Archive for the 'Health' Category

Becoming a Stand-Up Writer

Welcome to 2015! For many of us, today is the first real workday of the new year. I always enjoy the “clean slate” feeling of starting a new year, and I’m usually eager to make some tweaks and changes to how I operate. Some of those changes are simply about breaking some bad habits (e.g., no […]

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 […]

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 […]

Wanted: Grim Reaper As Writing Coach

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 […]

If Buddha Wrote a Novel

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 […]

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 […]

To the Disconsolate Writer Who Hates Her Pace

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 […]

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 […]

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

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Flying Fingers or Tapping Toes: Art is Art is Art

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, […]