For All The Writers Out There!

Originally posted July 28, 2016 at http://www.txdisabilities.org/news-events/guest-blog-for-all-the-writers-out-there. Reposted with permission.

Stop Looking for Something to Be Wrong!
Sit DOWN, and Write!
AND Look for What’s Right in Your Life.
Because there is more right than wrong, isn’t there?
My name is usually Nicole Cortichiato, but sometimes I use my pen name, Nia Spaghetti. I’m also a person with a disability and a writer. I am going to talk to you about getting YOUR stories out there and my writing process.
What have I written? Fiction, flash fiction, memoir, children’s books (below), plays, and poetry.
The cover of my first children's book, "The Independent Hand"

The cover of my first children’s book, “The Independent Hand”

Where have I been published?
  • Austin Rio Review
  • Pen to Paper Contest (2nd place)
  • Badgerdog (Public library writing program)
  • Imagine Art Artist Retreat (Directed and wrote two short plays)
  • Helped write for TILT Performance Group’s production of “Free Patterns”
  • And I’ve self published
My writing process
  • I like to write in the morning, always with plenty of coffee and some breakfast.
  • I didn’t start writing seriously until 2011. By serious I mean actually finishing my stories and doing something with them. Before then, I just journaled a lot.
A tiny plate of eggs and bacon in the palm of my hand

A tiny plate of eggs and bacon in the palm of my hand

This is how I make it happen:
1. I take creative writing classes at Austin Community College! I swear by this! Favorite teachers: Sidney Brammer and Charlotte Gullick. Why take classes?
  • Because you get to learn new things, see your growth, and because there are assignments, readings, and deadlines.
  • You can take as many classes as you like, you can even take the same class more than once.
  • You always have to hand in a portfolio of your work at the end of the semester. Yeah! Finished pieces!
  • It is required for you to submit your pieces to literary magazines. This is good exercise for any writer.
  • You can also take these classes online. Woohoo! Trust me, it’s easy to learn.
2. I attend writing and storytelling events!
  • Open mics: These are crucial if you’re a writer. Listen, learn, then participate. Reading your work out loud is super helpful.
  • Storytelling events: Bookstores like Bookpeople, Malvern Books, or BookWoman have regular author events. The Writers League of Texas is another place to learn, and you can volunteer there too.
Reading at the Lion and Pirate Open Mic

Reading at the Lion and Pirate Open Mic

3. I joined a writing group where we critique each other’s stories.
  • Make sure before you join a writing group, you familiarize yourself with the art and rules of critiquing someone’s work. Bottom line: you want to encourage someone, not crush their dreams. For example, say what worked in a piece instead of what you hated.
 4. I meditate before I write!
  • I believe we have to own what we put out in the world so I seriously think about what I want my writing to do for people. How do I want them to feel or grow? I meditate at least 10 minutes before I write.
That’s it folks! Now, what’s write with you today?

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