Category Archives: Writing Advice

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Writers with Responsibilities: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Perhaps, you’re one of those people who cry on the first day of school. For those of you putting your eldest on the kindergarten bus for the first time, I’ll give you a pass. For the rest of you, get … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Stop Chasing “Childlike Creativity”

Earlier this month I got to spend a week leading creative writing workshops with children in the foster system, some of them as young as six-years-old. And while many of you work with six-year-olds all the time, I usually teach college students or teenagers in … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Embracing Hard Truths About Writing

Okay writers. My last Round-Down was about the impact of self esteem on our creativity. Several readers asked for a followup about how to cultivate said esteem, and for a half-second I was so on it. But I can’t deny that the news around … Continue reading

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Of All Things: The Signature

Congratulations! You’ve published a book, and people are lining up to buy it. Now begins the trickiest part of an author’s journey: signing your own book. You’ve read an excerpt, charmed the crowd. You’ve perfected the swooshy drama of your signature. … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Labels, Action, and Confidence

A couple weeks ago, author and marketer Ryan Holiday wrote a piece for Thought Catalog titled, “Can You Call Yourself a Writer?” In it, he argues that “[j]ust because you have done something, doesn’t mean you are something.” In other words, calling yourself … Continue reading

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YA vs MFA

I’m not a rule-breaker. I like order and organization (lord help you if you try to cut in front of me in the burrito line). And generally I don’t go looking for trouble. Except when it comes to writing YA. … Continue reading

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A Checklist of Book Proposal Essentials to Go Through Before You Start Schmoozing Agents

In my wildest fantasies, an editor from Seal Press stumbles upon that personal essay I wrote about the awkwardness of babymaking sex—or the blog post I wrote about landing a husband despite being a crazy cat lady, or that other piece I … Continue reading

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The Ploughshares Round-Down: Hashtags and Heresy

Hello again, Writers. So I was driving to New York City a few weeks ago for a conference at NYU, where I talked about the ways story and song benefit public discourse. To say I’d been obsessing over the political impact of storytelling … Continue reading

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Research Unleashed! And Leashed.

I knew I had a problem when I started envying my dog’s cone collar. Now, my dog’s problem was a hot spot. Allergic, itchy, hot, and double-coated, my German Shepherd had chewed her hind leg raw over the course of … Continue reading

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Writers With Responsibilities: Patience is a Way of Life

Dear Sally, I want it all, NOW! What do you have to say to that? Your friend, Veruca Salt   Dear Veruca, You can stomp and jump up and down all you want—but the truth is, if you’re a writer … Continue reading

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