Feel like you are falling short? It's time to get real.

Feel like you are falling short? It's time to get real.

Do you ever feel like you’re falling short of every writing rule that was ever written? You’re not writing every day or first thing in the morning. You’re not writing from 9 to 5 and when it comes to treating it like a job… well, not exactly.

Here’s the deal: That’s okay and I want to tell you why.

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A peek inside my writing process - rough drafts and revisions

A peek inside my writing process - rough drafts and revisions

When I was home from college, I'd sit at my childhood desk with a blank piece of paper before me, trying to come up with the perfect first sentence for a story. I didn't even know what I wanted to write, but I felt like the perfect first sentence was the key to getting started.

Under that kind of pressure, I didn't get very far. Now I know better.

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Haven't been writing? One simple way to get back to the page.

Haven't been writing? One simple way to get back to the page.

Has it been awhile since you’ve shown up to the page? Do you feel like you’re circling your writing? Thinking about it more than you’re actually doing it?

I know the struggle to begin writing is real, and the longer you’ve been away from the page, the harder it is to begin.

The good news is you can make it easier. Watch my video below or at this link, or keep reading.

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Ever find it hard to trust the writing process? You're not alone.

Ever find it hard to trust the writing process? You're not alone.

There are moments in writing when you have to decide what to do next, but you don't know what kind of outcome you'll get. Will the thing you decide to do actually work?

It can make the writing process so uncomfortable. The joy and happiness of showing up at the page transform into uncertainty, doubt, or worry. I see it often in writers, and it makes me think of "hand ringing."

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Transform Your Writing, Shift #4: Get Real About Your Writing Needs

Transform Your Writing, Shift #4: Get Real About Your Writing Needs

Have you ever noticed how a lot of writing sounds like rules? Write every day. Write first thing in the morning. Write 1,000 words per day. It's tempting to think they're the secret to writing more. 

I often hear my clients make similar pronouncements. "I'm going to write every day," they say. 

Or, in a wistful tone, "I just need to carve out two hours a day."

In those moments, I counsel caution.

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Transform Your Writing, Shift #3: Own Your Process

Transform Your Writing, Shift #3: Own Your Process

My better half is a builder, and he is not a whap it, tap it, slap it kind of worker. He is a craftsman, who built our home with reclaimed oak floors, spacious windows to let in the light, and an eye for detail. He could see our house before it existed, and his job was bringing it life. After watching his process first hand, I knew: his best clients will appreciate quality, not the fastest, cheapest work.

I've realized something similar about my own writing. While the newspaper industry taught me to write fast and on a deadline, I have not transferred those skills to my short stories and novel writing. I don't want to.

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Transform Your Writing, Shift #1: You Are More Than a Writer

Transform Your Writing, Shift #1: You Are More Than a Writer

There's this image of "The Writer" that permeates our culture: a solitary creature, so devoted to his or her craft that she writes EVERY DAY. Perhaps that means writing all day, from 9 to 5, and treating it like a job. Perhaps that means getting up at 5 a.m. and sacrificing sleep for writing. Or perhaps it means writing first thing, no matter what.

These approaches work for some writers, and certainly for those whose entire livelihoods are based on writing (Steven King and Dani Shapiro come to mind). I'll never argue against consistency and the importance of showing up. But there's a flip side to thinking you have to do it like they do: you feel guilty when you don't write, you question whether you're meant to do it, or you wonder if you're a fraud. 

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Sometimes, You Need to Go Off Track to Find Your Way in Writing

Sometimes, You Need to Go Off Track to Find Your Way in Writing

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.

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All stories and books start with a really bad first draft.

All stories and books start with a really bad first draft.

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. 

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A writer's mantra for dealing with doubt

A writer's mantra for dealing with doubt

Not too long ago, I went for a walk with a good friend in the aspen grove above her house. The rain began to fall just as we turned around to head for home, and in the final stretches, she told me about a book she’d been reading.

An English teacher, she gets excited about a good book, and she had a lot to say about its layers and its relevance to society. I love her book recommendations, but I’d just spent the day writing. I couldn't listen to her description without comparing it to my own work:

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