Last Thursday, prize-winning author and journalist Joel Yanofsky spent a day at Marianopolis College. In addition to reading from his work, Joel talked about what he does -- and how he does it. I thought I'd devote today's blog entry to telling you a little about what Joel had to say. Joel believes "All writing is creative" whether it is fiction, or non-fiction, or something called"creative non-fiction." Writing requires what Joel calls, "a special alertness." I love that line. I often tell my students that writers need to be like those old fashioned weathervanes, the kind you see on top of old houses in the country -- we need to continuously be sensitive to the presence of stories. Or as Joel put it, "You have to know what you have."
In a visit to my Journalism class, Joel answered questions from the students about his career and about the challenges of writing about his relationships with real people. Joel said for him, writing is thinking: "Basically, as a writer, you're just solving problems." Must say I really agree with that view, and I got the feeling that so did my students. So think about it this way -- if you're struggling with whatever writing project you are working on, having problems that sometimes feel insurmountable ... chances are you're on the right track!