Until writing becomes your escape, your obsession, your preferred reality, you will only ever be a guest of literary greatness.



Dear Self-Published Authors of the World,

Please stop flooding Amazon and social media with covers featuring stock photos of naked torsos and evocative, single-word titles in Gothic font.


Someone Who Follows Far Too Many Self-Published Authors


Sometimes you have to do something other than write. Bake cookies, go for a walk, scrub the bathroom, play an instrument, sew up a hole in an old pair of jeans. Clear your head and don’t think about words. Play hard to get. It’ll get the Muse’s attention…


A Writer’s Benediction

May this year be full of beautiful, colorful, rich, compelling characters: brand new imaginary people who will save the hearts of children and bolster the dreams of adults. They’re waiting in the wings, ready for their moment. Maybe they’ve been waiting for centuries. Maybe they were waiting for you.



Can we please retire the term “strong female character” in 2016? Why do we still need two different qualifiers to anticipate people’s assumptions that a character will be male unless otherwise stated, and if that character is female, she will be weak unless otherwise stated? Rey and Jessica Jones and Furiosa are not “strong female characters”. They are just “characters”.


We have the capacity to feel every emotion available to the human consciousness, but we will never be able to write about them without feeling them first. We need to let go and allow ourselves to feel strong, complicated, and frightening things before we can give those emotions to others through our written words.


Welcome back to our End-of-Year Reading List experiment. Everyone have their lists? Let’s get on with part 2. It is quite simple.


Go down your list. Underline all the books by female authors. Circle all the books by minority authors. Put a star next to all the books by LGBTQ authors. How marked up is your list?

If your list was covered in marks, congratulations – you’re one of the few. To the rest of us (and I’ve been guilty of this too) we need to wake up to the fact that there is a beautifully diverse literary world that exists in the shadows, outside the mainstream market. It’s harder to find, so many people don’t bother, but it is integral to the continued vitality of literature that we realize that everyone has a story which is not only interesting but also indispensable.

My New Year challenge to you: Make 2016 a year of expanding horizons. Get a few more marks on next year’s Reading List. It will make you a better writer and a better person.