What It Feels Like To Be Powerless


I haven't had power in my house for two days. The electricity's out all over town, so the few places that have heat (and free wifi) are packed. Cafes have become refugee camps, with people fighting over sparse power outlets and warming themselves by the heating vents. The windstorms knocked trees down all over the city so roads are blocked off and the stoplights are out. But the electricity being out is nothing Continue Reading

Why It’s Okay That I Quit NaNoWriMo

Photo © Alana Saltz

It looks like I won't be finishing NaNoWriMo this year. Despite my best efforts and intentions, it just didn't work out. I fell way behind after a deep bout of writer's block and needed to give priority to my grad school writing project due a few days ago. And after the semester I've had (and the ups and downs in my personal life), I don't want to scramble and stress to make the word count. I made it to about 22,000 Continue Reading

NaNoWriMo: Week Two, or Getting Over the Slump

Week Two of NaNoWriMo is notorious for being the most difficult. For me, this is especially true considering I'm about five days behind on my word count and currently trying to push through my belated Week Two blues. I almost gave up entirely last night. My story seemed pointless, my characters dry, my plot nonexistent. I'm not still sure whether I'll actually cross the finish line on November 30th, but I'm going Continue Reading

NaNoWriMo: Week One


It's day seven of NaNoWriMo, and my word count is 8,872. I'm nothing short of amazed. A few days ago, I was ready to throw in the towel before I even began. I spent hours with my head in my hands, frustrated and uninspired. My idea just wasn't clicking with me, and I couldn't get it started. So, I took a couple days to brainstorm and regroup. At the last minute, I decided on a variation of the plot I'd been Continue Reading

Who Am I, Really?

Simon Howden

Lately I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about who I really am. I’m not sure there’s a “true self” exactly. I think all of us are a big mess of contradictions and personalities. For example, some people would describe me as being a quiet person while others have told me that I talk too much. Both things are true. When I’m in a new social situation, I’m often shy. When I’m with close friends, I might end up talking a Continue Reading

Getting Over Heartbreak The Writerly Way

I haven't been sure whether or not I should talk about the biggest change and challenge in my life right now. About two months ago, the relationship I was in ended very suddenly. Part of the reason I hesitated mentioning it was because I thought he might read my blog, and another part of me wasn't sure it was okay to open up here. But as a memoir writer, I think it's important for me to express myself openly and Continue Reading

Do Expectations Hurt Brainstorming?


As a writer, one of my biggest weaknesses is brainstorming. What should be the most fun, natural part of the novel writing process has turned into a big headache for me this year. In preparation for NaNoWriMo, I've spent a lot of time these past few weeks trying to come up with ideas for my project. Last year, I had one idea I developed for months. A week before November, I decided that I hated it and scrapped it Continue Reading

The National Day on Writing, and Why I Write

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Today is the National Day on Writing. It was established by the National Counsel of Teachers of English. Pretty cool, huh? It's even approved by Congress. From their website: "Why a National Day on Writing? In light of the significance of writing in our national life, to draw attention to the remarkable variety of writing we engage in, and to help writers from all walks of life recognize how important writing is Continue Reading

Planning vs. Pantsing: The NaNoWriMo Conundrum

Photo Credit: Stuart Miles

For me, the beginning of writing a novel seems to go one of two ways: I’m completely stuck and unsure of where to start, or the prose seems to spill out onto the page out of nowhere. I've found that when I plan and outline like crazy, I always fall into the first camp. All those ideas seemed so clear in my head, but once I start writing the novel, I actually have to get them down in a creative and captivating Continue Reading

Getting Ready for NaNoWriMo 2011


For those of you who don't know, NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write a novel (or at least 50,000 words of one) in 30 days. NaNoWriMo takes place every year from November 1-30. There's no fee to participate and no real prize to win if you finish, aside from a cute banner for your website, the satisfaction of completing the challenge, and all that pretty new writing for you to edit Continue Reading