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Why writers drink.

May 23, 2014

One of the stereotypes about writers is that we’re all raging alcoholics, and with good reason. A lot of the great writers we’ve grown up reading were pretty much drunk all the time. Hunter S. Thompson, for example, and Tennessee Williams. It shouldn’t come as any surprise to anyone who’s ever read a single shred of Edgar Allen Poe’s work that he was also sufficiently drunk (and drugged) most of the time. You know what they say: most stereotypes are based in truth, right? So why do writers drink? I think I have a few reasons… Studies show alcohol gets the creative juices flowing! Seriously! Because of the way alcohol affects our focus, it helps us think “out of the box” and open up our mind to other possibilities and solutions. It’s actually not that uncommon for writers to have a drink on hand while they’re working or brainstorming. I guess, though, it’s fair to clarify that the studies done […]


Gendered book covers.

May 4, 2014

My husband and I wandered around Barnes & Noble a bit today because we were in town and, you know, why not? I really should never walk into a bookstore, especially if I’m trying to be conscious of the money I spend, because I always come out with a new book. Not that I’m really complaining. Besides, that’s not what I’m here to talk about. After a conversation we had with a couple of great friends at lunch, I decided to browse the science fiction/fantasy section and pick up books based solely on the cover. This is what I usually do, actually, so that part was really easy. Then I looked at the author to see if I tended to pick up books written by men or women. I shouldn’t be surprised, especially based on a blog post I wrote a while back about gender equality in publishing, but I am still way more likely to be attracted to books […]


Asking for help.

May 1, 2014

A while back I talked about how one of the other things writers are terrified of (and something we probably rarely admit to anyone but our inner demons that we are terrified of) is finding another writer who is more talented than we are. We hate it so much it makes us hyper competitive with one another, and it can lead to us avoiding situations in which we may be forced to deal with a writer more skilled than we are. Which is why it’s such a big deal when we finally work up the courage to ask another writer for help. I’ve said it before, I actually really like it when people ask me for help–and not in all the ways you may think. Sure, part of it may have to do with the fact that it makes me feel like they think I’m an accomplished writer if they’re asking for my advice, but I also like to see […]


Rushing the end.

April 26, 2014

When I finished the (second) rewrite of Martyrs back in 2011 (2012?), I was so fucking excited. I had one chapter to go, and I sat down at my desk and wrote and wrote until that thing was totally complete. Then, using Scrivener, I exported it to a PDF file and an EPUB file, sent copies to my main beta readers, and forced my husband to sit down and finish the last of the book. I was so thrilled with myself, so absolutely proud, that when he sat down with me afterward and told me he thought the ending felt rushed, I was a little crushed. And angry. I called him a jerk and then quickly took it back because there had to be a damn good reason he felt that way, and I asked him to elaborate. Though it wasn’t exactly fun to hear, he had a really good point. The writing wasn’t as thought out as it was […]

A Different Kind Of Fear

Another kind of fear.

April 24, 2014

I’ve talked about how we as writers tend to be afraid of certain things: failure, rejection, and not being “good enough.” But I think there’s another big element–another big thing we’re all really, really afraid of. Meeting someone better than we are at what we love to do. I’ve been in a lot of writing classes and a lot of writing critique groups, and I can tell you one thing almost for certain: on the surface, most writers come off a little prudish. We try to talk tough, like we know something other writers don’t know, or like we know something they’ve forgotten. We tend to grow out of this as we get better and as we have more experience in critique groups, but essentially, we can be pretty passively nasty to one another. I mean, not in that we really hate one another, but in that we’re pretty darn competitive. There are a lot of reasons for that, but […]

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