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Your Story Matters

What to Do with Your Darlings, aka Your Writing Leftovers

After Thanksgiving Day, my fridge is always teeming with leftovers, which, in my opinion, is one of the best parts of the season!

Constructing the perfect meal—or bite—from what didn't get eaten in the first place.

Often, that leftover meal or bite is even tastier than the original, don't you think?

It's not that different for writing.

Sometimes you hear these leftovers—those leftover precious phrases, scenes, and chapters you’ve lovingly crafted but that no longer serve your story—referred to as "darlings."

“Kill your darlings” has been a favorite phrase of writers for over a century. In his 1916 book On the Art of Writing, British writer Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch wrote:

“Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings.”

While I prefer to use less violent language to describe...

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How Writing for My First NANOWRIMO Changed the Course of My Life

I've always been fascinated by the idea that a single moment can change the entire trajectory of a life.

Sometimes that moment feels out of our hands and controlled by "fate"—you catch the train or you don't, like in the movie Sliding Doors.

And sometimes it feels more like "agency"—you're at a crossroads and you make a choice to go one way or the other.

And you know what fascinates me the most? Those choices that seem insignificant but later you realize, they changed your life.

Here's one of my life-altering moments:

“I’m knee-deep in NANOWRIMO,” my friend Lisa said to me in early November, 2012.

“What’s that?” It sounded like a secret society.

“It stands for ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ You pledge to write a 50,000-word novel in thirty days.”

I was an empty nester who felt a bit lost.

My youngest had just gone off to college, and I was trying to figure out my next chapter (pun intended).

...

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Why LGBTQ+ Stories Matter

Today is National Coming Out Day, a day I didn't even know existed when I was living as a straight woman in a mixed-gender marriage.

Back then, I was oblivious to the struggles of LGBTQ+ folx and the history of that community. I "knew of" gay people, but I didn't have a single LGBTQ+ friend. Or at least I didn't think I did.

This isn't an uncommon experience.

In fact, it's one of the main reasons why National Coming Out Day exists.

Robert Eichberg, one of the founders of NCOD, said in 1993:

"Most people think they don't know anyone gay or lesbian, and in fact, everybody does. It is imperative that we come out and let people know who we are and disabuse them of their fears and stereotypes."

It wasn't until I made a pilgrimage to Iona, a tiny isle off the southwest coast of Scotland, that I realized I did have an LGBTQ+ friend after all.

The year was 2001, and I was a forty-year-old stay-at-home mom searching for my purpose.

I'd left a toxic work environment as a corporate...

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The Emotional Roller Coaster of Writing a Book

"Normalize the roller coaster" is one of the mantras of Dallas Travers who runs The Hive, a business mentorship program for coaches.

Ahh ... the emotional roller coaster.

One day you’re a coach or an entrepreneur flying as high as a kite! You've gotten a few new clients, have discovery calls lined up, and your bank account is finally looking healthy.

Everything is clicking on all cylinders.

Until it isn't.

One of those new clients backs out. On one of those discovery calls you were so excited about, the prospect challenges your prices. You start panicking about the money you're spending on your virtual assistant.

The emotional roller coaster isn't limited to coaches and entrepreneurs.

It happens to writers.

This week it happened to me.

Last week I was still flying high after getting a book deal! 

You can read about my book deal here.

But this week life happened and the high wore off.

My elderly mother fell and was sent by ambulance to the hospital.

I started my book...

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