Writer’s block redux

After a few decades of writing, I have learned to trust the creative process. Blocks aren’t solid (if, indeed, they exist); procrastination often is hibernation. To everything there is a season, and you’ve got to go with the damnable flow. Wringing your hands or railing at the heavens accomplishes nothing. You must be patient. As you wait, send your ideas into the universe. Know that they will circle back more fully shaped. Be there to […]

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Do you have writing talent?

I recently received a kind email from an aspiring writer who claimed I had talent. It got me thinking about whether or not talent is something we are born with or work toward. Here’s, ultimately, how I responded: Writing talent, I believe, boils down to time. More simply: You’ve got to make time to write because developing your voice and skill takes time. The more you write, the better you become. The better you become, […]

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Q.   How many mystery writers does it take to screw in a light bulb? A.  Two. One to screw it almost all the way in, and the other to give it a surprising twist at the end. Q.  What’s the difference between publishers and terrorists? A.  You can negotiate with terrorists.

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Never too late

It is never too late to become what you might have been. — George Eliot It’s never too late to begin that book or play, that article or poem. It lives within you, as young and vibrant as when you first gave it life.

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What we expect — and deserve

Remember, we don’t get what we deserve, we get what we expect. — Sam Horn What do you expect to come from your writing? And what do you expect from others in terms of their support, goodwill and acceptance? Could it be your expectations are interfering with what you and your writing deserve?

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Painfully bad opening sentences

You have to write a great opening if you are to draw readers into your books. The process begins with your very first sentence. You’ve got to nail it, but if you do not, don’t despair. Your sentence may be so bad it may actually win an award. Painfully bad opening sentences are encouraged when you enter San Jose CA State University’s annual Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest. ($250 prize; imaginary novels only.) The contest was named […]

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Bizarre word groupings (that make sense)

I found this list while cleaning out my files. Interesting how opposing words and concepts make sense when grouped together, even when they don’t make sense. (Does that make sense?) Act naturally Found missing Resident alien Advanced BASIC Genuine imitation Good grief Same difference Almost exactly Alone together Silent scream Living dead Small crowd Soft rock Butt Head New classic Sweet sorrow Childproof Synthetic natural gas Taped live Clearly misunderstood Peace force Extinct Life Plastic […]

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Do you have a favorite writing spot?

My response: I have a few spots I like but my favorite is my dining room table. The dining room itself is pretty bare — table, chairs, a few paintings and a plant — which makes my mind feel less cluttered. The room also has two windows, allowing me to work in natural light and to have something to look out onto when I’m working through a writing issue. I always sit in the same […]

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What’s your most creative time of day?

My response: Early morning. I like getting up before the world does and sneaking off to a distant corner of the house or to a coffee shop. My mind is clear and my energy level is high, giving me a creative boost. Another advantage of starting early is that I have better control over my day. I do what I love first, which makes it easier to set priorities for the rest of the day. […]

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