Tag Archives: writers

Make Time to Write

When I was an intrepid tween writer I came across a quote by Stephen King that went something like “Writers write. I meet people all the time who say they’re writers, and when I ask what they’re working on, they tell me they’ve never written a word. They’re not writers. Writers write.” Apologies to Mr. King for the paraphrasing, but that was the gist of it. What this did to my consciousness as someone who really wanted to be a writer was set an external expectation on me. If I ever stopped writing, I could no longer call myself a writer. I had to be a shark, always swimming, always moving, or poof! I’d disappear in the mist of my own failure. So I wrote and wrote, terrible stories but interesting to me, and definitely definitive in setting up the foundation of my craft. Early on I was fascinated by ordinary people in near-extreme circumstances, and the relationships between them. I submitted to summer writing programs between my high school years, getting rejected a lot and accepted a couple of times, and then I absorbed as much as I could from the other writers around me.

I saw that folks each had their own rituals for writing, their habits, good and bad, and their tendencies, like being a night owl or a midday writer. They also took on the specific task of writing differently. Some wrote and rewrote through their first draft, others plowed through and got to the nitty gritty in later drafts. One woman spent months writing backstory and plotting reveals and twists before she ever got into the manuscript, and another friend jumped in and let the words take her wherever they happened to go. There were tradeoffs for every strategy of course, but taken in aggregate they led to a literature among us. That is what literature should do—provide an avenue for people who need to tell a story of importance to someone else. If the process of writing is varied, so is the access to writing. So it behooves us who care about the characters in our heads to open a space for the writing to happen. Here are a few of my ideas, humbly offered with no expectations for agreement. Read More…

A Humble List of Gifts for Working Writers

notebook page with writingMy mother claims I’m hard to shop for whenever some holiday or birthday rolls around on the calendar. I love cooking, football, writing, gardening, reading, and coffee, but she insists it’s a quagmire to buy anything for me. (Cue eye roll, teenager style.) If others find themselves in similar situations, I hope you find this list helpful. May peace settle over the land of your family. No, this isn’t a secret or ulterior list for myself, but I wouldn’t throw any of these items off my front porch, either. Read More…

All Pitched Out

baseball being pitchedThey take starting pitchers off the mound and send them to nurse their elbows in something like the sixth inning of Major League Baseball games. There is no such relief for the intrepid, emerging writer. It’s pitch until you drop at events like the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association conference. And here I am, ostensibly dropped, face down on my hotel bed, typing without looking at my hands and thanking Miss Radice of McCorristin Catholic High School that she taught me to memorize a keyboard so well in 1986. Read More…

Security Blankets

I have excised a word from my vocabulary today, because I know I rely on it too often and in too many kinds of circumstances. Perhaps it’s part of my voice, but I think I’ll survive without it. It’s the word “just.” I tend to use it in one of two ways: Read More…

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