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, 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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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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