Browsed by
Category: The Writer’s Life

Dear Reader Who Didn’t Love My Book… ?>

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 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:…

Read More Read More

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…

Read More Read More

The First Book ?>

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;…

Read More Read More

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:…

Read More Read More

I Quit. Again. ?>

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…

Read More Read More

What If? ?>

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?…

Read More Read More

#amwaiting ?>


When the language gods sat down at their very expensive polished maple conference table to decide which term to use for the art of putting words together to tell stories, “writing” wasn’t their first choice. “Bloodletting” actually had the most up-votes and was likely to get the nod. But then one of the lesser gods – the one everyone mistakenly called Vern – felt compelled to mention how similar “writing” was to “waiting,” which they’d already determined would mean “excruciatingly long pauses where…

Read More Read More