Word by Word

Practical insights for writers from Jessica P Morrell

Writing Habits: Noticing and Nurturing your Imaginings

I preach the gospel of pay attention. In fact I preach it a lot. Because while some stories are meant to be written, must be written, it’s the smaller details that bring scenes, moments, characters to life. And for that a writer needs to be plugged in to her surroundings, an observer, a collector, a detective. Here […]

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Always noticing….

It’s stopped raining and the morning sky is almost cloudless and a dusty, pale blue. In the Pacific Northwest we sort of skipped autumn and jumped into winter. Usually September and October are our finest and most golden months. Not this year, rains have battered the region, and even brought tornadoes to the coast. But […]

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Annie Dillard: The Death of a Moth

I cannot mention often enough how noticing, or awareness is a writer’s obligation. A necessary ingredient to our days. A tool that deepens and changes the way we walk in the world.  Here’s an example that proves this from Annie Dillard. “One night a moth flew into the candle, was caught, burnt dry, and held. […]

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“Along with a great deal of sensitivity, you need to develop and practice the habit of noticing: a flicker of a facial muscle that suggests anger; the tone beneath words being spoken; the movement of wind in the linden trees; the bagging at the knees of a pair of pants; what your grandmother’s apron smelled […]

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