Newest Brief Essays

"Women's Hour, YMCA" featured in Kenyon Review Online

"I Second That Emotion" (craft essay) featured in New Ohio Review


Other Brief Essays

"Advanced Directive to My Future Roommate…"

"Things Gone the Way of Time," recently reprinted in Brief Encounters: A Collection of Contemporary Nonfiction (Norton)


Study with Rebecca this summer

Kenyon Review Writers Workshop, June 18-25


Kenyon Review PODCAST with Rebecca

(on memoir, genre-crossing, writing practice, and more)


Word Painting Revised Edition: The Fine Art of Writing Descriptively

New edition includes over 100 writing exercises for all genres.

Word Painting

The Tribal Knot

Rebecca'a newest nonfiction book, The Tribal Knot: A Memoir of Family, Community, and a Century of Change is now available from Indiana University Press and Amazon.

Tribal Knot

Write Your Heart Out

Write Your Heart Out
This book is a combination of writing exercises and prompts, direct instruction, examples from published and unpublished texts, and personal reflections on the writing process. It is appropriate for both beginning and experienced writers. The early sections of the book are concerned with discovering authentic subjects, writing with honesty and authority, and developing the habits of a writer. As the book moves on, McClanahan discusses writing as a method for navigating challenging life passages, recording memories, expressing emotion, building community, and transforming personal experiences through the imagination. Finally, she looks at ways to revise and reshape your writing for an outside audience, preparing your "private I" to meet the public eye.

Published by Walking Stick Press/Writer's Digest Books
1582970068 (paperback)

Reviewers' Comments

"This book is for those wanting inspiration and new ways of looking at their own world rather than aloof advice on how to improve their technique…Her warm and friendly tone is sure to inspire many. Well written and browsable, this book is highly recommended for public libraries." -- Library Journal

"Rebecca McClanahan has created a passionate, opinionated guide that could inspire the beginning writer toward a first epiphany and help more experienced writers further develop their skills.... Whether one is writing for pleasure or for publication, Write Your Heart Out can help simplify the journey of self-discovery and can enrich the work of almost any writer." --The Bloomsbury Review

Whether you have your name on the spines of several worthy publications or are still hesitating to write anything but checks and grocery lists, I recommend this book. I can't imagine anyone completing it and not realizing that for him/her writing is not only possible but an experience promising immense rewards.-- The Pilot