• All,  Lesson Learned,  Life,  Tools and Tips,  Writing

    how to know when you need a break

    Sometimes I think the words “slow down” aren’t in my vocabulary. I don’t say this to brag on myself or puff myself up; I actually see it as a problem, as I face writer’s burnout more often than I should and spend days spinning my wheels over the same problems when a good weekend off would do the trick. Don’t get me wrong, I think there’s something great about testing your limits, and if you want to accomplish anything, at some point you have to lay out your goals and stick to your intentions. But if you have a similar personality to me and don’t know when to quit, or…

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    fighting fear in 2019

    Yep, we made it people. Another year. 2019 is creeping right up on us and I’m still stuck somewhere in August. If you’re anything like me, you’re always looking ahead at the next step, the next move, the next couple of squares in the calendar. I like to know what to expect of my days and try to fill them with as much productivity as possible. Real, true, get-er-done work. As I’ve learned, winning is an intentional act, and it all starts with setting your sights on a goal. In 2018 I hit a few of mine. I finished a first draft (and nearly a second) of the novel I hope…

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    five lessons from failed drafts

    Raise your hand if you hate failing!!!!!!!!!! I’m raising both of mine and I bet you are too. But it’s inevitable as you’ll hear over and over, most especially when it comes to creative endeavors. If you’re anything like me, you have dozens of failed drafts stowed and locked in some closet of your home you never visit (because don’t throw anything out period), and when you think of all the¬†dreadful writing filling those¬†drafts you shudder with embarrassment and shame. Let’s not talk about those. Oh, I’m going to. You should some time too. At least with yourself, because you might actually have a lot to learn from those great…

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    setting up a writer’s notebook

    You may have noticed by now that I’m planner and that I love to keep things neat and tidy, even in my writing world. While total structure is out of the question when it comes to creative writing, I’ve been able to keep a sliver of organization by using writing notebooks. Like most writers, I’ve always kept a notebook handy to log thoughts and inspiration, conversations and revisions (and by notebook, I mean anything to write on — slips of paper, notecards, paper napkins, the back of your hand). I’m of the notion that notetaking and freewriting, writing without the pressure of the craft, are essential to healthy creativity, and…

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    making time to write

    This time of year I usually find myself limping through the weeks like it’s a three-month-long hell week from college. When life gets busy like this, my writing tends to suffer the most; daily writing goals go unmet and my typical schedule flies out the window for the holidays and anniversaries and sudden emergencies this season brings. But if that kind of busyness is your everyday, 365-days-a-year reality, if you wake up most days wanting to write only to arrive at the end of them not having written one word, I want to help you make time for writing in your busy schedule. Before I committed to publishing a novel,…

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    overcoming obstacles

    It feels at times as if the universe just doesn’t want me to write. Whether it’s finally getting into the groove of things only to lose my nearly complete draft in a software crash, an onslaught of “real life” events eating into my usual writing time for weeks, or having my daughter break two laptops in the span of six months (yep, this really happened), I’ve experienced my fair share of obstacles since plunging into writing a novel. Some have been more defeating than others, completely knocking the wind from my sails and leaving me wondering whether I can (or should) continue. If you’ve ever felt this way, I’d like…

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    lessons from my one-year-old

    One the eve of my daughter’s first birthday, I thought it apropos to recount the lessons she’s taught me during her year on earth, specifically with regard to writing. Though absolutely welcome, Molly was a surprise, and her sudden arrival meant the end to many plans, particularly for me. Before finding out I was pregnant, I had been planning to attend graduate school for creative writing, but with Molly on the way, it didn’t pan out. So, instead, I decided to start a novel — for real this time — and began my trek somewhere around five months pregnant. I write all of this to demonstrate how instrumental Molly was…

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    take it seriously

    I distinctly remember, as a child, hating to read. Summer reading was the bane of my vacation; my school’s spring reading challenge grated me because every year, before the competition had even begun, I knew I stood no chance of winning; and reading comprehension quizzes? They were a surefire reason to doubt my intelligence, and not to toot my own horn, but I was a pretty smart kid (until about seventh grade, that is, but everything falls to crap then anyway). And yet, as a child also, I distinctly remember wanting to write a book. I loved to scribble little stories, short fantasy pieces, adventure tales, and in the sixth…