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The pause that refreshes …

I've thought a lot about the creative process and I have often likened it to an artesian well. For those non-geologists, an artesian well is a natural well that bubbles up out of the ground under its own pressure. It is usually free flowing and often overflowing. Sounds like the creative process, doesn't it? Unlike …

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The modern writers’ shifting sands …

There was a time when writing a novel was a singular task. Writers like Charles Dickens or Mark Twain took up their writing instruments and wrote on paper. Dickens always used blue ink and couldn't start a novel until he had decided on the title. [That's another fun post coming.] They would then turn their …

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Finding your voice as a writer …

Any accomplished singer will tell you that a voice over time matures, blossoms, and eventually settles into a distinct and recognizable vocal signature unique to an individual. In the art world, this principle is even easier to understand when one examines the early works of a famous artist and compares that body of work to …

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As easy as spilling paint …

Writing is a craft. Editing is a craft. And the two are inextricably entwined. One needs the other. Without writers, editors would be unnecessary. Without editors, writers would be, well, lesser writers. The trick comes in the balance and knowing how editors help—and when they can hurt. Years ago, when I was a young and …

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Every writer’s necessary partners …

Writing a book—as so many authors from Hemingway to Twain have declared—is a solitary profession. It requires long hours of solitude and quiet contemplation. Sometimes it's lonely. But for a book to really shine—especially in today's competitive marketplace—it eventually requires the aid of others. Editors and graphic designers are at the top of that list. …

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A chill in the air ….

It's only hours before Christmas celebrations commence. Outside the wind is howling and the air is frigid, but the sun is shining. It feels like Christmas. An occasional burst of snow blows by, and all the trees brittled by ice are bending and swaying. It is the kind of day that inspires writers. Yesterday, as …

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Books every serious writer should read …. and study

I just finished reading Daniel James Brown’s bestselling book The Boys in the Boat. I know I’ve read a really, really good book when there’s a kind of sadness when I get to the final page, and I close the book in awe of the writer’s ability to tell the story. I’ve long said that a book …

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The verdict is in …

I love using beta readers as I’m working on a book. They are so helpful, especially to counteract the very real tunnel vision that writers get when they’ve looked at a manuscript—stared at it incessantly—for months and months and months. This time around, I had several beta readers who were quite helpful. But the chief …

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That ONE book …

Anyone who has read about the writing life of C.S. Lewis has, no doubt, come across his references to George MacDonald’s Phantastes. The book inspired Lewis like none other. He writes about how MacDonald's book opened his mind to the world of imagination, which he eventually came to understand was God-given and incredibly freeing.  Recently—out of curiosity—I ordered …

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When reviewers get it wrong …

I love reviews of my books. The good reviews are affirming. They tell me I've done something right and that a reader has enjoyed my books. Positive feedback is the ultimate prize for a writer. I deeply appreciate every reader who takes the time to write a review. But I also appreciate the not-so-good reviews …

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