Archive for the ‘Writing Tips’ Category

On Reaching

Thursday, October 9th, 2014

Last night, I was talking to my mother, who I hadn’t seen in a while, since before I left for Hedgebrook. She asked me how it was, and towards the end of an unbroken monologue (the figs! the llamas! the beveled glass in the cottage windows!) I told her that it was there I was able to start a daily yoga practice again: every morning, I woke, dozed and read in bed for a little while, then clambered down the stairs and did some postures—nothing fancy or extensive, just enough to remind my body of itself. (more…)

My Life in a Shed: Making the Space to Write

Thursday, October 2nd, 2014

I am writing to you in the middle of a rainstorm. The rainstorm is both outside, but also inside my head. I found myself being distracted by the box of maple creams on the table, my cat, and the laundry piled up and still needing folding. So I took a writing retreat about fourteen steps from my front door.

Perhaps, I should explain. Five years ago, I realized I wasn’t writing as much. As mother, wife, and work-from-home writer, I would sit down but never really went into The Zone, you know that place—some call it “flow,” but it’s the place where a writer can lose track of time and body, and instead becomes the words on the page, the poem, whatever project that occupies their thoughts. (more…)

Staying Inspired: How to Host a Public Reading

Thursday, September 18th, 2014

I have a desperate need to have my voice heard…on the page. But sometimes life and paying gigs get in the way. So my voice becomes strangled or mute, as I struggle to make time to write. I get overwhelmed by the scope of my project, even while muttering “bird by bird” in front of the keyboard.

So I’ve had to find solutions to stay inspired. Since I have a hard time being accountable to myself, I’ve taken classes and workshops, joined a writing group, and attended writing conferences (such as the Whidbey Island Writers Conference next month!). I’ve applied for residencies, such as Hedgebrook, and submitted to contests and publications. (more…)

Before Scaling the Heights of your Rewrite…

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

Manuscript MountainSo, after weeks, months, or even years, you have finally completed your first draft. Congratulations! Crack open the champagne, throw a party, fly to Paris! However you choose to celebrate, I’m sure you deserve it. Writing is hard work; you are literally blazing a trail into the uncharted wilds of the human imagination. This is why getting to “The End” can feel like you’ve just clawed your way to the top of Mt. Everest.

Of course, this isn’t the case, and in the back of your mind you know the terrible truth—you’ve only just made it to the first base camp. But celebrate anyway because the really arduous, death-defying work of the rewrite still lies ahead and it will most assuredly leave you too pooped to party by the time you reach the summit.

To help chart the course for your rewrite, here are a few navigational tools that will help you negotiate the rugged terrain that lies ahead: (more…)

A Sentence

Thursday, August 21st, 2014

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“This, too, is America: two middle-aged women, one North American and one Central American, eating cheese and apples in campsite #4 of the Mountain View Campground on Little Redfish Lake.”

I wrote this sentence in a notebook six years ago as I began a writing project that would become the soon-to-be-published Trout Frying in America: A Literary Pilgrimage (Ooligan Press, spring 2015). The sentence did not make it to the final manuscript. It did not even make it into the first draft because, by the time I sat down to write the scene in which Arline and I picnicked in the campsite where Richard Brautigan and his wife and baby stayed in 1961, the idea I was trying to express no longer fit the scene. (more…)