with your own imagination.

$30 Discount To Celebrate 30 Years

Early Bird Discount for early registration.

Take $30 off any Summer Workshop.

Discount must be taken at time of registration, Online or by phone 1 (212) 255-7075. Offer may not be combined with any other discount.
Valid while supplies last. Expires 6/2/17.

Summer Schedule

Online Level I starts
June 5 Details and registration here
July 1 Details and registration here
July 25 Details and registration here

Online Advanced Poetry starts
June 1 Details and registration here

NYC Level I starts
June 21 Details and registration here
July 10 Details and registration here

NYC Advanced Poetry starts
June 5. Details and registration here

Hudson Valley Workshop starts
June 20. Details and registration here

Tucson Workshop starts
June 29 Details and registration here
July 1 Details and registration here

San Franciso Workshop starts
June 14 Details and registration here
June 17 Details and registration here

Take $30 off any Summer Workshop.
Discount must be taken at time of registration, Online or by phone 1 (212) 255-7075. Offer may not be combined with any other discount.
Valid while supplies last. Expires 6/2/17.
Questions? Comments? Reply. Or give us a call: 212-255-7075. Or write to info@writerstudio.com. Or check out our FAQ page here.
Forward to Someone
Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

The Writers Studio- Pulitzer Prize Winner Credits The Writers Studio

 

When I brought in my breakthrough story, I felt I was carrying a weird animal in my bag. It was the first story I sold. — Jennifer Egan, winner of the Pulitzer Prize
View this email in your browser
Pulitzer Prize Winner Credits The Writers Studio for her Breakthrough Moment
in New York Magazine
“I don’t think I’ve ever felt more of a clear triumph, a sense of finally having crossed over a chasm.” –Jennifer Egan, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, for A Visit From The Goon Squad in New York  Magazine, January 11, 2016, discussing her first successful story, written at The Writers Studio .
WINTER CLASSES
Level I begins January 28. Register now
Level II begins January 25. Register now
Intermediate Poetry begans January 7. You can still register
NYC
Level I began January 11. 
You can still register
Level I begins tomorrow, January 20 ❤ spots open>. Register now
PERSONALIZED PROGRAM
Tutorials are now available for adults and teens. Write to writerstudio1@gmail.com so we can find the best teacher to help you achieve your literary goals.
PUBLICATION NEWS
Jane Shirley’s short story “The Red Fox” recently won Second Place in Calliope‘s “The Best of Calliope Fiction 2015.” The piece started as an exercise in Lisa Bellamy’s class.

Shirley Sullivan’s short story “Three Quarters Gone” will appear in the Winter 2016 edition of The Fiddlehead. Shirley was a tutorial student with Therese Eiben.Cécile Barlier’s short story “Immersion” is forthcoming in Fall 2016 issue ofSou’wester. Cécile is a student in Mark Peterson’s San Francisco Advanced Workshop.

Susan Tatiner’s poem “The Fitting Room Prom Queen” was recently accepted byThe Voices Project. Susan is a student in Lisa Bellamy’s class.

PUBLISHING OPPORTUNITIES

Young Dyslexic Poets and Writers: Encourage the dyslexics age 7-17 in your life to submit to the Karina Eide Young Writers Awards 2016. Any creative writing welcome — poetry, fan fiction, humor, science fiction, short stories. More details here. Cash awards for kids!

Fiction Writers with Something Ready To Go: Send a story of up to 10,000 words to Literal Latte by January 15 to compete for the K. Margaret Grossman Fiction Award for publication and $1000 award. Details here.

Short Story Writers Who Like Cash Prizes:The North Carolina Writers’ Network will award $1000 to the winner of the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, with consideration for publication in theThomas Wolfe Review. Deadline is January 30. Details here.

Writers Under or Over 30: Epiphany’s Spring Writer’s Contest is open for submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and best prose under 30 until February 15. Details here.

Unpublished NYC PoetsNo, Dear, issue 17 encourages poets in NYC for whom this will be your first publication to submit poems on the theme of “Document” for their next issue. Deadline is February 15, 2016. Please include your neighborhood of residence. Details here.

NYC – Tucson – San Francisco – Amsterdam –  Online – Kids Write – Hudson Valley / The Berkshires
Copyright © 2016 The Writers Studio. All rights reserved.

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

The Writers Studio- WRITERS SEE RESULTS AT THE WRITERS STUDIO

 WRITERS SEE RESULTS AT THE WRITERS STUDIO:
* Kathi Jansen was recently accepted into the NYU MFA Creative Writing Workshop in Paris. Kathi is a writer in Lucinda Holt’s online master class. Kathi says, “Thank you, so very much. You and all the instructors at The Writers Studio have been patient, generous, and inspirational. I cut my teeth there and have learned something new with every exercise. All your insight and encouragement has meant the world to all we Writers Studio master level students. Thank you, again, for everything.”
Reneé Bibby‘s story “The Archeologist” will appear in the upcoming  issue Black & BLUE 3–CITY. Reneé is a teacher of the Tucson Workshop and a student in the Tucson Advanced Workshop.
Isaac Kirkman‘s story “Cocaine Starlight” is forthcoming in Thuglit 8.  Isaac is a writer in the Tucson Advanced Workshop.
* Read more success stories.

>> FEEL LIKE YOU MISSED OUT ON FALL CLASSES? Work with one of our most treasured teachers and get a jump start on your writing before the holidays begin.TAKE ELLIOT SATSKY’S NYC I CLASS STARTING MONDAY, NOVEMBER 18.  Register now. Other classes begin in December. See our complete schedule of classes.

>> JENNIFER EGAN DID IT AT THE WRITERS STUDIO. ” Every week, I presented a new story. Finally something did click, the very thing that’s their specialty at The Writers Studio, emotional content. Before, my work was dead. When I brought in my breakthrough story, I felt I was carrying a weird animal in my bag. It was the first story I sold.” –Jennifer Egan, former student at The Writers Studio, winner of the 2011 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction for A Visit From the Goon Squad (Alfred A. Knopf, 2010)

>> SPECIAL DISCOUNT FOR THE WRITERS STUDIO COMMUNITY: ORHAN PAMUK, OLYMPIA DUKAKIS, KATHLEEN TURNER, MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM, MARK DOTY, DANIEL MENDELSOHN, and more celebrate one of the most influential and original Greek poets, C. P. CAVAFY, at Town Hall, November 18. $10 ticket. Use code: STUDENT (To avoid the $9.50 charge from Ticket Master, buy your ticket at the Town Hall’s Box Office).www.pentributes.org

www.writerstudio.com / 212-255-7075 / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / YOUTUBE / writerstudio1@gmail.com

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

THE WRITERS STUDIO- SOME OF OUR 2011 SUCCESS STORIES

THE WRITERS STUDIO- SOME OF OUR 2011 SUCCESS STORIES
“Celebrating 25 years of helping writers reach their potential”

* Lisa Bellamy’s chapbook was published by Encircle Publications/The Aurorean.
* Awards included Pushcart Prize nominations (Lisa Bellamy, Sherine Gilmour, and Peter Krass), a special mention in the 2012 Pushcart Prize (Peter Krass), a scholarship to the Key West Literary Seminar (Sherine Gilmour), and a 4th place in the Phyllis Scott Writing Contest (Alex Poppe).
* Faculty members and students published in The Sun (Cynthia Weiner and Lisa Bellamy), New Ohio Review (Liz Kingsley), Rattle (Craig Van Rooyen), Harvard Review (Michelle Seaton), Chautauqua (Lisa Bellamy), blip magazine (Lisa Badner), A Gathering of the Tribes (Karen Hildebrand), New York Quarterly (Marc Tretin), Bellevue Literary Review (Jay Kidd), and Madison Review (Kathleen Kraft), among many others.
* Also in 2011, alumna Jennifer Egan won the Pulitzer Prize for A Visit from the Goon Squad, and Writers Studio founder/director Philip Schultz published his memoir, My Dyslexia.
Read more success stories. http://www.writerstudio.com/pages/page_lc.php?page=success

Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read

WRITERS STUDIO- E-News for December 13, 2011

E-NEWS FROM THE WRITERS STUDIO
“Celebrating 25 years of helping writers reach their potential”

–> TONIGHT, TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13: PULITZER-PRIZE WINNER JENNIFER EGAN SHARES HER CREATIVE PROCESS AT THE WS CRAFT CLASS. Jennifer Egan will speak about A Visit from the Goon Squad. The class will be introduced by WS director Philip Schultz. Register now to get access to the podcasts of these historic classes. Check out the other books on the current reading list.

–> CONGRATULATIONS TO JAY KIDD, whose’ poem “Lost Time (1997) was accepted by the Bellevue Literary Review for the Spring 2012 issue. Jay is also a finalist for their annual poetry prize. “Lost Time” was written in NYC Advanced Poetry Class.
Complete schedule of classes.

–> GIFTS FOR THE HOLIDAYS:

* Workshop registration: http://www.writerstudio.com/cart/classlist.php
* Partial payment towards a workshop or tutorial: liz@writerstudio.com
* Donation in their honor to The Writers Studio Kids Write, our non-profit branch that offers free writing workshops to high school students in Bed Stuy, Brooklyn: https://www.fracturedatlas.org/site/contribute/donate/2047

–> START THE NEW YEAR RIGHT!

* ENSURE YOU’LL BE WRITING IN 2012: WINTER SESSION BEGINS JANUARY 3. Our classes are small and personal attention is one of our hallmarks. If you’re not sure which class to join, or have questions, give us a call at (212) 255-7075. We enjoy speaking to writers and helping them find the class or tutorial that’s right for them. Complete schedule of classes.

* TAKE A FREE INTRODUCTORY CLASS IN TUCSON ON JANUARY 5, 6:30-8:30 P.M. Eleanor Kedney, Director of the Tucson branch and Carli Brosseau, Writers Studio teacher, will offer an introduction to The WS method. Learn about the elements of craft and receive a writing exercise to begin a story or a poem. A Writers Studio student will present an example of her work in response to the exercise. 3861 N. First Ave., (south of Roger on west side of street, look for red mailbox, parking behind the building). Registration is required. Contact Laura Cockrell at 520-429-7976 or laura@writerstudio.com. Beginners and advanced writers welcome.

SCHEDULE OF CLASSES

NEW YORK CITY 10-WEEK WORKSHOPS IN FICTION AND POETRY:
NYC Level I, taught by Rebecca Gee, begins on Wednesday, January 4
NYC Level I, taught by Whitney Porter, begins on Monday, January 9
NYC Level I, taught by Therese Eiben, begins Tuesday, January 10
NYC Level I, taught by Elliot Satsky, begins on Monday, January 16
NYC Level I, taught by Brian McDonald, begins Monday, January 23

ONLINE 10-WEEK WORKSHOPS IN FICTION AND POETRY:
Online Level I, taught by Rachael Nevins, begins on Tuesday, January 3
Online level I, taught by Michele Herman, begins on Monday, January 9
Online Level I, taught by Yetsuh Frank, begins Tuesday, January 17
Online Level I, taught by Lorraine Babb begins Thursday, January 19
Online Level I, taught by Anamyn Turowski begins Wednesday, February 1

TUCSON 10-WEEK WORKSHOPS IN FICTION AND POETRY:
The Tucson Workshop [1], taught by Eleanor Kedney, begins Wednesday, January 11
The Tucson Workshop [1], taught by Carli Brosseau, begins Tuesday, January 12

SAN FRANCISCO WORKSHOPS IN FICTION AND POETRY:
The San Francisco Workshop [1] (Financial district), taught by Lorraine Babb, begins Tuesday, January 10

AMSTERDAM WORKSHOPS IN FICTION AND POETRY:
The Amsterdam Workshop [1] taught by Sarah Carriger, begins Wednesday, January 4

VIEW A COMPLETE SCHEDULE OF WINTER CLASSES AND REGISTER

–> TUTORIALS ARE AVAILABLE. Jump start your writing, or work on an existing manuscript by working with one of our trained teachers in person or over the phone or by Skype. A tutorial is The Writers Studio’s most deluxe writer’s gift you can give, and is available for adults and high school students. Read more or contact lisabadner@writerstudio.com

http://www.writerstudio.com / 212-255-7075 / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / YOUTUBE

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences

The Writers Studio- News From The Studio December 6, 2011

On TUESDAY, DECEMBER 6, 2011: POET AND MEMOIRIST MEGHAN O’ROURKE SHARED HER CREATIVE PROCESS AT THE WS CRAFT CLASS. Meghan O’Rourke spoked about her latest collection of poetry, ONCE (Norton). The class will be introduced by WS director Philip Schultz. Next week, Jennifer Egan will speak about A VISIT FROM THE GOON SQUAD (Anchor Books). Register now to get access to the podcasts of these historic classes. Check out the other books on the current reading list.

CONGRATULATIONS TO LYDIA DAVIS, SIGRID NUNEZ, MARK STRAND, AND SUSAN WHEELER FOR AN AMAZING READING THIS PAST SUNDAY. The event, which brought more than 100 people to Le Poisson Rouge, celebrated the release of the 2012 Pushcart Prize XXXVI. Stay tuned for our next event at KGB Bar on Sunday, January 29 which will feature faculty members and master class students.

PETER KRASS’ POEM, “ALL DRESSED IN GREEN,” WAS AWARDED A SPECIAL MENTION IN THE 2012 PUSHCART PRIZE. “Dressed in Green,” appeared in the Summer 2010 edition of Rattle. Peter Krass teaches a NYC Level II, which begins January 9. Register now

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11 at 6:30 PM. WRITERSREAD presents readings by Writers Studio Faculty members LESLEY DORMEN, JOEL HINMAN, ISABELLE DECONINCK, and more. The Gallery at Le Poisson Rouge. 158 Bleecker Street, NYC.www.lprnyc.com

THE WINTER SESSION BEGINS IN DECEMBER AND JANUARY. Register now; every entry-level class filled in the fall session. If you’re not sure which class to join, or have questions, give us a call at (212) 255-7075. We enjoy speaking with writers and helping them find the class or tutorial that’s right for them. Complete schedule of classes.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING FOR THE WRITER IN YOUR LIFE?: Give a Writers Studio gift certificate for full or partial payment for a craft class or a 10-week writing workshop. For more details: liz@writerstudio.com

TUTORIALS ARE AVAILABLE. Jump start your writing, or work on an existing manuscript by working with one of our trained teachers in person or over the phone or by Skype. A tutorial is The Writers Studio’s most deluxe writer’s gift you can give, and is available for adults and high school students. Read more or contact lisabadner@writerstudio.com

http://www.writerstudio.com / 212-255-7075

Leave a comment

Filed under Books to Read

Writers Studio- 2012 Pushcart Prize XXXVI & NEW CRAFT SESSION BEGINS NOVEMBER 29 AND FEATURES GUEST TEACHERS MEGHAN O’ROURKE AND JENNIFER EGAN

NEWS FROM THE WRITERS STUDIO
“Celebrating 25 years of helping writers reach their potential”

CONGRATULATIONS TO LISA BADNER, whose poems “Fruitcake”, “On The G Train”, and “Spam” appear in the fall 2011 issue of blip magazine. Lisa is a student in the Master Class. To read more about students’ recent publications, click here.

SAVE THE DATE: The Writers Studio celebrates THE PUSHCART PRESS and the release of the 2012 Pushcart Prize XXXVI, Best of The Small Press, on SUNDAY, DECEMBER 4th, at 5 pm, at Le Poisson Rouge (158 Bleecker Street at Thompson, NYC) with readings by LYDIA DAVIS, SIGRID NUNEZ, MARK STRAND, and SUSAN WHEELER. $10 admission at door (One drink or food item minimum). http://www.lprnyc.com

NEW CRAFT SESSION BEGINS NOVEMBER 29 2011 AND FEATURES GUEST TEACHERS MEGHAN O’ROURKE AND JENNIFER EGAN, WHO WILL SPEAK ABOUT THEIR PROCESS: In this 9-week program, you learn how to “read as a writer.” What does it mean? Recognizing the techniques writers use to create a persona narrator and knowing how to apply these techniques to your own writing. The upcoming session will include guests writers Meghan O’Rourke and Jennifer Egan. We will also read works by Raymond Carver, Marilyn Chin, Marisa Silver, Matthew Zapruder, and French writer Jean Echenoz, among others. Check out our current reading list

THE WINTER SESSION BEGINS IN DECEMBER AND JANUARY. Register now; every entry-level class filled in the fall session. If you’re not sure which class to join, or have questions, give us a call at (212) 255-7075. We enjoy speaking with writers and helping them find the class or tutorial that’s right for them. Complete schedule of classes.

HOLIDAY SHOPPING FOR THE WRITER IN YOUR LIFE?: Give a Writers Studio gift certificate for full or partial payment for a craft class or a 10-week writing workshop. For more details: liz@writerstudio.com

TUTORIALS ARE AVAILABLE. Jump start your writing, or work on an existing manuscript by working with one of our trained teachers in person or over the phone or by Skype. Read more or contact lisabadner@writerstudio.com

http://www.writerstudio.com / 212-255-7075 / TWITTER / FACEBOOK / YOUTUBE

Leave a comment

Filed under Workshops & Conferences