erin j bernard, terrible creative blog, ejb writing studio, newspaper clip, black and white print, clipping

Writer’s Challenge: Stop Clip-Shaming Yourself!

I can still recall the thrill of my very first newspaper byline—it imparted a buzz far better than drugs (some of them, at least), and the memory of it still gives me a posthumous kick of heady glee.

I was living in Missouri, and it was my first week of grad school, and I’d been asked to write a one-page arts feature for the local newspaper’s weekend insert.

My assignment: to cover a mini-concert headlined by three teenaged rock and hip-hop bands and staged atop a parking garage at sunset. Small peanuts, but that didn’t stop me from my nerves.

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ejb writing studio, terrible creative blog, black and white park, golden gate park, moody park, san francisco fog

Writing Closer, Writing Harder: Two Quick Lessons from Humble Creatives

I’ve been working this week on listening—far deeper and far more carefully to all the noise that’s happening around me, but most particularly to the thoughts and observations of other creative folks.

Fellow writers, musicians, fine artists: they’ve each got lessons to impart about the call to creativity and all the wonderful and terrible things that come from choosing to heed it in a meaningful or authentic way.

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erin j bernard, ejb writing studio, grass, light, oregon coast, backlighting, terrible creative blog

New Season, New Blog

Don’t you hate it how at the end of every summer, we’re barraged with a zillion print and television ads trumpeting the arrival of fall and not-so-subtly intimating that purchasing new wardrobe and ditching our hideous, out-of-date haircuts is the only fitting way to properly welcome in the new season?

“New look, new you!” Right?

That phrase drives me nuts. What is wrong with the old me? (Aside from the fact that I sometimes wear slippers in public and didn’t own a hairbrush until last year. Give me a break; I’m a freelance writer.) But I do appreciate the sentiment: change can feel really, really good.

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terrible creative blog, erin j bernard, ejbwritingstudio, content writing, blog for writers

Welcome, and let me guess: You’re a creative human, and you like to make stuff. But you struggle with: time management, motivation, grammar, character development, bad moods, slow progress, no progress, crap metaphors, reader engagement, metrics, technology, group critique, originality, self critique, laziness, branding, publishing, starting things, and finishing things.

Me, too. But: I’ve been making the writing life work (and pay) for a decade. Like you, I wage constant battle with assorted writing bugaboos. Some days, I think I’m terribly brilliant. And other days, I suspect I am just plain terrible. But always, I take damned good notes. And I’m sharing them here.

erin j bernard, terrible creative blog, mt. tabor

Are You Having Fun Yet? Why Enjoying Your Work Matters

“Whatever you are, be a good one.”

-A Lincoln

There’s a large and very famous bookstore in my hometown that has been a favorite haunt of mine since my teenage years.

Aside from glorious, sky-high stacks of cheap used paperbacks and its iconic retro-red-and-black marquee, one of the bookstore’s most unforgettable attributes is the man who runs the ancient parking garage located atop its main atrium.

This guy’s been there since, like, forever. He’s got a tricky-to-place accent and often sports a bright, abidingly practical rain poncho. And he takes his job very, very seriously.

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Erin J. Bernard, bullets, ejbwritingstudio

On Truth Telling: Where Should Your Allegiances Lie?

“All I knew was that I had to tell the truth.”

That’s a quote from Maya Angelou, and it’s often referenced by writers who are steadfastly dedicated to telling the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth in their writing.

The impulse is easy to relate to. Whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, most writers pull from their own experience for inspiration, and unless you were raised in a fallout shelter, your personal experiences probably involve other people. Real, live people, who might actually—gulp—read what you wrote about them someday.

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Erin J. Bernard,, analog clock, time, broken clock, black and white clock

Bitter Gifts: Meditations on Using Your Time

There’s something bracing and just a little bit wistful about the sticky thick of summer.

It makes me think, inevitably, about time, and how fast it passes.

When I was a kid, man, summers lasted forever and ever. They were endless! Day after perfect day, stacked high up to sweaty infinity.

And when you hate school as much as I did, you live for those months of calm and ease. You rely on them and their plodding slowness to sooth and embolden you, to sand down the edges of memory enough that you might greet the crisp hustle of September with a bit of optimism and cheer.

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