Sunday, May 27, 2018

Word choice and world building

I blogged about word choice and world building over at YA Outside the Lines. Feel free to check it out. A sample: "We don’t just build stage sets; we show how our characters respond to their surroundings." 

Friday, May 18, 2018

Procrastination has its place

"I have got to learn not to believe I have to do everything immediately." 
--May Sarton, Encore: A Journal of the Eightieth Year

I've often quoted Sarton's journals, which are all about the day-to-day life of a writer. She was writing decades ago and in a time before the internet took over our lives, but so many of the issues she discusses are evergreen. She talks about professional disappointments and envy. She talks about what she enjoys in other writers' work, and how much she appreciates the support of friends. She discusses money, and fear, and uncertainty, and anger, and the hunger for solitude. She recounts the difficulty of finding time and energy to work, of the times when inspiration won't strike, of the times when a poem gets stuck coming out, or falls flat, or gets overworked. She reports the satisfaction of words falling into place.

One constant in the journals is the feeling of pressure, of too much to do, of not enough time. Writers' lives have only gotten busier. I derive great satisfaction from my to-do lists, and they help keep me on track. But sometimes I find myself adding more and more items, feeling more and more as if life is an endless round of chores. And then I remind myself, as Sarton says above, that it's okay to let some things wait. Or even drop altogether.

Or, as Nora Ephron says in I Feel Bad About My Neck and Other Thoughts on Being a Woman
"We can't do everything.
I have been given the secret of life."

Friday, May 11, 2018


Lately, I've been reading more and hiking more. People-watching. Birdcam-watching. Exercising more. Reading on the porch. Keeping up with my civic responsibilities (aka, calling my legislators, going to public meetings, and remembering to vote in the upcoming primary). 

As for writing ... I'm refilling the well, no longer feeling the need to write constantly just to be writing. This is my third consecutive year of keeping a daily journal (something I did only intermittently in the past), and I participate weekly in the micro-nonfiction exercise known as #cnftweet (Creative Nonfiction's challenge to tell a true story in a single tweet, including the hashtag #cnftweet). So I am writing regularly. But I am trying new things.

I love YA literature, and once I began to publish in that field, I thought I'd come home, that that was where I would stay. And I wouldn't say I've turned my back on it. But I'm being called in new directions at the moment, so I'm exploring. A writer's life is ever unpredictable.