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Asking Only Myself

One of the most important things that I try to teach my mentees is that the only person whose opinion matters when it comes to your art is yours. Now I say this advisedly because I’ve met a lot of (mostly white, male) writers who won’t listen to any criticism and they think they areContinue reading “Asking Only Myself”

First Pages

Sometimes writers spend months just on the first page of their manuscript. They do this because editors and agents often remind them that they stop reading after the first page, if it isn’t good enough to keep going. And truthfully, readers often do the same thing. If they don’t get grabbed by the first pageContinue reading “First Pages”

When Is It Ready?

I had a conversation recently with a mentee about when you know your manuscript is ready to be sent off to either beta readers or to be queried to editors. I’ve always had a simple rule of thumb about this: when I’m fiddling with commas, then it’s time to get some other eyes on theContinue reading “When Is It Ready?”

Brain Slowdowns

One of the things I warn my memoir clients about in particular is brain slowdowns or the sense of being constantly distracted. When you go back to events that are difficult to process, a traumatic childhood or a life-changing event, and you try to piece it back together, either just using memories or using oldContinue reading “Brain Slowdowns”

Burnout

Creative burnout is real. You feel it when you try to sit down and you have nothing to say anymore. This is not the same as distraction because you will also find yourself hating other kinds of creativity. You won’t want to read books or watch TV or movies. It is a kind of depression,Continue reading “Burnout”

It’s Too Big

It can feel sometimes like a whole novel is impossible to wrap your mind around. All those scenes, all those characters, every bit of plot leading up to that single important climax. And then the idea of making it perfect, ready to sell—impossible, right? Well, you need to learn to think in small chunks. You’reContinue reading “It’s Too Big”

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