Write the next sentence

Many writing coaches and books say when you find yourself stuck, stop worrying about the Big Picture, just concentrate on writing the next sentence. Ask “What happens next?” At some point, you’ll stop struggling sentence by sentence again, and the words will start flowing. One of these days I’m going to complete my collection ofContinue reading “Write the next sentence”

Making sense of the madness

I keep thinking I could make more progress with my novels if I approached each chapter as if it were a separate short story, instead of thinking of it as One Big Honking Project, but then I don’t even rouse myself to make that eating-an-elephant-one-bite-at-a-time effort. It’s almost as if a part of me doesn’tContinue reading “Making sense of the madness”

Sturgeon’s Famous Ninety

I came down to the basement shortly before midnight and resolved to write a prose poem, or a song, or a poem-poem, or prose that sounded like them all at once. But the rhythm wouldn’t come, wouldn’t come, and wouldn’t come some more. I turned the page and started over, trying not to rhyme, justContinue reading “Sturgeon’s Famous Ninety”

Procrastination and mortality

I keep returning to some themes. While browsing my old stuff the other night, I found this from Aug. 13, 2013 … If not now, when? What is it you’ve been meaning to do? The time to do it is now. “It can wait; I have time to get it done.” Perhaps. But time runsContinue reading “Procrastination and mortality”

The Wings

Here is a little exercise I wrote a few years ago (Sept. 8, 2017), in which “I wrote anything until I found myself writing something.” It ended up in my little flash fiction chapbook, 24 flashes. The story begins as a conversation between me and Ray Bradbury, riffing on his wonderful writing advice, “Jump, andContinue reading “The Wings”

The Muse, Called Late For Dinner

The Muse smiled and said, “You have my number. Call me anytime, just don’t call me late for dinner. I hate to miss a meal.” And then she told me stories, and she showed me how to piece words together so that people cried, and learned, and found their spirits lifted. We journeyed to farawayContinue reading “The Muse, Called Late For Dinner”


“As a writer, I need to relax and let the words flow.” “No, no, quite the opposite. You need to focus, which requires intensity.” “You’re both wrong. You need to relax, intensely!” Don’t you just love being pulled in several different directions? How do golfers concentrate on keeping the right grip, keeping this elbow straightContinue reading “Switch”

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