Working through the exercises and keeping “artist’s dates” with myself gave me a rope ladder to pull myself back up and invest in my creativity while also helping me nurture myself during what was otherwise an overwhelming and anxiety-ridden year.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
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
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
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
My neighbors had a tree service out today. All morning, it was chain saws and tree grinders droning on. That’s annoying, yes, when you work at home. You can’t really polish an essay before submission when your idle thinking time is interrupted by the grinder plowing through another load of leafy branches.
Then when you start comparing your productivity to theirs, it all derails.
They’ve taken down a century old tree while you’re still trying to muddle through one measly blog post.Read More
I’m back from my writers residency in Alaska. Right now I’m getting back to speed: the bags are unpacked and I’m over the jetlag, and working on implementing the lessons I learned from my residency into a new workflow that will allow me to be as productive as possible on the important work.
I’ll share my insights on productivity and process in another blog post. Today I thought I would share a little of the factual information about my writers residency—where I went, what it was like, and some photos from southeast Alaska because it is BEAUTIFUL.Read More
I’ve headed out for a one-month writers residency in Alaska, where I’ll have my own cabin and uninterrupted time to write. It’s an honor to be chosen, and a longterm dream of mine — one I only recently gave myself permission to pursue. Residencies sound very mystical—something for the privileged few who can afford application fees—but that’s a myth. There are thousands of writers residencies all over the world, and many have no application fee. Learn why I thought a residency was out of reach, what changed my mind, and my best tips on how to apply for writing residencies.Read More
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).
A few voices chime in that no one liked their pitch. They got a like, but it was from a vanity publisher, not from an agent. They tried PitchWars and didn’t get in, they tried Nightmare on Query Street and didn’t get in, they tried DVPit and didn’t get in – and now they’re thinking their flavor of book is not marketable. And they say in a small voice, maybe they won’t query after all. Maybe they will put their work back on the shelf.Read More
Writing this week has been a slog! So I thought I’d share a bit about it.
I’m setting off on an adventure tomorrow, and I’m a little nervous about it.
Or maybe it’s guilty?
I’m taking a long weekend to write.
Just writeRead More
The holiday season is a whirlwind and it’s really easy to get off track with your writing. As we count down to the end of the year, many writers beat themselves up because they haven’t written in a couple of weeks, they didn’t meet their word count goals, or they haven’t accomplished everything they wanted to in the course of the year. January starts, and they’re full of doubt over whether they’re good enough—not inspired to set writing intentions to succeed in the year ahead.
I don’t want that to happen this year to any of you, so I thought I’d share some of my favorite ways to stay connected to my writing when I’m super busy.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More
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.Read More