4 Oct, 2017

Finalist! Giveaway!

October 4th, 2017|Tags: |

It's celebration time! I am thrilled to share that Jumping Over Shadows was named a finalist for the 2017 Book of the Year Award organized by the Chicago Writers Association! [...]

29 Sep, 2017

The Ups and Downs of the Author’s Life

September 29th, 2017|Tags: |

"So how's it going with your book?" is the question I'm most often asked these days when I meet someone I haven't seen in a while. The truth is I'm [...]

19 Jul, 2017

My Book and I in Jerusalem

July 19th, 2017|Tags: , , |

My book and I just had the great fortune of spending time in Jerusalem. For me it was an "again," and, while my book per se had not been to [...]

3 Mar, 2017

Sticking with Morning Pages

March 3rd, 2017|Tags: |

I love my Morning Pages. In fact, I'm going on four years of doing them. And yet, these days, I'm having a hard time sticking to this practice. This is [...]

29 Apr, 2016

Three Years of Morning Pages

April 29th, 2016|Tags: |

I was sure it had been four years since I adopted the habit of writing Morning Pages, but one of the benefits of blogging is that it does provide a [...]

1 Feb, 2016

The Gift of a Poetry Reading

February 1st, 2016|Tags: , , |

Yesterday I treated myself: I went to a poetry reading. Normally, I am loath to schlep up to the north side of the city on a Sunday afternoon, but it [...]

21 Jan, 2016

Life without my Laptop

January 21st, 2016|Tags: |

My laptop died a week ago. It was six years old, and I can't really blame the thing. It held up pretty well being logged around the world. Nevertheless, I have [...]

21 Dec, 2015

Artist & Writer’s Workbook 2016

December 21st, 2015|Tags: , |

(function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = "//forms.aweber.com/form/65/114379965.js"; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs); }(document, "script", "aweber-wjs-1pkfkcpzf")); It's the time of [...]

27 Oct, 2015

A Place to Write

October 27th, 2015|Tags: |

My preferred cubicle at the Writers Workspace "So what do you do now that you don't have the Hemingway House?" I get that question a lot since my writer-in-residence gig [...]

23 Jul, 2015

The Creative Bubble

July 23rd, 2015|Tags: , |

I have been in a creative bubble for the past few weeks, focusing my mental energies on a creative project, namely a restructuring of my memoir manuscript. I didn't know [...]

7 May, 2015

Thank You, Abigail Thomas

May 7th, 2015|Tags: , , |

Once in a while a book comes along that is like an old armchair. You simply don't want to get up. You could read on and on until your butt [...]

14 Apr, 2015

Two Years of Morning Pages

April 14th, 2015|Tags: , |

Today is my two year anniversary of Morning Pages. Incidentally I find myself in the same spot where I began this practice in earnest: on the banks of the Potomac [...]

15 Jan, 2015

Artist & Writer’s Workbook 2015

January 15th, 2015|Tags: , |

Before we move too far into this new year, I am happy to present you with the Artist & Writer's Workbook 2015. Last year, for the first time, I decided [...]

25 Nov, 2014

Why a Real Life Story is Never the Whole Story

November 25th, 2014|Tags: , |

A drab and wet November morning--perfect for revising at the Royal Coffee House. Monday evening two weeks ago I wrote a story. I wrote it sitting in my car, with [...]

15 Aug, 2014

My First Interview as an Author

August 15th, 2014|Tags: |

It's official: I'm a writer. The cat is out of the bag in my neighborhood. The local newspaper, the Hyde Park Herald, did an author interview with me due to [...]

25 Jul, 2014

Writer-in-Residence at the Hemingway Foundation

July 25th, 2014|Tags: , , |

My big news since returning from Tel Aviv: I will be the 2014-15 writer-in-residence at the Hemingway Foundation! This entails having a studio up under the roof of Hemingway's birthplace home [...]

23 Jun, 2014

The Power of Practice

June 23rd, 2014|Tags: , , |

While I am off amidst the frenzy and heat of the World Cup in Brazil, I leave you with a post on practice, inspired by Natalie Goldberg's newest book, The [...]

18 Jun, 2014

My Writing Process – A Blog Hop

June 18th, 2014|Tags: , |

Writing on the couch I've been tagged by my friend Gillian Marchenko, a former student of mine and author of the memoir Sun Shine Down, to participate in the #MyWritingProcess [...]

5 Jun, 2014

A Jewel Box for Ideas

June 5th, 2014|Tags: , |

My Morning Pages are really a jewel box for ideas. I realized, in writing this morning, that ideas function with the same abundance principle as the rest of life. If [...]

8 Apr, 2014

One Year of Morning Pages

April 8th, 2014|Tags: |

My stack of Morning Pages notebooks tells me that today, 4/8/14, is my one-year anniversary. That means one year of writing every weekday morning, stream of consciousness, by hand, in [...]

11 Feb, 2014

Writing Down the Bones

February 11th, 2014|Tags: , |

Following up on yesterday's post, The Bookshelves of Others, the book I spotted in the bookcase in my bedroom at VCCA was Natalie Goldberg's classic Writing Down the Bones. I entertained [...]

20 Jan, 2014

Cut and Tape a Text

January 20th, 2014|Tags: , |

I love the cut and paste feature of Word, but every now and then, I resort to scissors and tape to arrange a text. Whenever I struggle with structure, I [...]

1 Jan, 2014

Looking Back: My Most Meaningful Read of 2013

January 1st, 2014|Tags: , , |

My most meaningful read of 2013 was, without a doubt, Julia Cameron's The Right to Write. It transformed my understanding of the creative process; it has me writing Morning Pages [...]

30 Dec, 2013

Looking Back & Ahead: A Writer’s Workbook 2014

December 30th, 2013|Tags: |

Download my free 14-page workbook to review and plan your writing life. For the writers among my readers, I have a little gift: my Writer's Workbook 2014 (download it by clicking on [...]

10 Oct, 2013

When Is a Piece of Writing Done?

October 10th, 2013|Tags: |

This very good question came up in my Advanced Memoir class recently, and my answer is twofold: A piece of writing is done when you feel you have been able [...]

7 Oct, 2013

Writing about Real People

October 7th, 2013|Tags: , , , |

Writing about real people, especially family, is probably the number 1 issue writers of personal stories worry about. But it is not just an issue for nonfiction writers... In my [...]

1 Oct, 2013

The Gift of Morning Pages

October 1st, 2013|Tags: |

Writing Morning Pages has become an important daily ritual for me ever since I read Julia Cameron's book The Right to Write. That book was so transformative for me in [...]

22 Jul, 2013

Why Writers are Fortunate

July 22nd, 2013|Tags: , , |

For our June class, my Advanced Memoir Workshop at StoryStudio Chicago read Rosanne Cash's memoir Composed. It's not the kind of memoir I would have chosen to read myself, but [...]

25 Jun, 2013

Anatomy of a Writers Workshop

June 25th, 2013|Tags: |

Adirondack chairs abound on campus At the Kenyon Writers Workshop as a Fellow in Rebecca McClanahan's Literary Nonfiction Workshop, June 2013: Arrival - The friendly reception makes me feel welcome; [...]

6 May, 2013

Patience, A Writer Must Have

May 6th, 2013|Tags: , , |

Patience, the trees seem to say, we're not ready to be green yet. My kids have been into Yoda lately, thus my inverted title, but I really feel that Yoda's [...]

13 Dec, 2012

12/12/12 – A Quiet Day

December 13th, 2012|Tags: , , , |

Inspired by Xanthe Berkeley's challenge on Shuttersisters to create a time capsule of 12/12/12, I decided to capture this ordinary day so that sometime in the future, maybe 20 years from [...]

12 Nov, 2012

Guest Blog by Shirley Hershey Showalter: Writing About Faith

November 12th, 2012|Tags: , |

As announced last Monday, I am happy to welcome Shirley Hershey Showalter as a guest blogger today. We met in the online world last year; I was initially intrigued by her [...]

5 Nov, 2012

Writing About Family

November 5th, 2012|Tags: , , |

My grandmother and me at my wedding I'm thrilled to be guest blogging on Shirley Showalter's blog today. Topic: Writing About Family. It's the hairiest issue in writing memoir, at least [...]

6 Aug, 2012

Guest Blog by Kelly Hashway: Writing Every Possible Second

August 6th, 2012|Tags: , |

Today I'm happy to host Kelly Hashway. Kelly is a prolific writer of children's, middle grade, and young adult books, and she's also the mom to a beautiful little girl. I've [...]

30 Jul, 2012

Guest Blog by Liz Sheffield: Rediscovering Writing through Motherhood

July 30th, 2012|Tags: , |

Adding to my Moms Who Write series, today I welcome Liz Sheffield as my guest blogger. Liz and I met during last year's Blogathon and have supported each other's blogging [...]

16 Jul, 2012

Guest Blog by Tia Bach: Have Laptop, Will Travel

July 16th, 2012|Tags: , |

Further in my Moms Who Write series, I am happy to welcome Tia Bach today, whom I consider one of my good blogging friends. We met during last year's Blogathon [...]

25 Jun, 2012

Guest Blog by Sandy Suminski: Making Writing a Priority

June 25th, 2012|Tags: , |

 Sandy's back porch, all set up for writing. As part of my current series on Moms Who Write, I am happy to welcome my long-time student Sandy Suminski as my [...]

4 Jun, 2012

Guest Blog by Stephanie Springsteen: Writing in the Car or in Bed

June 4th, 2012|Tags: , |

 Candid camera: Stephanie in bed, trying to write. As part of my current series on Moms Who Write, I am happy to welcome my longtime student Stephanie Springsteen. Her [...]

21 May, 2012

Guest Blog by Gillian Marchenko: Making Space for the Necessity to Write

May 21st, 2012|Tags: , |

Gillian's writing nook (I must say, I am a little jealous...) I am developing a little series here on how mothers fit writing into their lives, and today I am [...]

14 May, 2012

Guest Blog by Sun Hee Yoon: Writing as Young Mom

May 14th, 2012|Tags: , , |

Sun Hee and her daughter in Montreal last summer Today is guest blog exchange day on the Blogathon, and I pleased to welcome Sun Hee Yoon, a fellow memoir writer. [...]

2 May, 2012

A Finite Number of Words

May 2nd, 2012|Tags: , |

"I'm convinced that there are only so many words per day in the human body: If you do some longish emails and a few tweets, you feel done." Anna Quindlen [...]

8 Mar, 2012

Impressions from the AWP Conference

March 8th, 2012|Tags: |

Photo courtesy of Sun Hee Yoon - it reflects a serenity hardly found  at the conference It's taken me some time to recover from the last week's AWP 2012 Conference [...]

21 Feb, 2012

First Person versus Third Person

February 21st, 2012|Tags: , , |

 Checking my notes at the writersandcritters conference Today I'm sharing the recording of a short conversation on the merits of writing in first, second or third person that we got [...]

16 Feb, 2012

The End in Memoir

February 16th, 2012|Tags: , |

Here's a little chuckle for you on a genre that often leaves little to chuckle about. Last Sunday I went to a memoir event: Moment Magazine was presenting the winners [...]

26 Jan, 2012

Reading Out Loud

January 26th, 2012|Tags: , |

I've been a bit quiet on my blog here because I've been loud otherwise: I've been using every free minute I have alone to myself to read my book manuscript [...]

16 Jan, 2012

Guest Blog by Marcia Pradzinski – A Residency at Ragdale

January 16th, 2012|Tags: , |

Tree at Ragdale - photo courtesy of Barbara Terao Poet and nonfiction writer Marcia Pradzinski has been a member of my Advanced Memoir Workshop at StoryStudio Chicago for a while, [...]

8 Jan, 2012

Dr. Seuss’s Creative Process

January 8th, 2012|Tags: , , , , |

The Christmas Around the World exhibit also wrapped up today. Fittingly, the Great Hall with the big Christmas Tree was decorated with Grinch posters. Today was the last day of [...]

15 Dec, 2011

When Inspiration Strikes

December 15th, 2011|Tags: , |

Why do great ideas always strike at the most inopportune moments? Like when I'm brushing my teeth, or taking a bath? Or, like the other evening, while I'm chopping fruits for [...]

7 Dec, 2011

Guest Blog by Elizabeth Garber: Artist Residencies – Stimulation at VCCA versus Serenity at Jentel

December 7th, 2011|Tags: , |

Following up on my post “Why a writer’s residency is a good idea,” I am happy to welcome my writer friend Elizabeth Garber of Maine, whom I was fortunate to [...]

28 Nov, 2011

Finding Focus in Writing

November 28th, 2011|Tags: , |

Finding focus in our writing is a big challenge, especially when you're writing personal narrative. How do you whittle down a big life into one small story? My tips: Use a [...]

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