Explore inspiration and writing tips on our blog.

Inspiration

Habit Stacking

Lisa Papademetriou

This is one of the most common questions I hear when I speak to people about writing. The fact is that I often get inspired by starting to write. Like Octavia Butler, I don’t wait for inspiration to come to me and, frankly, that means that it doesn’t matter if it shows up or not.

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Inspiration

Fill The Well

Lisa Papademetriou

This week, I felt like I just couldn’t bear to write this newsletter. I’m all out of ideas, I thought. I’m a creative raisin—all dried up. I felt as if I had nothing to say, and I wasn’t sure anyone would want to hear it, anyway. This is not a mindset that inspires writing, let me tell you.

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Inspiration

Habit

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the most common questions I get from people who want to devote more time to writing is, “How do you fit it into your day?” These people are juggling work and/or family along with volunteer commitments and a million other things.

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Inspiration

The Joy of Work

Lisa Papademetriou

You may not realize this, but the very first Labor Day Parade was not a national holiday—it was a strike. In 1882, many American workers were toiling for twelve hours a day, seven days a week in physically demanding, often unsafe conditions.

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Inspiration

(Extra)Ordinary Life

Lisa Papademetriou

I’ve often heard writers lament that they wish they had “more interesting” lives so that they would have more material to write about. It isn’t always easy to control the breadth of our life’s experience, but we can control the depth.

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Inspiration

Writing Ourselves

Lisa Papademetriou

I never know what the theme of my novel will be before I write it. Oh, I usually have an idea of the thoughts I want to explore.

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Inspiration

Patience

Lisa Papademetriou

I’m taking a sketching class. Why? Well, the truth is that a few nights ago I stayed up a bit too long looking at Facebook and I fell victim to online advertising. 

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Inspiration

Productivity

Lisa Papademetriou

Whenever I attend a talk by a prominent writer, someone always stands up during the question and answer to ask about their artistic process. It’s always interesting to hear how writers spend their day and what makes them productive.

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Inspiration

Scribbling

Lisa Papademetriou

I remember my husband’s confused reaction when I told him that I wanted to get a Master’s degree in writing.

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Inspiration

Focus

Lisa Papademetriou

It strikes like clockwork—whenever I’m deep into the first draft of a novel or inconceivably busy with Bookflow, the Muse will start rapid-fire dropping new ideas into my ear.

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Inspiration

Warmup

Lisa Papademetriou

My senior year English teacher was one of those amazing people who manages to change lives with the power of her passion for a subject. She loved reading poems, books, and stories, but most of all, she loved writing.

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Inspiration

Order

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was a kid, I loved reading Peanuts cartoons. There was a whole series about Snoopy as he tried to write a novel. He sat atop his red doghouse with a typewriter and bangs out: Book One Part One Chapter One Page One. “What a great start!” he tells himself.

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Inspiration

Rest

Lisa Papademetriou

For the past two months, I’ve been deep in the harvest season of my writing. I’m working on a new novel, due to come out in early summer 2022, and after all of the planning and brainstorming and outlining, it finally came time to write the thing.

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Inspiration

Beating Block

Lisa Papademetriou

People often ask me how to move past writer’s block. Well, I have some news! There’s only one way to get over it—you have to write.

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Inspiration

Prioritizing

Lisa Papademetriou

This week, I heard from a dear friend who gave me an update on her life. The subject line of her Email was “your burners are in my morning essay”, which was a callback to a conversation we’d had several years ago in which, I developed Burner Theory.

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Inspiration

Spuddling

Lisa Papademetriou

In my novel The Dreamway, there’s a character named Spuddle. That’s actually an old, obscure word that means to make a fuss over something small or to work inefficiently.

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Inspiration

Creative Destiny

Lisa Papademetriou

When we accept and own ourselves as creative people, we are accepting incredible power. We have the power to create worlds and shape minds. And this begins with the stories we tell ourselves.

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Inspiration

Good Omens

Lisa Papademetriou

Sometimes, when we are writing, a good omen will appear. This is just further evidence that the Muses are watching, waiting, and secretly whispering their blessings over our work.

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Inspiration

Intention

Lisa Papademetriou

As you probably know by now, one of the main reasons I created Bookflow is to help writers see into their plots more easily. I just love teasing out plots and figuring out the exact right events/series of events that will help our characters become the person they were meant to be.

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Inspiration

Name Your Fear

Lisa Papademetriou

 The other day, I saw a social media post suggesting that writers name the little critical voice that lives at the back of their mind, the one who constantly has negative feedback and discouraging things to say.

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Inspiration

Artistic Mess

Lisa Papademetriou

Last weekend, I gave a presentation on how to use Marie Kondo’s organizing method (based on her bestselling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up) to approach the creative process.

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Inspiration

Friends And Amare

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was earning my MFA, I chose a low-residency program because the model made perfect sense to me: Stay on campus for ten days at “writer camp”, then come home and do the work. Unless you are working with a co-writer, writing is something that can really only be accomplished alone.

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Inspiration

Word Power

Lisa Papademetriou

I created Bookflow because I believe that the creative life is truly a life in which you are the crafting destinies. Not only the destinies of our characters but our own destiny. We all know that words are powerful.

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Inspiration

Frustration

Lisa Papademetriou

Whenever I start a new writing assignment, I’m always over-optimistic about how long it will take to complete. This will practically write itself, I think. It’s simple! I have all of the ideas already!

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Inspiration

Body Parts

Lisa Papademetriou

Writers are often advised that good writing involves showing, not telling. But it can be a struggle to convey complex emotions in ways that feel clear and comprehensible.

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Inspiration

Unique Gifts

Lisa Papademetriou

Sometimes I read a book—or even just a sentence—so lovely that it makes me burn with envy. I want that! I’ll think. I want that beautiful sentence to be mine, to come from my brain! Then I’ll frown at my own sentences, suddenly unhappy with them.

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Craft

Plot Structure

Lisa Papademetriou

The most common questions I get from writers are about Plot Structure: What is plot structure? Is the plot structure of a comedy different from the plot structure of a tragedy? Do I really need to create a structure for my story?

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Inspiration

Step By Step

Lisa Papademetriou

Every writer I know has had this experience: you meet someone, and they inform you that they have a “great idea for a book” which they are willing to tell you if you agree to write the book and split the money with them. It’s terribly awkward when you have to tell them no.

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Inspiration

Need To Write

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the most common questions I get from people who want to devote more time to writing is, “How do you fit it into your day?” These people are juggling work and/or family along with volunteer commitments and a million other things.

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Inspiration

Poetry

Lisa Papademetriou

This Sunday is World Poetry Day. Even if you don’t consider yourself a poet, poetic language, imagery, and a sense of poetic rhythm are essential tools for any writer. Mary Oliver writes, “A poem on the page speaks to the listening mind.”

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Inspiration

Creative Recharge

Lisa Papademetriou

I used to have a boss who took a fifteen-minute nap every day after lunch. She had a flat square pillow that she would place on her desk. Then she would place her head on the pillow and fall asleep for about fifteen minutes.

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Inspiration

Your Ideal Writing Time

Lisa Papademetriou

My husband and I live on different schedules. I like to wake up bright and early, before the rest of the family, to read, write, and drink coffee. Those quiet hours are a treasure for me, and when I oversleep and have to jump directly into my responsibilities, I feel off for the rest of the day.

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Inspiration

The Bridge

Lisa Papademetriou

When I was forty, I went back to school for a master’s degree in creative writing. I was already well-published and had a background as an editor for major houses, and many of the younger writers in the program seemed baffled by my presence.

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Inspiration

Willpower

Lisa Papademetriou

Everyone procrastinates sometimes. Even though writing is one of my greatest joys, sometimes I resist doing it.

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Inspiration

Love And Courage

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s amazing how much of writing is driven by love. Character motivations, relationships, desires, decisions—when you understand what your character loves, you understand what they will do and why they will do it, which is the core of storytelling.

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Inspiration

Creating Yourself

Lisa Papademetriou

Fiction is the art of showing related events that result in a character’s transformation. We are the result of our choices and our actions; that’s the lesson learned over and over both in fiction and memoir. As Heraclitus famously said, “Character is destiny.”

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Inspiration

Discipline

Lisa Papademetriou

Discipline is the un-sexiest tool in the muse’s box. Talent? Everyone wants that. Brilliance? Of course! Luck? Sign me up. But discipline? Ew. Sounds boring. And painful.

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Inspiration

Your Desire Line

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the main forces behind any plot is a character’s desire. When a character wants something, he/she/they will make decisions and take actions that revolve around getting that thing. We call this the character’s desire line.

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Inspiration

Mental Clutter

Lisa Papademetriou

Many of the artists I know are messy. As a group, we tend to be magpies, picking up stories, memories, moments, and notable observations of all kinds and storing them away like shiny objects.

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Inspiration

🌤Unleash Your New Ideas

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s the beginning of the new year, and many of us are scratching around for new ideas or digging deeper into ones we’ve already begun. When you’re writing a first draft or any piece of exploratory writing, there are two things to watch out for: the Critic and the Censor.

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Inspiration

How Tiny Improvements Yield Big Results & Free Writing Challenge 🖋

Lisa Papademetriou

In his book, Atomic Habits, James Clear makes the argument that tiny improvements can yield big results. He offers the example of the 2003 British Cycling team.

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Inspiration

Why Outline ➕ A Special Workshop Offer! 💥

Lisa Papademetriou

I outline every book. Sometimes I write the outline before tackling the first draft. Sometimes I write the outline before tackling the revision. Sometimes I do both.

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Inspiration

Renew Your Creativity In 2021 ❄️

Lisa Papademetriou

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi is the author of Flow, a book about the creative mental state in which we are fully absorbed in our task to the point of losing all sense of time.

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Inspiration

Do You Write With Passion Daily? 💕

Lisa Papademetriou

Meraki is a Greek word meaning to do something with great attention and pleasure—a sense of joyful passion. It can be applied to artistic activities, like writing or painting, but it can also refer to everyday tasks, such as cooking, cleaning, or even making a cup of coffee.

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Help Tips

How To Develop Your Plot: Six Writing Prompts To Help You Figure Out What Happens Next

Lisa Papademetriou

One of the most common complaints I hear from writers who want to write a novel is, “I need help with my plot! I don’t know what should happen next!” Often when writers struggle with how to plot a novel or story, it’s because we are overlooking hints and clues in our own work.

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Inspiration

Remember Your Wonderful Things 🦃

Lisa Papademetriou

The other day, a friend posted that this year is not the year to expect wonderful things. It is a year to appreciate the things in your life that are wonderful. Many of us are struggling with the realities of this year.

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Inspiration

You Are Not Alone 💕

Lisa Papademetriou

Sometimes I wonder why I bother. Really. I wonder why I sit down and labor over a novel or a newsletter, and I ask myself, “What difference does it make? Does anyone care?” It’s at these moments that I have to remind myself that of course someone cares.

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Inspiration

How To Write Your Own Destiny

Lisa Papademetriou

When you’re telling a story, it’s vital that you keep a sense of your ending in your mind. You don’t need to know the exact ending before you write it, but you should have a sense of how it will feel to the reader. Happy? Sad? Mixed?

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Inspiration

Celebrating National Novel Writing Month

Lisa Papademetriou

Every November, my social media feeds are overrun by people participating in National Novel Writing Month. It was founded to promote an internet-based challenge to write a full novel during the month of November. Many people love it, but I have my reservations about the challenge.

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Inspiration

Into The Storm

Lisa Papademetriou

The trouble with motivation is that it is a desire to do or accomplish something and it’s very hard to make ourselves want to do something that isn’t intrinsically immediately fun. It is VERY easy for me to find motivation to eat chocolate.

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Inspiration

Is This Your Second Spring?

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s mid-October, and my part of the world is on fire with red, orange, and yellow leaves. As I always say to my neighbors at this time of year, “October is the reason we live in New England.” The air is crisp and every leaf is a spark of light.

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Inspiration

The Mindfulness Of Scenes

Lisa Papademetriou

Many people have asked me why I divided Bookflow into scenes instead of into chapters. That’s a great question. As readers, we notice the breaks in chapters, not scenes. That’s where we like to place our bookmarks. So why should a writer think in scenes?

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Inspiration

The Joy Of The Struggle

Lisa Papademetriou

Whenever I speak to kids about being a writer, one of them will invariably ask, “What do you like about writing?” Once, I shocked some poor kid by replying, “What makes you think I like it?” The fact is that I don’t like writing; I love writing.

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Inspiration

Why You Should Write Every Day (But Only For Two Minutes!)

Lisa Papademetriou

Have you ever said to yourself—today is going to be a great writing day and then sat down to capture your thoughts only to discover that those transcendent ideas have slithered away like minnows through your eight-year-old fingers?

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Inspiration

What Are You Saying Yes To?

Lisa Papademetriou

I’m currently reading a book called Essentialism, by Greg McKeown. It is, as the title suggests, a nonfiction book about the importance of focussing only on what is most essential in life. McKeown reminds us that the way we spend our time is usually a choice and that every choice is a tradeoff.

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Inspiration

Did you forget to make a plan?

Lisa Papademetriou

What’s your big-picture writing goal? If you’re hoping to finish a project and/or get it published, do you have a plan to make that happen?

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Inspiration

Why You Should Never Trust The Process

Lisa Papademetriou

I know a number of writers who own a tote bag and/or coffee mug that says “Trust the Process” on it. I’ve always taken this to mean that the artistic process can be circuitous and messy, but if you trust and believe in it, you will ultimately find your way through your project.

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Inspiration

The Best Way To Bust Through Your Creative Block

Lisa Papademetriou

A while back, one of the writers on our private Facebook group mentioned that she was feeling guilty for not writing as much as she felt she should. I know that feeling well. The worst part of that feeling is that it does not make you want to write.

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Inspiration

Six Ways To Get The Most Out Of Your Writing Time

Lisa Papademetriou

Based on questions I get at cocktail parties, much of the non-writing world seems to imagine that the writer’s life involves sitting under a tree with a notebook and quill pen waiting for inspiration to strike.

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Inspiration

What's The Real Reason You Write?

Lisa Papademetriou

When I tell people I’m a writer, they often reply, “How exciting!” That always makes me smile, because—as anyone who has done it knows—writing is anything but exciting. True, having a book published is exciting.

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Inspiration

How Are You Celebrating National Book Lovers Day?

Lisa Papademetriou

If you want to become a better writer, there are really only three things you need to do: write a lot, revise a lot, and read a lot. I’ve written before about how important it is to produce a lot of material. The first step to quality is quantity.

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Inspiration

Why You Absolutely Need Writers In Your Life

Lisa Papademetriou

Once, when I was in my early twenties, I went to a party and met a guy who worked for an Eye Bank. I was surprised and impressed to meet this young doctor who clearly performed transplants for people, and was even more shocked to learn that nearly everyone at the party worked for an Eye Bank.

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Inspiration

Why Getting Older Is Your Secret Weapon

Lisa Papademetriou

Once I went to hear a panel of writers speak at the 92nd Street Y in New York City on the subject of “Youth And Aging”. Two of the writers were relatively young and two were old.

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Inspiration

It’s Time To Face The Truth

Lisa Papademetriou

We all know that it is much easier to keep going than it is to get started. That’s the basis of Newton’s First Law of Motion and also the basis of Lisa P.’s First Law of Writing And/Or Exercising.

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Inspiration

Does Your Life Reflect Your Beliefs?

Lisa Papademetriou

For years, I believed that I wasn’t good at math. In seventh grade, I struggled with math. I got my first (and only) C on a report card, and it informed my belief that I wasn’t naturally talented, and therefore math wasn’t in my future.

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Inspiration

Independence Day

Lisa Papademetriou

Tomorrow is Independence Day in the United States, and I’ve been thinking about the signers of the Declaration of Independence—about how terrifying and exhilarating it must have been to set out on that path.

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Inspiration

Take It Outside

Lisa Papademetriou

There is a small window by my desk, and I love looking out and watching the birds as they perch and sing in the bushes outside. I have one particular friend, Mr. Catbird, who has been singing almost nonstop all day every day.

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Inspiration

Make a Scene

Lisa Papademetriou

Over the years, I’ve had a number of people ask me if I outline my work. When I say yes, these people almost invariably ask, “What goes in the outline? What does it look like?” For years, I would explain that it was a concentrated version of the story. Each paragraph boiled down to a scene.

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Inspiration

Why You Should Replace Mediation With Writing (Maybe)

Lisa Papademetriou

I am terrible at meditating. This is not because I have never tried. Several years ago, fed up with everyone from close friends to Oprah Magazine telling me that meditation was good for me, I decided to sign up for a 3-day mediation retreat at Kripalu.

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Inspiration

Why You Should Keep Writing Even When The World Is On Fire

Lisa Papademetriou

Writers are often plagued with doubts about their work. Over the past several days, many wonderful writers I know have expressed that they feel their work is unimportant or irrelevant to current events.

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Inspiration

What Are You Capable Of?

Lisa Papademetriou

About ten years ago, I bought a plant and immediately almost killed it. I’m not much of a green thumb, and I didn’t think about what would happen if I bought a plant and then left it in the car while I ran errands for an hour. What happened is that it got fried into near oblivion.

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Inspiration

Getting Past The Block

Lisa Papademetriou

I don’t feel terribly creative lately. I wouldn’t say that I have writer’s block, but I would say I have its close cousin—writer’s fence. As in, I could probably get over it, but it seems like a lot of trouble and I’m not sure I feel like it. Perhaps you’re feeling the same way.

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Inspiration

Into The Unknown

Lisa Papademetriou

Last week, as I walked down the street, I heard a siren-like voice piping from above me. A neighborhood kid was perched in a nearby tree, singing “Into the Unknown”, a song from Frozen 2. It’s a song about seeking adventure, about daring to live with wild uncertainty.

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Inspiration

Imposter!

Lisa Papademetriou

When I first got married, my husband’s (and now mine) nieces and nephews were excited to discover that I was a writer. They told their grandfather, my husband’s dad, who replied, “That’s just what people in America say when they don’t have a job.”

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Inspiration

The Witness

Lisa Papademetriou

Last weekend, I had to take my dog to the hospital. I wasn’t allowed inside, of course, because of Covid-19. I had to hand him over to the vet tech and wait in the car. I sat in my parking spot, staring at the tree directly in front of my windshield.

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Inspiration

A Confession

Lisa Papademetriou

Spending more time at home has made me more aware of the things that I have been ignoring for far too long. Things like the messy desk in the corner of my living room. I placed a small desk there several years ago with the idea that it would be a lovely place to sit and work sometimes.

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Inspiration

Stressed?

Lisa Papademetriou

Believe it or not, April 16 was National Stress Awareness Day. I suppose this day was chosen to give people the opportunity to tune into how they are feeling and regroup after the often stress-inducing task of filing their taxes.

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Inspiration

Good For You

Lisa Papademetriou

Recently, I’ve been rereading one of my favorite Edith Wharton novels, The Custom of the Country, and stumbled across this line: “Everybody wanted him to write—everybody had decided that he ought to, that he would, that he must be persuaded to..."

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Inspiration

When To Surrender and When Not To

Lisa Papademetriou

This morning, as I was thinking about the enormous challenges that a tiny microbe has managed to throw in our collective path, my husband walked into the room and announced his intention to try to get to bed early every night.

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Help Tips

Learn How to Use Daily Prompts

Lisa Papademetriou

Learn how to use Bookflow's daily writing prompts with this 2-minute demonstration video!

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Inspiration

Springing Forward

Lisa Papademetriou

In my experience, there are three different kinds of writers. The first kind starts on page one—this type bangs out a draft and then goes back to structure and refine their work later.

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Inspiration

Connecting

Lisa Papademetriou

International Women’s Day is this Sunday, March 8, and I’m reflecting on the women writers who have taught—and continue to teach—me throughout my life.

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Inspiration

Writing Rituals

Lisa Papademetriou

I’ve started working out with a trainer twice a week, and I’ve discovered that the hardest part of the workout is getting out of bed. I have never, ever arrived at the gym and decided not to work out.

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Celebrations

How Bookflow Has Helped My Multifaceted Writing (and Editing) Life

Megan St. Marie

I first heard about Bookflow because I belong to a writing group with company founder, Lisa Papademetriou. Just one meeting with Lisa showed me what a genius she has for thinking about plot and structure. When I heard she was developing Bookflow as an online, cloud-based tool to help people organize

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Inspiration

Love Lessons

Lisa Papademetriou

Valentine’s Day has always been a day that I approach with caution. I remember the day in third grade that Christy Kern got one of those huge red heart-shaped boxes of candy with a fake rose on the front from her dad.

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Inspiration

Crisis Planning

Lisa Papademetriou

I’ve been thinking about crisis points lately. A crisis is a moment of intense difficulty, trouble, or danger, but what is interesting to me is that the word originates from the Greek krisis, which means decision.

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Celebrations

How Bookflow Helped Me Keep Going

Sarah Buttenweiser

I first heard about Bookflow when it was an idea in process. Lisa explained her idea while I nodded affirmatively that a writing app with a chance to track your goals—think, Fitbit for writers—was pretty much my dream come true.

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Inspiration

Courage

Lisa Papademetriou

Everything we do begins with courage. Honesty takes courage. Acceptance takes courage. Commitment takes courage.

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Inspiration

When Plans Fail

Lisa Papademetriou

It’s not possible to function at the height of human productivity at all times, and that is okay. There are moments when our dreams need to take a temporary backseat because—while we may be able to do it all—we definitely cannot do it all, all at once.

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Inspiration

Your Own Timeline

Lisa Papademetriou

In October, I bought two amaryllis bulbs. According to the photos on the box, one would produce a brilliant red flower while the other would be a crisp white. I thought they would make a lovely decoration on my mantel when they bloomed, which I assumed would be close to the holidays.

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Inspiration

Now Is The Time

Lisa Papademetriou

Regret and hope can both be terrible burdens because they can lead to fear. Fear that our hopes won’t happen. Fear that our regrets have defined us. And fear, of course, makes us feel stuck.

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Inspiration

Do Your Goals Give You Joy?

Lisa Papademetriou

I’ve always been conflicted about making New Year’s resolutions. On the one hand, I know that the failure rate for these resolutions is high—roughly 80% of them fail by mid-February.

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Inspiration

Editing Your Mindset

Lisa Papademetriou

When I sat down to write my first book, I was terrified. I had spent years as an editor, but now, as a writer, I didn’t know where to begin. So I did what people do when they’re afraid—I called a friend.

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Help Tips

Goals and Rewards

Lisa Papademetriou

Learn how to set a goal and earn rewards on Bookflow with this step-by-step demonstration video! It's a great way to stay motivated and on track with your writing.

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Help Tips

Getting Started

Lisa Papademetriou

Getting started on Bookflow is easy! This step-by-step demonstration video will teach you the basics of creating a project and beginning to write.

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Inspiration

Hey, Snowflake

Lisa Papademetriou

I was born and raised in Houston, Texas, and when I came to the Northeast for college, I have to admit, I was confused by the snow. As a kid, I had always heard that each snowflake was different, a miracle of intricate detail. But that wasn’t what I saw in New York state.

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Inspiration

Throw Yourself An Introvert Party

Lisa Papademetriou

Yes. I’m one of those weird people who is an extroverted introvert. That is, I love chatting with people and am very social. But talking to people makes me exhausted, and I always leave the party early to crawl into bed and read. I am, in fact, famous for that.

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Inspiration

Listen

Lisa Papademetriou

Today is StoryCorps’ National Day of Listening, which is intended to encourage people to have a meaningful conversation with a loved one. Today is also, of course, Black Friday—a day of insane, “door-busting” deals on electronics and housewares and clothes and anything you can think of.

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Inspiration

Relax

Lisa Papademetriou

My husband has a good friend who spent five years living in Alaska. Once, when we were walking around on a snowy day, I asked him how he dealt with the cold. “You relax into it,” he told me.

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