Tag Archives: writing

On A Cappella Lane by Fred Wilbur


 

At university, I lived on A Cappella Lane, which dead-ended at the railroad tracks. Elm cool, the house had ivy as a front ‘lawn’ chaperoned by a short picket fence. The landlady had a walk-in basement apartment and lived between hot-water heater and oil furnace so that her children’s rooms could be rented out. My first night the trains woke me in a nightmarish sweat, bed shaking, books falling out of alphabetical order, coat hangers chiming in the closet. Soon enough I slept unawares. On occasions thereafter I would wake in the middle of the … Continue reading On A Cappella Lane by Fred Wilbur

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

Capturing Clouds by Fred Wilbur

Photo of clouds in blue and orange sky
 

“I change, but cannot die.” Shelly “The Cloud” As my wife and I are on our morning walk, I often comment on the clouds above: the constant change they float themselves through, the subtlety of hues they dress in, the animal shapes and deities we conjure. And one day I must have said I’d like to paint clouds once too often—forget that I am not much more than an occasional house painter— because next birthday my kind and, no doubt, loving wife presented me with an online course simply titled Painting Clouds. With tabletop easel, … Continue reading Capturing Clouds by Fred Wilbur

Four Backstory Traps and How to Escape Them by Lisa Ellison

Typed word Backstory on paper in typewriter
 

I remember the exact moment when I decided to become a writer. It was the winter of 1987. I was in sixth-period study hall, gripping Stephen King’s Pet Sematary. The book catapulted me into the world of Louis Creed and Jud Crandall, making the rowdy seventh graders around me disappear. Every day that week, I stayed up well past midnight, unable to put Pet Sematary down. I spent the next few years in various states of terror as I devoured King’s most famous works including It, The Stand, and The Tommyknockers. Stephen King is a … Continue reading Four Backstory Traps and How to Escape Them by Lisa Ellison

Mornings by Pamela Potter

Sunrise
 

I love mornings. For me, this time is full of promise and magic and possibility. Anything could happen today. Nothing negative has marred the perfection of the peace and quiet. No one has made any demands. The quiet is only broken by the sighs of my cats and the hum of my space heater, because it’s January. Well, no demands isn’t quite accurate. First thing every morning when my cat realizes I’m awake, she gets on my bed and we have quiet, thoughtful cuddle time. It’s a mindfulness time for me. I try to stay … Continue reading Mornings by Pamela Potter

Journaling with Jenny by Jenny Patton

Sharpened pencils pointing up
 

When I was seven, I made my own journal out of legal pad paper—a little book that sparked a lifelong passion for writing down my thoughts, feelings and desires. E.M. Forster asks, “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” Here’s my take: “How do I know who I am until I see what I think?” Journal writing has been proven to combat stress and help treat eating disorders, depression, addiction and other psychologically rooted problems. People who write about past traumas show stronger immune systems. After my mom died, … Continue reading Journaling with Jenny by Jenny Patton

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

Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

woman wearing Virtual Reality glasses
 

Have you ever used virtual reality goggles to watch a movie? Imagine that the film starts off in an African village. Ahead of you, you see a hut and can almost smell the smoke rising from a campfire. You hear laughter. On the left, two small boys run past. Behind you, mist rises from the river. On the right, men start arguing loudly. Within a few seconds, you are dropped into the middle of the story, exactly where the screenwriter wants you to be. Watching a movie this way reminds me of how I feel … Continue reading Inhabiting Your Character by Deborah Prum

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