Minor Dramas and Other Catastrophes

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

You never realize how important publication day is until you have one yourself. I can’t begin to think of how many book parties I’ve been to, how many friends’ books I’ve bought, how many invites I’ve received — and didn’t realize their import until I wrote a book of my own. No, until I published a book of my own. At that’s the important thing in this writing life —…

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Comp Titles – Something Old, Something New…

Friday, January 24, 2020

When I used to work as a newspaper editor, people would send in all kinds of crazy submissions. Like, hello? “We don’t publish poetry,” I would sometimes reply. “But you should!” They’d write back. (Which why I stopped replying). A publication (magazine/newspaper/website) wants to publish similar things to what they’ve been publishing but not the same. They don’t want ideas for new columns or things they should be doing. I…

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Writing Dreams — Dreams of Writing

Friday, January 17, 2020

Dreams are boring. That’s a rule in fiction. Also in life. No one wants to hear about your dreams. Not your night dreams, or nightmares, and not even your regular life dreams or goals: The former lacks narrative structure (“and then you were flying? Wait, I thought you were a shark?”) the latter makes people nervous because they may not be in touch with their own naked ambition. I don’t want…

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The Most Challenging Part of Being a Writer (Apologies to Elsa)

Friday, January 10, 2020

Would you think me a bad parent if I told you my four year old has seen Frozen 2 three times? (Does that make it Frozen 6?) Well, I only saw it once. And at first the new anthem didn’t catch my gut the way “Let It Go,” did; I heard that anthem waaay before I became a mom and I knew it could be belted out ferociously even then. (Another…

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My Great Writing Resolution…

Friday, January 3, 2020

Every year, I start a new journal. I love the clean page, writing Jan 1 (although not the creeping years slowly). I think I started my first journal more than two decades ago. Let’s just say it was not in this millennium. “A new year! New Resolutions!” I would state, even though they were usually the same resolutions. Write a book. Lose Weight   Well, this year I don’t have…

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All the things you can (and can’t) control

Wednesday, January 1, 2020

I’m not a fan of New Year’s resolutions, just like some of the other Debs. “Lose weight” usually ends three weeks in when I twist my ankle on the treadmill and remember that pasta exists. “Spend less” makes me shriek with laughter, since I’m a homeowner. I’d love to “learn a new hobby,” except that between keeping the baby alive and keeping my career alive, I barely have time to…

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Self-Care For Writers

Friday, December 20, 2019

What the F is self-care? I recently heard a young millennial (or was it an old Gen Z’er) complain about the term. Maybe she wasn’t complaining as much as wondering. Why wouldn’t you care for yourself? wrote this young whippersnapper, whose every move, from waking up to eating the proverbial avocado toast to actually interesting things like partying, was posted on social. I am not making fun of her. I…

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Best Writing Advice Ever On Your Worst Enemy

Friday, December 6, 2019

“What should I do?” I began my session with my mentor. See, I was in a low-residence MFA, where we had two weeks in school (then the rest of the semester remote.) “I mean, I kind of like this beginning,” I said, showing her a printout of an essay I began, “but maybe this one makes more sense,” I said, whipping a different version out of my backpack. I often…

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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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Tips for new writers

Friday, November 22, 2019

“What’ so special about your life that you want to write about it,” one date said to me when I was in my early twenties. I guess it was his way of flirting – that negation thing that men do that’s supposed to be sexy — but as I looked down at him (I think I was sitting on a washing machine in what must have been a prelude to…

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