On March 28, Okla Elliott asked me if I'd consider writing a short book on Hillary Rodham Clinton for Squint Books, an imprint of Eyewear Publishing in London. I said no, because I had no idea what my angle would be for this project; I hadn't had any burning desire to tackle the topic, … Continue reading How to Write a Book in Two Weeks
By Shelley Evans, Sonya Huber, and Bill Patrick You’ve got a terrific idea. It would make a great short story or perhaps even a novel. You know it would. Or maybe you’ve just finished that once-in-a-lifetime immersion opportunity, following detectives or migrants or crusading doctors for a year, and you have notes and photos and … Continue reading Workshopping for Story and Narrative
You didn’t get the grant that would have affirmed your talent and promise. You don’t have a book to hold in your hands that would make all this flailing on the page real. You have been immersed in a deep well of inquiry and making, which is sometimes lonely business, and you want to share … Continue reading On Wanting, Shame, and Artistic Ambition
If you're just starting an MFA or undergraduate creative writing program, or if you're not in an academic program but making the choice to devote your energy to writing, you might feel completely overwhelmed by your new awareness of all the book titles zinging around your ears. I remember when I started my MFA program … Continue reading Writers Read. We Read a Lot. Here’s How to Manage the “To Read” Lists.
A friend asked me a great question recently: how do you know when to put a difficult life event out there in the world, either on a blog or as a submission to a publication? She asked wonderful questions about motives: what are we doing when we share the hard stuff? My first motive in … Continue reading Should You Share It With the World?
I haven't been able to write lately due to disrupted mornings, which has thrown me off and made me rusty. I have spoken and written about the hour-a-day writing routine, and I want to admit here in the privacy of the Internet that the bar is super low for that hour. Here's a chronicle of … Continue reading Setting the Bar Low
I've been tagged by the fantastic Dinty W. Moore to participate in the Writing Process Blog Tour, in which writers talk briefly about their writing process and then pass the project on to three more writers like a chain letter. Dinty is editor of Brevity: A Journal of Concise Nonfiction, which you have to read. … Continue reading Writing Process
I was invited to do a blog post as part of a rolling series on the writing process. Cool! And so is the person who invited me, Sarah Wells. I met Sarah when I taught at the Ashland Low-Residency MFA program, where Sarah is the dauntless administrative director. She also is the managing editor at … Continue reading Writing Process Blog Tour
Your book is taking a long time to write. You see updates on social media about the release of other books, and you get a racing hopeless feeling inside, as if your little book with its million little legs were trying to climb up a mudslide. You have been through this draft so many times. … Continue reading Your book is taking a long time to write
My students often talk about facing the blank page and not knowing what to say, not "feeling it." I go on and on about how I make myself write for an hour, no matter what (and that's qualified by days where chaos intervenes, and the weekends where mom doesn't even try to write). Today I'll … Continue reading Write Anyway