Empty-Nest Syndrome: Coping with the End of a Long-Term Project
The Writing Process

Empty-Nest Syndrome: Coping with the End of a Long-Term Project

After nearly 4 months, I finally finished the piece I was working on.  Now that it’s complete, I’m nagged by that dreaded inevitable question: “what’s next?” This feeling is familiar to most writers.  We work untold hours diligently, dedicatedly, even obsessively on a project, completely absorbed in an idea only to finally finish and feel … Continue reading

Accomplishment-Mania & What It Means to Be a “Real” Writer
Artist's Inspiration

Accomplishment-Mania & What It Means to Be a “Real” Writer

Nothing is more toxic to the soul than comparison.   Glancing at the biographies of established writers, I feel myself infected with that familiar poison: by the time she was my age, Jodi Picoult was already married with children, had published several books, worked as a creative writing instructor at a private academy and English teacher … Continue reading

Don’t Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen: Writing as Entertainment
Artist's Inspiration

Don’t Be a Drag, Just Be a Queen: Writing as Entertainment

William Zinsser, author of perennial classic “On Writing Well,” once argued the “mere serviceable is a drag.”  Despite what stuffy academics and the literati might say, I completely agree: the primary goal of writing is entertainment. “What?” you might scoff in disbelief, “what about the nobler goals of information and persuasion, guidance and enlightenment?” Yes, as … Continue reading

A Trail in an Enchanted Forest: Leaving Gold Coins for Your Reader
Tools of the Trade

A Trail in an Enchanted Forest: Leaving Gold Coins for Your Reader

Reading Roy Peter Clark’s brilliantly practical Writing Tools and stumbled upon a writing strategy I adore: Writing Tool #23: “Place gold coins along the path: Reward the reader with high points, especially in the middle.” The question that torments every writer: how do we compel our readers to keep reading?  Famed editor of the Wall Street … Continue reading

Clutter is the Disease of American Writing
The Writing Process

Clutter is the Disease of American Writing

“Clutter,” argued William Zinsser, “is the disease of American writing.  We are a society strangling in unnecessary words, circular constructions, pompous frills and meaningless jargon…Our national tendency is to inflate and thereby sound important.  The airline pilot who announces that he is presently anticipating experiencing considerable precipitation wouldn’t think of saying it may rain.  The … Continue reading