Every few months or so, I have to reorganize my writing life. Supposedly, I have one office for my home business and a second smaller office for my writing space.
Over time, what usually happens is that the business office becomes a dumping ground for everything that doesn’t have a home in another part of our house—boxes, mail, shipping materials, marketing materials, products, Halloween decorations, boxes that need to go to storage, etc.—and I end up working and writing in my writing room. Since this is the room with the view, so to speak, I don’t really mind but, after awhile, I’m overflowing with papers, files, and books…thus, the reorganizing. Read more
Earlier this week, the New York Times ran an article by Susan Dominus about novelist Stephen King and his family. In “Stephen King’s Family Business,” I learned that two of King’s three children have gone into the “family” business of writing novels and one son is married to another novelist. Wow. Can you imagine a family of novelists?
One thing that struck me was when King explained that as he and his novelist wife, Tabitha, put their children to bed at night, they didn’t read stories to their children, instead they asked their children to tell them stories. What a great idea and what a wonderful way to encourage young people’s imaginations.
Even as an adult, I try to think of ways to stimulate my imagination such as:
* I practice oral storytelling whenever I can, paying attention to my audience to see if I’ve hooked them. Read more
“I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing. . . . Good writing is often about letting go of fear and affectation.”— Stephen King
I’m starting a new book with the goal of finishing my first draft in 90 days. I started writing the book last year but was sidetracked with other writing and editing projects. I was also sidetracked by fear:
- The fear of getting it wrong;
- The fear of not being good enough;
- The fear of getting halfway through the story and not knowing how to end it;
- The fear of writing myself into a corner;
- And about 100 other fears.
As Stephen King suggests, I’m learning how to let go of my fear to become a better writer. Read more
Recently, at our local Field’s End Writing Conference, author Shelia Roberts spoke about high-concept novels. Whenever I hear the term “high-concept,” it always brings images of espionage thrillers like John le Carre’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy or a complex, multi-charactered story like Stephen King’s The Stand.
But what I learned from Roberts was that “high-concept” doesn’t necessarily mean exceedingly complex. A high-concept idea is one that is unique, unusual, or stands out in some way. Roberts describes it as, “stepping outside the box.” Read more
Rejection hurts. No matter who it’s coming from, or what part of your life it’s directed at, it hurts. As writers, we have to risk rejection if we want to see our work in print.
What’s the best way to handle rejection? Can we turn it into something positive?
When I began submitting my poetry to literary magazines, my mentor told me I’d need to develop a thick skin and to look at those rejection slips as stepping stones: with each rejection I received, I was one step closer to getting published. Though I accumulated a bonfire-size pile of rejections, I kept writing and kept submitting. When I received my first acceptance letter, I jumped up and down in a little victory dance. All that work paid off. My second acceptance letter came the following week. Read more