About Me, Beyond Categorization, The Writer's Life

Life (Or Something Like It)

I hesitated before deciding to write this post, not because of the words that follow, but because this is a writing blog, and a personal post about my life just seemed a little indulgent. But then I remembered good writing is all about tapping into truth, and what could possibly be truer than the life we’re living? Well, mine has been…interesting. Some of you know that last May I took on the responsibility of caring full-time for my Granddaughter, Harper. (She turned five in December, three days after Christmas. I know, right? December birthdays. Sigh. think I’ll introduce half-birthdays this year.) The…

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About Me, General, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life

Dear Reader Who Didn’t Love My Book…

Dear Reader Who Didn’t Love My Book, First of all, thank you. You took a risk on me. I really appreciate that. Asking a stranger to read your novel is just about the hardest thing we writers have to do. (Apart from writing query letters.) So when someone actually decides to purchase a book, we experience a rare and wonderful gratitude that you decided to take the plunge. A rare and wonderful gratitude that is quickly buried by an avalanche of anxiety. See, here’s the thing: I want to have written the book just for you. I do. But there’s a good chance I…

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

Why

It’s a common response to the big “why” question. I hear it all the time. I’ve used it myself once or twice. “I write because I have to.” But unless someone is pressing your fingers to the keyboard, it’s simply untrue. Even for those of you who are facing a looming deadline. You don’t have to meet that deadline. Really, you don’t. Yeah, you’ll ruin your editor’s day, and you could theoretically lose your publishing deal, but no one is forcing you to give up binge-watching “Jennifer Jones” in order to finish chapter sixteen – the one where that thing happens you haven’t yet thought of that…

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General, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

The First Book

Congratulations. You’ve written a novel. Your first. It’s no longer a thing “you’d like to do someday,” it’s a thing you did. The End. You just wrote that, and it made you smile. Family members barely recognize you. Where’s the sullen, contentious, lost, confused, un-showered, frustrated writer-wannabe they’d come to expect every time you crawled out of your writing cave into the real world to briefly consider eating food that doesn’t come out of a plastic bag? She’s gone. That was the exhausted, mud-caked, sweaty Basic Training writer; the “I’m going to finish this thing if it kills me” writer. You’re not her anymore. You’re a Bonafide Author…

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About Me, Beyond Categorization, The Writer's Life

Dis-Encouragement

This is not a hopeful post. Usually when I say something like that up front it’s just a clever (or not so clever) ruse; a setup for the inevitable twisty punchline that will leave you feeling strangely encouraged, despite having walked barefoot across the broken glass path of a none-too-pleasant publishing reality. There is no clever twist this time. Have you seen the movie, 500 Days of Summer? When it begins, you’re certain it’s going to be a love story, but then the voiceover says, without apology: “This is a story of boy meets girl. But…you should know up front, this is not a love story.” This…

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

I Quit. Again.

There is a tiny flame that burns deep within a writer. A pilot light. In moments – some lingering, some fleeting – that pilot light sparks to life and becomes a furnace of ideas. Great books have been stitched together from such moments. These are not sweet and beautiful moments. There are no butterflies whispering perfect words into your ears. There are no fairies singing songs of your literary brilliance. These are pain-filled moments where orcs threaten you with bodily harm and the flame itself threatens to incinerate your soul. Your fingers fly across the keyboard not in delight, but chasing fire. You fear the unpredictable flame, as well you should, but the end of…

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

What If?

Usually it goes something like this: What if I’m a terrible writer. Or (gasp) a truly average writer? What if all the kind words people offer about my stories are nothing more than polite lies accompanied by fake smiles because they want to avoid hurting my feelings? What if my dogged pursuit of traditional publishing is a fool’s errand? What if there are exactly zero literary agents interested in the kind of stories I write? What if the only thing I learn from querying is how poorly I handle rejection? What if I self-publish and the book just sits there on the virtual shelf, impervious to my attempts to find…

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