Skip to main content


Showing posts from August, 2010

Instant Inspiration: Observation

If you are a writer searching for material, you are a sponge to everything going on around you. You become the ultimate observer, using the world around you as inspiration for your next written creation. You start to look at nature, news, and relationships through a writer's lens.
NATURE Last summer, my husband and I took up trip to the top of Pike's Peak in Colorado. The views were breathtaking, as was the summit at 14,000 feet. Our tour guide told us the story of Katharine Lee Bates, a Massachusetts English professor who traveled up Pikes peak by wagon in 1893. She was so inspired by nature's beauty she wrote "America, the Beautiful".
Nature's beauty and its wrath have been the inspiration for countless poems, songs, and stories. A multi-colored sunset may inspire a metaphor of "a delicious sherbet sky" you may use in a poem about summertime. A threat of a tornado may call you to write a short story about survival in the days before emergency sir…

Writer's Block can get Sticky

I have checked out almost every book in my local library that has to do with the craft of writing. Some of them twice. When book shopping, a splurge will include at least one that has to do with writing, editing, or marketing.
When I started Excuse Editor, I was afraid that focusing on the negative aspects of the writing process may be a turn-off, and not many people would be interested in what I had to say. After all, I do believe that focusing on anything brings energy to it, so why would we want to do that when it comes to things like Writer's Block?
Because if we ignore it, it's not going to go away.
Unstuck, by Jane Anne Staw, PhD, provides a path for working through your writing obstacles with compassion. That was the biggest difference I noticed with Ms. Staw's advice--it didn't sting, well, not too much at least. Imagine if you had a Jillian from Biggest Loser as your writing coach. Sure you may get there, but you are a hurting, exhausted, sweaty mess by the t…

Crash Course: Submitting your Novel

For those who have struggled through the 40,000 to 90,000 words to create a novel: congratulations! You have created something from absolutely nothing, and now you want to share that miracle with the world, preferably with a hefty advance, a book tour, and a movie deal, thank-you-very-much.

Writing your novel probably wasn't easy, so you shouldn't expect the publishing and marketing of it to be either. Here I touch on some of the major steps when sending out your novel for traditional (not self or vanity) publication.
Prepare yourselfYou are in for a long road. Even if you have already spent months, years, or even decades on your writing, your work has just begun. It's a "new chapter" of your writing life. Do what you need to do to make the challenge enjoyable. Find a way to stay calm, and come back to that place as often as you need to (after your first rejection, or horrible paper jam, for example)EditBeing "done" with your novel mean…

Cardio for your Muse

The excuses we make about our writing are often reflected in excuses we make in other parts of our lives. Here's an example, "based on a true story" (or two).
Recently, I left work and headed for the gym. I really was not in the mood to go. It seemed pointless: I sweat inside the somewhat too hot gym just to leave and hit the too hot outside, with humidity, and get in my too hot car that cools off just in time for me to pull into my too hot garage.
Recently, I had decided that I was going to set aside an hour a day for my writing. The first day, I was pretty sure that Today wasn't the best day to start this endeavor. I was sure that the writer's block that plagued me the last time I sat down would just come to visit again, so what was the point?
Anyway, I was not in the mood to go to the gym. I got to the first light. Right was the way to the gym, left, home. I couldn't get over to the left. Cars in the way.
I started up my computer anyway, thinking that maybe …