On Writing

extraordinary writing

As you know (if you’ve been around here before) I write books about writing. But over the last several days I’ve been thinking about writing a book totally outside of the Writing Genre. To be honest, I have a stack of book ideas about writing, but this one kept making its way to the top of the pile.

For want of a better explanation – it’s a travel book about the Ancient Sites in the American Southwest. That means pre-settlers, as in Anasazi and their brethern. I have picked a dozen sites that are my favorites, ranging from well-knowns like Chaco Canyon to ones you probably never heard of, like Kinishba.

My idea is that people interested in traveling to these sites can pull up my book on their smartphone, read my thoughts about the place – you know, as in why I love them; and then scroll on down to find directions, hours of operation, more of the history, etc. In truth, this book may be a bust in the Kindle store, but it keeps nudging me to write it. So I will.

I’m wondering – do you have a book like this – one that’s always skirting around the periphery of your mind? If you do, leave a comment below and tell me what you’re thinking of doing. If this is your first time commenting, I have to manually approve the post (this saves us all from spam) – but I usually get it done really quickly.


p.s. The image above is one of the ruins at Wupatki, north of Flagstaff, Arizona.


My writing friends – I’ve decided to use each Monday as an opportunity to post a thought-provoking quote and write a few words about how I see the idea coloring my writing week. Let me know what you think about this idea.

creativity and writing

I’ve written a lot of really bad stuff over the years, and tossed the majority. I’ve also come to understand that allowing myself to make mistakes (or, as one of my readers said: allow yourself to be terrible) is a more valuable piece of advice than I could have predicted.

I remember sitting on the steps of my patio years ago, reading the opening paragraph of an article I was writing for Astronomy magazine.  As I reworked and reworked the graph, I realized that the only thing I had accomplished was editing the heart out of the piece. The words were perfectly fine and perfectly correct, but the feeling – the “getting it” – was gone. I had allowed myself to make mistakes but I hadn’t known which of them to keep. By discarding all of the words, I’d thrown away the blood.

I worked hard to get some creativity back into the opening paragraphs and this is what I ended up creating. (It was written about visiting Meteor Crater in Arizona) . . . keep reading

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flash non-fiction

Sometimes we need to back away from a project, plan, book, idea . . . and give it time to be.

I recently spent two weeks working on a rough draft for a mystery novella. At the end of the two weeks I thought “this is such crap, what was I thinking?” Guess what? I re-read the draft two weeks later and thought “hey, this isn’t half bad!”. It was the same writing, the same approach, the same talent . . . why the difference?

Time and distance.

If you’re feeling like your work isn’t good enough . . . be a little like those sea gulls and just float away. You can return, but not today.

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