Posts in writing tips
Writing About Climate Change: How You Can Advocate About Big Issues in Your Writing

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.

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What I Learned on Writer's Residency

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.

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Can Morning Pages Help You Overcome Writers Block?

In the last post I shared a little bit about that stuck feeling and tricks to overcome it. But one of my favorite ways to overcome writers’ block is through morning pages, a tool from The Artist’s Way.

I don’t do morning pages any longer, but I did them daily when I was working through the Artist’s Way after writer’s block, a health crisis, depression, and getting married (no wonder I couldn’t write with all that shit going on).



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Top 7 Mistakes Writers Make When Pitching Literary Agents

I’ve been fortunate to meet agents at writers’ conferences and through workshops. I’ve also been through the query trenches, from cold querying agents to participating in Twitter contests and responding to manuscript requests. I’m still in the query trenches, but I’ve learned a few things along the way.

Here are the top mistakes I’ve seen writers make when pitching literary agents. These are either things I’ve witnessed myself in conferences, heard agents complain about, or heard writers admit in online forums.

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My Favorite Podcasts for Writers

Living in the country, I don’t get many chances to attend readings, mingle with other writers, or take part in a writer’s group …. all things I took for granted when I lived in Boston. Fortunately, the explosion in podcasts has brought a ton of great audio content that lets me learn about craft, find books to read, and cultivate a connection to the writer’s community.

Listening to writing podcasts has helped me better understand the publishing industry, feel less alone in my journey, and get a new perspective on aspects of the writing craft and process.

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Writing Tip: Fix That Boring Scene With the Sandbox Technique

Having my opening pages critiqued by a literary agent showed me where my work was landing flat. In particular, the agent thought one area needed work – the dialogue I’d written wasn’t punchy enough to make my main character stand out in all her rainbow freak flag glory.

Since that critique I’ve been working through conversations, one line at a time, looking for ways to make my dialogue snappy rather than flat. Last weekend, I learned a new technique to reboot a boring scene.

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