About Me, Marketing, The Writer's Life

Chasing, Maybe

When I first started writing, I attempted to emulate my favorite authors (though Arthur C. Clarke and Ernest Hemingway would have struggled to find even the slightest resemblance). This is the way it goes for many writers. We begin our journey to uniqueness by trying to be someone else. Isn’t it the same way with musicians? [Cue “Smoke on the Water.”] It’s only after hundreds of thousands of words, most of which we prefer to forget, that we finally begin to find our one-of-a-kind writing voice.* And then what do we do? We use that compellingly unique voice to tell the stories we think will…

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About Me, My Favorite Things, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

The Fault in Our Stares

If Neil Gaiman walked into this coffee shop, I’d be starstruck. I’m not easily starstruck. As I slog through the latter part of middle age, I just don’t have the energy to drum up enthusiasm for the common celebrity. Confession: I haven’t read Entertainment Weekly in years. Last summer I visited the set of the new Zach Braff movie (coming to theaters near you this July – and depending on the edit, starring me in one scene as a blurry background extra) and was non-plussed by the famously tanned faces that wandered in and out of the virtual frame. My favorite part of…

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About Me, Meaningless Drivel, The Writer's Life

Enough

My hair is mostly gray. I’m not young enough to engage in Twitter conversations with YA authors. But not totally gray. I’m not old enough to be revered by them. I write by the seat of my pants. I’m not degreed enough to talk shop with the MFA crowd. I was raised in the church. But I’m no longer Christian enough for that culture, or the subculture of writers who are fighting to find their place in it. I was married for a quarter century. I’ve been alone for nearly a decade. I’m not married enough to join you and…

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About Me, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

How to Love Writing

“I hate writing. I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker I’ve met a few people who are quick to say they love writing. They are sincere, happy people who tend to glow in the dark. People who eagerly sift through tornado-paths of literary devastation to find the one story that can threaten to replace your well-earned despair with un-warranted hope. I hate* those people. I also hate writing. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit strong. How about this: I find it difficult to love writing. Oh, there are moments when writing appears to be lovable. Like the moment when you…

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About Me, The Writer's Life

The Buoyancy of Words

Fair warning: I’m going to stretch a swimming metaphor well beyond my non-metaphorical comfort level. Feel free to believe that this discomfort serves some greater meta-metaphorical purpose. Then let me know what it is so I can say “yeah, I meant to do that.” Writers spend a lot of time going nowhere. We start out strong enough, with a perfect swan dive into the ocean of ideas. [Already the metaphor is causing me gastric distress.] But after a few weeks or days or hours of swimming in a Direction We’re Absolutely Sure Of (Until Suddenly We’re Not), we find ourselves…

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About Me, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

True Stories

They tell you to tell the truth and this sounds reasonable but you’re not quite sure how to do it. They also tell you to do other things. Kill your adverbs. Kill your semi-colons. Kill your darlings. Kill your prologues. Oh, you say, those I can do. So you set the truth aside and head to the killing fields. You reach for your metaphoric fountain pen, dip it in metaphoric red ink, and prepare to earn another metaphoric belt in the ancient art of Strike-Thru. At first you move cautiously, uncertain, fearing that you might condemn words just because of the…

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About Me, Marketing, Self-promotion, The Writer's Life

This Could Be a Problem

I like languishing in obscurity. Languishing is my love language. This could be a problem. Well, not yet. But it will be if I reach any of my writing goals for the year, which include: a little book based on my #thewritinglife Twitter updates; the first novel in a YA series; a contemporary adult novel that’s been six years in the making; a few more blog posts; at least one provocative tweet. You can’t have a successful writing career unless you embrace marketing and self-promotion. I get it. If no one knows about you or your book, the book won’t…

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