I recently hosted a live Q&A. Writers from across the country—North Carolina, Minnesota, Colorado, even Washington—joined me on the Facebook page to talk about critique groups, getting feedback to your writing, and the Inspired Writers Master Track. And you know what? Minds were blown. Mine included.Read More
Writers often ask me how to find readers—not the final audience, per se, but people to read an early draft and give feedback. They often ask about critique groups in particular, and one of the first things I suggest is to choose carefully.
Critique groups are not all created equal.
When I signed up for my first critique group, I didn't even realize that's what I was doing. I was a freshman in college and had simply signed up for what I saw as my first "real" writing class.Read More
I've been working with writers (and writing long enough myself) to know that there are all kinds of hurdles to sitting down to write. You probably don't need me to elaborate. If you've ever struggled to make time, make use of the time you have, or create more space for writing in your life, then you know what I'm talking about.
The truth is, making time to write doesn't have to be that complicated.Read More
You might be able to relate to this story. I met a friend for coffee and the conversation turned to writing (as you can imagine, this happens a lot). She was in a tough spot: she wanted to write but didn't know what to write.
Now, this friend has already published two books, but when she started a third, she stalled out. The magic wasn't there, and she's gone quite a while without writing. Now she had to decide, if she didn't write that third book, what should she write?
Life is full of ironies. Like starting a blog post on writing and travel while sitting in the airport, going on hour three of my delay.
But I've wanted to write about this topic for a while, and summer feels like the appropriate time. There are summer road trips, visits to the cabin, camping, and if you're not traveling, other travelers arriving at your door (especially if you live in the mountains). Talk about writing disruptions.
A writer and friend of mine will openly tell you that, sometimes, she doesn't write because she gets sucked into Netflix or solitaire.
I love her honesty, because let's face it, we all have our vices
Mine also begins with N followed by etflix, yet if you were to ask me what I'd rather do—write or watch TV—I'd say writing every time. So why do I so often choose TV?
As a coach, I often find myself making suggestions that go against the grain of conventional writing advice.
You don't have to write every day.
Write the book you want to write, not the one you think will sell.
Write to find out what happens, not because you know what happens.
Yet as unconventional as these ideas might be, I trust them wholeheartedly.
When I was in graduate school, I sometimes sat in front of my lap top (usually in bed because I never could write at a desk) and felt the frustration build. I didn't know what happened next and I needed to know so I could turn in my assignment!
In those days, the way I felt about my writing dictated how it went. If I felt clear and focused, I got things done without a hitch. When I wasn't so sure or doubted my abilities, the only thing that kept me going was a good deadline.
As a writing coach, I've seen the heartbreak of writing up close.
I know. We don't talk about that part of the process very often, but here's what it can look like:
You share your manuscript with a friend and they return it, saying they couldn't get past the first three chapters and failing to offer any helpful advice
Your award-winning manuscript gets rejected by agents
You feel like you've been writing forever, and you STILL haven't finished your book or landed an assignment
Do you ever find yourself thinking something like the following? My first draft isn't very good, and it's nothing like the story I imagined. Getting feedback to my writing, even thoughtful input, is hard to take. And what the heck am I doing, given the way I have no idea how to finish what I've started?
You're not alone.