23 April 2017

Interview with D Gilman Wakeli

Happy book birthday to How to NOT Write a Book, a nonfiction book about the myriad ways we create obstacles between our creative imaginations and the page! I'm thrilled to welcome the author, D Gilman Wakeli, back to the blog today for an interview about the book and her writing process.

Congratulations on publishing your first book! Tell us about that intriguing title: Why a book about *not* writing? 
I’d studied a lot—an entire universe full of a lot—about *how to* write. But *not* writing was the truth of my writing experience. Not writing wasn’t the defining fact about me, thank goodness, or I wouldn’t be here. But I had unknowingly created a cluster of mis-perceptions about myself and writing that lived inside me as unappeasable ghosts, and left me struggling and over-thinking and not writing. I was tired of trying to figure out how to write. Tired of mentally struggling to make words up then pressure them onto a page only to later destroy them or leave them abandoned. I had lost the ability to write simply, with purpose and intent. When I determined to write again, I had a growing sense of how those internal perceptions operated inside me and manipulated me into not writing. But no matter how distorted my perceptions were, my experience of not writing was honest. It came as a wonderful surprise, a paradox really, that when I started exploring everything I was doing to not write, words came, and in a purposeful way, a way they hadn’t come before, and I wrote those words down. I took those purposeful words as a sign that this was it. Ether write this idea about not writing all the way to the end, or STFU already.

19 April 2017

Guest post: On Worms and Butterflies by D Gilman Wakeli

Today I'm ecstatic to welcome my friend and fellow author D Gilman Wakeli to the blog to talk about one of the barriers to creative work that she explores in her first book, the forthcoming How to NOT Write a Book, in which she explores the deep-seated reasons we don't begin - and don't finish - writing.

On Worms and Butterflies 
by D Gilman Wakeli

Why do we refuse to finish our work? Why do we refuse transformation?

During the many times I left work unfinished, I thought of many logical, rational sounding reasons, many things to blame. But I could never find that one right reason that, if I could fix, would solve the problem. I never found a logical reason because I don’t believe the answer is logical or reasonable.

16 April 2017

#RevPit Editing Deals

As a thank-you to the writers who made the Revise & Resub (#RevPit) contest such a supportive, energizing, and fun learning experience for all, I'm offering the following editing deals to those who book before April 30, 2017 (actual editing dates may fall later).

For the entire #RevPit community

If you submitted to the contest (to any editor, not just me) or even just participated in the #RevPit conversations on Twitter, you are eligible to take advantage of these offers.

#RevPit Full MS + Query Critique - 10% off
Designed for those who are ready to take their novel to the next level, this package includes developmental feedback on your full ms at a discounted rate of $0.008 per word. Feedback will be tailored to your project's needs and may include a focus on hook, audience, word count, world building, character development, point(s) of view, internal & external conflict, narrative arc, theme(s), and/or overall structure. Includes:
  • Edit letter summarizing the developmental feedback (min. 5 pages)
  • 60-minute voice or video chat to discuss the feedback
  • 1-pass query critique

16 January 2017

Lessons in Vulnerability

In preparing for a reading I'm giving next weekend, I came across a piece I wrote in 2012 for a creative nonfiction class. It's probably the most honest thing I've ever written, and therefore the most frightening thing I've ever written. I'm choosing to share it here because I think some of you will be able to relate.

Lessons in Vulnerability

I’ve been looking forward to this class for months. Looking forward to the opportunity to be safe, to be vulnerable, to establish a regular writing practice, to have a reason to write. But on the first day I close up, wall myself off. I’m not even aware of it until a classmate tries to start a conversation with me during break. She is only showing interest in me as a person, asking questions about my life and background. But I watch myself as I sit back in my chair with my arms crossed tightly over my chest and give short, unrevealing answers. I watch myself play defensive guardian of my heart and can do nothing to stop it. Don’t know how to stop it.

And it is too late anyway; I already love them all. In the way that bell hooks defines love: as an act, as a commitment to mutual physical, spiritual and emotional well-being. I already love them all. My fear is that they won’t love me back.

30 September 2016

The Work Conference 2017

On Oct. 1, the submission window opens for The Work Conference, a boutique writers' conference in New York City that's suited to hardworking, unagented authors of YA or adult literary or upmarket fiction who are serious about publishing traditionally. I had the extreme good fortune to attend the inaugural, 2016 conference as a faculty member, and although I won't be there in 2017, I highly recommend that you check it out.

It's a boutique conference, which means that everything from the agents and editors who comprise the faculty down to the food you'll eat and the types of pens in the free pen buffet are hand-picked by my friend and editing colleague Becca Heyman, whose attention to detail is astonishing. Example: the name tags were magnetized so that you didn't have to poke holes in your clothing. (Who thinks of that?! Becca, that's who.)

Even the conference attendees are hand-picked: one must apply to be admitted to this conference. While that may sound like a strange idea to some, there's great reason behind it: Becca is looking for authors who share a similar level of writing ability as well as dedication to their writing careers. Most - if not all - attendees may have day jobs, but every attendee of The Work is serious about their writing. This creates a wonderfully rich, mutually supportive environment in which to learn about craft and the business side of authorship. And the small number of attendees (30 max.) results in everyone getting to know one other by the end of the very first day. The closest I can come to describing the dynamic is a small summer camp for lit geeks. HEAVEN.