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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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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The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day, you either wrote something or you didn’t. Maybe it was a banner day, when the stars all aligned and the metaphors all sang and the characters all looked up from the page to offer their thanks for three dimensions instead of two, for flesh and bone and blood and tears, for life itself, even though some of them will be dead by page 243. Especially because of that. Maybe it was a prolific day, a day of ten thousand perfect words, or ten thousand shitty words. A marathon that left you sweaty and exhausted…

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My Thoughts, The Writer's Life

Self-Talk for Writers

Writers are notorious self-talkers. We have to be. All of our employees live in our head. Self-talk is our way of motivating them to do their jobs. But not all our self-talk is helping. Some of it is de-motivating those employees. Yes, it’s true that there are a few uniquely-wired writers who seem to be genuinely motivated by de-motivation. If repeating “I’m a loser!” inspires you to greatness, well…good for you. (And be sure to tip your therapist.) But be careful. Negativity (and also just plain wrongful thinking) leaves a residue that can poison your writing life. The solution seems…

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The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Top Posts

Go Away Publishing Industry. I’m Writing.

It’s entirely possible that what you know about the publishing industry is killing your chances of being published. I’m not referring to perky and/or snarky agents* who tease you forward with a one-in-a-thousand opportunity they call “querying,” or clueless editors* who wouldn’t know brilliant literature if it bit them in the Franzen. I’m not talking about the endless hoops writers have to jump through whether chasing the graying hope of traditional publishing success or the shiny silver promise of self-published glory. I’m not talking about the dearth of bookstores or the preponderance of ebooks or the utter unpredictability of bestsellers.…

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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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