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Believing it may be holding you back

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Is the writing industry just out to sell you things?

A writer whose friendship, critiques of my work, and world view I treasure recently told me about a webinar she had watched. It was about writing and had been quite useful to her.

And yet, she had thoughts. Doubts, maybe. The writer who offered the webinar laid out a specific process to follow for designing the plot of your novel. Useful, yes, but it also leaned a bit to the dogmatic side. Apologetically, since I’m a writing teacher and coach, my friend wondered aloud to me if this was what those of us active in the writing industry actually did:

Don’t let them get you down

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Wow, what a time last week was, right? I used the word desperate in my subject line. But, as a friend and I discussed on the phone this week, I could also have chosen any number of “d” words. Like disgusting, or demeaning, or damaging, or darkening or damned. You get the idea.

And, really, desperate times were the last thing on my mind to write about this week. I’ve actually been feeling pretty hopeful about the state of the world, even though I see it mostly from the window next to my desk, thanks to the raging pandemic.


The Story Writer’s Path

There are benefits professional and personal

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Sometimes I’m embarrassed to journal in public. It feels a bit too precious, a bit too sweet. Journaling pulls up the image of ladies who have nothing better to do (except lunch?) noting delicate words of trivia onto the page. Ack. That’s the last way I want to be seen — and the fact that I worry about it says more about me than about societal mores.

Journaling is more than navel-gazing

But journaling is so much more than writing delicate words about their navel-gazing ideas and their trivial lives. It simply has an image problem. …

The Story Writer’s Path

Here’s why

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You think I’m kidding about it being time to stop writing. But I’m here to tell you I know you and I know your bad writing habits. And I think it’s time to nip them in the bud once and for all. And the best solution for that is for you to just quit. Ditch all the pretensions to being a writer. Chuck your grand plans for world domination through writing best-selling novels. End it all, right now, while you can still go out with dignity.

Here are all the reasons why

  • Because you whine about it way too much
  • Because you complain you don’t have…

The Story Writer’s Path

What is it for you?

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Are you longing to write but resisting it?

Are you reading reports of people writing like a house afire and longing to be one of them?

Whether or not to be productive during these crazy pandemic times is a personal choice. And productivity includes writing. Let’s repeat: it’s okay to not write during lockdown if it’s too much for you. And if that applies to you, stop reading right now. But if you are longing to be a productive writer and you are resisting, read on.

What does your resistance look like?

Maybe it looks like this: you wake up full of excitement for your writing…

The Story Writer’s Path

Whether you write or not is up to you

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I’ve noticed a trend in the emails I’m getting and the stories I’m reading. A few weeks ago, as we all began our lockdown journeys, everyone talked about productivity. How to work at home (my hub and I are navigating this as both of share space during the day for the first time), how to make good use of this time, how to do more and do it better.

But lately, the tenor of the articles has shifted. Now I’m noticing headlines like, You Don’t Have to Be Productive, and emails urging me to relax and quit trying so hard…

The Story Writer’s Path

Honing your authentic writing style is what will help you succeed

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Ah, voice. That mysterious and sometimes elusive quality that everyone looks for in writing:

  • Agents and editors seek it
  • Readers turn pages like crazy when it is present
  • Your favorite Medium writers have it
  • The most effective fictional characters have one
  • Non-fiction books are written in specific voices, keyed to certain audiences, and magazines and other publications do, too. O is written very differently than Cosmopolitan, for instance, though some of their readers may overlap. And Magnolia magazine is very different than HGTV, each written in a different voice.

What is voice?

So what, exactly, is it? What is voice?

  • Voice is your…

The Story Writer’s Path

There’s inspiration aplenty at home

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I have a pretty good idea where you are. It’s the same place I am. At home. In lockdown or quarantine. Maybe you’re feeling confined. Longing to write, but thinking you don’t have anything to write about.

I beg to differ. There’s plenty of writing material within the four walls of your home. It just takes shifting to a different perspective to find it and appreciate it.

You don’t have to travel far

I run a Facebook group for writers, and a few weeks ago one of our members asked if we felt that a writer needed to travel widely and have extraordinary experiences in order…

The Story Writer’s Path

Suggestions for writing in the time of a pandemic

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I’m in quarantine.

Early last Friday morning, I arrived home from France. With four other writers, I’d been staying in Ceret, a small town nestled in the Pyrenees near the Spanish border. We arrived at the beginning of March and intended to stay until the end of it. We were there for a writing retreat, all of us with big plans to finish projects and get a lot of work done.

But history intervened. Big time. The first week was relatively peaceful. We wrote and enjoyed the ambience of the town. By the second week, we started to get alarmed…

The Story Writer’s Path

And how you can

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You’re a writer. And a writer writes. Regularly. Serious writers write every day.

You know this. You embrace the idea. But you’re not doing it, are you? You have the best of intentions, but somehow it just doesn’t happen. A day goes by without putting words on the page. And then another. Oops, another.

At this rate, you’re lucky if you write once a week. But really, what does it matter?

Put a group of writers together in a bar and throw out the question of how often one should write and most of them will say daily. (There will…

Charlotte R Dixon

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