Bad Writing Advice

No, this post is not going to give writers bad advice. It’s going to talk about all the bad advice writers are getting. Ever since I started publishing novels several years ago, I’ve noticed (via Twitter, blogs, and other sources) the sheer volume of writing advice that’s dispensed online. You know what I’m talking about: “How to Build Your Platform,” “How to Increase Your Twitter Following,” “How to Make Your Writing So Gosh-Darn Good Everyone in Hollywood Will Line Up to Option Your Manuscript-in-Progress.” More often than not, these solicitations come with… Read More


#DearLaura   How do you know when it is time to shelve a completed MS?   From: Tim Dear Tim, Congratulations on finishing a manuscript! Ninety percent of aspiring novelists never make it to this stage in the process. (I made that figure up, but it sounds correct to me.) Now, you’ve got this pile of words and nowhere to go with it. This is a difficult question to answer because I feel like I need more information to give you good advice. Therefore, I’ll give you a few different situations and… Read More

Never Give Up!

Calvin Coolidge said, “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent.” Genius will not, unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan PRESS ON! Has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” Eight years ago when I began my writing journey, true to my type-A personality, I made a to-do list, believing that my path to publication glory… Read More

On beauty, and ‘perfection,’ and the elusiveness of words

Sometimes I think it’s my mother’s fault I started writing. When I was young, long before I could read, she got me books-on-tape and because I’m ADHD (read:  ‘can’t fall sleep’) I’d listen to stories long into the night.  The earliest books I remember are full of magic and beauty, of hope, love, and loss, of longing and good-versus-evil and the gray in between. I think that built up who I am inside.  I’d like to imagine I’d be me without it—that without those words I’d still be who I am. But… Read More

A Letter To Doubt

I’m in the middle of taking book coaching classes from Author Accelerator, and one of the assignments I completed this week was a letter to my doubt. I’ve never been much for grand statements, and honestly, writing this letter felt a little wonky to me. But, my doubt is a real thing. I wouldn’t say it holds me back, but it’s definitely an ever present entity in my mind. Taking responsibility for somebody else’s words in incredibly humbling…and nerve-wracking. And facing the fact that I’m scared and unsure ended up feeling liberating…. Read More

Living in the Arctic, World Building and Point-Of-View

Greetings from 78°N and -16°C! I have been up here since the beginning of March when I arrived a few days before the celebration of the sun’s return… Longyearbyen is on the largest island of the Arctic Archipelago of Svalbard, approximately 1,200 kms north of the Arctic Circle. There are no trees, just mountains and glaciers and a relatively thin layer of snow. And not too many people either. Longyearbyen’s population is around 2,200 and the entire archipelago has less than 3,000 residents. – um, OK… *sounds cold* but what does that… Read More

Shelving My Emotions

The Order of the Key was my dream novel, the book of my heart. I invented the idea for it when I was fifteen years old and I never expected to be shelving it, unpublished, twenty years later. Jeez. Twenty years later. I don’t think I ever thought of it in those terms. To be fair, I haven’t been working on it this entire time, and the book I’m stuffing in the musty shelf of my mind is definitely not the book I started with. The version I’d created at fifteen contained… Read More

How (Not) to Get Past Impostor Syndrome

I used to think I’d feel like a real writer the first time I finished a book. For a long time, I could never stick with a project past the 30k mark, so getting all the way to the end of a novel-sized project would make me a writer, right? But when I had my finished and revised book in my hand, I still didn’t feel like a writer. This time, I was sure being unagented was the issue. Having an agent would mean someone believed enough in my work to tie… Read More

Why Do I Do It?

When I was much younger, I wanted to be professional soccer player. My favorite team was the now defunct Pittsburgh Spirit. I loved going out in the yard and kicking my soccer ball all around the grass. I imagined myself scoring the winning goal in the championship game. I loved it so much that I joined up for my school team. As it turned out, the talent I had in the yard against invisible competitors didn’t carry over to the field when the action was live and the people real. Never mind… Read More

Roller Coaster Ride

GREAT IDEAS COME FROM PERSONAL EXPERIENCE The first novel idea that I seriously followed through with was a YA contemporary. The idea came from my own experiences as a school principal and a football parent. During the time I wrote the book a few years ago, I was immersed in football with my youngest son. I sat every afternoon surrounded by teens, in carpool line, at the football field, at games. My motive was to put a book into the universe that allowed kids to talk about the hidden epidemic of drug… Read More