Inspiration & Support—

What you need to know about fear.

Last weekend I had the privilege of working with six accomplished writers and a herd of horses for three days. It was incredible. The horses have a way of mirroring your resistance to you, without fail. You might have a very compelling story about why you won’t/can’t write your book, but try explaining that to […]

Cross training

I signed up for art classes this fall. Every Tuesday for the next seven weeks, I’m playing with gouache! What? My art teacher, Erica, taught me about colour theory. I drank it up — chroma, hue, value. The difference between chroma and lightness. How different colours have their own inherent value. And how different value […]

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 […]

MFA vs. NYC

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 […]

Write what you want to read.

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