How to End a Writing...

When in the middle of a writing session, how do you know when it’s time to stop working? When is time to keep writing, and when is it time to walk away? What’s the key to staying productive and energized? Today, we look for the answer in the words of Ernest Hemingway: “I always...

The “Stress-Free” Art of Writing

The creative moment is something that has fascinated me my whole life. As a child I’d watch my father, a gifted amateur painter, set a blank canvas on his easel, squeeze some paint onto his palette, fill his turpentine cup (ah, that heady, pungent aroma!), and set to work. Gradually he’d transform that blank expanse into a picture of a crashing seashore or a country lane or a collection of objects — bottle, candle, peach — that looked more lively and interesting than real life. How did this happen?, I wondered. How does that peach on that flat surface look more exciting than any real peach could? Later I learned something...

Facing the Blank Pag...

In the beginning — as you’re trying to put the first words on the blank page of your newest work in progress — it’s easy to feel as though each word you write should be perfect. You want to start strong. You want to write that perfect opening paragraph that will unfold...

It Feels Like the Ground Is Shaking — But Maybe Th...

Two weekends ago, I was fortunate enough to get to host the annual Writer’s Digest Conference in New York City. It’s a somewhat progressive conference as these things go, with a great deal of time spent learning about the business of publishing and the great changes impacting writers, agents and publishers alike. What’s fascinating about all of this is that there wasn’t a sense of fear or anxiety, but rather one of excitement, opportunity and engagement. In general, the level of positive energy was off the charts. I was happy to see this given that this same weekend, Scott Turow, President of The Authors Guild, Inc., published...

Country Girl takes a...

Dare to dream. I did, and I ended up in New York City. Granted, that may not impress most people, but to me, a woman who’s lived her whole life in the coalfields of Southwestern Virginia, it felt like somebody handed me the moon. I’m talking about my recent trip to New York City to attend...

Fictional Stories, Real Emotions

Up until his recent death, Roger Ebert had seemingly endless insights into the craft of storytelling and the value of art in our lives. As a writer, here’s one nugget of Roger Ebert wisdom that’s good for you to hold on to: “We feel the same emotions for our ideas as we do for the real world, which is why we can cry while reading a book, or fall in love with movie stars.” — Roger Ebert Whether you’re writing a story, reading a novel or watching a film, it’s easy to get wrapped up in a fictional world. It’s not just frivolous escapism — it’s an important exploration of ideas, values and emotions. No...

Spring Cleaning For ...

It’s that time of the year when winter fades away and spring slowly emerges. With this changing of seasons, a lot of us turn our focus toward spring cleaning. The start of a new season mixed with the cleanliness of your home gives one the feeling of being refreshed and recharged. Just like...

Make the Most of You...

With the 2013 Writer’s Digest Conference East just around the corner, we thought we’d take a look at a quote from the featured keynote speaker of this much-anticipated event — Adriana Trigiani. How does this bestselling, prolific and beloved writer go about her work? “Everything has...