Archive for the 'Writing' Category


Wednesday, March 16th, 2016


As soon as I heard about Mary Karr’s book The Art of Memoir from this interview at NPR, I wanted it, wanted it RIGHT NOW in the way that I often crave books by authors whose work I both like and admire. First with The Liar’s Club and most recently with Lit, Karr has won me over with her ability to tell a good story in a strong voice. If you haven’t read Karr, did you like Jeannette Wall’s The Glass Castle? That book probably couldn’t have found an audience if Karr hadn’t paved the way with Liar’s Club.

Art of Memoir hit a sweet spot for me in that it’s both a memoir plus a book about writing memoirs. I’m attempting, and more often lately failing, to put together a memoir of my own about specific times in life, and rather than sitting down to the do the hard work of writing about hard things, I’m often flitting about the internet on Facebook, Twitter, or hey, even taking time to blog here! So her book is a good reminder for me to stop cussing around and get to work, already:

After a lifetime of hounding authors for advice, I’ve heard three truths from every mouth: (1) Writing is painful — it’s ‘fun’ only for novices, the very young, and hacks; (2) other than a few instances of luck, good work only comes through revision; (3) the best revisers often have reading habits that stretch back before the current age, which lends them a sense of history and raises their standards for quality.

(Distracted aside: I don’t care if the blog is dead. I’ve been doing this for 14 years, and I love it and while I don’t do it as regularly as I did in the years prior to social media, I’m still not gonna quit.)

If you read and liked (enjoyed, loved, admired, what have you) any of Karr’s other books, I think you’ll like this one too. She gives gritty behind-the-scenes insight about what went into the writing of those books. When she does go into details about writing, she sets those sections off for those who are more interested in the memoir part than in the writing craft part. But for those of us nerds who love both? This is like the Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup of books: two great things that go great together.

If you haven’t read Karr, go check out Liar’s Club and Lit first; I wouldn’t recommend this one to start with. Unless you’re a writer, and then this is as good a place as any.


Sunday, March 6th, 2016

I keep trying to put an image of the journal here, but the blog displays it wonkily.

I will try one more time:


I’ve been writing regularly in a journal since January of 1994. I was 25, about to be 26, and seeing a therapist because of difficulties with my then boyfriend. Because I’m lately trying to write about that ex-boyfriend, I spent some time this morning putting my shelf of journals in chronological order.

There are 37 of them.

I am 48 years old. I have been writing in these 37 books for just over 23 years. Will I get to the point where my number of journals matches my age? Probably not–I have gotten better over the years at picking good journals, ones that have enough pages for a year or more, rather than a month or two.

I’m reading Harriet the Spy aloud to my boys right now. Drake is now 12, Guppy 10. Like Harriet, I’d be in a lot of trouble if people were to read my journals. I put my ugliest self in there, in the attempt to not say that stuff aloud. I also try to write out my bad moods, which are many. Best that they’re burnt without reading when I’m gone, I think.

I flipped through some of them. They don’t make good reading. They’re boring, repetitive, maddeningly vague if I’m looking for something specific, and mostly just me trying to figure things out. Story of my life, right?

Taking Real Breaks from Writing

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Another nugget that stayed with me from my writing workshop and retreat with Dani Shapiro at Kripalu last weekend was about the danger of taking fake breaks.

Shapiro recalled how earlier in her life, when she’d get hit a writing wall, she would stop writing and take a cigarette break, during which her mind would wander, and after which she’d go back to the page. She noted how one of her old teachers used to say she did some of her best writing in the bathtub, and how it took her a long time to realize she didn’t mean it literally, but in the sense of being away from the page or the ‘puter and letting the mind wander where it will.

The danger in our hyperconnected lives is that we no longer take real breaks. If we step away from the writing, it’s to check email, or Facebook, or Twitter, or something similar. We’re not taking a break and resting. We’re just doing something else.

As I wrote about in the post on a pre-writing meditation, the “trick” to focusing on writing is to write. Sit with the page, not hare off after this pretty shiny blinking beeping light or that one.

As Shapiro noted, often we are at our most distractible when we are on the verge of getting at some juicy, challenging bit of truth. If we don’t give ourselves the out, if we can practice being attentive, and leaving those other activities for other times, we are much more likely to write, and perhaps to write less suckily.

In the wake of the retreat, I’ve taken several apps off my phone, and have thus reduced my distractions a bit. I still am emailing on my phone, as well as getting on this or that other site online. Instead of those, today, I took breaks by doing laundry, which is a straightforward enough task that it allowed my mind to wander for a bit.

I have a lot of bad habits to break, and a lot of good ones to practice, slowly. Thinking of them as fake breaks, though, makes them easier to avoid. Or want to avoid. Progress, not perfection, right?

A Short Meditation Exercise for Writing

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015

Well, this morning I already messed up one of the things I “learned” at the writing retreat led by Dani Shapiro I attended last weekend at Kripalu.

The class was on meditation and writing, and was a good mix of both. One of the best meditations of the weekend I took away was one Shapiro said she’d gotten from cartoonist author Lynda Barry. Get a paper and pen. Set a timer for two minutes (Shapiro recommended and I agree that the Insight Timer app is great). Make a dot in the middle of the paper, then draw the tightest spiral you can around it, always trying to make it as close as possible to the earlier lines without touching, because it’s like the game Operation, you’ll get electrocuted. (side note, current versions of the game play laughter when you touch the sides, not a nasty buzz. I think I prefer the buzz rather than the mocking.)

When the timer goes off, set it for 5 minutes. Turn to a new piece of paper (Shapiro recommends keeping a journal to do this exercise every day, and doing facing pages for it). Make a four section grid. Label the sections: Did, Saw, Heard, and Doodle.

Think of seven things you did, saw or heard within some set of time (24 hours or the morning or whatever) and fill in those with words. Then, when you have seven of each, start to doodle in the final square. Stop when done, and go right to writing.

That last bit is the important part. GO RIGHT TO WRITING.

Do not check email, Facebook, twitter, etc. Do not make coffee, go to the bathroom. START TO WRITE.

That’s the part I didn’t manage this morning. But when I realized it, I came right here and started to write. (To my credit, my ego insists that I add that I did: have a proper brekkie, gets boys on bus, do yoga, chant, and meditate before doing the spiral/quadrant exercise.)

There are so many things I let distract me from writing. Email and twitter and facebook are seductive because they SEEM like writing. But they’re empty calories. Fine in moderation, but not good to snack on continually. I’ve taken Twitter and Facebook off my phone, so that’s a start.

Imperfect Notebooks

Friday, March 6th, 2015

I began to write about the writing and meditation workshop/retreat I took at Kripalu Center last weekend, and realized I might have to edit it into bite-sized chunks. Such an unpleasant word, chunks, no?

I’ll start with the problem I made with which notebook to take with me on the retreat.

My husband asked what notebook I”m going to take because there was a really cool German Leuchtterm one that Warren Ellis tweeted about, here.


Some commenters said it wasn’t good for fountain pens, which I use, because they bleed through the paper of the Leuchtterm. Those commenters instead liked the Rodia large webnotebook at Levenger, here


Ooh, orange, I thought. I love orange. I spent quite a lot of time shopping for journals, time I might otherwise have been reading, writing or keeping house. Eventually, I selflessly decided not to spend $35 or anything at all and I’d just take a regular pad of paper or the current journal I’m writing in and don’t love but it still has space.

Aren’t I a writing-retreat martyr, and selfless and frugal to boot?


But then I had a writing date at Barnes & Noble and thought I’d just take a quick peek at the journals and see if that had the one I’d passed on a couple times with the leather cover and labyrinth pattern. They didn’t, but while I “just peeked” I saw a super pretty one with green plaid.


Then, I saw the cherry blossom one, and I had to grab a stool to reach up and get it and oh, my, it was lovely with a leather cover made in Italy, and cherry blossoms which I love EVEN MORE THAN PLAID and that MUST certainly be a sign, right?


I showed my friends, who said to buy it, and emailed my husband asking if he thought it was OK if I buy it for my birthday and he said:

“If you must.”

which of course means no, but I was going to do it anyway and my friends said, do it! You’re going on a retreat! Plus, I felt he was just being snarky because he wanted me to buy that one that Warren Ellis recommended.

On the way out of the store, something unexpected happened. I put the cherry blossoms back on the self, said goodbye and maybe someday but not that day, and walked out.

Once again I felt very proud and selfless and frugal. When I got home, my husband was not nearly impressed enough by my self sacrifice. He never is.

The next day I spelunked in the house and my office for what paper/notebooks I already had that would work beyond the one I’d already thought of. You know, just in case I had another.

I found eight. EIGHT. One unopened one would have been perfect, but instead I took another I was midway through, and didn’t take my fancy fountain pen, and just a cheap Field Notes ball point, and guess what?


You totally guessed that, didn’t you? So did the retreat. But more on that later.

Ten Gifts for the Readers & Writers in Your Life

Monday, December 15th, 2014

This post has been bubbling in my head for a while and if I put it off any longer I won’t get it out before Christmas. Alas, I may be getting it out too late for you early-present buyers, but for you procrastinating ones, here ya go.


1. Good journal. I like Moleskine and Claire Fontaine. I tried a low-rent Barnes and Noble brand last year, and regretted it.


2. Cute notebooks. Field Notes. That is all.


3. Good pen. One of the best presents I ever got was the Namiki Vanishing Point Fountain pen. These Pilots are also pretty.


4. Writing gloves. Love these from Storiarts.


5. Bookish Ts, like these from Out of Print.


6. Book subscription or bundle. Lizzie Skurnick Books has a couple subscription options, plus is selling a bundle of the All of a Kind Family books. Persephone Books site is down, but they have subscriptions, too. Emily Books has a carefully curated subscription of E-books.

7. Noise cancelling earphones, maybe these?

8. Gift card for local, indie bookstore, find yours here.


9. Chocolate (or your favorite snack of choice). May I suggest the plain truffles from Maison du Chocolat. (Hint, hint.)

10. Coffee (or your favorite bevvie of choice). I use my Aeropress almost every day.

Anything I forgot?

The Path to Publication

Tuesday, October 14th, 2014

Beginning-of-summer draft

Beginning-of-summer draft

And so it begins. Or rather, has begun. I could throw a lot of words at this, but it’s better to simplify, I think.

November 2002, while pregnant with first kid, participated in NaNoWriMo and wrote 50K young adult novel draft about a teen girl with synesthesia. This draft had no plot and no conflict. Sometime after that took 2 novel writing courses at the Loft, found a critique group, and was told it was ready to send out.

I sent it out to 2 editors, plus used it to apply to several writing contests.

*crickets chirping*

I inferred that it actually wasn’t ready to send out.

Around then I had a second child followed by an extendo-dance-mix version of post-partum depression. Things got really jumbled for a while. I started another non-fiction-y memoir thing, I participated in another NaNoWriMo with what seemed like the sequel to the first book. I put both the YA and non-fictiony thing down when Guppy was 1.5 because it was just too much, already.

When he started kindergarten I picked up the YA book again and realized that the first NaNoWriMo combined with the second, the supposed sequel, could actually be one book with a plot and conflict. I took 2 years to merge the two ideas and write my way to an ending I liked.

I took one more year to get a 120,000K word sloppy messy draft to make the beginning and middle match the ending.

I took a summer to edit the 120K behemoth (see photo above. I had it printed out to read and edit in hard copy) down to a svelte 72K word less sucky draft, had 3 beta readers read it to assure me it didn’t suck and was really truly close to sendable.

I made some MORE changes based on their feedback (honestly, I can’t count the drafts) and now it’s at 73K words.

The next step now that I’ve written the best manuscript I am capable of writing is to seek an agent. Back in the day, Young Adult authors could often skip the agent step. Not very often, now.

The order of operations is:

1. Get an agent who then 2. Tries to sell your book.

Last month, I pitched an agent at a conference. She asked for the first 50 pages which I sent, and I haven’t heard from her, but she notes on her site that she takes up to six weeks to read partials, so we’re still in that window.

Last Friday I sent my first cold query to an agent. Yesterday I sent my second.

Every single step of the this new venture makes me feel slow and slightly nauseated. I can’t figure out how to get formatted text into email (apparently, I need Word, which my husband is philosophically and morally opposed to), and was wrestling with the Query Tracker website this morning.

According to all available info, I have years ahead of me of rejection, and am perfectly likely to have this book (on which I’ve worked for nearly 12 years, gah) be rejected and either self published (which is a fine option, though very work intensive) or put away so I can work on the next thing.

As with many moments, I have to remind myself there are really only 2 choices: give up, or keep trying. So for now, I’m going with trying. In spite of the stupid feeling and nausea.

Belated Blog-a-versary

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

I forgot to mark my blog-a-versary this year.

In June is was twelve (12!) years since I started writing at Blogspot with Girl Detective, continued with Mama Duck, then merged and came here.

G. Grod and I toss around ideas about making a new site under my real name, of which the Girl Detective blog would be a part, but so far, I’m still here blogging about mostly books, with movies, motherhood, food, and whatever else strikes my fancy. Glad you’re still along for the ride.

Any thoughts, encouragement, discouragement, on the new-blog/real-name idea would be most welcome.

And Now for Something Completely Different: Fiction

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

This is an excerpt from a piece of fiction I’m working on. The Replacements are playing Midway Stadium in St. Paul this Saturday, and everyone around here is blah, blah, blah, Replacements, so I’m risking posting something I’m not sure is good or not because the timing feels right.

Name That Tune

I think I’ve had sex to this song, Nicole thought, then turned up the volume in the car. It was an old memory, she thought, at least fifteen years ago. Who had it been?

Mary Lucia’s voice followed. She never talked over a song, beginning or end, one of the reasons Nicole liked listening to her. “That was ‘I Will Dare,’ local music from the Replacements, off the album Let It Be from 1987.”

The details emerged from the haze of memory. Not fifteen years–more like twenty. It was Julian, saying the Replacements were a great band to have sex to.

He used to say those kind of things when they’d go out drinking after work. Then, she thought it was because they were buddies, and she hoped he was flirting. He asked what music she liked, then mocked her answers as songs about sex, like Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ and INXS’ ‘The One Thing,’ rather than songs that were good to have sex to.

Nicole wilted as his criticism. She’d never heard of the Replacements. They must be on WHFS, the station Julian and his friends listened to, not the classic rock she favored at the time.

Then she rallied, and stood her ground. It wasn’t because the songs were about sex, she said, but that they had strong base lines. She liked music with a back beat.

Julian admitted, somewhat grudgingly, that the Replacements had a good bass line, too. He continued to bring up sex, like how he always slept with girls at their places, so he could be the one to leave. He asked her if she knew what ‘coyote ugly’ meant.

Of course she knew. She’d been friends with guys for years, and knew some of their secrets.

It took a long time to realize Julian was neither being her friend nor flirting with her. He was taunting her. He knew she liked him, knew she wanted to sleep with him. So he went out drinking with her and talked about sex until she felt ready to rip off her clothes. She probably knew Julian wasn’t to be trusted, though, because she never did. Rip off her clothes, that is.

Until that one night. When she finally heard the Replacements.

Attention, reader Kitty

Monday, September 8th, 2014

Dear reader Kitty, who lurks, and is perhaps the first fan of my writing:

I keep getting spam from HostGator. Isn’t the the company someone you know works for? While I adore that someone, I do not adore the spam.

If so, can you find a way to get this site off the spam list? Spam makes me feel bad about the blog, which makes me blog less so I get less spam. But I want to blog more!

Any help with this, from any readers, would be greatly appreciated.


GD aka KB

“Blessed are the Dead” by Kristi Belcamino

Tuesday, June 10th, 2014


I haven’t read this yet because it was just released this morning, but my friend and fellow writer Kristi Belcamino’s first book, Blessed Are the Dead, is released! Go, buy, read, and then we can chat about it. You know how I love to chat about books.

“Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life” by Dani Shapiro

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014


I should not have bought this book, and I did not want to like it. My roof is leaking, my car is groaning, and I do not have money to spend on anything not necessary.

Please, don’t protest that books are always necessary. Books in general, yes, are necessary. Buying books is not. That’s what libraries are for. Books, specifically–especially–ones that are hardcover and full price and on a topic on which I have several unread books at home? This book was not necessary.

But I bought it anyway.

One of my possible epitaphs is “Wasn’t sure it was a good idea, but did it anyway.” That, and “Mistakes were made.” Which is pretty much the same thing.

So why did I buy Still Writing: The Perils and Pleasures of a Creative Life by Dani Shapiro? Out of superstition, and by promising myself I could return it if (when) I didn’t like it. The superstition is because Shapiro is one of the literary mentors in a program I I recently applied to. Or, more accurately, I applied to again. It’s an annual writing competition, and by my conservative estimate, which I could spelunk in my files to verify, though I WILL NOT, I have applied to this program five times before. Maybe more. But that’s even more depressing, so I WILL NOT look it up. (Now. Maybe later.) Every time I’ve applied, I’ve felt confident about my application. And every time, I didn’t even make the first cut, much less the finals. Groucho Marx might say I should stop trying to get into a club that clearly doesn’t want me as a member.

It’s part of the particular madness of writers that we persist in trying, even in the face of continual silence and rejection. There are so many stories out there about writer X who papered his whole house with rejections until the critical acceptance, or writer Y whose manuscript was pulled out of the slush pile. Hope springs eternal. Yet, it has become increasingly difficult to ignore the strong possibility I am not being picked for this program, or published, or whatever, because my writing is just not that good. Not bad, necessarily. But just not THAT good.

This may be true, and it is not a comfortable thing to sit with. If I am able to stop wallowing for a moment, though, the next question arises: so, what? Two possibilities present themselves: quit, or keep trying to be a better writer. Thus far, I’ve always chosen the latter.

Back to why I bought this book. Because I was in a bookstore, because I thought I would read it, not like it, return it, and thus give myself a nice cushion for the disappointing news I’ve heard five times before, that I’m not a good fit, but good luck and keep trying! I was pre-planning my sour grapes.

A strange thing happened when I read Shapio’s book, though. I could not resist it. Her quiet, steady, honest advice on how to write and keep writing, wormed its way into my brain, my heart, my self. I laughed. I recognized the desire, so often postponed, to get to the business of writing. I recognized myself as a writer.

We’re outcasts and loners, more comfortable being out of step than part of a group. If pressed, you’d find that most of us had not pledged sororities or fraternities in college. We don’t tend to be members of clubs…This prickly overly sensitive, socially awkward group of people is my tribe. If you’re a writer, they’re yours as well. (185-6)

I will probably not be accepted into the program. This is not (just) false modesty, or trying to lower my expectations. They get about 200 applications for six spots. The odds are not in my favor. I hoped by reading Shapiro’s works that I would be unimpressed to dull the pain of expected rejection, Instead, I read a book by a writer who feels like she’d be an ideal mentor for the manuscript I’m working on. So it will be all the more painful if I get my annual rejection email. Yet, I don’t need to get into the program to have her as a writing mentor. She’s written this book, two other memoirs, and several novels. There are many paths up the mountain. Her stuff is there to help anyone who reads it, who hears it, as I did. In case it’s not obvious, I’m not going to be returning the book, I’m going to be foisting it on my writer friends, and seeking out her other work. (Though perhaps from the library, for now.)

Will I get rejected again? Probably. But will I stop writing? Not yet. I’ve written this, and am off to work on something else. For now, I want to keep trying to be a better writer.

Probably Not Fatal

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Was it possible to die of loneliness, Nicole wondered. She lay alone in the giant king bed, listening to the neighbors having raucous sex, and didn’t doubt it for a moment.

[this is another fragment of a bigger piece I recently unearthed, one that I thought worked as flash fiction on its own.]

“After Julian”

Friday, April 19th, 2013

Right after Julian left town, people missed him. Time passed, and they began to miss other things. One of his roommates, Adam, couldn’t find his portable CD player. Their other roommate, Jason, couldn’t find his concert T-shirts. The bookstore discovered it no longer had a copy of the Hardcover Oxford Abridged English Dictionary. A co-worker couldn’t find his favorite bong. One of his exes couldn’t find her favorite sweatshirt or U2 CD. As people talked, they began to put it together. The conclusion was unmistakable. And in the NW corner of the country, Julian was safe from reprisals.

About a month after Julian left, everyone still missed their things. But they’d pretty much stopped missing Julian.

[Found this when I was putting together a writing sample. It was part of a larger manuscript, but I wondered if it worked as flash fiction.]

Who Wielded the Most Literary Influence?

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

From “Dickens, Austen and Twain, Through a Digital Lens,” (hat tip friend V)

Any list of the leading novelists of the 19th century, writing in English, would almost surely include Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, Herman Melville, Nathaniel Hawthorne and Mark Twain.

But they do not appear at the top of a list of the most influential writers of their time. Instead, a recent study has found, Jane Austen, author of “Pride and Prejudice, “ and Sir Walter Scott, the creator of “Ivanhoe,” had the greatest effect on other authors, in terms of writing style and themes.

Numbers aren’t everything, but I find it interesting to ponder that Austen and Scott–reductively romance and adventure, hers and his–come out, literary DNA-wise, as the progenitors.

Also, how awkward is the punctuation of the article’s title, given the NYT choice not to use the Oxford comma? Perhaps only we copyeditors (copy editors?) would care or notice.

This Might Be Irony

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

But it might only be irony is the Alanis Morissette aspect, in which it’s just fitting, thought it’s not sucky.

I started blogging nearly 10 years ago over at Blogspot to increase my writing practice, which was sporadic at best. I didn’t yet have a kid, though I did have a full-time job as a copyeditor. Over the next few years, I wrote a bad novel, had a kid, resigned that job, moved, had another kid, survived a prolonged bout of post-partum despression, and hung around long enough that Kid 2, Guppy, started kindergarten last fall.

Over the past 10 years, I wrote a few things that got published in obscure places. I’ve revised that novel several times. (I’m _still_ working on it.) I started writing for my grocery store, the Eastside Food Co-op’s newsletter about food and wellness. Based on that I got a gig writing for a local-food website Simple Good and Tasty. Then I got a gig writing about kids and food for Minnesota Monthly’s food blog.

Over the past year, blogging here has gotten less and less frequent. I realized just this morning that it’s because I’m doing so much other writing. So the blog I started 10 years ago has resulted in a regular writing practice. (NB: not a lucrative writing practice, alas.) So regular, in fact, that I rarely have time for the practice that led up to this regularity. Huh.

I’m not saying I’m going to stop blogging. It’s a hard habit to break. (Apologies to you if that puts the Chicago tune in your head.) But it may help me stop feeling so bad for how infrequently I post nowadays, compared to those early, kidless, gigless years. It’s a higher class of problem, or a nice problem to have, as friends of mine might say.

“Winesburg, Ohio” by Sherwood Anderson

Saturday, April 28th, 2012

Winesburg, Ohio by Sherwood Anderson was recommended to me originally in the mid ’90s by one of my first writing teachers, Diana Cavallo. I took a copy from my in-laws’ basement on my trip west from Philadelphia to Minneapolis in 1998. It sat on my shelves until this year, when the same friend’s author mentor recommended it to her and she recommended it to me as happened with Maile Meloy’s Both Ways is the Only Way I Want It.

Anderson’s name is barely recognized today, and his most famous book relatively obscure compared to those of some of the writers who came after and credited him as an influence, like Hemingway, Faulkner, Steinbeck.

The book is a novel in linked stories. Even though each story was about different people in the town, they all orbited one young man, George Willard, a reporter at the small town’s paper. His story is the anchor at the end.

The town is full of complex people leading quiet lives. They have painful pasts and often long for a lost love, or present sexual shenanigans. For a book from 1919, it’s quite sexually frank, I thought. I found it tough to get into but once the stories began to accumulate, I became involved in the town and its people, even when they thought and behaved badly, just as real people do.


Thursday, April 26th, 2012

Greetings and Salutations, Friends and Readers! It’s been a while, no? Life’s been life-y lately, volunteering for an event at my kids’ school, applying to a writing contest/program, reading and struggling to understand Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, a case of double pink eye, plus the usual merry-go-round of family stuff like sports and piano and reading and writing and such.

I’m out of practice with blogging, but eager to get back in the saddle. I’ve got book reviews, a few anecdotes, maybe even some food posts, all banging like Athena in my head, trying to get out. I hope you’ll see some of that in the next few days, now that things have settled down a little bit. (Fingers crossed.)

Writers on Writing

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

My friend Amy of New Century Reading sent me a link to 25 Insights on Becoming a Better Writer on The 99 Percent. I’m sure you’ve seen some variation of this article, where writers give advice on writing. It’s always useful, though, and this is a nice update with many modern writers. I’ve made good progress lately on the current draft of my novel, and these were particularly useful:

3. Esther Freud: On finding your routine…
Find your best time of the day for writing and write. Don’t let anything else interfere. Afterwards it won’t matter to you that the kitchen is a mess.

4. Zadie Smith: On unplugging…
Work on a computer that is disconnected from the internet.

Once, when I was lost, I took this advice and was able to quickly get back on track:

7. Bill Wasik: On the importance of having an outline…
Hone your outline and then cling to it as a lifeline.

And #25 is a great “grain of salt.” Hope you enjoy this, too.

Other Writing

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

I need to leave for a meeting directly, and am frustrated with myself for yet another morning of not writing. (Please do not point out that I am actually writing. Writing anything of consequence is what counts, here.) My blogging habit is off, and I fritter my mornings away on Facebook, email, this, that and the other, then it’s lunch, nap, and time to get the boys from the bus. Poof. The time I thought was so free and open is gone.

I have been doing other writing, though, so I’m not an utter deadbeat. I also rejoined my writing group once 5yo Guppy started kindergarten, and am having another go at a novel. The fiction writing moves like atrophied muscles, or old, unused gears. But there is movement.

Here is some of the other writing I’ve done elsewhere, until I get back on the blogging horse/wagon/what have you:

Easiest Pumpkin Pie

Easy Turkey Pot Pie