Nancy Hatch Woodward

Nancy Hatch Woodward has been a freelance writer for over 15 years and has published over 650 articles (the vast majority in national publications).  She is the co-author of Eldercare: Caring for Your Aging Parents (National Institute of Business Management 2002).  In addition, she has published short stories, poetry, and essays in a number of publications.  Nancy has taught creative writing through Chattanooga State Community college, college writing at the University of Tennessee Chattanooga, and business writing for corporations such as BlueCrossBlueShield of Tennessee. Nancy is also the founder of ChattaRosa, a writing and critiquing group for women.

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None of us likes criticism, but as writers, we put ourselves out there into the world to be criticized. I think it is even harder for creative writers than others. As a freelance writer, I’m comfortable going back and forth with executives (who may or may not know anything about writing well) and editors (who often know a whole lot) to come up with the final draft. That’s just part of the business. But when it’s my short stories or poems, I’m a bit more sensitive. After all, creative writing contains more of me than my articles and corporate work does.

Memoirists do not have perfect memories, but they do know how to mine for them. None of us can remember every detail of any event we’ve experienced, especially if it happened several years before or back in our childhoods. And that knowledge – knowing we don’t remember everything – often stops us in our tracks when we want to write about the past.

Poetry surrounds our lives. You may not think this is true, and certainly we don’t have a culture of poetry the way many other countries do, but still we are exposed to poetry in all sorts of wonderful ways. Of course, we hear them in song lyrics, but we also find poems

 Nancy Hatch Woodward Offers Once Again Useful Writing Tips

Who is your audience? I don’t mean who is going to buy your book, though that crowd is undoubtedly your final audience and their needs certainly need to be considered at some point. That’s especially true with nonfiction – are they war buffs, diabetic patients, young mothers, career-minded executives, or lay scientists? But let me talk about audience for fiction. I know Janet Evanovich keeps fans in mind when crafting her stories for them. But I want to venture even further into the process and talk about the audience in your head when you are actually in the middle of writing (not editing). Who are you seeing in your mind’s eye as your reader?

Nancy Hatch Woodward Offers Advice Concerning Grammar

The Three Jewels of Writing

The stories and poems we write matter. Stories help us share our humanity with each other.

Perhaps the number one tool for writers is the journal – not the type where you record what you did for the day and how you felt about it, though that kind can be helpful. No, I’m talking about writing journals. Notebooks if you prefer. They can be spiral bound, composition style, loose sheets gathered in a three-prong folder, leather bound, lined, graphed, blank, whatever. Find the ones you love. My favorite are the environmentally friendly, cardboard, spiral bound, 8” x 11” ones I buy at Stables that cost less than $3. I like them because I don’t feel that I my writing has to be remarkable or exquisite, the way I do when writing in journals that are hard covered and cost a pretty penny.

You’ve heard the advice about how essential it is to your writing to find your own voice, but when it comes to fiction, it’s more important to find your characters’ voices. How your characters speak and what they say can often provide your readers with more insight into your protagonist and antagonist than a physical description does.

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