Caitlin O’Neil Archive

Writing is Not Like…

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For the past year or so, I’ve contemplated the ways that writing is like many other everyday tasks we undertake. In that time, I’ve reached for some unlikely comparisons. (See baseball, cooking, going on vacation.) As the year comes to a close, I’d like to reverse course and think

My Dog Made Me A Better Writer

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Two years ago next week, my dog died. I still miss him for many reasons, but what I miss the most is his companionship while I write.  It’s a strange thing to sit inside all day, not even on the phone or online, simply communing with the imaginary people

Roundup: Traditions

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. Food and family are the most common holiday traditions.

Writing is Like Making Snowballs

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It snowed today. It was supposed to snow, but only for a minute, and it was not supposed to stick.  Instead it snowed all day and as the sun went down at 4:30 (alas) the snow was still there on the lawn.  And while part of me is so

Revising Like Alice(s)

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There has been a flurry of praise for Alices lately—Munro for her much-deserved Nobel, McDermott for her highly-praised new novel Someone—and it has me thinking about why these two authors are having a cultural moment. They write about women, often small domestic lives, the kind of characters and plots

Writing Is Like Going Back to School

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So, if you don’t believe writing is like vacation, perhaps I can convince you it’s like going back to school? Whether we’re still in school or not, there’s a refocusing that comes each September, a back-to-real-life feeling that arrives with the yellow buses and cool Canadian air. We stop

What Netflix Taught Me About Character Development

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I didn’t teach this summer so I was able to catch up on my cultural literacy—reading books and also binge-watching TV. Netflix is my dealer of choice, delivering whole seasons of House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, and Arrested Development. The feeling I get when I’m on

Betting on First Books

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I thought it had been about three years since I sent my first novel out to agents.  Turns out it was six.  Like the rest of the world, publishing has changed since 2007. A lot. Fewer publishing houses, less money, more e-books, more blogs, more noise to cut through.

Writing Is Like Going on Vacation

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Over the past few months I’ve compared writing to walking, mixing a drink, cooking, and baseball, and you’ve indulged my metaphorical ramblings. But writing is like going on vacation? No siree. Writing is work, hard work. Work that takes dedication and thought and effort. Lots of effort. I’d rather

Roundup: Reading it By Ear

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In our Roundups segment, we’re looking back at all the great posts since the blog started in 2009. We explore posts from our archives as well as other top literary magazines and websites, centered on a certain theme to help you jump-start your week. We’ve had a few posts