Friday, January 25, 2008


Magic. That’s what we do as writers. We create worlds that didn’t exist before—or reveal them in ways most people don’t see. We put words to emotions and offer possibilities others might not think of.

If we write mysteries, we get to create a world in which justice prevails.

If we write science fiction we get to create worlds in which we might like to live.

If we write romance we create a model for the best of how men and women can come together—empowering both and diminishing neither. We get to write about honor and commitment and caring about the people around us. We get to write about men and women being true to themselves—and still finding love. And isn’t love the most fundamental of human needs?

We get to create magic. We get to go places most people never see. We get to make events work out the way we want them to.

If we write nonfiction, we get to share knowledge and ideas that otherwise people might never discover. We get a shot at changing lives, advancing knowledge—and perhaps even changing the world in which we live.

There’s real magic in what we do as writers. I hope that none of us ever forget that as we write our books. It is a trust that readers place in us and it matters.

I hope that if you are not a writer, that you feel a sense of magic as you read books. I hope they bring joy and hope and understanding and knowledge into your life so that you feel it is at least a little richer for having read a given book.

Happy writing and reading, everyone!

Friday, January 18, 2008

Joy of Writing and Believing in Ourselves

As I put together the lessons for my online writing class I find myself thinking that if my students take away only one thing from the class, I hope that it’s how to have a sense of fun as they write. I know what it’s like to try to write under pressure or when it feels dead serious. I know how much easier it is if it’s fun.

I also find myself thinking how much getting published means to writers. There are more options than ever these days and I think that’s a good thing. It also means there are more potential pitfalls and possible avenues for rejection. Which, ironically goes along with what I talked about in the first paragraph—wanting to have a sense of fun when we’re writing.

One of the exercises I gave my students this week—and one I give my writer life coaching clients—is to make a list of every success you’ve had in your life and a list of everything you like about yourself and/or all your strengths.

The reason I give that exercise is that it’s much easier to detach from outcome and let go of the fear of rejection if we find our validation within ourselves, if we know we are capable of success in our lives—no matter what happens with a given manuscript.

The irony is that I believe we write (or do anything in our lives!) the best when we are able to let go of fear and believe in ourselves and have fun doing it. That’s when our creativity and resourcefulness are most likely to kick in.

Here’s hoping that no matter what the challenge in your life this week, you’re able to find moments of joy and ways to believe in who you are and your ability to accomplish whatever it is you need or want to do.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Opossum in My Back Yard

The other day I saw an opossum in my back yard. Wish I’d thought to grab the camera! It was very cute and made me smile and I found myself thinking once again how blessed I am to be here.

I’ve started teaching my online class and I’m so excited about having the chance to share what I know with so many other writers. I love making things easier and more fun—including writing!

I also find winter a time when I get a new sense of self and how I want my life to go forward in the coming year. This is when I dream big dreams and begin to take the steps that make them happen. I suspect it’s no coincidence that some of the biggest steps I’ve taken in my life began in winter.

What changes do you look forward to making in your lives this year? What dreams are you dreaming? What wonderful new possibilities do you see opening up in your life this year? And what JOYFUL steps could you take to make them happen?

Note that I capitalized the word “joyful.” That’s because I believe that changes grounded in fun, in things we care deeply about, that make us feel good are the ones we are most likely to make and to succeed at.

Wishing for all of us—YOU and me—joyful changes this year!