21 Ways Not to Finish a First Draft

Writers can come up with a lot of reasons for not finishing a first draft, and some of them even sound plausible. I know the real reasons. (And I’ve got a solution.) Fall in love with the thrill of new ideas, but don’t fall in love with the work it takes to execute them. Need to begin at the beginning and make it perfect before you move on. Wait to find the time to write. Leave the work before you … Read More »

The Writing Life: Losing Yourself Part I

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What are writers but actors who get to play all the parts? And the most basic tenet of actors and writers? Become your character. Literally millions of us have playacted and beyond that, had some brush with the art of drama in a more structured form. Millions of us learn our languages, learn to communicate in written form, learn to write in the voice of our perceived or imagined selves, someone historical, famous, infamous, or completely made up. As writers … Read More »

With a Little Help from Our Friends

Writing isn’t a social activity. In fact, many of us become writers because we enjoy solitude. But even the loners among us have to come out of our writer caves sometimes, and when we do, we long for connection with people who can relate to the ups and downs of the writing life. Sometimes our families mean well, but they just don’t understand. A writer told me her spouse kept wondering out loud why she didn’t have a book out … Read More »

Write Well All the Time

Do your communications with publishing industry professionals exhibit the same level of care you’ve put into your creative writing? In my work as a freelance editor and as an editor for a magazine and e-newsletters, I receive a constant flow of email and other messages. I love hearing from you! But I often imagine what it would be like for an agent, publisher, or magazine editor who is dealing with hundreds of queries a day to receive some of the … Read More »

The Waiting Game

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So, one manuscript is done (are they ever, really?) and is navigating its way through the netherworld of publication or rejection. Each click of the “send” button brings with it a wave of hope, excitement, and terror. And so it begins – the waiting game, that is. What’s a writer to do? I gifted myself a well-deserved break from my computer. I binge-watched Outlander, grabbed my pruners and ventured into the yard that had transformed to a jungle in my … Read More »

Unlocking the Secrets of a Series

The middle-grade mystery that began its life as a tiny glimmer of an idea is finally done (I’m pretty sure). You know how it goes – just one more tweak here, change a word there. But at this point, I’m hitting the ‘save’ button one last time and calling it done. Now, what do I do with those great scenes that didn’t make the cut and the ideas that are still swirling around in my head? I’m considering a series … Read More »

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