May 31, 2011

Shortcuts to Good Writing, Part One: Physics

Posted in Flow, Practice Writing tagged , at 1:29 pm by Rebecca Hein

We’ve all been told there are no shortcuts to our best work, and we know it’s true. Yet there is a way to gain the maximum for our hours of writing, just as we can in music.

While playing the cello I use simple physics for sound production, by letting the bow do most of the work. In writing, momentum can create smoother transitions and abbreviate necessary sidetracks. Plenty of freewriting is the best way to create this momentum, because in freewriting you never have to stop to search for just the right word.


May 25, 2011

Stages in a Writer’s Life, Part Three: Be Careful Who You Talk To

Posted in Stages tagged , at 4:17 am by Rebecca Hein

Musicians can’t hide what they do, and people generally don’t make fun of you for playing the violin, piano, or guitar. Even when you declare yourself serious by your college major in performance, as I did nearly forty years ago, well-meant advice usually centers on “At least get certified to teach in the public schools so you have something to fall back on.”
But writers seem to attract both bad advice and jeering. People either want to let you down easy by telling you how hard it is to get published, or they make merry over your ambition to write the Great American Novel.

So it makes sense to stay in the creative closet until you find someone you can trust. From there, radiate out to your chosen community one person at a time, until you can safely share your ambition and hope with these few helpful people.

May 18, 2011

Stages in a Writer’s Life, Part Two: “Is My Writing Any Good?”

Posted in Stages tagged at 4:12 am by Rebecca Hein

At some point we all find the courage to show our work to somebody else. Musicians have the edge here because our culture and tradition fling us into student recitals, ready or not.

But a writer can dither for years, worrying that criticism will be too heavy to bear. Finally we submit a piece for publication or critique, and from there we can only hope that we’ll hear the truth so we can progress.

May 12, 2011

Rebecca Hein Interviewed on Blogtalk Radio

Posted in Uncategorized at 3:55 pm by Rebecca Hein

Last week I was interviewed by John W. Smith, of

In the first part of the show we talked about my book, A Case of Brilliance, and why I wrote it. The remainder of our conversation was devoted to my family’s sustainable lifestyle in a strawbale cabin at the base of Casper Mountain in central Wyoming.

To listen to this show go to :

On this page you’ll see an image near the top on the left. Right below this image there’s a (small) link to “play in your default player” or to download.


Becky Hein

May 10, 2011

Stages in a Writer’s Life, Part One: “My Life Isn’t Interesting”

Posted in Stages, Stages tagged at 2:02 pm by Rebecca Hein

When I started my first book at age twenty-three, I remember editing out most of the personal details because I figured they wouldn’t interest the reader. Ten years later I still hadn’t realized that well-chosen details are vital to a good narrative.

To refer to an event without explaining it sufficiently is both vague and tantalizing. In addition, a lack of setting disorients the reader, and if you’re going to write about your own life, we need to know who you are, as well as the what, when, where, and why of your story.

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