Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Order in the Chaos

Ugh, we’re still in the midst of this house renovation project. I write mostly from my home office, so these past five months (and counting!) have been noisy, scattered and, well, transformational in more ways than the obvious. Alongside this project, our school district was recently on strike for five weeks—yes, five weeks. And my son, who broke his arm in an ice hockey game a few weeks ago, is now the permanent owner of a 4-inch steel plate and 5 screws.

All enough to drive a work-at-home writer into a frenzy? Maybe, but hidden beneath the layers of drywall dust, doctor appointments and neighbor kids hanging out here has been a valuable learning tool: how to find order in the chaos, and quietude amidst power drills squonking in the next room. For a few days, the construction crew literally worked around me as I typed away at the computer. When they were ready to replace the flooring in that corner of my office, they whisked away my desk while I took lunch; when I returned, the flooring was installed and they’d moved my desk back to it’s usual spot.

If writing is what you love, there really is no good excuse to not just get on with it. There’s no reason ample enough to not take whatever life circumstance you find yourself in and craft written finery from it. I’m happy (and relieved) to say that all of the temporary inconveniences around here haven’t stunted me creatively—they’ve simply given me more fodder for the word mill.

Picasso once said, “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” That is exactly why—after I Swifter the floors for the millionth time and bake pumpkin tortes for tomorrow’s Thanksgiving dinner—I will return to my office, only to write about it. Oh wait…I just did. Now, it’s your turn. Regardless of what chaos is brewing around you, sit down (or stand up) and write. Do it now. Go ahead, do it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Refrigerator Day

It took 15 years for yesterday to arrive. For about that long, I’ve wanted a new fridge. The one we have, a 20-year-old floor model, was what we could afford at the time. This summer, we started a home improvement project, and have been without a workable kitchen for six weeks. It’s been challenging. I’m a fresh-mango-with-a-shot-of-wheatgrass kinda gal, so all the pizza, subs and take-out is getting to me. But things are looking up. Yesterday, my new fridge arrived.

A few hours after it was delivered, I got a call from my publisher saying that he’d hired a world-class cover artist to design my book (release date April ‘08). I checked out her site and was blown away. As far as book designers go, she’s a Sub-Z: top-of-the-line, edgy, pioneering. Her work graces some of the most exclusive houses in the U.S.—publishing houses, that is. For about as long as I’ve wanted a new fridge, I’ve had an eye on establishing myself as a nonfiction book author. No doubt, having a smashing cover will do wonders to help the book sell.

But what will keep it selling is what’s inside. While making final manuscript edits this month, my job is to make sure the writing is a feast for the senses, and that readers feel nourished as they turn each page. A Sub-Z supposedly “keeps fresh food fresher longer” but you have to first stock it with, well, fresh food.

Which prompts me to ask you this: Is your writing fresh, alive, raw? Or is it stale, processed, warmed over dish? When in doubt, throw it out (or hit the delete button). Then go to the market of your imagination, gather fresh inspiration and begin anew.

Speaking of new, I think I’ll meander to the kitchen, open the oil-rubbed-bronze doors of my new baby and have a look inside.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Words of Welcome

As I say on my web site (, I would rather inspire than expire. So here we go...inspiration in cyberspace. This blog is intended to be a whimsical blend of both highly practical information about the writing life, as well as how it feels to live on the brink of creative abandon.

I will include deep thoughts and dreamy abstractions on living a fully sacred, juicy, creative life--particularly through writing but not limited to this. Because I unequivocally believe that creativity emanates from the soul outward, my meanderings tend to be somewhat philosophical and occasionally meta-phenomenal in tone. Otherwise, I will pass along straightforward, practical information on what it takes to work as a writer and become professionally published: how-to articles, publishing industry news, author interviews, in-depth looks at specific genres, local literary scene happenings and more.

I vow to share my intimate thoughts on the creative process, as well as first-hand findings on actions you can take to keep your creative sap flowing like the essential life force that it is. I encourage you to share your writings and musings.