Wednesday, April 29, 2009


A dilapidated fir fence on my property, a 1926 picture of a girls’ basketball team, and the smell of lilacs in spring—

Now, a dusty pile of books, the movie Charade, and a pair of shiny black shoes haunt the chambers of my brain. What’s next?

Sunday, April 26, 2009


The writing process—invention, research, writing, revising and editing: I teach this to college students. It is the process they use to write their essays. It is also the process I use for my own writing. It can apply to both fiction and non-fiction. In order to become a better writer, I’ve had to consider the different steps of the writing process and attempt to objectively see my strengths and weaknesses for each step. I have a hunch every writer has certain areas he or she is better at than others. I also feel that every writer can find an area for improvement and growth. So, in the coming posts, I’m going to look at each part of the writing process, consider what it means, and how we can all learn to be better writers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


The art of making difficult tasks easy. The grace of effortless work….Can I apply this to the process of revision? I wonder if revision is truly easy for any writer? (If it is for you, please let me know.) I am bombarded with questions when I revise: Is the plot moving forward? Are these characters whole, believable, likable? Do they come alive on the page? Does this sentence make any sense? When I am sweating over a manuscript, I wonder about my career choice, my sanity. Isn’t it considered unhealthy to obsess over something?

When I was in graduate school, I tended to get anxious over essay assignments. How can someone write a 20 page paper on a post colonial interpretation of The Tempest? Well, I had to write stuff like that. A boyfriend at the time reminded me I should take a sprezzatura approach to school, and I would feel a lot better. Well, at the time I thought, easy for you to say. You don’t have to write these papers! But, I followed his advice anyway. As my classmates sat around and commiserated on the latest academic nightmare, I smiled and said stuff like, “I’m enjoying this!” or “piece of cake” Lies. What they didn’t know is that I sobbed in front of my computer at night. Yet, over time, the writing started to move. My self doubt was no longer like a cacophony of condemnation. The more I convinced myself of the ease of the process, the easier it became. Never perfect, but better.

Now, the real test begins as I apply sprezzatura to the revision of my manuscripts. I’ve just begun the revision process for a contemporary YA novel….ease, beauty, grace….We shall see.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

It's spring! A time of new starts, new life, a new blog. I've been spending too much time in the garden. I feel like I need to be busy, and I find myself growing impatient outside. I envision an amazing English cottage garden with roses climbing everywhere and flowers bursting from every patch of earth. If only my garden matched my vision...I do find solace in the moment--a pause to watch a hummingbird drink the nectar from a wild currant blossom or the bumblebees circling the daffodils.