Defeating the Pink Gremlin

At a recent writers’ retreat, we were challenged to identify our “pink gremlins,” meaning those private obstacles to achieving our writing goals. Each person wrote silently for 20 minutes and then shared the results. (If you’ve never tried a timed writing exercise, it can be enlightening. Set the clock and write!) Each individual’s pink gremlin was distinct: fear, wordiness, etc. This was mine: “The trouble with trouble is that it starts out like fun.” Remember this the next time you set aside your manuscript and Continue reading →

Wading into the Debate

It’s controversial, and some of you are going to be mad, but at the risk of offending sensibilities I feel compelled to take a stand on that age-old debate: dogs or cats? Now, I love them both—don’t get me wrong—but when it comes to storytelling, dogs make worthier subjects. Forgive me cat lovers. This isn’t to say that cats aren’t fascinating in real life. Cats are softer, and I might even argue that kittens are cuter than puppies. But on the page, dogs rule. Readers, Continue reading →

Book Clubs: Love ’em or Hate ’em?

Sometimes I finish a book aching to talk about it. You know what I mean: The story has burrowed under your skin, the ideas keep ticking in your head, and you just can’t let it go. At times like these, rather than latch onto strangers on the street or corner them in elevators, it’s nice to belong to a book club. One friend of mine had a book club that left me envious. Not only did their reading list include literary masterpieces, but they had Continue reading →

Travel on the Horizon

If you love to travel and love to write, you can simply weave together these two urges to create the ideal occupation, right? It makes perfect sense… or so I thought when I first landed in Thailand. My writing implements were at hand and my senses were primed. I would absorb it all, craft pages of sparkling prose, and my imagined career as a travel writer would be underway. By day two, however, I’d yet to write a single useable paragraph. And by the next Continue reading →