All posts by Emily Littlewood

What “Pantsing” Really Means, and Why Most Writers Have it All Wrong by Lauren Sapala

large sculpture of chair and table
 

If you’re a writer with even minimal involvement in the online writing community, chances are that you’re familiar with the terms, “plotter,” and “pantser.” And if you’re a plotter who manages to successfully finish books—and by “successfully” I mean get out a sloppy first draft with a rough approximation of a beginning, a middle, and an end—then you probably don’t have much angst about being a plotter. You get an idea for a story, you work on an outline and sort out your story arc, you might even plot scene breakdowns, and then you write … Continue reading What “Pantsing” Really Means, and Why Most Writers Have it All Wrong by Lauren Sapala

How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

Edited writing
 

Although I have always considered myself a writer, I have also spent many years not writing. In fact, for most of high school, college, and my 20s, I didn’t write at all. Not one story, not one poem. During that period, I was mostly entangled in living the life of a depressed alcoholic, while trying to keep my shit somewhat together in the meantime. So, you could say I didn’t have time to write, but the truth was that I was really in no place to write. I didn’t start writing seriously—and by seriously I … Continue reading How Writers Can Stop Being Consumed by the Fear of Not Being Good Enough by Lauren Sapala

Being Weird Is a Good Thing. It’s Time to Embrace Yourself as a Writer by Lauren Sapala

line of all white eggs, one black
 

All my life I’ve been attracted to weird things. And all my life I’ve been very much aware that other people think I’m weird for being attracted to those weird things. Sometimes it’s that I can’t help but be drawn in by all the different facets of human darkness. Sometimes it’s that I get interested in a subject that seems complicated and obscure, and extremely boring, to others. But whatever my latest passion is at the moment I can be sure that it’s not something that a whole lot of other people understand. For a … Continue reading Being Weird Is a Good Thing. It’s Time to Embrace Yourself as a Writer by Lauren Sapala

How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Photo of paper with messy writing on it
 

Writing my first novel was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. It took me two full years to get through the first draft, and I felt like I was slogging my way through the entire time. I would write sections of the book and read over what I had written and cringe. Sure, I also had days where I felt like I had actually written something good, but most of the time I was full of self-doubt. I had never written a book before, so I had no idea what I was doing. I tried … Continue reading How to Fight the Self-Doubt that Comes with Writing Your First Book by Lauren Sapala

Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

Black & white photo of woman holding small box
 

All my life I’ve gotten into random conversations with people where the subject of our life trajectories comes up, and I always end up feeling kind of weird. This past weekend I hung out with a friend who told me he decided on his career path in high school, diligently researched colleges, applied himself strenuously to his field of study, threw himself at the best internships available, and then went on multiple rounds of job interviews with companies he had also heavily researched, and that’s how he ended up in his current job. He made … Continue reading Writers and Artists—It’s Time for You to Stop Trying to Fit into Society’s Conventional Box by Lauren Sapala

Yes, Writers, It Is Possible to Get Past Your Fear of Marketing Yourself as an Author by Lauren Sapala

Woman writing at table
 

By and large, the biggest problem I run into with struggling authors is the challenge they have around marketing themselves. I hear a lot of different reasons for this: “I’m too introverted.” “I hate anything that has to do with sales.” “I don’t want to be fake or phony,” etc. I get those reasons, because way back in the day when I felt like I had an allergic reaction to anything that had to do with marketing, I told other writers I hated marketing because of those very same reasons. But, here’s the thing. That … Continue reading Yes, Writers, It Is Possible to Get Past Your Fear of Marketing Yourself as an Author by Lauren Sapala

Obstructions by Ann E. Michael

Man at typwriter with hed replaced by crumpled papers
 

Things that get in the way, viz., from Online Etymology Dictionary: 1530s, from Latin obstructionem (nominative obstructio) “an obstruction, barrier, a building up,” noun of action from past participle stem of obstruere “build up, block, block up, build against, stop, bar, hinder,” from ob “in front of, in the way of” (see ob-) + struere “to pile, build” (from PIE *streu-, extended form of root *stere- “to spread”). I’ve been in an odd sort of writing funk–not a writer’s block in the classic sense, because I am writing—both prose and poetry. Drafting, anyway. I feel … Continue reading Obstructions by Ann E. Michael

Beauty is in the Eye of the Boulder by Emily Littlewood

Yard with stone pathways and around trees
 

I’ve lived way out in the country for a little over a year and, with the exception of an inability to have food delivered, I have no complaints. There is something weird about the house though: the rocks. The previous owner used them to mark the driveway to separate it from the yard. But he didn’t stop there. He went on to create a path outlining the entire acre. He also used them to encircle the trees in the yard. Every. Single. Tree. We live in the George Washington National Forest. This is something that … Continue reading Beauty is in the Eye of the Boulder by Emily Littlewood

The Truth is Scarier than Fiction

Person walking through trees and fog
 

Horror is my favorite movie style by far. There are endless sub-genres, including supernatural, inbred/cannibalistic families on the prowl, suspense/thriller, cult related brainwashing activities, etc., etc. (they breed like mutants—fact-check this on Netflix). Unlike some people I know who enjoy only one or two of these specific categories—you dilettantes know who you are—I, a true aficionada, love all of them. Hunkering down for a scary film in the theater is especially enjoyable, with the heightened effects of sound, lighting and communal terror, but I am perfectly happy watching with my dog on the couch. But … Continue reading The Truth is Scarier than Fiction

The Storm Before the Calm

Sold sign in front of a house
 

I’ve forgotten how hard moving is. Not just the organizing and packing but the time spent in small details; the time spent on the phone and mad-dash trips to the store for tape and bubble wrap. My husband and I have lived in our current house for just over ten years. We had moved to Harrisonburg as an escape from Washington DC, where our work commutes into northern Virginia were beginning to feel impossible. Not wanting to prolong the move by taking the time to buy a house, we rented. And on moving day we … Continue reading The Storm Before the Calm