Category Archives Writing Skills

This has been the summer of nonfiction. I’ve read more nonfiction books than I have in a long while and I’ve had an influx of writers coming to me wanting support for their nonfiction works—about relationships, globalization and business, the internalization of negativity, women and power, and, of course, Trump. I will never profess to anyone that writing a book…

For the past five years I’ve kept a rigorous writing schedule. I’ve written or co-authored four books and one e-book. I’ve blogged religiously every other week, plus written countless guest posts and, for the last year, a monthly column. In my most recent book, I wrote about how to be what I call a “content monster,” knowing from firsthand experience…

When I got into book publishing I was an inexperienced 23-year-old whose previous work experience was waitressing and a couple of cherry college internships that had nothing to do with publishing. I worked my way up the ranks, learning publishing and how to edit books. I’ve made plenty of mistakes along the way—the kind that sting but make you better…

I am thrilled to be a part of this article about book coaching from Mediabistro, written by Jenny Rough. Here's a little excerpt:   What is a book coach? A book coach instructs and supports aspiring authors. Unlike a book doctor (someone who fixes a problem, such as rewriting an ending that doesn't work) and unlike a book editor (someone…

As Linda Joy Myers and I gear up to host some new fall classes and prepare for our next six-month course, I've been fully immersed in memoir land---one of my favorite places to be. If you can hold this list in your mind as you write your memoir, you'll have a leg up at least, and maybe even experience what…

Follow my blog with Bloglovin I almost never write grammar posts because I’m not much of a grammarian. I know good writing from having read and edited countless books, but I was not an English major, and the last grammar class I took was in seventh grade. I also have to confess that I sometimes experience brain static—more commonly known…

Every time I go to a book reading for memoir, the question of what’s “true” invariably surfaces in one form or another. It’s generally posed by another aspiring memoirist in the audience who wants to know how to handle their own struggle with memory, or desire or need to protect someone in their family, or fear of getting sued. Due…

I’m in beautiful San Miguel de Allende this week at the San Miguel Writers’ Conference. We kicked off last night with a keynote by Cheryl Strayed, author of Wild. Read more here. This morning I presented one of the first workshops, whose focus was—surprise—outlining. Outlining is not only for left-brain thinkers, and it doesn't have to be something right-brain thinkers…

Lately I've been working with a lot of writers who are stuck on "showing," to the detriment of their work. It's been an interesting turn of events, since for years at Seal Press the primary reason I rejected memoirs was for telling too much. In fact, most newbie writers struggle with telling--especially memoirists. I came to the determination that this…

Earlier this month I had the privilege of seeing the Dave Matthews Band at Shoreline in Mountain View, California. The concert was as amazing as I’d anticipated it would be, but for a very specific reason: Dave Matthews surrounds himself with masters. He clearly knows and loves good music, and the solos he chooses to showcase are nothing short of…

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