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”

The 5 Stages of Accepting and Integrating Critique Partner Feedback

In the last post, I detailed the process of writing and revising (and revising some more) until my manuscript is as good as I can make it by myself. Now, it’s time to get a few second opinions! Enter: critique partners! If you don’t have any yet, here are some suggestions on how to find them. CritiqueContinue reading “The 5 Stages of Accepting and Integrating Critique Partner Feedback”

How to Revise a Novel (Before You Waste a Year Fixing 300 Pages That Never Get Any Better)

Writing is rewriting is rewriting is rewriting. After years of reading craft books about how to shape hooky opening chapters and structure A+ plots and experimenting with nearly every revision process an author has ever posted on the internet—handwritten index scene cards taped to the wall, printed out chapters sorted like puzzle pieces on the floor, color-coded highlighters, color-coded sticky notes, red ink markup onContinue reading “How to Revise a Novel (Before You Waste a Year Fixing 300 Pages That Never Get Any Better)”

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”

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”

The Magic of the Perfect Writing Retreat

I went to a magical place last month: A three-day writing retreat in upstate Pennsylvania at the Highlights Foundation. I was torn two ways about sharing it with you all on the internet. Half of me wanted to sing from the rooftops that everyone should go to said magical place to experience the spellbinding calm, to rest andContinue reading “The Magic of the Perfect Writing Retreat”