5 Lessons from 20 Years as a Writer

FiveWritingLessons

So, all this has happened at once: this is my 1,000th blog entry, at the same time I'm working on my tenth book (Shine). Also, 20 years ago I began classes for my Masters degree in Creative Writing and also began writing professionally. The fact all these multiples of ten coincided felt significant--and the right time to think about what I've learned as an author. Loneliness is a Job … [Read more...]

When God Does That One Thing…

rootedandgrounded

"For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named,  that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the … [Read more...]

What I’ve Learned from Book Birthdays…Celebrate!

adobe-spark-post

A few years ago, Anne Lamott wrote a funny essay about book releases. In it, she describes looking forward to her Release Day with the anticipation most of us have for a birthday or New Years Eve. Another author friend had a book coming out on the same day, and they talked endlessly about how the actual day would feel. On her big Pub Date, Anne Lamott wakes up so hopeful for what this glorious day … [Read more...]

The Book That Almost Wasn’t….

adobe-spark-post

This week our family went to dinner to celebrate my new book, Family Trees and Olive Branches. Holding this book—one that had been such a struggle to write—felt like an actual miracle. The idea for Family Trees & Olive Branches came from hearing about so many painful family stories: parents who are heartbroken because of terrible fights with their kids, siblings who had completely lost … [Read more...]

A Fangirl of Mary Karr Learns Grace for Herself

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For so long, I have admired writers and musicians from far away. Very far, in fact. Even though their art has inspired me, I’ve never had the guts to really tell them that. I've never written a single one of them a fan letter. Actually, I’ve also never posted a review of a book or an album—not even for those songs and stories that I’ve committed to memory. I'm a sensitive over thinker, and my … [Read more...]

Dear Catie…(on your first day of school)

catie

Dear Catie…. Today starts the end of middle school for you. As everyone said they would, the past three years have gone faster than Reece's in your lunch bag. (Very fast.) You are unique, sweetheart. Your effervescence and joy make you so fun. Yes, you have ALL THE ENERGY ALL THE TIME, which makes you seem so much younger than 13. This also makes you different than the eye-rolling, … [Read more...]

Why Writers Really Hate Book Releases

bookreleases

If I could, I would skip book release day all together. It's like birthdays when you're young or New Years Eve in your twenties. Too many expectations. Too much fear of rejection. Plus, there's my control freak's worry about sharing my words with the world.  Have I done enough? Will the world be friendly? What did I get wrong? It reminds me of my oldest child’s first day of preschool, so many … [Read more...]

The Screaming Toddler of Book Releases

screamingtoddler

If you’ve held a toddler having a temper tantrum, you know they pass through phases, like a speeding train through stations. The kid begins with feral screams of anger. These might go on for a while, and then the screams fade into choking sobs of self-pity. You hold the writhing toddler the whole time. And even though you really want to stick your fingers in your ears—or stuff a loaf of banana … [Read more...]

Writers and Loneliness

lonelywriters

This week I talked to elementary school kids about my job as an author. They were sweet and silly and asked great questions (“How much money did you make last year?”) After my talk, a few Fifth Graders lingered to tell me about the books they wanted to write. As one girl stared at her Converse, she described her dystopian novel about a world where animals could talk and humans were their … [Read more...]

Brace Yourself

braceyourself

Back when I worked as a waitress, the hostess would sometimes seat four tables, one right after another.  When this happened, you would have to flag down another server and say, "My hair is on fire" to let them know you needed help. My hair has been on fire the past few months. I've had a book deadline, and the stories for this book were personal, complicated, sad, and funny. Telling these … [Read more...]