This summer is shaping up to be an extra busy one, and while I want to keep everything running per usual, I'm wary of running around with my hands in too many pots. How can I simplify?Read More
She started telling me how she was going to sit down this summer and bang out her novel. Just go somewhere for six weeks and write it. Hearing the strain in her voice, I said, Make sure you do some other things, too. You can't write all day.Read More
I witnessed a local organization fail to be an ally to the queer community this winter–and then fail to take responsibility for the fallout for several months. I thought I'd write it, then I just didn't want to relive the drama...and then, last month in Portland, I saw an organization totally take ownership for their actions and publicly commit to doing better, and it was so inspiring.Read More
Before you can get more on the page you have to know more as a writer, and one way I’ve been tapping into that is by spending a few minutes in my non-POV character’s head before I write a big scene.
On my most recent trip to Portland I was amazed at the variety of great food options, and pleased to see that everywhere I went there were multiple plant-based picks that showcased culinary creativity and flavor.Read More
I'm always down to meet new people who are passionate about what they do (and doing cool things). But as an introvert, there's only so long I want to talk to anyone for. It’s just my nature.Read More
Gardening is a lot like writing, but it's also a break from writing.Read More
I was right on track with all my things (freelance and novel-writing requiring an exhausting number of balls in the air at all times) and then, whomp...the unexpected knocked everything sideways.Read More
Just back from a trip to Martinique, where I surprised myself by loving the Carnaval parades!Read More
Whether you’re writing queer characters or just want a name that conveys the perfect amount of spunk for a tomboy or femmey guy, here are 50 gender neutral names to consider.Read More
Yes, it's great to get poems published, or have your manuscript requested by an agent, or receive praise from peers in your writing workshop. That recognition can keep you going through the tough times. But as long as you look for validation from external sources, you're never going to fully trust your creativity. Do your work because you value it.Read More
The dreadful survey on author incomes revealed the average author income was a few bucks over $6,000, a 42 percent drop from author incomes in 2009.Read More
Dialogue is one of those elements that can make or break your story. It’s also one of those things that it’s really hard to get right….in part because many writers don’t know (or won’t hear) they are getting it wrong.Read More
Making a new year’s resolution for a big writing goal? Maybe you want to write a novel, or finally finish that draft of the screenplay you’ve been “working on” since summer. Here are the 7 ways I stay on track with big writing goals.Read More
Over the Thanksgiving table, we talked more about the climate than we did about gratitude. It’s not that I’m not grateful (a gratitude practice is part of my self care habits) as much as that climate change has my attention — helped along by the Black Friday climate change report the administration hoped to hide behind all those doorbusters.
It’s easy to feel hopeless when major news like that comes out. The effects of climate change are so massive, whether that’s more of California burning or the slow starvation of polar bears, that the default reaction of most people I know is “I can’t do anything about that.”
And while it’s true that large-scale climate action is needed, that does not mean that individual actions don’t matter.Read More
Times when I need it most, I fall behind on self care strategies that help me bring my best self to the page.
Everything becomes an either/or trap:
Either I can take 30 minutes to do some yoga or I can write.
Either I can spend 15 minutes reading something for fun (not for research) or I can write.
Either I can call a friend or I can write.
Writing wins most of the time.Read More
I was so young when Matthew Shephard was brutally murdered, but we were all so young then.
Matthew’s murder made me feel how vulnerable it was to be different. To be queer.
I was in the closet when he died, and I wouldn’t come out for another year. But on some soul level, I knew I was gay, too. I knew it could happen to me, in another place, in another time.Read More
Coming up as writers we’re taught to write what we know, first and foremost.
So for a long time, I felt like my writing had to express certain parts of my personality and interests—those hobbies, passions, and things I knew a lot about.
That meant that when I felt great despair about things, whether it’s the refugee crisis or climate change, those topics didn’t always make it into my work because I wasn’t a subject matter expert. They sat on the sidelines.Read More
It started as an off feeling: Sluggish digestion. A morning fatigue that wouldn’t lift. And intense, crazy dreams whose themes—running to catch a train that didn’t stop at my station—suggested anxiety. Was this the expected tiredness that so often comes with a shift in season? My brain’s response to the dull, gray weather and shorter days?
I brushed off my feelings at first. I’d been working on the weekends and taking care of home maintenance needs. Of course I was tired and stressed. That was all…or was it?Read More
While my summer writing residency feels like it happened ages ago, sometimes I can still grab onto the immediacy of the experience.
Doing a crossword puzzle in bed, I see myself curled on the loveseat in my cabin working a crossword. Reading through the books I picked up in Whitehorse, I remember the intense hues of those alpine lakes.
I’m not in Alaska, but the things I learned, they’re still in me, and they’ve changed my writing process in a few fundamental ways. A couple months out from residency, here’s what sticks with me most.Read More