Ghosts (and Lessons) of Shelved Manuscripts Past

Editor/writer Ashley Hearn posted recently about how “it’s easy to feel stuck after multiple stories without a ‘success.’ But when you look at [your projects], you really come to understand how no story is a wasted effort.” Goodness, wasn’t that exactly the adjusted perspective I needed in the year 2020? Despite being proud of theContinue reading “Ghosts (and Lessons) of Shelved Manuscripts Past”

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Stay Calm…and Focus on What (Writing) You Can Control

With everything spinning out of control—routines, plans, the world, etc.—I’ve found a lot of comfort and calm focusing on smaller-scale things 100% within my control: a neatly trimmed lawn, a weed-free garden bed, a freshly organized closet, a tricky recipe followed to the letter. No surprise, a lot of people have found home renovations aContinue reading “Stay Calm…and Focus on What (Writing) You Can Control”

How to Procrastinate Until Your Book Writes Itself

It’s been a long time since I wrote a brand new story idea. I’ve been in revision land a looooooong time. The blank page can be awfully intimidating, writing something rough and misshapen and new, especially after working on something that has years of polishing, and I found myself avoiding some serious butt-in-chair writing time.Continue reading “How to Procrastinate Until Your Book Writes Itself”

Quarantine Diaries

I’ve revised a manuscript, baked (several recipes from this delicious book), experimented with homemade pasta, rearranged furniture, joined digital cocktail hours, attended lifestream exercise classes, planted a tiny vegetable garden, combed through 10,000 dog adoption websites, washed 100,000 dishes, DIYed, binge-watched the entirety of Brooklyn 99, read a couple books, and now I’ve even overhauled thisContinue reading “Quarantine Diaries”

Writing with a Full-Time Job

I am a little bit of a productivity addict. I love to make lengthy checklists–at work and at home. It’s partly practical, to keep myself on task, to sort out some sort of priority system when there’s a mountain of stuff to do and I have no idea where to start, but I also reallyContinue reading “Writing with a Full-Time Job”

Drafting: False Starts and Knowing When It’s Working

For me, I know for sure whether a new manuscript is working around the 10,000 word mark. That also means sometimes I have to scrap hopeless false starts around 10,000 too. I’m rewriting an old story–in fact, the manuscript that got me my agent–for the ~fifth (?) time. Every version before it has essentially beenContinue reading “Drafting: False Starts and Knowing When It’s Working”

How the Writing is Going

A thing that I’ve heard many writers say many times before is that every book you write teaches you something. I like that idea. It’s a concept that’s always appealed to me. For a long time, though, I was having trouble figuring out what, exactly, each of my failed manuscripts was trying to teach me. ThereContinue reading “How the Writing is Going”

Writing Shortcuts (Part 1): Things I Wish I Had Learned Before Draft #1

For the past five months I’ve been plowing my way through what I thought was going to be a revision of my WIP but morphed into a complete rewrite. Though I kept pieces of Draft #1, and used it as a loose outline of the chronological events that occur in the plot, ultimately I cutContinue reading “Writing Shortcuts (Part 1): Things I Wish I Had Learned Before Draft #1”