Archive for the 'Shrinking Violets' Category

Dear Soon To Be Published Author,

Yes, I’m talking to you. The one over there, not meeting my eyes for fear I’ll see the self doubt and despair that have begun to edge out your sense of purpose and confidence. And you, there in the corner, looking everywhere but at me, afraid to believe that your time is almost here. It […]


  “To create, one cannot be constantly other focused.” Gail Sheehy   The pressing demands of daily life have a rather sobering ability to suck all of the creative oxygen out of a room. They don’t even have to be big, catastrophic type demands. Sometimes simply the endless dripping of life’s mundanities can wear away […]

Some Economic Straight Talk: The Economics of Frugality, Abundance, and Creativity

When I was growing up, in addition to avoiding the traditionally forbidden topics of sex, politics, and religion, my family added money to that list. I suspect my family was not alone in this. The thing is, it’s nearly impossible to make solid, informed decisions about our careers when so much of the financial realities […]

The Gift of Wounds

None of us makes it through life without some kind of pain and loss and heartache. We are all of us, broken or wounded in some way. Some of these wounds arise from tragic circumstances: the loss of a loved when far before their time, abuse, neglect, betrayal. But sometimes brokenness happens simply in the […]

Things Left Unspoken

Once upon a time in a galaxy far away a dead end job three lifetimes ago my boss had a motivational speaker come in. The man said two things that day that have proved more beneficial than the entire five years I spent in that job. The first was that Algebra equals Life in that […]

Frog Marching the Muse: Eighteen Tips to Get Words on the Page

Two days ago, I turned in a manuscript that I truly feared I would never finish. That has never happened to me before, and to have it happen when the final installment in a trilogy was DUE NOW, was as potentially disastrous as it was unacceptable. Keep in mind that I am one of those […]

Save the Cat: A Bridge To Story

(I am on mad, crazy deadline and traveling this week, and so posting a ‘re-run’ from the old, Shrinking Violets blog. Forgive me! Hopefully it will be helpful to some of you. I will be back next month with our regularly scheduled original posts. <g>) Save the Cat: A Bridge To Story Much like the […]

On Discipline, Dedication, and Devotion

I’ve been thinking a lot about discipline as my current deadline comes screaming my way and contemplating the different ways we can approach writing. Although it is the one most talked about—and brandished with Puritan-like pride—discipline is not the only relationship that writers can have with their work. There are two others approaches as well: […]

When Nothing Goes Right, Go Left

Ah, writers. We cling to our rituals and discipline as firmly (and as desperately) as any major league pitcher on a winning streak, and often with as much deeply held belief that they are the only thing allowing us to get words on the page or to make progress toward our dreams and aspirations. But […]

The Shy Writer’s Cocktail Party Survival Guide

Confession: For me, the scariest part of a writer’s conference is the cocktail party. There’s no structure. No speaker. No handouts. Instead, hundreds of people who are used to spending long hours at a keyboard in coffee-stained jammies are let loose into a hotel ball room and left to fend for themselves. There are a […]

Fear: The Uninvited Guest

This is the fourth Writer Unboxed post I have started in as many days. I now have all these partial posts, each of at least 800 words, sitting on my desktop and determinedly not being the post I need them to be. That seems to be happening to me a lot lately. If you follow […]

Discovering Our Writerly DNA

I’m often asked why I write books for kids and teens instead of grown up books, and my answer is always this: I write for kids and teens because the books we read when we’re young begin to shape and define not only our reading tastes, but our very selves. Rarely do the books we […]