The Power of Hopeful Stories in a Stressful Time

What is your story putting into the world? I mean that question literally. Every story takes up space in the world—and not just on a bookshelf. Every story you read or watch becomes a part of you. It changes you. Your brain physically changes to make space not just for the memories of this story, […]

Creativity vs. the Ego (Or, the Value of Unpublishable Stories)

Why are you writing? It’s a question almost as vast and confusing as the dreaded, “What are you writing?” Why we write… We write for ourselves. We write for others. We write to have fun. We write to pay the bills. We write for fame and glory. We write in search of hope and justice […]

3 Life-Changing Rules for Finding More Writing Inspiration This Year

Writing inspiration—so easy to take for granted when we have it, so hard to rekindle once we’ve let the flame go out. When I was young, I never questioned the fact that my imagination was a vivid and constant companion. It was a river flooding through my life and in whose waters I could baptize […]

A Challenge to Write Life-Changing Fiction (+Giveaway)

Stories have intentions. That wonderful idea was just one of many nuggets I found myself highlighting in what has so far turned out to be my surprise read of the year—noted literary agent Donald Maass’s The Emotional Craft of Fiction. Like many of you, I cut my teeth on Maass’s now-classic Writing the Breakout Novel, but […]

struggling to be creative

Are You Struggling to Be Creative? This Might Be Why

I talk to my wonderful mother on the phone every night. We talk about everything from health to books to psychology to faith to whatever might be making us grumpy at the moment. This week while discussing health and diet, she shared something she’d read that said she was now at the beginning of the […]

STORIES THAT MATTER

Writing’s Secret Formula: How to Write Stories That Matter

“Writing is magic,” notes Stephen King, the most prolific author in history, “as much the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink. Drink and be filled up.” I concur, so much so that it is the featured quote on my website. But is it magic? Is writing so […]

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7 Things to Try When Writing Is Hard

Some writers might look at that title and respond incredulously: “When isn’t writing hard?” But as I’m sure all writers everywhere can attest, there are times when writing is hard in the normal sense and times when it’s hard hard. Often, the difficulty lies simply in the unwieldy story—and the need for an ever-evolving understanding and ability […]

How to Turn a Simple Idea Into a Killer Story 2

4 Steps for How to Turn an Idea Into a Story That Rocks

Ah, ideas. To a writer, is there any sweeter word? But as we quickly learn whenever we try to trap those ideas on paper, the real magic trick is figuring out how to turn an idea into a story that first works and then rocks. Bar none, my favorite part of the writing process is […]

Writing as the Art of Thinking Clear

Writing as the Art of Thinking Clearly: 6 Steps

As an infamously vivid dreamer, I often find myself waking up with this surging certainty that my subconscious just gave me the best story ever. One of my most memorable dreams featured an end-of-the-world plot. Aliens were coming! Asteroids were coming! Klaxons were blaring. People were running around madly. I think the theme from Armageddon might even […]

The Role of Angst and Creativity

The Words That Changed Your Life: Discovering What Made You a Writer

For me, it’s almost become a cliché answer: “I write because stories have always been my language. I write because my very first memory is telling myself a story.” “Why do you write?” and “What made you a writer?” are two questions I’m ubiquitously asked in interviews. I can respond to those questions in my […]