Sunday, April 26, 2009


Grief is a funny thing. It hits people in different ways. For me, part of it is that I don't much feel like putting up blog posts or things like that—it just doesn't seem important to do so.

I lost a friend a few weeks ago. One of the sweetest, kindest, most spiritual people I've known. It wasn't as if we were best buddies or that I saw this friend often but...his sudden death still leaves a profound gap and it hurts that I didn't have a chance to say good-bye. And it resonates with all the other losses I've had in my life.

And I haven't felt much like posting to my blogs.

But...I'm also a writer and it is part of who I am to think as a writer. I find myself thinking about how different people handle grief in different ways. I remember how when it was my parents, I felt cold all the time. I note that this time, in this case, that isn't happening but odd moments bring the person to mind. I find myself noting, too, how others have and continue to react to this person's death—what an impact one life can have.

It is the individuality of the responses—as well as what they all have in common—that strikes me as a writer. If I were to put the death of a character in a novel, I know that each person in the book who reacted, would react in unique ways. Part of our job, if we are writers, is to illuminate the human condition and explore possibilities and in doing so perhaps give readers permission to be who they are in how they react to life and death.

So, my apologies for such a long gap between posts. Hug those people who are important to you and make sure you tell them so. Notice, if you are a writer, the wonderfully diverse ways the people you know react to life and death and try to show that diversity in what you write.

Wishing all of you the best,

PS On an organizational note, I've been asked when my next Book in a Week class will start and I'm tentatively thinking the last week of May or the first week of June.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Why Book in a Week

I understand the confusion. I was dragged into my first Book in a Week (BIAW) kicking and screaming swearing I couldn't do it and the idea was crazy! Now I believe in the concept with all my heart—even for people who never want to actually write the first draft of a book in one week.

Why? Because it's a gift we can give ourselves as writers.

For one week, we tell ourselves and those around us that we ARE writers and WRITING MATTERS!

For one week, we ask for support in making writing a priority in our lives. (As a wife and mother, even with contracts in hand, I often felt everyone and everything else should come first.)

For one week, we let ourselves write with total freedom from worrying about “the rules.”

For one week, we dedicate ourselves to writing with joy.

For one week, we write what we want to write, what's closest to our hearts.

For one week we trust our muse, our subconscious, the Divine working through us—however you want to look at it, we trust what we write. We go with the flow, we DO NOT REWRITE! We trust that whatever we are writing is what we need to write in that moment.

In one week we know whether or not we love this project.

In one week we know what it is we need to find out to finish writing this book.

In one week we know whether or not it's likely to work out.

For one week, we are WRITERS.

It's only one week, so we can take chances and write those things we were told we couldn't do.

It's only one week, so we can try new things and PLAY.

It's only one week, so we can risk trusting ourselves because after all, how many times have we wasted more than one week not writing because we were so afraid we would get it wrong?

It's only one week, so if it doesn't work, we can throw it out and take another week and try again.

It's one week of being who we are at our truest depth.

If we are writers, I truly believe that in writing we tap into something that will also let us cope with any and all of the non-writing challenges in our lives as well. I can't explain it, but I have seen the truth of this over and over and over again.

When we write this way, writing faster than ever, trusting ourselves, we can then step back and look at the experience and see what and when and where and how we wrote best. We begin to know what works for US—not anyone else, but what is right for US. We begin to see our true voice as well as the tropes we are drawn to most. We can begin to see what is natural to OUR first draft. We can begin to understand that a first draft only has to be a first draft—nothing else—just a first draft.

You may never want to try to write that fast again but you will have gained priceless insight into yourself as a writer and your process and what you write.

This is why I teach Book in a Week classes. This is why I believe so whole-heartedly in the process.

People who have tried this have gone on to write award winning books. Some were under contract within a short period of time after taking the class. There is power in writing from the heart and writing true to who you are. Your most natural voice emerges. You are more likely to write that unique story that tugs at the heart—because you are being true to your muse. And you are most likely to see clearly the areas in which you may want to learn more about how to write what you want to write.

If any of this sounds good to you, my next online Book in a Week class starts Monday, April 13. You can email me at to sign up. Let me know if you've taken the class before. The class runs 5 weeks with 3 weeks of prep work, one intensive writing week, then a week to evaluate the experience, talk a bit about revisions and sending out manuscripts, etc. All lessons are handled by email so you can read them at any time of day (or night!) that works for YOU. Cost is $75 for first time students, $40 if you've taken it before. Note: If cost is an issue, please let me know and on a case by case basis we may be able to work something out.

What I love about TEACHING this class is that I get to share the things it took me years to learn and help you write better faster. I share how to brainstorm your book and the critical elements your book must have. I share with you the things I've learned over my 30 years of being a published author that I've never seen elsewhere. There's a reason even published authors have taken my class. I hope you will give me a chance to help YOU.