My Broken Writing Bones

My crappy little phone’s camera isn’t very good. It’s especially not good at taking pictures in low-light. If it was, I would show you a picture of a sticker I keep on the side of my computer where I can see it out of the corner of my eye. Instead, I’ll show you this picture, because it’s the same words only looks nicer.

your story matters pic

Just that. Just that simple. “Your Story Matters.” I really need that when I’m struggling. I remember how prolific I was five and ten years ago. I worry that being healthier has made me less interesting; that focusing on my health and my loved ones takes away time I could be writing.

But then I remember how, when I had all the time in the world, I didn’t use it well. I wrote, sure. But I also angsted and obsessed and wallowed in a muddy bath of envy and schadenfreude. When I couldn’t take it anymore, when I had tried down to the bone and my brain was fritzing and my fortitude was sapped, I stepped away. I couldn’t keep clawing at something that left me hurt and fatigued.

I spent time trying other hobbies and jobs (tarot reading, performing, directing) to see if there was anything else I enjoyed as much. I learned a lot about my dreams, strengths, weaknesses. I cleared my head and breathed deeply. Though I missed writing, the energizing parts, I had spent so long afraid of stepping back. What if I had nothing left to say and looked like a fool? Maybe there were a finite amount of words in a person. Could I go back to sharing words and stories with others long after I’d set them down, when for so long I kept everything to myself?

Over the past few weeks, I’ve been writing and editing. It’s felt good. Difficult, though, like building back muscle strength after a broken bone: it won’t heal properly if I don’t work past the pain. It’s good for me and I need it.

My story matters. Even if it’s silly and fluffy, even if it’s dark and gut-wrenching to get through writing, it matters.

It matters to me.

Today, if you’re trying to write and you’re worried that you’re not “good enough”? Well, remember: Your. Story. Matters. It really does. Don’t write to be published; don’t try to get published to be a best-seller. Write because it matters to you… If you do that, then whoever you do decide to share it with will feel how much emotion and care you put into every word. :)

Follow Your Dreams: Find Signs Where You Can

After yesterday’s announcement that Borders bookstores will begin closing on Friday, I wrote my own farewell and planned to talk to my roommate about visiting our local store.

The store is not the Borders I grew up with, the one that showed me there was more to life than the books I was being forced to read in middle school and that I would later work for. I hardly knew this local Borders, as I’ve only been relocated for less than a year and times have been tough. Especially when there’s only one car between two people, trips to the bookstore “just because” have been few and far between.

Today, after we finished errands, I told my roommate that I needed one last look around Borders before the craze of the sales begin. Luckily, he knows how much Borders means to me and was there when I found out that my Borders was among the stores to close five months ago. Continue reading

The Importance of Being Focused: Making the Most of Your Writing Time

One of the most difficult parts of the ‘job’ for so many writers, authors, and storytellers out there is the most basic part: actually sitting down to write!

The most effective habit of any writer is to write and write often. Persistence is key! But we often only have ourselves keeping our writer-side accountable, making it a terrible task to open that file or bring out that notebook. Today’s writers have infinite distractions at their fingertips–and the Writer can be a notoriously ADD child, particularly in the name of research! From iphone apps, to stumble-upon, to youtube and lolcats, to twitter and tumblr and facebook and google+… it’s a wonder anyone finishes a new story with the internet hanging so lovely over our shoulders.

Today, I’m collecting advice over on Twitter focusing on turning off that ADD brain child, exhausting them or placating them, and how to focus that boundless creative energy on getting through session after session of writing. I’ll then gather that advice here, along with selected quotes to help serve as a mental professor hovering over you whenever you need that extra kick in the behind! Continue reading

9 Writing Books You Need

As a fiction writer for the past twelve years, I’m always searching to improve. Beta readers, specialized courses, and above all reading about the craft.

Mostly, over the past decade, I’ve built up a collection of resource books from professionals in the writing field, from authors and agents alike. I’m sharing the best of my crop with you today, including a link to the novels and my personal review of each. I hope you enjoy, and if you find these useful, let me know!

  • “20 Master Plots: And How to Build Them”, by Ronald Tobias,
    and 45 Master Characters: Mythic Models for Creating Original Characters, by Victoria Schmidt

    20 Master Plots and 45 Master Characters, I literally do not leave home without these when I plan to be writing! I’ve taken them with me from Maine, to Wisconsin, to Texas! Some of the contemporary suggestions might be Continue reading