The Writing Life

7 Reasons Why a Writer Needs Heroes

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice, The Writing Life by on July 7, 2015 3 Comments • views: 2813
7 Reasons Why a Writer Needs Heroes

Who are your writing heroes? Can you name them—right now? Do you know who they are? Does it matter? I’ve asked a number of people these questions. I’ve been amazed by how many blank looks I’ve received. Maybe it’s because my writing heroes are so important to me—and I believe, to my progression as a […]

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7 Things I Learned When Margaret Atwood Came to Town

Filed in The Writing Life by on April 14, 2015 15 Comments • views: 2485
7 Things I Learned When Margaret Atwood Came to Town

She’s been one of my favorite authors since I was in my early 20s. I couldn’t believe she was coming all the way from Toronto to Idaho. I’ve attended readings/lectures/signings with several of my writing heroes, including Andre Dubus III, Dennis Lehane, Ann Patchett, and Daniel Woodrell. They were all outstanding, to put it mildly, […]

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Have You Killed the Spark Between You and Your Writing?

Filed in The Writing Life by on February 3, 2015 5 Comments • views: 1553
Have You Killed the Spark Between You and Your Writing?

A Valentine’s Letter from Your Writing I’m sorry, but it’s just not working between us anymore. I’ve lost the feeling, and I haven’t been able to get it back. It’s not you, it’s…well, yeah, it’s you. You’ve killed the spark between us. Me? You’re blaming me? Well, whatever. If that’s what you want to think. […]

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The One Reason You Should Not Set Goals This Year

Filed in The Writing Life by on January 6, 2015 6 Comments • views: 2095
The One Reason You Should Not Set Goals This Year

There are a lot of blog posts published at this time of year telling us how to set goals. It’s rather of a useless activity, though, if you’re doing it simply because you think you should, or because everyone else is doing it, or because you did it last year. When we set goals, we […]

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10 Ways to Maintain a Writing Routine During the Holidays

Filed in The Writing Life by on December 30, 2014 2 Comments • views: 1731
10 Ways to Maintain a Writing Routine During the Holidays

We’re knee-deep in holiday season this week. Are you still getting your writing done? It’s probably one of the most difficult times of the year to stick with a daily writing practice. Most of our routines are completely upended, and routine is the writer’s friend when it comes to getting in a daily number of […]

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The Secrets to Your Progress: Are You a Better Writer Today Than You Were Last Year?

Filed in The Writing Life by on December 16, 2014 6 Comments • views: 1265
The Secrets to Your Progress: Are You a Better Writer Today Than You Were Last Year?

At this time of year, I always find myself slipping into a period of reflection. How has the year gone? Where am I, in terms of my professional and personal growth? How did I do on my goals? Underneath all of this is perhaps the biggest question on my mind, and maybe on the minds […]

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Serious Writers Permit Themselves to Go on Writers’ Retreats

Filed in The Writing Life by on December 2, 2014 10 Comments • views: 1918
Serious Writers Permit Themselves to Go on Writers’ Retreats

I was slumped against the passenger side door of our old Dodge station wagon. Its claim to fame was that it resembled the Ghostbusters’ prized vehicle, minus the sirens and lights. My younger brother was extremely proud of that. My mom, on the other hand, wasn’t so thrilled. Like it’s famous twin, the car wasn’t […]

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What My Grandmother Taught Me About Being a Grateful Writer

Filed in The Healthy Writer, The Writing Life by on November 18, 2014 11 Comments • views: 2883
What My Grandmother Taught Me About Being a Grateful Writer

I’ve attended several writing events this year. Conferences, awards dinners, signings, etc. At every one, without exception, I heard one thing: writers complaining. It’s an easy habit to fall into. This isn’t a cushy career, by any means. We have a number of challenges in front of us, from the blank page to the rejection […]

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Honor Your Quirks—Especially if They Work!

Filed in Finding & Following Your Voice, The Writing Life by on November 4, 2014 3 Comments • views: 1088
Honor Your Quirks—Especially if They Work!

I hate morning people. Not literally, of course. In fact, as long as they don’t bother me, I don’t mind them at all. But every once in awhile, if I spend time with friends or family, I’m reminded how very violent I can get if people bother me in the morning. Mornings Give Us Creative […]

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Writing from Experience: Using Your Body to Improve Your Story

Filed in The Writing Life by on August 7, 2014 6 Comments • views: 1906
Writing from Experience: Using Your Body to Improve Your Story

Guest post by Steve Mitchell and Carol Roan Writing is more than something that happens in our heads. The experiences we draw upon in order to write exist in every part of our selves. When our writing is not going well, when we’re blocked, lots of thoughts are running around in our heads (all of […]

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Warning: 4 Dangers of Traveling to Research Your Novel

Filed in The Writing Life by on July 8, 2014 6 Comments • views: 1197
Warning: 4 Dangers of Traveling to Research Your Novel

A couple weeks ago, I told you all about my trip to research my current work in progress (The Beached Ones). Now I’m back home, the trip is over, and I’m processing the whole experience. I thought it only fair to warn you—this type of journey isn’t for the faint of heart. It can be […]

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Should You Travel to Research Your Novel?

Filed in The Writing Life by on June 17, 2014 6 Comments • views: 1362
Should You Travel to Research Your Novel?

Situation: I’m in the second draft of my work in progress. My characters travel across country, from Iowa to California. Dilemma: I’ve either a) never been to the locations where my characters stop along the way, or b) it’s been so long the places are dim in my memory. Solution 1: Research via the Internet. […]

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