Archive for the 'Health' Category

Losing One’s Marbles

You’ve all heard the big news: 9 out of 10 dentists agree that the path to publication requires sitting our tush in our writing chair and putting words on the page at least once a day. Even when we don’t feel like it. Even when we have writer’s block. Even when we are busy working two other jobs and have a new baby or an untrained puppy or an ill child or aging parent . . . or all of that at once.

I’m no dentist, but I […]

Deconstructing Micro-Tension

If you had to guess, what portion of the hundred-thousand-mile journey to basic fiction-writing competence would belong to the pursuit and mastery of micro-tension? Ten percent? Thirty? I personally don’t have a clue, yet I’ve been persuaded of its necessity since first being introduced to the concept by WU’s Donald Maass. Accordingly, I’ve done my best to read everything he’s had to say on the subject, several times. I’ve picked apart books that demonstrate micro-tension. (How about that Gillian Flynn’s […]

Wanted: Grim Reaper As Writing Coach

The Grim Reaper by Trish Steel [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Last month, through pure serendipity, I stumbled across an intellectual exercise which I’d like to recommend to all my fellow writers.  I believe it will be of particular benefit to those of you who  a) are overwhelmed with life and yearn for a reset button b) wish to clear away the cobwebs of smugness and complacency, or c) like me, write genre fiction that others might call “quiet” or, in […]

If Buddha Wrote a Novel

By Jenny Downing on Flickr’s Creative Commons

Today’s guest is Renee Swindle, the author of newly released A Pinch Of Ooh La La and Shake Down The Stars (NAL/Penguin). Her first novel, Please Please Please, was an Essence Magazine bestseller. Renee has an MFA in creative writing from San Diego State University. An admitted tea snob, Renee lives in Oakland with three rescue dogs and three cats—“Yep, six animals and me,” says Renee.

Dish magazine says, “Swindle has a way of making […]

Don’t Take Author Obesity Sitting Down

Provocations in Poundage

Yeah, I know. Better I make fun of about 10 religious faiths at once, right?

We’re not supposed to mention the other f-word, it’s not PC at all. (I’ll just spell it so we don’t scare the chubby children: f-a-t.)

Somehow in the States, it’s considered better to “not say anything.” Rather than embarrass someone or “hurt their feelings,” we’re encouraged to allow our friends and loved ones to eat themselves to death. I’m still searching for the kindness in […]

To the Disconsolate Writer Who Hates Her Pace

Moai Rano, Easter Island from Wikimedia Commons

From an anonymous email:

Dear Jan: I’ve seen you describe yourself as a slow writer. I am one also, and it makes me discouraged to the point I’ve considered quitting. Do you have any advice?

Ah, yes. Speed-of-sloth is the precise phrase I use, and while at one point it was a way of laughing through my pain and frustration, now I type it with a sense of peace. It’s simply become a way to […]

4 Science-Based Resources to Build a Drama-Free Writing Routine

Few things in life give me more pleasure than a gorgeously written blog post validating my choice to write, particularly if I’m fresh from a difficult critique or my characters have gone silent. That’s when I scan my environment, looking for people brimming with positivity. If you’re one of them, I glom onto you. I yearn to be swept up in your narrative.

And if you’re drinking hope’s sweet ambrosia and if you’ll allow me to sip from your cup, maybe […]

Three Yoga Poses That Could Save Your Novel (Or Your Life)

Photo by Reuben Whitehouse

Today’s guest is Samantha Wilde. Samantha is the author of I’ll Take What She Has and This Little Mommy Stayed Home (both from Bantam Books). She is an ordained minister and a yoga teacher, a graduate of Smith College, Yale Divinity School, The New Seminary and the Kripalu School of Yoga. Before she became a full-time, at-home mother to her three children she taught thousands of yoga classes. She still teaches once a week to a […]

Boundaries and Burnout

I have been noticing lately that the word, “work ethic” has been coming up a lot among writers, all of whom seem to be pursuing the vast pots of wealth seemingly just on the other side of a completed manuscript.  No longer do you even need a contract to hit the big time—just look! Every week another superstar explodes out of obscurity onto the top of the e-book charts, then the New York Times.  Every  month, another Horatio Alger, another […]

4 Horseman of the Relationship Apocalypse—Want Them for Members of Your Writing Community?

Of the long-term, previously stable writing communities in which I’m involved, guess how many have suffered through some sort of meltdown in the past few months.  (By “meltdown” I mean disagreements which became personal, broadly eroded trust and collegiality, and judging by early signs, from which some communities might not fully recover.)

If you went with “too many,” you’d be right, though I’m not sure that deserves a cookie so much as a barf bag. While I can navigate it when […]

Flying Fingers or Tapping Toes: Art is Art is Art

Photo via Wikimedia Commons, User:Jean-no [FAL]

First there were difficulties securing a vehicle, then foot tendinitis, then unprotected chest met deck edge, leading to multiple rib fractures. (At which time my mantra became Go pain killers! Yay for modern pharmacology!)

Between one thing and another, it seemed like life was conspiring to keep me from fitness-dancing. When I restarted this January, I’d gone three years without hipping to a hop.*

Now, six weeks into my classes, it’s become apparent to me that […]

You Can Get (Almost) Anything on EBay

As I write this post, EBay has sixty active listings for “full suit of armor.”

Some are shiny silver, others are bronze. Some have gaudy feathers on the helmet, others offer chain mail accents. A few promise a complimentary battle axe. The prices range from $10-$9,650, and twenty listings offer free shipping.

But as long as mine is a full suit of armor, a head-to-toe get-up that will protect my tender heart, my fragile ego, my flighty muse from all writerly rejection, I’ll be […]