Are you wasting all your time with all these words? #areyoustillwriting #amwriting #writerswrite
I have gotten out of the habit of writing.
And serious writing depends on just that—habit. Not waiting for inspiration or time or a good night’s sleep or a better outline or the dog to shut up or until you take some class/webinar/retreat.
Writing requires that you sit down and do it. No matter what. As often as possible, every day if you can. You start where you are and spill your jumbled thoughts, wandering storylines, and vast emotions on the page. Your fingers tap along as your heart and mind try to make sense of it. (or maybe that’s just how it works for me.)
If you keep going, pressing past the doubt and frustration and discouragement and that little nagging bird fluttering all around you chirping that you’re wasting so much time, if you wave her away and type on, I promise something will come of it.
Continue reading “Writing or Wasting Time?”
This past year has felt a bit surreal. As if the world was unplugged and we are collectively holding our breath, waiting for it to be plugged back in and spring to life like my laptop after a hard shut down.
Some writers I know have been absolutely unable to write. Their worlds disrupted understandably.
I was not one of those writers.
Continue reading “What Happened When I Stopped Running”
Finding the time to write isn’t always as hard as finding the focus to write.
My house is full of distractions—animals, chores, deliveries, laundry, phone calls, the list goes on and on especially since this has become as much our bunker as our home.
And then there’s the other inhabitants who are currently working from here instead of where they have always worked for most of my writing career. I am never alone at my house. And even if these people are on a different floor, doing their own thing, not paying a lick of attention to me, their presence stifles my writing.
And yes, I know that makes no sense.
Continue reading “Finding the Focus to Write”
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”
As a writer, I hear from would-be writers all the time. They used to write, hope to write someday, had a teacher who told them they should be a writer, and a few who have been working on a novel for years.
The thing about writing is that anybody can do it.
I’m not just saying that. It’s true.
Anybody can write.
What they write, the quality of it, the success of it, well, that’s another story, but that’s not the point.
I believe Continue reading “Anybody Can Write”
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”
My youngest son is a good writer.
In fact, all my kids are good writers. (so sayeth their proud mama.) But my youngest son invites me to edit his writing on occasion so I have more opportunity to read what he writes.
Like many high school students schooled in the art of the five-paragraph essay, he’s been trained to – tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and then tell them what you told them.
And he’s very good at essay – particularly argumentative essay (don’t know where he gets all that passion from….)
I was comfortable with that format when I was a teenager. It made writing a little less subjective. Clear objectives make me happy. I like to know what I’m aiming at.
The formulas that work in essay-writing don’t apply as well to fiction writing (or memoir).
It should be more like – Continue reading “You Really Don’t Need to Tell Them”
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”