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Your Story Matters

It's Time to Call Yourself a Writer

Writers, have you ever had an identity crisis?

I had a long professional identity crisis in my thirties and forties. After practicing law for a brief period, then caring for young children, the wandering and searching for the "thing I was meant to do" ensued.

For years, I felt frozen—and shame—every time someone asked me "What do you do?"

You know that question everyone inevitably asks when they first meet you.

I stammered and made apologies when I didn't have a simple—or satisfactory-to-me—answer, and pretty much wanted to dig a hole and bury myself in it in those moments.

During those years of wandering, I often forgot my gifts and what I loved to do.

I forgot that I had been a teenager who published my first article when I was a high school senior, a personal essay in my local newspaper about a study abroad experience in England. 

My father, back in New York with the rest of my family, had mailed me a copy of the newspaper clipping with this note:

...

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What Are Your Writing Goals for 2023?

Years ago, when I was in the throes of hands-on parenting, my nightstand was piled high with parenting books.

One of those books was GOOD FAMILIES DON'T JUST HAPPEN.

As I recall, the author was the mother of TEN SONS (and no daughters) and her book described the intentionality with which she and her husband approached child-rearing and what made their family work.

Putting aside the astonishing amount of testosterone in that household, the central point of the book is a good one (an aside for writers: note how perfectly the title communicates the point of the book!).

Good families don't just happen. They require intentionality, commitment, consistency, support, and a plan—and the ability to pivot when the plan isn't working.

And good books don't just happen—they also require intentionality, commitment, consistency, support, a plan—and the ability to pivot.

Those 80%+ of Americans who say they want to write a book "some day"—most of them, I reckon, would like...

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Five Ways to Measure Growth as a Writer

This past Sunday, I gathered with my local writing community to celebrate the seventh anniversary of the group's founding.

What a full circle moment that was for me!

Five-and-a-half years earlier, on a Wednesday night in June, 2017, I attended my first meeting of Write Now Lancaster. I'd moved to Lancaster THE DAY BEFORE, knowing practically no one.

When we circled up for introductions that June evening, I hadn't even lived the ending of the coming-out-later-in-life story that I would eventually write about in GRAVEYARD OF SAFE CHOICES, my memoir that will be published in Fall 2023 by the University of Wisconsin Press.

Now, on this Sunday night five-and-a-half years later, I was one of the leaders of the writing group, ready to put the finishing touches on my manuscript before sending it off to my editors.

It's made me think a lot about growth. How we know we've grown. How we measure it. Whether we can see the growth in the moment.

Your kid wakes up one morning and he's 6'3" and...

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5 Tips to a Successful NANOWRIMO for Memoir Writers

Last week I wrote about how National Novel Writing Month 2012 (NANOWRIMO) changed my life.

It can change yours too!

No, I didn't write a novel or a memoir in 30 days—in fact I ended up with a tangle of 50,000 words that were largely a stream of consciousness (see below for how you can avoid the same).

But I did develop the habit of putting my butt in the chair and writing—which is the big difference between wannabe writers from real writers.

Most of the LGBTQ+ folx & allies I work with have never written a book before, let alone taken on the challenge of writing a memoir.

NANOWRIMO is a great place to start.

Here's how you can have a successful NANOWRIMO & end up with 50,000 words that you can shape into a meaningful manuscript.

Step 1: Block Out Time

Block out time on your calendar every day to write and set a daily goal. 50,000 words divided by 30=1,667 words a day. The equivalent of 6 to 7 pages double-spaced every day.

If you know...

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No More Transphobic Bestsellers

A few weeks ago I was doing some competitive title research for my Write Yourself Out Foundations writers. Competitive titles, also known as comparable titles, are books that a writer's ideal reader would also be reading. When a writer is drafting a book proposal, which is a detailed business plan they use to pitch their nonfiction book, there's an entire section devoted to competitive titles. The point of the section is to show how your book will fit into the marketplace. How is your book in conversation with other books in its category?

I surfed around Amazon and landed on the LGBTQ+ Demographic Studies category—and what I discovered was truly horrifying.

Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters by Abigail Shrier, a disgusting book with an even more disgusting cover, was #1 in the category.

When I checked today, it had fallen to #2.

Now I don't even want to dignify this piece of trash by giving it a lot of air time. If you...

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This is What a Writing Community Looks Like

This week in my Write Yourself Out Foundations group coaching call, I had the privilege of listening to queer writers share their dreams and fears about writing their stories.

I heard stories about the importance of finding common ground in the disparate parts of the queer community. About fighting insurance companies for gender confirmation surgery. About being forced to hide who you are to do work you love. About tapping into your divine to live as your authentic self. About losing friends and family as you celebrate finally being yourself.

An hour later, my cheeks were wet and my heart was full as I imagined the impact these books will make once they are out in the world.

In my book coaching work, I ask writers to dig deep to get clear on WHY they are writing their books. These LGBTQ+ writers already have a profound understanding of their “whys.” They are ready to go all in and do the hard work of planning their books so they can write forward with intention and...

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The 4-Step Solution to Getting Your Non-Fiction Book Out of Your Head and Onto the Page

Introduction

How many times have you heard someone say they have a book inside them? Somewhere between 80-90 percent of Americans have said they want to write a book “someday.” I’m guessing that number is closer to 90 percent for women between forty and sixty. Women in midlife have wisdom to share with the world. Maybe they’re solopreneurs seeking to become thought leaders in their field. Or business strategists aspiring to amplify their brand. Or therapists who want to impact more lives. 

But the truth is most people will never even start writing their book … and for those who do start, very few will finish.

In this post, we’ll discuss the most common reasons people don’t follow through writing their books despite their best intentions, and then we’ll provide a 4-step solution to help you get your non-fiction book out of your head and onto the page.

Your Story Matters

At mid-life, you’ve lived and learned. You’ve...

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