The Importance of Not Writing

Monday, December 16, 2019

On a couple of Saturday night’s a month, my husband and I pop one of our favorite movies into the DVD player and sit on the living room couch in the pitch dark like patrons do in movie theaters. Recently we watched the 1944 psychological thriller “Gaslight,” starring Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer. In the story, an innocent woman (Bergman) marries a charming man (Boyer) who tries to drive her…

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Abandon your darlings

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Imagine, if you will, the author in her very early twenties. She’s two months out from her college graduation, completing her second or third week as a real journalist at a real newspaper. She’s wearing a suit that’s far too fancy for the newsroom around her, but that’s just because she only owns the one right now. She’s so new she hasn’t been out shopping for business casual clothes yet….

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So Much to Be Grateful For (And Yet…)

Friday, November 29, 2019

“You have a book coming out. Aren’t you excited!” “Excited” is not the word that I or anyone around me would use. A chicken running around without her head, is more like it. Others wouldn’t be so kind. But the run-up to a book can be very fraught. You have to get blurbs, those advanced praise quotes you see on the back of books and on websites like Amazon and…

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Thankful for a game well-played.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

If you hadn’t guessed already, I’m a little bit of an extrovert. That’s not always a plus in the writing world—sure, having “chatterbox” as an honorary added middle name helps when I’m hanging out in the hotel bar at a book festival or at a coffee place with my writing besties, but it sure doesn’t help when I’m back home alone, staring at the blank cursor with silence rapping on…

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My Book Pitch Letter

Friday, November 15, 2019

We can discuss pitching and pitch letters till the sky turns green, but what would probably be more helpful is if I show you my book pitch. Unlike fiction and possibly memoir (the debate is out there on memoir) non-fiction, which needs a lot of research to complete the book, is sold on proposal. (I’ll talk proposals another time). But you still need a pitch letter. So here’s mine. Dear…

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5 tips for successfully tackling distraction

Monday, November 4, 2019

I read once that air traffic controllers must be able to concentrate in a room where multiple conversations are going on simultaneously. For example, in a large airport tower, the room could be filled with the sounds of controllers speaking with several pilots about all manner of clearance, changing frequency, taxiways, takeoff, etc. Controllers must be able to make quick decisions and not be distracted by the conversations of their…

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What is Scarier than Empty Space?

Friday, November 1, 2019

Well, I’m glad Halloween is over. Now it’s time for more prosaic fears. Myself. Yup, it’s that time of year again, when my book edits were submitted (“This is the last time you can make substantive changes,” GULP) and I am in that twiddling thumb space. I’ve been in this space before — the first time I handed in my draft in June — but after that I collapsed. I…

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The One Thing Scarier than Halloween

Monday, October 28, 2019

Halloween is a spook-tacular occasion, what with ghosts, goblins and ghouls ringing the doorbell and phantoms roaming the streets. If you’re a writer, what’s even more terrifying than Halloween, is being haunted by your fears. The 1980 major motion picture, The Shining, starring Jack Nicholson and Shelly Duvall, offers a spine-tingling example. Jack Torrance, as portrayed by Nicholson, is an aspiring writer and recovering alcoholic who accepts a position as…

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Funny Thing About Working with an Editor

Friday, October 25, 2019

Maybe you don’t know this about me yet, but I’m a big procrastinator. I mean BIG. So when I ship my book/story/article off to an editor, I’m like whew. I’m not fretting about what they’ll say, worrying if it’s good enough, or how to make it better, I’m just done.  Like, it’s not my problem anymore. (It is though, but not at that very moment.) I felt the same way…

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Where Do You Draft Your Words?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Did you ever notice how, on TV or in the movies, when they want to show the difficulties of writing, they have people sitting in front of a  typewriter tossing off crumpled pieces of paper into (or near) the garbage? Real writing isn’t like that. First off, we use computers now, so the visual of trying to write is much less dramatic…just a cursor key going forward and backward. More…

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