Four Ways to Tell If You Can Really Write a Book

Put your heart in it.

There’s an old writing joke that makes the rounds (I think I first heard it from an article about Margaret Atwood) about a writer and a brain surgeon chit-chatting over drinks at a cocktail party. The brain surgeon pipes up:

“When I retire, I'm going to write a book."

And the writer, in a very wry and dry Peggy Atwood kind of tone, says: "How fascinating. When I retire, I'm going to take up brain surgery."

I mean, it’s not ROFL funny; it’s a joke about writers after all.

The brain surgeon’s operating assumption (haha) being that of course anyone can write a book.

If only, my medical and non-medical friends...IF ONLY.

But then, who can write a book? Is it as easy as the Internet makes it sound?

One Internet guru promises you can finish a book in 30 days.

So then the next dude has to promise you can do it in just 3 EASY STEPS!

Hang in there, writers -- we’re just weeks away from a book requiring no steps at all!


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How to Find the Focus to Write


Hey, focus! Focus on your writing!

… Easier said than done, right? Trust me, I know very, very well, how much so. As writers, we all want focus. We crave it, because it is instrumental in our craft.

We need focus to finish, and finishing is the basis for being able to complete our work - we need a first draft, if we ever want to have a finished book, right? 

But in our current world, distractions are everywhere. So how exactly are we supposed to focus? Well, in this episode, we will, will give you the inside scoop on how to build yours to create a writing life you’ll love.

Tune in to this podcast episode to learn:

  • Techniques to help you focus 
  • How to make more time to write
  • How to be fierce with your focus 
  • What obstacles get in the way of our focus 

Believe it or not, these aren’t even all the aspects that play into finding our focus - you’ll have to listen to the episode to learn them all!

But here’s a sneak...

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A Gratitude Practice for Writers


If you’ve been having trouble writing lately, here's a gratitude practice for writers that works for me Every.Single.Time.

Grab a pen and paper: ready?

I want you to ask yourself: which writers am I most grateful for?

Over the years as a reader, you’ve read books that excited and thrilled you, and books that made you feel you were not alone.

This came up for me again this week when a colleague asked for some “pandemic reading recommendations” and I responded to her with what became quite a loooong list and could have been even longer. 

I started with the book I’m reading right now (the last in Hilary Mantel’s Cromwell trilogy) and I was so excited to share it, because I love knowing that other people might love it as much as I do. And it’s such a great escape right now.

When I was younger, I used to think that a book had to be “literary” or somehow “worthy” for me to enjoy it, and certainly to recommend...

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Writing Advice for β€œReal” Writers

What's up with the writing police?

Experts abound in every field and every expert offers advice from their own world-view. The writing advice most often offered to new writers is:

“You should write every day.” 

I hate this kind of writing advice.

To be clear, I’m not saying you shouldn’t write every day -- it’s not the specifics of the writing advice that bothers me in this case, it’s the should.

Any time someone hits me with a should, I want to hit back. That’s their truth, not mine. I’m turned off right away and just not interested. It’s like I have an inner 12-year old who sticks her fingers in her ears and yells NANANANANAH. (She’s a cutie-pie, that girl: red pigtails.)

This kind of writing advice seems to imply that “real” writers write every day, making the rest of us feel like imposters if we can’t get to our desks 365 days of the year. As though the rest of us just have "cute little hobbies."

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