The hardest part of writing is the first line—it’s just summoning up the gumption to start.
Some days I sit for minutes that drag on and on, finger poised over the keyboard, unmoving. When nothing comes to me, I distract myself with e-mail or Instagram, talk to the dogs, or scroll through Facebook, anything to delay those first words.
According to popular writing advice, those first sentences are critical. Publishing blogs quote agents who advise writers to Continue reading “Finding the Gumption to Start”
The thing about writing is that you are always taking a risk. If you aren’t taking that risk, then you’re probably not writing anything that matters.
If there is no danger involved, you are likely regurgitating a five-paragraph essay for your high school English teacher.
Doing what’s expected, what won’t raise any alarms or get anyone fired up enough to challenge you, is flimsy writing. It won’t hold up; it won’t motivate anyone to change their lives or fire off a rebuttal, let alone turn the page.
The well-worn sentiment that you can’t please everyone all the time, should be tattoed on your forehead as you write. Do not write to Continue reading “Writing Dangerously”
I think all writers are insecure.
Or maybe it’s just that all people are insecure.
None of us feel like we have it all together. Or live up to our own billing. We worry that Continue reading “All Writers Are Insecure”
I’m fostering a little dog named Flannery O’Connor.
She’s a quirky little pup from the mountains on the Virginia-Tennessee border, so the name fits.
I spent an inordinate amount of time creating Continue reading “The Real Flannery O’Connor”
In fiction, it’s the conflict that generally drives a plot. It’s what keeps us reading – wondering if a character will get what’s coming to them, survive the threat hanging over them, or have a fight with the crazy ex-girlfriend.
But in real life, it’s human instinct to avoid conflict. Sometimes, though, conflict finds you.
When I got up yesterday, I was in a good place. Continue reading “How One Small Terroristic Threat Can Really Ruin Your Day”
The last few months have been a whirlwind of launching Another Good Dog into the world. It’s been beyond my wildest imagination, surprising me again and again.
I’ve done enough TV now that I’m finally getting better at not blinking so much while talking and actually answering the question that was asked (as opposed to rambling on in questionable English while my mind is screaming, “OMG – I’m on TV!”).
I’ve even made peace with the fact that Continue reading “I Am Completely Beside Myself”
Every writer loves promoting their books.
I’m deep in the midst of promoting my latest book and, to tell you the truth, this time around is WAY fun. That’s because I’m sharing almost every event with a dog or two.
Dogs make everything better.
My last three books were novels – stories I made up sitting at my laptop on long afternoons and pre-dawn writing jags. I crafted characters and lived their lives- but only in my head.
The main character in my latest book, Another Good Dog: One Family and Fifty Foster Dogs, is much more real…. Me.
So instead of dreaming up my drama, I lived it.
It’s easy to take risks when writing fiction, everyone knows you’re making it up, even if they suspect you’re actually writing about them (but changed the names and distinguishing features).
It’s another thing entirely to take risks while writing memoir. Memoir is nothing if not Continue reading “Lay Your Truth on the Page”
I am hard at work on yet another re-write of a manuscript that I have been working on now for almost eight years.
You would think, wouldn’t you?
And yet I can’t give up.
When my agent tossed the latest re-write back at me insisting it needed yet another overhaul, I was crushed. Continue reading “Just Found My Suspenders”
I can while away entire mornings reading and commenting on other people’s blogs.
And when I consider the number of bloggers out there blogging away, it baffles my mind.
Some of them post every day, a few more than once a day.
I’m tempted to think that these are people who have too much time on their hands,
but then I realized Continue reading “Blog On, My Friends, Blog On”
On Wednesday I attended a local author event. I’d been invited to come speak and sell/sign books.
It was just me.
As in, the organizer wasn’t there, and the audience had better things to do.
I sat alone in the room for twenty minutes and then I went home and had a glass of wine with my husband and thought, “Maybe I suck.”
I’ve thought about it, and I’m pretty sure Continue reading “I Don’t Suck”