Ripe fruit


Sit me in front of a blank page or screen, no limitations and no deadline, and I’m rarely stuck.

No, I’ve got endless ideas, opening sentences, a narrative thread worked out, maybe even some mannerisms that reveal character and intent. My fingers grip the pencil or jitterbug across the keyboard, and they are confident and purpose-driven … for about two hours.

I get to a certain point, and then something in me flags. I slow down, stop, start doubting, and then I go back and revise.

Bad. Very bad habit. Continue reading

Writing: both soul food and a beach


Spring break in an oceanfront cottage. Sounds idyllic, right? Once there, though, I stopped writing. That’s not an excuse. Just an explanation for the weeklong gap in posts.

The road to the beach was paved with good intentions. Here’s mine:

  • Read seven novels
  • Type on my laptop
  • Compose a story the old-fashioned way — by hand in a composition notebook.

I fell short. Very short. Here’s why: Continue reading

Birdsong

We’re surrounded by technology. Since you’re reading this online, you at least have a computer or tablet. If you’re like me, the cell phone is also nearby, sending out sounds to let you know who called, texted, or emailed.

Distraction is a problem when we feed on multiple streams of information. It’s like going through a cafeteria line. You’ve already got your entree, but those sides look good. And what about dessert? You pick up a coffee cup, but you’re thirsty so you grab a glass as well. By the time you reach the cashier, you’re stunned by how much is on your tray. 

Really, you’re not going to consume all that, are you? Continue reading

Use it up, wear it out

Did I explain why I’ve never written a book? I think I did, earlier. But if you forgot, or this is our first time together, here’s what I said.

Not writing a book is my fault. The blame is on me.

I own my shame because a famous writer once pointed it out to me. She was a beloved children’s book author and, through a serious of oddball events, I drove her to the drugstore one afternoon in search of ointments best left unidentified.

In the course of a 20 minute conversation, as I got to know her, I relaxed enough to say, Continue reading