Inspiration

Throw Yourself An Introvert Party

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.
December 6, 2019
Inspiration

Listen

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.
November 29, 2019
Inspiration

Relax

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.
November 22, 2019
Inspiration

All We Want

Even before the last candy disappears from the bottom of the Halloween bowl, holiday promotions start showing up in my mail and inbox. The thing is, though, that as I get older, I find that I don’t really want things with the same intensity that I did when I was a child.
November 15, 2019
Inspiration

Run Your Own Race

Lately, I’ve been taking spin classes. Spin isn’t actually my preferred form of exercise, but the class is at the right time for my schedule, so I go.
November 8, 2019
Inspiration

The End Is The Beginning

When I graduated from college, I spent a year and a half teaching and living in Guatemala. That November, to celebrate the Day of the Dead, I went with a few friends to Santiago Sacatepequez, a town roughly an hour outside of Guatemala City. We were headed to a kite festival.
November 1, 2019
Inspiration

The Wise Words of Jon Stewart

My interest in checklists started about ten years ago when I read an article by Atul Gawade in the New Yorker. In it, he tells how Dr. Peter Pronovost decided to make a checklist to tackle a single problem—the problem of line infections.
October 25, 2019
Inspiration

The Fun of Fear

It’s mid-October, AKA Prime Time for goblins, ghosts, witches, and monsters. Why do we love this weird holiday so much? Why do we love to be scared?
October 18, 2019
Inspiration

Harvest Time

The other day, I was talking to my husband about different kinds of writers. I was pointing out that not all writers are goal-driven. Some simply enjoy the writing life and the positive benefits that writing gives them.
October 11, 2019
Inspiration

Turn Regret Into A Secret Weapon

The next time you’re hit with a regret, pause to consider what you learned or gained before returning your focus to work or the present moment.
October 4, 2019
Inspiration

Hey, Neighbor

Generally speaking, writers are sensitive people. This is part of what makes them want to write. And this is why it is so important for writers to support other writers.
September 27, 2019
Inspiration

Peace

I’ve heard it said (okay, on Twitter) that writing is fighting. And sometimes it is—fighting for something by giving it a voice, or fighting against our own fears. But writing is also observing and being compassionate to ourselves and others.
September 20, 2019
Inspiration

Has Your Muse Been On Vacation?

Writing can be lonely, which is an interesting paradox, given that it is an attempt to communicate. It can be helpful to remember that we write, we are looking for that which is universal that lives within specific events, and this is a realm that is greater than any single one of us.
September 13, 2019
Inspiration

Are You Afraid Of Failure?

Whenever I give a workshop, there are always people who want to pick my brain about getting published. How to get an agent, how to write a query letter, how to approach publishers, how to make sure you’re being marketed correctly, etc.
September 6, 2019
Inspiration

This Whole Idea Is Out Of Order!

Stories are not a single idea that you write down; they are many ideas that have been assembled, page after page, into an integrated whole. They are ideas for characters, observations, settings, incidents, reactions, objects, and more.
August 30, 2019
Inspiration

Are You Ready For A New Beginning?

When I created Bookflow, I insisted that we place a fresh writing exercise/thought prompt on the home page every day. I love knowing that there is always something I can play with or explore before I sit down to my “official” project
August 23, 2019
Inspiration

You Must Be Present to Win

I know many writers dream of fame and fortune. These things are wonderful, but they are not in our control. What is in our control is the art itself, and our own willingness to learn from the process. This is how we teach ourselves...by letting the art teach us.
August 16, 2019
Inspiration

Tell Yourself A Good Story

Stories are the way human beings understand events. This week, try telling yourself a positive story, one that gives credit to your efforts and achievements. If you want to write, take a few moments and do so, then congratulate yourself for your productive creativity.
August 2, 2019
Storytelling

What’s Cooking?

Our lives are dynamic entities, and we have to remember that we can’t always do every single thing to live our Best Life at all times. Sometimes, you have to just live the life you’ve got. But it’s important to remember, also, that doing a bit of something is okay.
July 26, 2019
Inspiration

Break Glass In Case Of Emergency

I’ve often people write letters to their past selves, telling themselves things they wish they had known when they were young. But we can do the same thing for our future selves.
July 19, 2019
Inspiration

The Surprising Secret To Getting Great Ideas

Our minds wander. That’s because humans are innately curious, and our minds are always looking for thoughts to fasten on to. So this week, take a long walk. Stare out of a window.
July 12, 2019
Inspiration

You Know You’re A Writer When…

You know you’re a writer when even the Email you send to complain about a computer bug is thoughtfully composed, appropriately descriptive, and--frankly--funny.
June 14, 2019
Storytelling

You’re Doing It Right

I used to think that my writing was “unartistic” because I like to use outlines. And I have heard many character writers bemoaning their inability to wrangle plot. But–trust me–whatever you are doing is right.
June 14, 2019
Inspiration

Do You Have A Mental Meanie?

There’s a little meanie who lives in my brain; you might have one, too. This meanie is mean. He knows just what to say to get me to feel badly about myself and to give up on my creative projects.
June 7, 2019
Storytelling

The Super-Simple Masterplot to Unlock Your Story

In the workshops I’ve given across the country, I’ve met a lot of writers who feel comfortable developing character, but struggle with plot. Many people ask what a plot even is.
May 31, 2019
Inspiration

Secrets of a Prolific Writer

Friends, readers, and fellow writers, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: You do not have to write every day. I don’t. And I’m one of the most prolific writers I know.
May 31, 2019
Daily Prompt

Prompt: Unsaid

Prompts are intended to help you spark new ideas and, often, to help you build new skills. They are meant to be open to interpretation and use; how you handle the prompt is completely up to you.
May 24, 2019
Inspiration

How to Listen

Offering criticism—even when it is done with utmost love and care—can be a tricky business. Writers are often sensitive creatures and writing, like any creative endeavor, is a vulnerable thing.
May 17, 2019
Inspiration

The Myth of Work/Life Balance

Articles about work/life balance always separate these things as if work is work and life is going for long walks on the beach and drinking a piña colada at sundown.
May 10, 2019
Storytelling

7 Tips for A Stronger Manuscript

Story/acquiring editors are always on the lookout for good manuscripts. They want to buy wonderful stories. But sloppy writing can take focus away from a great tale.
May 10, 2019
Inspiration

The Pain-Free Guide to Getting The Most From Your Setting

Settings play a vital role in any story. They aren’t simply locations where things happen, they are opportunities.
May 3, 2019
Daily Prompt

Prompt: Sweet

Prompts are intended to help you spark new ideas and, often, to help you build new skills. They are meant to be open to interpretation and use; how you handle the prompt is completely up to you.
May 18, 2018
Daily Prompt

Prompt: Secret Life

Prompts are intended to help you spark new ideas and, often, to help you build new skills. They are meant to be open to interpretation and use; how you handle the prompt is completely up to you.
April 16, 2018
Storytelling

What is a guiding belief?

Every major character has a guiding belief, a core understanding of the world that determines her actions. This belief serves as the foundation for the character’s decision-making.
March 28, 2018
Inspiration

Why You Shouldn’t Sweat Your Wordcount

There are many moments at which you must stop, reassess, think, and wonder. These are some of the most important moments in your work.
March 3, 2018
Inspiration

Throw Yourself An Introvert Party

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.
December 6, 2019
Inspiration

Listen

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.
November 29, 2019
Inspiration

Relax

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.
November 22, 2019
Inspiration

All We Want

Even before the last candy disappears from the bottom of the Halloween bowl, holiday promotions start showing up in my mail and inbox. The thing is, though, that as I get older, I find that I don’t really want things with the same intensity that I did when I was a child.
November 15, 2019
Inspiration

Run Your Own Race

Lately, I’ve been taking spin classes. Spin isn’t actually my preferred form of exercise, but the class is at the right time for my schedule, so I go.
November 8, 2019
Inspiration

The End Is The Beginning

When I graduated from college, I spent a year and a half teaching and living in Guatemala. That November, to celebrate the Day of the Dead, I went with a few friends to Santiago Sacatepequez, a town roughly an hour outside of Guatemala City. We were headed to a kite festival.
November 1, 2019
Inspiration

The Wise Words of Jon Stewart

My interest in checklists started about ten years ago when I read an article by Atul Gawade in the New Yorker. In it, he tells how Dr. Peter Pronovost decided to make a checklist to tackle a single problem—the problem of line infections.
October 25, 2019
Inspiration

The Fun of Fear

It’s mid-October, AKA Prime Time for goblins, ghosts, witches, and monsters. Why do we love this weird holiday so much? Why do we love to be scared?
October 18, 2019
Inspiration

Harvest Time

The other day, I was talking to my husband about different kinds of writers. I was pointing out that not all writers are goal-driven. Some simply enjoy the writing life and the positive benefits that writing gives them.
October 11, 2019
Inspiration

Turn Regret Into A Secret Weapon

The next time you’re hit with a regret, pause to consider what you learned or gained before returning your focus to work or the present moment.
October 4, 2019
Inspiration

Hey, Neighbor

Generally speaking, writers are sensitive people. This is part of what makes them want to write. And this is why it is so important for writers to support other writers.
September 27, 2019
Inspiration

Peace

I’ve heard it said (okay, on Twitter) that writing is fighting. And sometimes it is—fighting for something by giving it a voice, or fighting against our own fears. But writing is also observing and being compassionate to ourselves and others.
September 20, 2019
Inspiration

Has Your Muse Been On Vacation?

Writing can be lonely, which is an interesting paradox, given that it is an attempt to communicate. It can be helpful to remember that we write, we are looking for that which is universal that lives within specific events, and this is a realm that is greater than any single one of us.
September 13, 2019
Inspiration

Are You Afraid Of Failure?

Whenever I give a workshop, there are always people who want to pick my brain about getting published. How to get an agent, how to write a query letter, how to approach publishers, how to make sure you’re being marketed correctly, etc.
September 6, 2019
Inspiration

This Whole Idea Is Out Of Order!

Stories are not a single idea that you write down; they are many ideas that have been assembled, page after page, into an integrated whole. They are ideas for characters, observations, settings, incidents, reactions, objects, and more.
August 30, 2019
Inspiration

Are You Ready For A New Beginning?

When I created Bookflow, I insisted that we place a fresh writing exercise/thought prompt on the home page every day. I love knowing that there is always something I can play with or explore before I sit down to my “official” project
August 23, 2019
Inspiration

You Must Be Present to Win

I know many writers dream of fame and fortune. These things are wonderful, but they are not in our control. What is in our control is the art itself, and our own willingness to learn from the process. This is how we teach ourselves...by letting the art teach us.
August 16, 2019
Inspiration

Tell Yourself A Good Story

Stories are the way human beings understand events. This week, try telling yourself a positive story, one that gives credit to your efforts and achievements. If you want to write, take a few moments and do so, then congratulate yourself for your productive creativity.
August 2, 2019
Inspiration

Break Glass In Case Of Emergency

I’ve often people write letters to their past selves, telling themselves things they wish they had known when they were young. But we can do the same thing for our future selves.
July 19, 2019
Inspiration

The Surprising Secret To Getting Great Ideas

Our minds wander. That’s because humans are innately curious, and our minds are always looking for thoughts to fasten on to. So this week, take a long walk. Stare out of a window.
July 12, 2019
Inspiration

You Know You’re A Writer When…

You know you’re a writer when even the Email you send to complain about a computer bug is thoughtfully composed, appropriately descriptive, and--frankly--funny.
June 14, 2019
Inspiration

Do You Have A Mental Meanie?

There’s a little meanie who lives in my brain; you might have one, too. This meanie is mean. He knows just what to say to get me to feel badly about myself and to give up on my creative projects.
June 7, 2019
Inspiration

Secrets of a Prolific Writer

Friends, readers, and fellow writers, I’m going to let you in on a little secret: You do not have to write every day. I don’t. And I’m one of the most prolific writers I know.
May 31, 2019
Inspiration

How to Listen

Offering criticism—even when it is done with utmost love and care—can be a tricky business. Writers are often sensitive creatures and writing, like any creative endeavor, is a vulnerable thing.
May 17, 2019
Inspiration

The Myth of Work/Life Balance

Articles about work/life balance always separate these things as if work is work and life is going for long walks on the beach and drinking a piña colada at sundown.
May 10, 2019
Inspiration

The Pain-Free Guide to Getting The Most From Your Setting

Settings play a vital role in any story. They aren’t simply locations where things happen, they are opportunities.
May 3, 2019
Inspiration

Why You Shouldn’t Sweat Your Wordcount

There are many moments at which you must stop, reassess, think, and wonder. These are some of the most important moments in your work.
March 3, 2018
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