The Writing Life Category

So you want to be a freelance writer

Some of you may not know this unless you’ve really examined the end of my CV, or know me well in person: I was a freelance writer and journalist for ten years prior to earning my MA and Ph.D. and becoming a professor of writing. I meet people all the time at conferences, in workshops, […]

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The value of daydreaming

Would you like to feel instantly refreshed? Try daydreaming. For as much as we complain about how kids’ lives are so overbooked and overscheduled these days, we would be better served to take a hard look at our own practices. Namely, our tendency, as Americans, to pack our brains so full of tasks, goals, activities, […]

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Revision suggestions: When and how to say no

Defense and flexibility are both important in writing, especially with editors and, for academics, peer reviewers. Editors and peer reviewers are the gatekeepers. They hold the keys to our publishing potential, so many writers hesitate to question anything they say or protest even the most unreasonable request. They control what we want and the idea […]

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Pitching stories

When I was a freelance journalist, pitching story ideas was my business’s lifeblood. As an academic now, I also find that sometimes pitching an idea ahead of all the research and writing to gauge an editor’s interest can be a valuable option to save time and be more efficient. First, have an idea. Coming up […]

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Five journals said no. Now what?

Rejection is hard, especially after you worked on that piece for months and months. You spent all that time polishing and revising, seemingly to no avail. You dutifully submitted that piece to one journal at a time, waited for each to respond, received “thanks, but no thanks” emails, and repeated this process five (or more) […]

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Honor your process

Writers often look at other writers to compare themselves. She writes so much more than me! Writing seems to come so naturally to him! How does she do it? And then we look at ourselves and are our own worst critics. We should be faster, smarter, more clever, more productive. What a crock! If you […]

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How to find a publishing home for your writing

Now that you have imagined, written, revised, polished, and crafted a piece to the point of being ready to send it out into the world, some writers pause here and hesitate, unsure about how to find a place for their work. Depending on what it is that you’ve written, you have plenty of options and […]

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The value of contemplation

When’s the last time you sat down somewhere and just thought? No distractions, no smart phone, no computer, no kids, no pets, no TV, no music, just you sitting in a space somewhere thinking? There is great value in such moments and it is worth making an effort to claim that space and time for […]

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