Inspiration & Support—

Be stubborn.

A couple of years ago, Jennifer Louden interviewed me for her Teach Now course. This program teaches pedagogy and self-care for anyone who feels called to be a teacher, and I was delighted to be included as guest faculty. Since then, I have been following Jennifer’s work with admiration. Her writing is in service to […]

Stop what you’re doing.

There have been times that I’ve believed writing was supposed to be really hard work, and that it was unreasonable to think that I could enjoy it. Writers talk about this a lot. They talk about it through time and space. Even after death, they’re talking about how hard it is to write. “There is […]

Manifestos, guides, and best friends

Before I get into my post today, I want to tell you that The Story Intensive registration is open for 10 MORE DAYS. I run this writing workshop once a year: it’s the only fully-guided Story Is a State of Mind writing workshop I offer. Space is very limited, and writers from around the world […]

Don’t try to make it symbolic.

I was invited to a Canadian fiction class at McGill University once. This Cake was on the required reading list for the course (!), and the students had all read the book and prepared some questions for my visit. It was a surreal experience. When I wrote the stories, I hoped for readers. But I […]

The 2014 Little Bird Winner!

The winner of the Little Bird Writing Contest is Rachel Ball, author of “Woman In a Drawer.” Rebecca Lee picked her amazing story out of the 111 entries we received this year. I was surprised and delighted when I heard the news, in part because of a magic little coincidence: Rachel also happens to be […]


Have you read this yet? There was a lot of tittering about this anthology of essays this winter. Opinions were raised in a variety of newspapers, literary blogs and magazines. The gist of the book is, there are two ways to make a living as a writer in America: 1) by getting an MFA, probably […]

How to write characters who are different than you.

Two wonderful questions about character came into my inbox recently. After some reflection, I decided to answer them both at once. The answer to these two questions is the same, but the questions approach it from opposite ends. Q: I’m trying to work though SSM and I’m having trouble creating characters in Lesson 3. I […]

Be open, and let yourself love this.

I received the following question from a subscriber this winter: Dear Sarah, I am really struggling… I am able to write a bit every day but I can’t seem to get enough words on a page. My thoughts aren’t growing enough. I’m unable to give enough descriptions, etc. to help draw in the reader. Most […]

Clear the decks!

If you want to start and finish a writing project —a story for The Little Bird Contest, or another project you’ve been considering — you need to actually make time for it, or it’s not going to happen. I know that sounds obvious. But what does making time really look like? You have to clear […]

Write what you want to read.