Do You Have to Write Every Day? 10 Pros and Cons

Should writers make it a habit to write every day? Is that the secret to success? Is that what distinguishes “real” writers? I used to think so. Often, when someone would ask me for my single recommendation for other writers, my go-to response was to reiterate some form of the advice from Peter de Vries […]

The 6 Challenges of Writing a Second Novel

Writing your first story is a special experience. It brings many difficulties and challenges, but it also tends to carry itself (and you) along with a sense of passion, fun, and discovery. When we finish it, we may think, Well, it can only get easier from here, right? But as many sophomore writers can attest, writing […]

How to Know When You’re a Successful Author?

How to know when you’re a successful author? I suppose almost every writer asks this at some point—and very likely at frequent points. There are multiple ways to define and measure the answer. For many of us, the answer seems come down to commercial success. And yet because commercial success is sometimes elusive, this metric […]

How to Write a Book When You Have No Idea What You’re Doing

I want to write a book. You remember when this big idea first hit, right? Maybe you were browsing for books, waiting for an author’s autograph, or sitting in stupefied awe after finishing a great novel. The idea took root and then, bam, you’re rushing to a stationary store to gear up, buying all the […]

Should You Take a Break From Writing? 5 Red Flags

Writers are supposed to write. That’s just how it works. But should you ever take a break from writing? Is that just code for quitting? Is it a sign you’re copping to your own laziness or fear? Or that you’re really not a disciplined, “serious” writer? The short answer: Who knows? Only you know. The more […]

The Writer’s Inner Critic: 11 Ways to Tell if Yours Is Healthy

Ah, the writer’s inner critic. It’s that wily inner editor who has such a way of getting in the last word (and first and middle words) on any writing session or project. Most of the time when writers speak of the inner critic, there’s a fair amount of self-deprecating exaggeration of how ruthless that little […]

A Writer’s New Year Reflections: The 6 Gifts I Gave Myself in 2021

Another new year brings another new opportunity for reflection and re-centering. As I talk about nearly every year, my preference for the New Year is to focus less on resolutions for the year ahead and more on reflections of what I experienced and gained in the year past. For me, as I think for many […]

My Top Books of 2021

Every year is a new reading adventure. This year, happily, was one of the best fiction-reading years I’ve had in a long time. I followed my heart a bit more than my head in choosing titles and ended up with some new favorites, as well as re-reading an old favorite that makes the list again […]

Why Everyone Should Write (Even if You Think You Stink)

We often hear it said that “everyone wants to write a book.” Although we may find a certain amount of comforting inclusiveness in this idea, I think we also sometimes respond to it with at least a smidge of disdain. After all, the only people who should really be writing books are those who are […]

An Introduction to Archetypal Stories

All art is necessarily both reflective and generative of the human experience. And in that way, all art both reflects and generates archetype. Some stories do this more simply and obviously than others. Those stories that we recognize as myth or fable are most blatantly archetypal. But even hyper-realistic stories—when they are well done—offer up […]