The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Uncategorized, Writing Encouragement

In the Company of Strangers

If you want to be a successful (i.e.: published, well-read, income-producing) writer, you’re going to have to get comfortable in the company of strangers. I’m not talking about the strange fictional people who inhabit your novel, I’m talking about the In Real Life kind. You know, those ugly bags of mostly water* you bump into while standing in line for your half-caff-soy-latte-with-a-double-shot-of-arsenic. If you’re anything like me (and I pray you’re not, ¬†because this could lead to a sudden loss of cabin pressure), approaching strangers, let alone asking them for something, ranks right up there with public speaking, pregnant spiders,…

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Editing, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

The Weight of Your Words

I love my computer*. Let me say that up front, in case it thinks otherwise and decides to unflash its memory. But I have fond (if only for the purpose of this post) memories of a time when writing hurt more than it does today. Oh sure, we have carpal tunnel syndrome and baked sperm syndrome (well, some of us, anyway), but those are fancy aches. Yesterday, a writer’s pain was blue-collar. It was immediate and visceral. Remember writer’s cramp? Now that was a pain you could feel. It started somewhere between thumb and forefinger, then exploded up the arm…

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The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

So What?

Right now, you’re thinking one of these things: “My novel sucks.” “What if no one buys my book?” “I got a one-star review!” “I got a hundred five-star reviews!” “I don’t know if I have what it takes to be a writer.” And right now, I’m thinking this: So what? Does your novel suck? Maybe. Maybe not. Some of the best books I’ve edited arrived from the author with a side of Severe Doubt. “It might make you ill.” It didn’t. Conversely, some of the worst books I’ve edited arrived from the author with a side of Unwarranted Confidence. “I…

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Editing, Self-editing Tips, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

Make Something Happen

“Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard I love this quote. Not just because it indirectly gives purpose to the existence of content editors. (Mostly because of that.) But also because it’s impossibly clever and initially appears to be cleverly impossible. I mean, how do you do that? Some readers tend to skip long descriptive sections. So you should leave those out, right? Not necessarily. There’s nothing wrong with good descriptive writing. If your voice happens to be descriptive, some readers are going to go skipping. You can’t stop them. Other readers become…

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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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My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

Meet Me at the Breaking Place

“This book is incredible. You absolutely have to read it.” Ah, these words. More than mere validation for authors who spend so much time in uncertain solitude, they are payment and a generous tip for all the pain endured on the road from first thought to last word. They are the perfect reward. “It’s a good book.” “A great read.” “So well-written.” These are fine words, too. Encouraging words. We’ll take them above silence any day. But they fall far short of “you have to read this,” which, when expanded to its original size, looks something like this: “If you…

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