My Writing Process

I am endlessly fascinated by the writing process of other writers. I'm curious about how they do what they do, where they get their ideas, how long their process takes. The later reason is probably why I'm so curious, not because I'm looking for a shortcut (spoiler alert: there isn't one) but, because I'm looking for a process that's more efficient than mine. I'm not sure I can even describe my process as a process. Its more haphazard, like being blindfolded and throwing darts at a target I cannot see. Dangerous stuff. I'd accomplish so much more if my process was more clearly defined -- at least that's what I keep telling myself. In reality, the only way to get it done is to do just that, get it done. Hands to the keyboard and write. So, without further adieu, here's my contribution to the #MyWritingProcess blog tour: What am I working on? I'm working on the first novel that I plan to finish. I've started many that are no longer than a page or two and one … [Read more...]

The Execution of Change

Change is good. That's my current mantra. I am learning that change happens in large doses in my life. In the span of a week, I lost my job and my dad resigned from his. Six years ago, when I was offered said job, more change happened at the same time: my parents reconciled and my sister announced her pregnancy. And I know there is more change to come. My son will be starting kindergarten next month, and soon my childhood home will be home to someone else. It's all a little overwhelming, to say the least. But I truly believe that everything happens for a reason, whether that reason is immediately evident or not. I know in my heart that this change is for the better even though, at times, I feel like I've been knocked over by a wave, my life etched in sand erased by the tide. I've been trying to figure out what comes next, only to realize that what comes next isn't exactly up to me. I want to follow my heart but my practical mind keeps interrupting me. I want to pursue … [Read more...]

Writing Advice From Alice McDermott

I recently attended the Washington Independent Review's first annual Books Alive conference. One of the many speakers in attendance was award-winning author Alice McDermott. In college, I read Charming Billy, for which McDermott won an American Book Award and the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction, and loved it. I grabbed a seat at one of the front tables in her breakout session, "What's Novel About the Novel?" I dream of being a novelist, after all. Someone asked the panel a question that I don't exactly remember. But Alice McDermott's response stuck with me. She shared writing advice that resonated with her when she was trying to write and raise small children -- a boat I find myself I at the moment. I'll paraphrase: As soon as your children have left for school or daycare or for grandma's house, clear off your kitchen table with one sweep of your arm (she animated by making a sweeping motion with her arm) and get to work writing. Don't stop … [Read more...]

Why Writing is Like Running

I haven’t posted in a while because my site was down and I wasn’t sure how to fix it (thank you DreamHost for coming to my rescue). I have been writing in my head, though, so look out for a slew of posts to come, hopefully, more regularly. Yesterday, as I was driving, I had an epiphany as to why I haven’t written a novel yet. Writing a novel is like running a marathon – it takes a good chunk of time to get from the start to the finish. I doubt I’m the first person to come up with this analogy but it was an a-ha moment for me. I have no desire to run a marathon but, if I did, I would train. Training builds strength and endurance and requires discipline. So maybe I should apply that same concept to writing. What if I adapted a marathon training schedule to writing? I could replace miles with minutes. Over the course of several weeks, I’d dedicate a few days to writing, gradually increasing the amount of time spent until I produce a novel. Here’s the Novel Writing Training Schedule I … [Read more...]