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Letter to Students: Relationships and Art

Every week of Writing Games class, I send an email to my current students with a few extra thoughts on writing and the themes or techniques we explored that week, plus take-home exercises and more. The Letters to Students blog series collects highlights from some of these emails. To sign up for a Writing Games class, visit my Events page.


Granddaughter sandwich

A photo posted by @hannahsternberg88 on Sep 8, 2015 at 5:27pm PDT


This week, we talked about how the three types of relationship most often featured in writing (friendship, parent/child, and romantic) can be used to add dimension and conflict to what we write. But we explored these themes by getting very personal, and examining our own relationships. This was no accident. Relationships shape not just what we write, but how we write -- who we are as writers. Literary history is full of famous authors with infamously abrasive personalities and explosive personal lives. I think this often leads people to believe that in order to be a great writer, you have to be larger than life -- specifically, larger than life in a way that may alienate or offend other people, to be a burner of bridges.

Everybody's different and everyone will find their path to writing in a way that works for them, but my personal approach is to be a builder of bridges. Art, like relationships, is a way of connecting with other people. If you want to be a better writer, maybe start by being more conscious of your connections with people. Don't take them for granted; start noticing and appreciating all the little details. Empathize, and experience relationships, don't just blow through them in a quest for bigger, louder, splashier things to write about. The way I see it, at the very best this technique will make you a more nuanced writer. At the very least, it will make you a better person and the world a slightly nicer place to live in. It's a win/win.

To view all the Letters to Students, click here. 

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Reader Comments (1)

Great post! Thanks for sharing. Appreciated !

April 28, 2016 | Unregistered CommenterHaren

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