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Stephanie Vanderslice
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Stephanie Vanderslice, M.F.A., Ph.D., is the author of Rethinking Creative Writing She directs the Arkansas Writers M.F.A. Workshop at the University of Central Arkansas and is currently at work on her next book, The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: An Instructional Memoir for the Rest of Us.

Entries by Stephanie Vanderslice

The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Alan Cheuse's Gift

(5) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 12:25 PM

Some weeks ago I was headed down up the Hudson River on the train from Albany-Rensselaer to Penn Station. As I rode I was thinking about my former teacher, Alan Cheuse because at the time, Alan was still in a coma from head injuries sustained in a car...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: On Secondary Locations and Not Packing It In

(1) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 6:56 PM

Recently, Jordan Rosenfeld, who has a great new book out called A Writer's Guide to Persistence, asked a great question on social media: when did you persist through a challenge as a writer? Motivated by the fact that the best answer would win a free book--I...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Having Something to Say and Saying It

(1) Comments | Posted June 4, 2015 | 5:53 PM

My friend, Eric Bryan, recently pointed out that I re-post a lot of articles about writing on social media, articles with tips from how to structure your writing time to overcoming self-doubt to plotting your novel, but rarely do these essays touch on perhaps the most important aspect of the...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: The Wisdom of Anne Lamott

(8) Comments | Posted April 21, 2015 | 6:14 PM

As I have mentioned here before, I can be something of a literary fangirl. Nowhere was this more apparent when I had the opportunity to see Anne Lamott speak last week. Anne Lamott.

Anne Freaking Lamott.

Let me back up here and let you know that the...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: #Amsabbaticaling2014 Big Plans and What I've Learned So Far

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2014 | 3:17 PM

I've been on the all-writing-all-the-time (more or less) plan for almost a month now and here's what I've learned so far (with a bit about what I'm working on thrown in).

1. No to social media until I'm done writing for the day.
This is rule number one for...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Showing My Work

(1) Comments | Posted July 28, 2014 | 5:02 PM

Last week was a pretty good week. My sabbatical started, which means, for the second time in my teaching career: all writing, all the time. At least until January, when I go back to teaching and directing the Arkansas Writer's MFA Workshop.

Why am I telling you this?...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Stalking the Workshop Egotist

(3) Comments | Posted June 20, 2014 | 2:27 PM

Honestly, I don't know what it is about writing groups or workshops that brings out the egotism in some people, but after participating in and teaching them for 30 years I can say with certainty that wherever two or more gather to respond to one another's writing, the Workshop Egotist...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Never Give Up

(0) Comments | Posted April 14, 2014 | 11:32 AM

The year was 1999. It was my first day to teach Introduction to Creative Writing at the University of Central Arkansas, (which just happened to be the first time the course had ever been taught at my university) and there she sat, second desk from the front,...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: MFA vs. NYC vs CT

(0) Comments | Posted April 1, 2014 | 12:27 PM

Two juicy titles recently debuted at the annual Association of Writers and Writing Programs Conference in Seattle this year, MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction and Now What: The Creative Writer's Guide to Life After the MFA edited by Ashley Andersen...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: On Being Teachable

(0) Comments | Posted February 10, 2014 | 12:13 PM

It's recommendation-writing season again in academia, that period of months, from November to February, when a professor spends her spare time conjuring new and unique combinations of words and phrases to sing the praises of her students in letters that will gain them entry into graduate programs (no recommendation-inflation here;...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: A Challenge for 2014

(1) Comments | Posted January 1, 2014 | 5:55 PM

In case you haven't noticed, it's that time of year again, when the air and the internets are thick with talk of resolutions. As I've grown older and withered under the weight of many a lengthy to do list, I've tried to simplify my resolutions, culling them down to just...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: After the NaNoWriMo Glow

(0) Comments | Posted December 6, 2013 | 6:51 PM

Winning (finishing) National Novel Writing Month. Aah. I remember it well. It was 2009. I was on a train coming back from the National Writing Project conference in Philadelphia and as I wrote the ending to my novel I felt as if I was returning from...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Introducing "Dear Writing Geek."

(0) Comments | Posted November 22, 2013 | 6:02 PM

In case you haven't noticed, I love to talk and write about writing (when I'm not actually writing). Another confession: I love to get mail. Ask anyone in my immediate family who's the first one to the mailbox and they'll all look at me. Constantly checking my email to see...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Humiliation Is Not a Teaching Strategy

(2) Comments | Posted October 18, 2013 | 1:47 PM

In one of his recent columns, old-school parenting guru John Rosemond fondly remembers a creative writing teacher, Mrs. Grimsley, who humiliated him. He insists, however, that in calling his work "trash," to the (suppressed) snickers of his fellow classmates, his teacher was showing him she cared about him,...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Success With a Writing Major

(1) Comments | Posted June 3, 2013 | 3:47 PM

Creative Writing majors are an interesting lot. About a third of them cruise through our program focused entirely and intensely on the workshops and forms courses we provide in a number of genres (fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, illustrated narrative: the list is quite long) and then panic once they graduate,...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Sheryl Sandberg's Lean In and Lessons for Writers

(1) Comments | Posted April 12, 2013 | 11:24 AM

It took listening to just one interview with Sheryl Sandberg, author of Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, before I was downloading this blueprint for professional success for women to my e-reader. I devoured it in about twenty-four hours. Sandberg is a contemporary of mine and the...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Dear AWP First-Timer

(0) Comments | Posted March 5, 2013 | 2:49 PM

I didn't always look forward to the AWP (Association of Writer's and Writing Programs) Conference each spring. In fact, AWP used to scare me a little and it took me a long time to feel comfortable there. As a college writing teacher I cut my teeth on what...

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The Geek's Guide the Writing Life: Write What Only You Can Write

(0) Comments | Posted January 29, 2013 | 9:27 AM

This past weekend I had the honor of judging work for the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, a prestigious 90-year-old program for identifying young artists whose alumni include Truman Capote, Sylvia Plath and Joyce Carol Oates. I am pleased to report that the future of American fiction looks...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: Literary Citizenship and Finding Your Tribe or, 6 Degrees of Anna Leahy

(5) Comments | Posted January 16, 2013 | 6:00 PM

In his 1999 New Yorker article later reprinted in The Tipping Point, "Six Degrees of Lois Weisberg," Malcolm Gladwell offers this Chicago cultural diva as the epitome of a "connector," someone whose uncanny "ability to span many different worlds is a function of something intrinsic to their personality, some combination...

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The Geek's Guide to the Writing Life: The Creative Writing Ph.D. Option

(7) Comments | Posted December 8, 2012 | 5:25 PM

Almost from the moment I stepped into the classroom twenty years ago, as a teaching assistant in the George Mason University M.F.A. Program, I knew I wanted to teach. I loved being in a classroom with college students, even though at the time most of them were only a few...

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