Feeling the sensous pull of summer? 25 ways to let it draw your writing into the dreamtime.

I’ll be away for a while this summer, not on vacation or at some retreat but in a staring-at-the-ceiling (or the stars) reverie, re-entering that space where identity and time are fluid, if just because nights are warmer and something in me knows that a summer night is one long dream. And I admit, there […]

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The world expands beyond the glass. Open a window. Let something wild fly in.

A pigeon muscled into my imaginings recently. I was suspended between lines—words were elusive and connections weren’t coming—and I couldn’t help but notice that the avian equivalent of a Harley had pulled up outside my office.  The throaty coos echoed in, amplified as they bounced off the many concrete surfaces nearby, and I sat, almost […]

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What to do when the safari (or your project) winds up neck deep in quicksand

Last week was a hard one. I’d given myself a couple of days to do what sounded like a simple writing job, and I filled hours and screens with words, but nothing worked. Each draft looked worse to me than the one before. It happens sometimes. Notes that sound brilliant when you take them down seem insipid […]

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Elephants in tutus: Learning about writing at the barre

A little over a year ago, a woman I instantly began thinking of as “the crazy Russian lady” showed up at my easy-going morning exercise class and announced she was the new teacher. Exuberant and kinetic, she spends much of her life teaching Zumba, but we’d be learning a gym-friendly version of ballet. And she […]

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Stone soup: The act of crafting something from ‘nothing’

I’ve been writing a lot lately in my guise of “person who writes for other people,” and my brain is packed with details from their projects. Once, not that long ago, I might’ve made that my reason for not working on writing of my own. No brain space. That expression often feels literal, as though the mundane […]

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A path to writing: Reaching into the richness of the world

The first “real” writer I ever studied with was a charismatic, sad-faced poet with a droopy mustache who’d walk into the room with a book of poems, light a cigarette and begin reading or reciting. He put the voice of Pablo Neruda in my ear, the glowing end of the cigarette moving perilously close to […]

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A simple picture of where the time really goes

Writers are always talking about time. I wish it were because we’re a metaphysical lot exploring the multiverse. It’s true, some of us are, but most often, we’re time-obsessed because we’re looking for ways to gather up enough minutes to work on our projects. We’re busy, right? That’s clear enough. But how busy, really? Here’s a toy […]

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Turn your desktop to a tranquil space with a click

I feel a little shallow admitting it, but the aesthetics of writing matter a lot to me.  I can, and often do, open up a blank word processing document and set to work. But that’s not always the best way to reward myself  for writing daily, pulling a moment of clarity and detail from the […]

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The gate: A story about the power of things that stop us

Thumbnail image for The gate: A story about the power of things that stop us

The writing residency I attended a few years back was set at the edge of a redwood forest not far from the ocean. I was dazzled to be there. I’d applied on a lark and was stunned to get the note that said, “Space just opened up, can you be here in a week? My […]

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Kindle Singles: So what do we think?

This piece from the New York Times on Kindle Singles grabbed my attention this week. I’d heard about this publishing model—vaguely, in the background—but hadn’t really considered the possibilities for all of us writers of essays and stories and book chapters, pieces as short as 5,000 words that we’d like to share, perhaps even as works […]

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