I’ve made a good living as a freelance non-fiction writer, but my heart has always thumped hardest when I contemplate a fiction writer’s life. However, I didn’t write fiction for years because of the following:
Five reasons I used as excuses
- My day job was writing. I didn’t want to “relax” in the evening by writing some more.
- I needed to brush up on skills. I hadn’t taken writing classes since college.
- None of my friends were fiction writers, so I couldn’t get honest, reliable feedback on my work.
- I didn’t have the time.
- I wasn’t very good.
So…which one of these is your excuse?
Pick it now, and have a good rationale handy as to why it’s stopping you, because I’m going to eviscerate each and every one of them…or at least tell you how I changed my life so I couldn’t make those excuses anymore. Continue reading
We’re sitting at a small table for two at a bakery cafe inside the mall when she shares her news. She’s written a book. After beating back months of reluctance, she’s finished it and is thinking of finding an editor. I lean back to listen instead of leaning forward to instruct.
Today is a purely social engagement.There is no manuscript sitting between us as there has been every other time we’ve met. No sheets of paper slide back and forth as I explain my edits of her work and compare them to her original printouts. Today she just wants to talk.
We met when she was a student in my class. Now she’s graduated from the writing program and has finished her first book. I stare at her, expecting her to look different. She’s crossed the finish line while I haven’t even put my name in the race.
If we were runners, she’d be a marathoner. I’d be a sprinter. Continue reading
In my other life, I ask questions. And I find people to answer those questions.
Part of my job involves interviewing people. After doing this for over 15 years, I realize:
- Enthusiasm can trump education when it comes to describing what you know.
- You can tell how well (or poorly) the interview will go in the first 15 seconds.
- If the interviewee is reluctant to talk, don’t push to make it happen. It won’t be good.
What I learned about talking to people can be applied to a writing practice. Let’s take it step by step. Continue reading
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
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