On the Rules of Writing

1. Religiously learn all the writing rules. They’re out there–just look them up.

2. Write them down, preferably by hand. In the very least, print them out.

3. Take those pieces of paper and put them in a fire-proof container, preferably outdoors.

4. Squirt liberal amounts of lighter fluid into said container.

…you can figure out the rest.

Now go create something we’ve never read before.

7 Things I Learned By Working With an Editor

Having recently worked with Helen Hardt at Musa Publishing for the upcoming release of The Crosstown Kid, I thought I’d share some impressions for writers who might not have worked with a professional editor yet.

I don’t know about you, but I was a little nervous prior to the process. I had nightmare 2008-01-26 (Editing a paper) - 20visions of my work being gutted, torn to shreds, clawing its way along with its legs hacked off, a dead, flat, hollow shell with only the barest resemblance to the version that flowed out of my head. Something I would despise and never want to look at again.

Turns out, this was a pretty dumb vision.

Continue reading 7 Things I Learned By Working With an Editor

What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed

It happens to us all.

Every now and then you just go a tiny, wee-bit batshit about how much there is to do.

OverwhelmThere are query letters to send, guest posts to write, another round of corrections with your editor, invoices to send out for some freelance work you did…

…there are synopses to be written, your own website hasn’t been updated since the turn of some prior century, your social media followers haven’t heard from you in so long they’ve divided into two camps: Alien Abduction vs. Fallen Into a Narrow Crevasse and Gnawing Her Own Arm Off…

…there are conferences and workshops and networking events to attend, that library wants you to be a guest speaker to some kids (as if they care), research for a piece you’ve been putting off, a steadily-expanding list of writing articles you’ve been meaning to read…

What else?

Oh yeah… the writing.

Actual ass-in-chair bleed-onto-your-keyboard creative time.

You’re only one person. With so many hours in a day. With only so many of those hours that the dog isn’t whining to go out, or the tummy rumbling to put food in, or the plumbing springing a sudden and spectacular leak.

For me it’s about every six months. I flat out lose it. I melt down for a day. You can set your watch to it.

But I always come out of it.

Here’s how… Continue reading What to Do When You’re Overwhelmed

What To Do When the Words Don’t Show Up

We’ve all been there. You run the errands, you walk the dogs. You deal with your boss’s needs, your family’s needs. You take care of business so that you have a few precious hours of Sacred Writing Time, all to yourself.

You feed yourself, you bring your mug of tea with. You get yourself in position at your desk. The door is closed. The laptop is open. Nothing can stop you now. Time to be brilliant, to weave magic onto the page, to create!

frustrationYou poise your fingers over the keys, you look at that blinking cursor, eager to chew its way through evil blank space…

And it blinks.

And blinks.

Continue reading What To Do When the Words Don’t Show Up