I’ve never believed in Writer’s Block. I always thought it was a convenient excuse for soft people who didn’t want to do the hard work of sitting in a chair for hours on end, wrestling with the thousands of words needed a create an entire book.
Ironically, I did not allow my children to watch Sponge Bob when they were little, so I was unfamiliar with the finer point of Sponge Bob’s life as a sponge who lives in a pineapple under the sea in a tight knit community called Bikini Bottom.
Banning books is like banning eyesight, or hearing, or taste, touch, or smell. It’s an attempt to make kids blind and deaf to the world around them, to protect them from reality. It’s wrong, and completely ineffective. As the parent of teenagers, I disagree with this impulse, but I do understand it.
Out with the old, in with the new is our topic this month, and it’s been a thought-provoking subject for me because for the first time ever, I have no idea what to write.
I fear all the usual things; snakes, heights, enclosed spaces, dark alleys at night. I also fear driving on the Beltway, people not liking me and a worldwide shortage of gluten free Twinkies.
“Transition” is a soft and gentle word for a serene flow from one thing to the next. “Transition” is also fancy word for “change,” and as we all know, change is a no fun whatsoever.
Most of the writing advice I consider “bad,” isn’t really bad at all. It’s usually perfectly good advice that just doesn’t work for me. Conversely, my idea of good writing advice is probably terrible advice for someone else.
My advice to my fellow parents is this: Maybe it’s time to look at our kids and the pandemic in a new way. Maybe instead of worrying about all the things our children have lost and missed, we could try looking at these hardships with a tiny bit of gratitude and a whole lot of pride.
It was all so thrilling and perfect, if you were a thirteen-year-old girl, which I was. After it became obvious to me that I couldn’t go to Narnia, I wanted to crawl into Trixie’s world and live there instead.
Then, like Thomas Edison with a guttering candle or Henry Ford in a carriage pulled by a really slow horse, I muttered, “There must be a better way.”
This month, we’re blogging about good things that actually happened with our writing in 2020. Remarkably, I can think of not just one, or two, but three good things that happened in my writing life this year.
I have a reoccurring dream where I’m standing in the middle of a shopping mall surrounded by people and suddenly realize I’m not wearing a mask.
We’ve all heard the old saying about heroes. In movies they have capes, but in real life they walk among us wearing combat boots and dog tags, in hospital scrubs or in the uniform of a supermarket checkout clerk.
At first, it was like a forty-pound sack of potatoes fell from my shoulders and I was free, even though I was confined to my house.
When schools all over America closed and they told us to educate our children from home, my mind automatically put large air quotes around the phrase, “distance learning.”
This year I learned the meaning of word ‘endurance.’ I learned it by watching a show with my kids called, I Shouldn’t be Alive.
This month we’re discussing the secret life of authors or the secrets of writing. I don’t have any burning secrets to share, so instead we’ll call this post Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Writing a Book But Were Afraid to Ask
This month we’re talking about setting. I was thinking a lot about this on a trip to California where I had the strange experience of walking around inside someone else’s imagination. It was spring break and we were in California to visit family. While there, we stopped at Universal Studios to see Harry Potter World.
My favorite character from one of my books is a wise-cracking best friend named Roxanne. The protagonist starts the book as a strait-laced rule follower. She changes on her journey through the story and by the end she’s strong, rebellious and unafraid. But she doesn’t start that way.
This month we’re discussing books that changed our perspective. For me, that book is Giants in the Earth by O.E. Rolvaag. Giants in the Earth is to the northern plains what To Kill a Mockingbird is to southern fiction. It’s a masterpiece.
By the time I finished buying dog food and detergent, I knew who she buried, why she committed this terrible crime and how she planned to cover it up.
Our topic this month is success and how we define it. I think the definition changes over time, as our careers, circumstances and goals evolve.
I’ve never been big on inspirational sayings, Like Reach for the Stars or Believe in Your Dreams. If I designed an inspirational poster, it would feature a unicorn in black leather with an eye patch standing in a hurricane with the caption: Suck it up. Stop Whining. Try harder.
I may be the last person in the Washington, D.C. area who still gets home delivery of the Washington Post. You know, the newspaper ON PAPER. I find great story ideas every morning before I’ve even finished my toast.
Our topic this month is embarrassing things that happened to us as teenagers. I can’t write about this, because honestly, I can’t remember what I had for lunch yesterday, much less an incident my brain has actively tried to repress for decades.
I wrote this blog post yesterday in the Denver airport waiting to return home from the 2018 Romance Writers of America national conference. My feet hurt. My head ached. My flight was delayed. And I can’t wait to do it again next year because this is my tribe.
When we talk about “perseverance” we tend to think about pushing onward against terrible, unexpected difficulties like erupting volcanoes, economic collapse or chronic illness.
People who’ve lost a loved one say grief is a process. Rejection is like that, too. When one of those bad news emails lands in my inbox, I work my way through the writer’s stages of grief.
I didn’t have a best friend when I was fourteen years old. I had many lovely friends, but not one soul-mate, Before Anyone Else kind of best friend.
Instead of having a dining room or a formal living room like normal, practical people, my husband and I have a room devoted to our books.
I like to image there’s a place called The Time Store. In my fantasy, the Time Store is located in a strip mall near my house, right between CVS and the dry cleaner. A bell tinkles when I push open the door. I enter and squint into the dim light.
The best gift I ever received was a total surprise. The package was deceiving. It didn’t look like a gift. It looked like a disability.
When my kids started school I realized how much I’d missed living on an academic calendar. During those years between college and having children, I’d lost touch with the clean slate feeling that comes with fall. New shoes, new notebooks, new school year. A chance to start over.
My first crush was wildly inappropriate. I was in fourth grade. He was in his thirties. I was a naïve North Dakota farm girl. He was a Confederate blockade-runner with a sardonic sense of humor.
Over the summer, most of us engage in some form of physical travel. We use cars, planes, trains, or boats to get from where we normally reside to a different place, one that’s warmer, more scenic, more relaxing, or just more interesting because it isn’t home.
And if you’re a certain kind of kid, the type who would rather be with Harry Potter than with real people, then summer is a feast of words.