Tag Archives: stephen king

Office Space

I’m procrastinating right now. I’m cleaning my office space and looking at pictures of “great places to write.” My intended post for today was about something far more writerly (i.e. six word bios). But instead, I share with you some of the fashionable and quirky snapshots I’m peeking at for inspiration.

According to Stephen King, in his book On Writing, the ideal place to write “has no telephone, certainly no TV or video games for you to fool around with. If there’s a window, draw the curtains or pull down the shades unless it looks out at a blank wall.”

Let’s see which of these fit the bill. One of these workstations is my own, can you guess which one? (it’s not the cushy prison cell, in case you’re wondering).

Virginia Woolf famously insisted that in order to write professionally a woman must have “a room of her own.” I’m fortunate to have such a space. And so, on that note. Back to work I go…

What’s your perfect writing spot? Public library? Café? Hotel room? Front porch? Or perhaps a cork-lined room?

I think the best place to write is probably exactly where you are.



Filed under Inspiration, Life and stuff

Confessions of a Reformed Pantser

(That's not my scrunchie)

I hate outlines. I prefer to write like I read: with no idea what will happen next. While writing without a plan may be thrilling, it is also a very time-consuming, painful process for me.

My last manuscript was written in a few months; however I then spent the next year revising it, which included scrapping the first seventy pages. Although I liked the idea of pantsing my way through a manuscript along with Stephen King and Nora Roberts, in practice I ended up writing myself into all sorts of corners.

For my newest WIP, I’ve gone the planning route and the results so far have been outstanding. The feedback I’ve received from my fellow Restless Writers on my outline has allowed me to control the pace of the story, delete superfluous scenes that haven’t even been written yet and flesh out my protagonist (thereby ensuring that the first seventy pages of this WIP aren’t full of unnecessary character sketches).

In one sense, it feels like this process takes a lot longer, but I know that the bulk of my work is already done. If only I could apply this newfound organization to things like grocery shopping, I figure I’d have three or more hours a day to actually write.

Are you a planner or a pantser? Are you committed to one method? Why does it work (or not) for you?



Filed under Inspiration, Motivation, Starting up, Success stories, Trials and Tribulations

Dr. Humperdinck, I presume?

Hello my name is...When I was in grad school, I heard that female PhD candidates were still being told to publish under their initials rather than their names, because being a woman would impede their progress on the tenure track. We’ve come a long way, baby, and gender should no longer be the reason you’re not using your real name.

However, some writers do write and publish under pseudonyms. I can see why some people might want to write under an assumed name, especially if they’re just starting out, and need that extra layer of anonymity to help them release their writing inhibitions. A pen name is a kind of security blanket. Or a blank slate.

But adopting a pen name isn’t just for amateurs. Some writers who are already rock stars in one genre might want to try something new on for size without confusing their readers, or want to disguise their prolificacy. Three cases in point: Nora Roberts as J.D. Robb, Anne Rice as A.N. Rocquelare, and Stephen King as Richard Bachman.

You may not be Anne Rice, but you might decide to write under an assumed name for modesty’s sake. Let’s say your mom reads every single piece you churn out—but doesn’t know that you’re also writing super-charged erotic fiction under your “porn name” (your middle name plus the street you grew up on. That would make me Helena Baldwin. Posh, no?).

Perhaps you think your name is wretchedly boring, and you want your work to stand out. So, Mary Smith, maybe Mariah Smythe is a good option for you. Temper your creativity, though. The jury’s still out on Engelbert Humperdinck (born Arnold George Dorsey).

Maybe it’s the opposite: you think your name is too unusual. I always thought my maiden name was too difficult to spell and pronounce, so I spent countless teenage hours trying out new writerly identities. I still hadn’t figured out a great one by the time I got married, but taking my husband’s name made the exercise moot.

For some writers, the reasons for taking a pseudonym are much more personal. Writing an autobiographical account of child abuse, detailing your painful divorce, or fictionalizing the shenanigans of your old boss…these might be legitimate reasons for using a pen name. Some of these reasons fall under the category of CYA: Cover Your Ass.

Some reasons for using a pen name may be valid. But if you’re just shy about releasing your stories into the world and being vulnerable to public opinion, maybe being a writer isn’t for you. Your work will be read and judged and bought and promoted and rejected and critiqued and loved and forgotten. That’s part and parcel of the writer’s life.

As a dear friend of mine once said, “suck it up, buttercup.” It’s your work—own it!

Have any of you published under a pen name?



Filed under Getting published, Trials and Tribulations

37 Videos for Writers

Looking for advice, wisdom or motivation to keep writing? 

Jessica Cortez has compiled this terrific list of 37 Lectures Every Writer Should Listen to. Check out these video lectures for some tips on writing better, getting published and promoting your craft as much as possible.

Let the advice-to-writers begin with Stephen King:

Additional videos include links to:

And numerous other video gems like:

Grab a coffee and listen up!

Read alot…and live LIFE.



Filed under Motivation, Vlog, Writing resources

Restless Writin’ Mama

Last night my fellow Restless Writers (both child-free) e-mailed me after work asking if I’d join them for an impromptu drink. I replied that I couldn’t because…how did I put it?…oh yes – my kids were being assholes.

This is where it should be noted that I love my children (honestly!) and normally adore being with them. My family has been the main catalyst that got me writing – I finally had the time (typing while nursing is an art), endless material and, most importantly, the confidence to try. (Because let me tell you, after pushing out a ten-pounder with only half the epidural kicking in, you can do a.n.y.t.h.i.n.g.)

It doesn’t diminish the fact that most parents feel that, from time to time, their precious darlings are acting a bit…well…ass’ish.

I won’t bore you with the details (grape popsicles on bedroom carpets and make-up in the toilet), but it really drove home a question that Beckie and Maria have brought up: How in the name of Huggies do mothers find the time to write?

I spent over a year writing my manuscript with a newborn and four-year-old, which sounds a bit insane. I’ve spent the three years since revising and querying my manuscript, which sounds a bit sad.

I’ve written late into the night and early in the morning (conclusion: no one can write coherently at 4:00 a.m., except maybe monks). I work from home and, with one kid at school and the other napping, I desperately try to cram a full work day into those two hours (all of this while – not to sound too Betty Draper about it – trying to cook and clean for my family). So people look at me and wonder, when do I have time to write for me and why – at this point in my life – do I even bother trying?

My world is currently filled with constant demands on my time. My attention. My effort. At this point, I can’t not write, because it’s my outlet. My indulgence. My sanity.

I look – as ever – to Judy Blume, who wrote her first book at the kitchen table while her kids were at school. I’ve also heard that Kelley Armstrong wrote Bitten during her lunch hour at work while pregnant with her second child. Even Stephen King had to retreat to the loo of his camper to find the solitude required to finish Carrie.

My point being, you find a way. You multi-task. You write because you, my fellow harried parent, are a writer.


p.s. Feel free to vent in the comments!


Filed under Inspiration, Life and stuff, Motivation