Story Form–It’s a jungle out there!

I had a call yesterday from a writer who wasn’t sure if the story she wants to write will best be told as fiction or memoir. We talked about fear of exposure and how fictionalizing a life story does not necessarily do anything to address that issue. We talked about the kinds of books she loves to read. At the end of our brief conversation, she asked if I had an exercise that would guide her along a discovery process to find her story’s form. I have a simple step, I said, to take you in that direction. Sit down …

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The Trust Muscle

Today’s quote from author Elizabeth Gilbert–“To sit patiently with a yearning that has not yet been fulfilled, and to trust that, that fulfillment will come, is quite possibly one of the most powerful ‘magic skills’ that human beings are capable of. It has been noted by almost every ancient wisdom tradition.” Today’s challenge: Warm up your trust muscle and let it support you and your creative projects.

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A REASON NOT TO WRITE

Recently a writer shared a list of all the reasons why she needed to wait until winter to begin her new writing schedule. I read it over, paused a moment, and responded, “There will always be reasons not to write.”   Those times when life seems most overwhelming–when it comes rolling straight at us full-tilt–present some of the richest challenges and also opportunities. No better time to be writing with full commitment to your practice. A writing life is just that, a writing life. It goes on, whether times are smooth or filled with upheaval. When you feel tested, I …

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KEEP THE ELEPHANT IN YOUR LAP

I turned thirty in a dinghy on the River Ganga, while a full moon and the fires from the corpses in the burning ghats illuminated the shores of the holy city of Varanasi. That trip to India years ago changed my life. I glimpsed my own mortality, dodged snake charmers and lepers, paid homage to living goddesses and glassy-eyed sadhus. I also met Ganesha, the elephant riding the mouse. Ganesha, the son of Shiva and Parvati and one of the most revered and popular Hindu deities, is also known as the Lord of Success, the god of wealth, wisdom and …

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The End of Plague and Pestilence

I am pleased to announce victory over pinkeye and various other woes in my household! (See previous post.)  Because I’m in contact with many writers and quite a number of them are in the process of sharing their stories with select readers, agents, and editors, I am going to use the next few blog posts to focus on surviving and thriving through submission and beyond.  Have you ever thought about the fact that it’s called submission? Only in publishing…

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PLAY IT RISKY

I met Donald Maass last October when we were both among the presenters at the Surrey International Writers’ Conference in Surrey, British Columbia. Not only is Maass a high-powered agent with great marketing advice for writers, he is also a writer who truly cares about other writers, their creative process, and their stories.  Read what he has to say about originality and fiction on his new blog at Writer Unboxed–and never play it safe again.

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