100-day writing challenge: Complete

Annnnd, just like that, 100 days have passed. When I started this thing, my intention was to write every single day for 100 days. After all, that’s what I did when I undertook this challenge back in 2013. This time, I wasn’t as strict. I used the challenge more to motivate me to stick to — Read More

The daunting first draft

One of the goals of my 100-day writing challenge has been to finish the first draft of a novel I started and abandoned years ago. This project is a bit different than most first-draft-projects because I’m not starting with the blank page; instead, I’m wading through old work and editing, cutting, adding as appropriate. Still, the feelings — Read More

Day 60 of the 100-day writing challenge

I meant to do a halfway-there post on my 100-day writing challenge, but I forgot. So, here I am, 10 days late, to say it’s going well. The last time I did a challenge like this, I was very neurotic about writing every single day (since that was, after all, the point of the whole — Read More

The psychology of writer’s block

Recently, I read this Writer Unboxed piece by Julianna Baggott that asks, “Is writer’s block a form of self-protection?” I’m always intrigued by theories that writer’s block is something other than laziness (because that’s what the mean “YOU MUST WRITE” voice in my head tells me it is). Baggott suggests that writer’s block isn’t “failure.” — Read More

Revisiting old stories

For a long time, I’ve been a believer in the “never look back” philosophy. I believe stories find us writers at particular times for particular reasons. So, a story that interested me years ago probably wouldn’t be of interest today. On a recent panel, someone in the audience asked me if I’d ever revisit old projects — Read More

Where do ideas come from?

Where did you get the idea for your book? This is one of the most common questions I am asked. I’ve learned to answer it succinctly by mentioning how I’d heard about people faking their deaths on 9/11 to get insurance payouts and that triggered a thought of, “Well, what if someone just didn’t show — Read More

A chat with Steven Rowley

I was lucky enough to have Steven Rowley at my lunch table at Literary Orange in April. I asked him the title of his book and he said, “Lily and the Octopus” and I said, “That’s in my Amazon cart!” And he said, “Well, buy it already!” I do well with direct orders. I bought — Read More

Writing every day for 100 days

This past weekend (Sunday, to be exact), I decided to start writing again. I say “again” because I’d stopped for a while (which is why you haven’t heard from me very often on this blog. What do you say on a blog about writing when you’re not writing?). The reasons for stopping are all-too-typical and — Read More

A chat with Tracy Barone

In April, I was lucky enough to be on a panel at Literary Orange, one of the biggest book events in Southern California. I was also lucky enough to meet Tracy Barone. We were both attempting to find the green room. Nothing bonds people better than being lost together. Her panel was right before mine, — Read More