Be Your Own Biggest Fan


Syncom, the First Geosynchronous SatelliteA few years back, author Joshilyn Jackson posted a story on her blog about meeting an author who was without a doubt his own biggest fan. I can’t find the post at the moment, but this author literally introduced himself with the words, “Hi, I’m award-winning author *name redacted*”. All that was missing to make it perfect, Joshilyn Jackson wrote, was for him to have said, “It’s such an honor for you to meet me.” Because she is hilarious and awesome.

My point, to be clear, is that that’s not the kind of own-biggest-fan I want to talk about today. Because honestly, I don’t think too many of us suffer from the kind of over-inflated ego of Joshilyn’s acquaintance. (And, really, who knows what kind of hidden insecurities the poor guy was trying to mask with all his posturing? I’d be willing to bet it was more than a few).

D.W. Winnicott famously wrote that, “Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.”

“Artists are people driven by the tension between the desire to communicate and the desire to hide.”

Not to go all tortured-artist on you, because as artists go, I’m not especially tortured, I’m really not. But that state of being– that tension between those two opposite extremes of communication and hiding– is a very vulnerable place to live. In my experience, all authors struggle to some degree or another with an internal critic, a nasty little voice hissing a litany of YOUSUCKYOUSUCKYOUSUCKYOUSUCK in your ears. I personally have never written a book where that nasty little voice didn’t rear it’s ugly head (yes, I know, that’s a hideously mixed metaphor). The difference, 19 books into my career, is that that voice has to be positively screaming a NOREALLYTHISBOOKHASASERIOUSPROBLEM kind of a warning on the sliding scale of you-suck-itude for me to pay it any attention at all.



Openings: Intrigue Versus Engagement


A great deal has been written about openings.  Without question they are important.  The opening is the first impression.  It creates a story promise.  It poses questions that need answers.  It pulls us into a story world.  It sets events in motion or at least establishes a mood.  We meet a voice, sense the story’s […]

One-Starred: The Importance of Criticism and Why You Should Take It

Flickr Creative Commons: Marco Ghitti

As some of those of you who attended the fabulous Un-conference last year know, I read all my Amazon reviews, positive and negative. And while this might sound like a bad idea—in fact, I’ve had many people tell me not to do it—there’s a method to my madness. I admit, I began to do it […]

The World’s Longest Book Tour


Today please welcome return guest Jenny Milchman.” Jenny’s new novel, As Night Falls, will be released tomorrow. She is also the author of Cover of Snow, which won the Mary Higgins Clark Award, and Ruin Falls, an Indie Next Pick and a Top Ten of 2014 by Suspense Magazine. She is Vice President of Author […]

Monetizing Posts at Writer Unboxed for Regular Contributors: How and Why


Today, we’d like to introduce you to our newest feature at Writer Unboxed: tinyCoffee. TinyCoffee allows us to embed code at the end of our posts, providing you with an option to make a small donation–in line with the cost of a cup of coffee–to the author of that day’s post. Do you have to […]

June Roundup: Hot Tweetables at #WU


Big changes hit publishing the month of June. Amazon opened their first retail store–and it was promptly robbed, the Penguin Random House merger continues to make waves, and there is talk that indie bookstores are finally safe. Other highlighted news is below, but please check out the dozens of other big stories this month using […]

The Complete List of Creative Distractions and Defenses Against Them


I have been asking writers about their biggest challenges in managing their daily lives and finding time to write. Their top answer: distractions. So I thought that, in order to understand the problem, I would catalog every distraction known to writers. Then, in the post below, turn this into a guide. If you are a […]

The Writer’s Eye and the Writer’s Hand


Because the universe loves me, I found myself in Paris recently with nothing to do but sight-see and visit great museums. I made my way to the Pompidou, which had a mind-boggling retrospective on the works of Jeff Koons, whose iconic Balloon Dog you see here. Upon investigating Koons’ life and work, I discovered that […]

Resisting the Lure of the Shiny New Idea


This past weekend, I had a business trip to St Louis, and something happened that almost never does when I’m traveling: I wrote in the shuttle on the way to the airport. It’s a fairly long slog, about 90 minutes, and often I have a whole bench to myself, but I’m not one of those […]

Author Epiphany: I Film-Track My Novels

Flickr Creative Commons: Insomnia Cured Here

Epiphany Part 1 arrived in my living room as my husband griped at another Turner Classic Movie marathon Friday night. “But it’s Katharine Hepburn!” I balked. “One of the greatest character actors ever!” I’m addicted to old movies. Black and whites make me swoon and don’t even get me started on Technicolor. My husband merely […]