On the whole, writers tend to be a self-motivated bunch. We write because we’re moved to, we need to. But occasionally, we find ourselves tired, uninspired, and in need of nourishment. On days like this, having a collection of inspirational quotes at the ready is a very handy tool, because in the space of just a few seconds, we can read something to fuel us again—words from another writer who has been where we are, staring down the page, finding the courage to begin.Read More
Blogging has changed so much since I first started in 2008. Back then, it was less about site design, SEO, and sponsorships. There are still plenty of hobby bloggers out there, but blogging is big business, and if you Google “blogging tips,” you’ll find hundreds of thousands of posts about how to be successful. There are more ways than ever to make a little money, or even a full-time salary. There’s no one-size-fits-all approach, though, and for lots of new and even veteran bloggers, the scale at which the industry is growing can be overwhelming and even demoralizing.Read More
In the corporate world—where goals, benchmarks, and achievements are highly valued—an annual review is one step in helping align our own ambition with our company's broader mission. It's typically led by the human resources department, and ideally, you sit with your manager to have a productive and reflective conversation about the year ahead.
As a writer, you're in charge of your own growth.
No one sets up meetings or looks out for your professional development, and it's up to each of us to manage our goals and expectations. This is one step towards professionalizing your writing practice, something I discuss a lot in the Write Where You Are course. The problem is, we rarely sit down to really think about how we're feeling creatively.Read More
In an effort to make sense of the emotional turbulence that is adolescence, many young girls retreat to their rooms to scribble pages and pages in a journal. Flooding our emotions onto the page is how many of us arrive at the practice to begin with.
As I came to learn, the furious journaling I embraced as a teenager wasn’t sustainable in adulthood. A new stage of life demanded a new approach to the reckless and uninhibited journaling I enjoyed as a girl.
Most likely, the real reason you’re having hard timing sticking to your journaling habit has less to do with your commitment to the practice, and more with not embracing the best kind of journaling style for what your life looks like at the moment.Read More
We all have them: discarded stories, poem fragments, first drafts of novels we haven’t looked at in years, recipes we never tested, old journals, and so on.
Starting projects we don’t finish comes with the territory of being a writer who changes her mind, grows, and embraces new life experiences, but the process of letting one project go for another isn’t always straightforward.
Before I made the decision to stop writing one food blog and start another one, I struggled for months before making a decision. During this interim period, I was confident I needed to do something new but unsure what the details might look like. My spirit was restless, confused, and hungry, a sentiment shared by others.
We’ve all stood at a crossroads in our writing journeys, wondering which way to turn. Do we walk Robert Frost’s less traveled path, or stay on the road we’re on until reaching a destination?Read More
During my junior year of college, I took a seminar on Impressionist art led by a visiting Monet scholar who was intensely passionate, offering insight into every brush stroke.
Impressionists were true observers, he said, the type of artists who could look in a puddle after it rained and find beauty in the mud and the worm that crawled to dry land.
Impressionists were all about the details.
Consider the fruit in Cezanne’s famous still life paintings. If you look closely, you’ll see the tension. Thick, feathered brushstrokes create a cradle for the apples, without which they would roll to the floor.
We can come unnerved at any moment, always hanging somewhere between hope and fear, or love and sorrow.Read More
Social media often conjures up feelings of inadequacy, urgency, and anxiety. Everyone else’s living room is more beautiful than yours (based on Instagram). There are more cat videos than you can possibly devote your time to (according to your Facebook feed). And you create boards for vacations you won’t take for years (thank you, Pinterest).
For writers, social media provides an additional dilemma to grapple with: distraction.
Twitter feeds draw us into conversations, some valuable, some not. RSS feeds pull us into reading blog posts when we should be writing our own. Pinterest offers inspirational quotes to stick on our mirrors, but can’t do the work for us.
It’s a fact of the modern writer’s life that social media makes us procrastinate.
But when you’re intentional with your social media consumption and strategically participate in conversations where you can both be of service to others as well as find support for your own projects, everything changes.
As my friend Kasey Fleisher Hickey notes, “the key to using Facebook with intention is Groups, Pages, managing your settings, and unfollowing when you see no value add.”Read More
When I was in New York a few years ago on a business trip, I decided to stay an extra day so I could explore the city before flying home. I ended up taking a very long walk down Fifth Avenue from 49th Street to Washington Square Park, near NYU. I needed the air, and the two mile stroll on a crisp October day encouraged a lot of the deep belly breathing I had been missing in my life over the past couple of months.
Along the way I stopped at the New York Public Library. Have you been? It's such a charming place, and before I wrapped my scarf around my neck again and ventured back into the streets, I bought a copy of Annie Dillard's The Writing Life from the little bookstore. A coffee shop was in my future, and I thought this slim meditation on writing would be a perfect accompaniment to my cup of tea.
I read most of it in one sitting and underlined a lot of paragraphs, including this passage in particular, providing a gentle reminder to take my time, both in life and on the page. Sometimes it's an easy fact to forget that writing isn't a race.Read More