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Category: Writing

Writing: I’m Using the Pomodoro Technique

I haven’t talked a lot about my novel-writing lately here, largely because I’ve spent so much of my time this fall either being sad or writing about being sad instead (I’ve been fun!), but what I haven’t told you is this: I’m back to writing, regular fiction writing, and–outside a small hiccup due to my obsessive monitoring of the results of a certain election–I’m working toward a goal to finish the manuscript of the book I’m writing by the end of this calendar year. I know. That’s a lot of words. But I’m a third of the way into this book and can see the rest of the way out. It’s exciting. My issue now is scheduling. It’s easy for the pressures of regular life–the remote learning days for school and the ongoing settling of my mom’s estate, etc.–to edge in around a writer’s focus and subvert it, and I’ve always struggled with letting the concrete tasks of the day nudge the imaginative…

We’re Just Gonna Give that Muse a Big Ol’ Push, Basically

I’m sitting at a desk littered with paperwork. I see two planners here (why two?! We’re in a pandemic. WHAT AM I POSSIBLY PLANNING), plus an old grocery list and a messy meal-planning list I’d scratched out on the back of yet another grocery list. There’s the disclosure statement for my mother’s property, the paperwork for her car, photos of my kids and business cards I pulled out of the last purse she used before she became homebound. In the middle of the mess, at my right elbow as I type this, is forty-eight pages of the manuscript I was working on before the summer hit. I loved this story–when I sat down to write it’d fly from my fingers, and now it’s been so long since I stepped away from it I worry I’ve lost the thread. In Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert talks about a story idea being a real thing that tries to find its teller: if one person doesn’t pluck the story out of the air and set it to paper, someone else will. That…

Any Excuse for Cake, I Tell You: It’s the Anniversary of ALL THE DIFFERENCE

Hi! Hi! Hi! It’s the fifth anniversary of the day my debut novel was published (yes this has been a long time no you don’t have to ask me when another one is coming out I AM TRYING). All the Difference had its book birthday on this very day in 2015 and while many, many things have changed since then in both my life and yours and the world’s (OH MY GOSH THE WORLD’S), the one thing that hasn’t changed is this: Books are fun. Drafting books is not always as much fun, nor is getting them published consistently a treat, but this–the writing and the reading and the holding a book in our papercut-riddled fingers, whether it’s our own book or someone else’s book, is one of the best feelings in the whole wide world. Saoirse asked me the other day why, whenever we go to the beach on a family vacation, I don’t go swimming in the ocean as much as I like to sit in a comfy chair next to the ocean. I blinked at her, not sure…