I tend to get really serious about my writing. I should know what to do, when to do it, and proceed in an orderly fashion. But the truth is, I often don’t know what to do. And sometimes, I’m drawn to do things all out of order with no apparent rhyme or reason. When I get caught up in thinking of that process as wrong, it means I end up not writing or writing in fits and starts of frustration.Read More
Life has this serendipitous feel sometimes, and the last couple of weeks has been one of those times. A few of my clients and I happen to be in the same phase of writing: we've compiled a lot of pages, and now we need to take stock of where we are.Read More
Toward the end of grad school, one of my friends still working on her MFA asked if all the essays I'd written for school made it into my final thesis. I remember nodding and saying yes, that most of them had.
Seven years later, I think of this moment often, because I know I was wrong.
One of the things I frequently hear from writers is a sense of dismay at how long the writing process can be. They want to find the quickest, most efficient way through so they can finish (and publish) their short story, essay, or book.
I get it. I'm in the process of writing something that's growing (perhaps into a novel, though I'm not ready to call it that). I catch myself thinking about just how loooong this process could be.
There's this funny thing people do (myself included) when it comes to titles. We ascribe them to only the most successful people. You're a skier if you go out every chance you get, have been doing it your whole life, or win competitions. You're a writer if you're extensively published (national level is, of course, best and regional or local is suspect at best).Read More
I haven’t always felt content with my writing. I mean, writers are supposed to suffer, from procrastination or writer's block or something, aren’t they? (Just kidding!) But this year, I made some big shifts in the way that I approach writing—and that’s made the difference between being satisfied, inspired even, and that sinking sort of feeling, the one that ends with, Maybe next year.Read More
Do you ever get so frustrated with writing that you're tempted to quit whatever it is that you're working on?
I've been working with writers as a coach and leading leading writing challenges for a few years now, and I'm always reminded that there is a predictable flow to any writing experience.
The first few days, week or start of a project writers are on Cloud 9. They're fresh, have a lot of enthusiasm, and they have fun testing out new writing tools because they're not working on the actual piece yet. The stakes are low.Read More
Have you ever noticed the way that having a short amount of time to write can create a sense of panic? Like, I only have one hour to write this week, or two days of a retreat—I better make the most of it!
Last month, my writing partner and I took ourselves on a writing retreat in a teeny, tiny town an hour outside of Denver (it makes my mountain town feel like a metropolis). I arrived armed with supplies and ideas: the first 80 pages of my latest project, printed; several books with essays and short stories for inspiration; and several options in mind to get the “most” out of the weekend. Like reading those pages to make sure I was on the “right track,” revising what I'd already written, or working on a short story an editor reviewed for me.Read More
One day, a novel writer in my Writer’s Voice Mastermind group came to me with a challenge. She’d been going along just fine, the story seeming to pour out of her. All of a sudden, things got fuzzy.
“It’s like I’ve been going along on a straightaway, and all of a sudden there’s this curve in the road,” she said. Things slowed down, she couldn’t tell what was around the bend, and she had no idea how to move forward.
A few days later, the other novel writer in the program came to me and said the exact same thing. “I seem to have hit this curveRead More