Bookish memories

Bookish memories
Today is Beverly Cleary’s 102nd birthday! I have a vivid memory of walking through the garage of my childhood home holding a copy of one of the Ramona books, probably Ramona the Brave. I loved those books. Then, when my daughter was little, the movie version came out. I thought I was fine. I thought, ...

Frankly, my dear, it’s tax time.

As Scarlett O’Hara famously observed in Gone with the Wind, “Death and taxes and childbirth! There’s never any convenient time for any of them!” That may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that at least two of those things are guaranteed to come around (one of them annually). I’ve spent hours this week ...

Where the gold is buried

Where the gold is buried
As writers, we’re often called to head into the wilderness. There’s the wilderness of starting a new manuscript, for example. The wilderness of the “dreaded middle” of said manuscript, when it’s easy to start thinking we’ve forgotten how to tell a story completely. Then there’s the wilderness of revisions and edits, of sending our “baby” ...

Are you a tortoise or a hare?

Are you a tortoise or a hare?
I’m often amazed by my author friends and acquaintances who seem to write at breakneck speed. Regardless of how many other commitments they might have (family, day job, etc.), their output is objectively impressive. Fortunately for the rest of us, being highly prolific is not a requirement for getting published and finding a readership. In ...

In praise of happy places

In praise of happy places
Every writer…every creative person…heck, every person…should have at least one place that provides inspiration. A place we can escape to now and then, where we tend to feel like the best version of ourselves. For me, Sedona, AZ is one of those places. It’s a quick drive down the switchbacks from Flagstaff, and I’ve been ...

Looking up & adding a semi-colon – thoughts on self-talk for writers

Looking up & adding a semi-colon – thoughts on self-talk for writers
“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.” ~Oscar Wilde Writers at all stages of their careers can slip into ruts that are hard to get out of. In my own experience (and from talking to many other writers about this), I’ve learned that the ruts often boil ...

On procrastination (or “There’s always tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow…”)

On procrastination (or
(Does anyone else remember those old Control Data Institute commercials, or was this just a regional California thing that other 80’s kids have blocked from their minds completely?) So, it seems like I’ve been talking to tons of writers lately about procrastination and the struggle to finish projects, especially longer ones like novels, screenplays, and ...

Chop wood, carry water, tippy-tap on the keyboard

Chop wood, carry water, tippy-tap on the keyboard
Storm’s rolling in. Last night I was out mucking stalls, changing the horses’ bedding, and making sure they had enough water. This morning I carried armload after armload of firewood into the house (yes, we have central heat, but who doesn’t love a roaring fire in the middle of a snowstorm?). Later today I’ll probably ...

Writing the book you want to read

Writing the book you want to read
I don’t remember who first told me, “Write the book you want to read,” but it’s great advice. Unfortunately, writing the book that calls to us isn’t always easy. It takes confidence, groundedness, and a certain inner push. Maybe this is because writers who desire publication are so often told to “write for the market.” ...

The wonders of a one-day workshop <3

The wonders of a one-day workshop <3
I had SUCH a great time this weekend giving a writing workshop hosted the Las Vegas-Clark County Library system. A wonderful bunch of folks prepared flyers, posters and other promotional material (well, they’re library people, so I suppose it goes without saying that they’re wonderful). A great bunch of writers showed up, too, despite the ...