What is Writer’s Block?

When I asked my friends what would be a good subject for my writer’s blog, the vast majority answered, “Writer’s block!” (And I stared at them mutely because that’s been the subject, in a way, of ALL my posts.) Either they hadn’t been reading my blog before offering advice (Gasp! Shock!) or we have different […]

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Why can’t I write the final draft first?

A first draft of a story looks like this: The final draft of a story looks like this: They are both words on pages, nothing more. Why can’t we just write the final draft the first time? We forget that we’re making ART. You don’t just start from the beginning and write it as though you […]

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Cover Letters That Worked

We writers get worked up about cover letters.  I know I do. I stare at the screen every time, trying to decide what to say.  So, to help me, and you, or perhaps simply to dispel the myth that cover letters matter at all, here are the cover letters that I used for my last […]

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Mud

For the purposes of this post, stories are vases. Not all vases are the same, though.  One problem with soliciting advice for improving your story can be that the person you talk to wants a different vase altogether. “I wrote a heartwarming human-interest story!”   “It needs more action.” “Here’s my heartwarming human-interest story with […]

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The Importance of Cats

A catless writer is almost inconceivable. It’s a perverse taste, really, since it would be easier to write with a herd of buffalo in the room than even one cat; they make nests in the notes and bite the end of the pen and walk on the typewriter keys. ~Barbara Holland My cats are very […]

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Never Clear Your Schedule

Despite its never having worked, ever, I frequently do this: This works much better:   Punishing yourself doesn’t work.  Did you eat all your veggies when your parents made you stay at the table until you did?  Me neither.  I stayed up all night in a cold kitchen, and I actually like peas. It’s not […]

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How Not To Be A Writer

“I’ve got to be writing.  I have a few ways to make sure I can carve out time. Part One: Neglect everything else” -David Mitchell (quoted in The Atlantic.) Like most writers, I don’t write enough.  I have a goal to write one hour every day. I have met that goal two days out of […]

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