Arnie Bernstein - Writer, Editor, Teacher, & Public Speaker


Meet Arnie Bernstein, an accomplished writer, editor, teacher, and public speaker. He shares with us valuable tips and strategies about the writing process. This is useful not just for writers, but also for anyone who needs to put ideas in writing for a larger audience, from leaders to bloggers to teachers, these are important skills to develop.

What kind of work do you do? Do you also have a side-gig? If not, do you have any hobbies or other activities you wouldn’t mind developing into a paid gig?

I'm a freelance writer, internationally published nonfiction author with major presses in the United States and Poland, college writing teacher, and writing coach. A jack-of-all-scribbling trades.

What did you study in college? What did you enjoy the most about your chosen course of study?

MA in Creative Writing at Columbia College - Chicago
BA in Film Studies at Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

As far as the film studies, opening up my mind to exploring different ways of seeing the world. Creative writing: using my skills to expand on the exploration. I think I've done okay on both ends.

How does your education help you in the work that you do today?

As a writer, the skills I learned in the Columbia College Fiction Writing program are invaluable. The creative process emphasized getting the words on the page, letting go of inhibitions, creating that unholy mess of a first draft that pays no attention to annoying things like spelling, grammar, and the rules of gravity. Once the draft is done, diving into it and cutting words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, and more and then going back to writing. Writing is hard work. But the basics of storytelling, be it a novel, biography, or inter-office memo are all the same: using prose to grab a reader's attention and pay attention to what's on the page.

I use these skills in my teaching as well. Student writers often feel constrained by the formulas they were taught in high school. My job is to break that mold so the natural voice will emerge on the page. When students have the confidence to express thoughts in their unique voices, the skills which will translate to other classes and into a career path.

Would you also consider returning to school to learn something new? If so, what would that be?

I'd get a PhD in history, the most fascinating thing there is to study.

What resources could a site like Colégas provide that would help you achieve your goals?

Job links and networking connections.

Do you have any advice or professional strategies you could share with our readers?

Good writing is rewriting.

The first thing that goes on the page is your name. Make sure your work lives up to the standards of what your good name means to the world. Networking is your friend. Don't be shy about it either.

To learn more about Arnie Bernstein, you can visit his website here.

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