7 Secrets To Writing a Finished Piece EVERY Week

Vince Reidsma started out as just my friend Martha’s dad, the guy who kept the pool clean so we could swim all summer. Later, when I was in my teens, he was the guy from church who spent a lot of time talking to my parents as their marriage was unraveling. More than 30 years later, as one of my mom’s best friends, he has re-entered my life wearing a new hat: seasoned writer.


Live First. Then Write.

It was my first time facing a group of millennials and I wasn’t sure what to expect. I was serving as a panelist at the Indiana University Media School Career Day. As an alumna with a journalism degree from IU, I was there to talk about writing careers.

How would I relate to a generation steeped in technology and global influences when my college memories included snail mail, interviews conducted on landlines, an electric typewriter, and learning to “burn” and “dodge” photos in a darkroom?


3 Ways To Massage Your Creative Muscle

I was lying face down in a dimly lit room, listening to the sounds of a harpsichord or sitar or something equally soothing, willing myself to be soothed. I’d been looking forward to this massage all week. I’d finally convinced myself that I deserved it and that I would not, under any circumstances, regret the expense. It wasn’t regret that followed me into the room, but a sticky cloud of anxiety.

Why did I drink coffee before my appointment? And why, why, why did I get on Facebook? I should have known better than to start my day wading through negative stories.


The Dirty Little Secret About Being a Writer

I’m not proud of the fact that there are unwashed dishes in my sink, a pile of unfolded laundry on my bed, or a family of dust bunnies under my dresser. But I’m writing. And when my writing time increases, my usually high cleaning standards take a dramatic fall.

My dirty little secret is that, in order to write the way I want to, I have to allow myself to be a little slovenly. I have to accept that the blocks of time spent staring out the window, taking meandering walks, even dumping clean clothes on the bed, becoming distracted, and wandering away are part of my creative process.


Are Writers Addicted to Suffering? 4 Chicago Pros Say Yes, But…

My teenage son and I were watching the movie La La Land and the ending made him sad. It brought up memories of his first heartbreak, which happened in the not-so-distant past. I wished I could comfort him or tell him that someday those feelings will be transformed into painless memories.

But the truth is I don’t believe heartbreaks ever completely leave us.


The Dirty Little Secret About Being a Writer

I’m not proud of the fact that there are unwashed dishes in my sink, a pile of unfolded laundry on my bed, or a family of dust bunnies under my dresser. But I’m writing. And when my writing time increases, my usually high cleaning standards take a dramatic fall.


How to Keep Writing When Life Throws You Curveballs

Whew! What a roller coaster 2016 has been. From the World Series to the presidential election, I’ve had my share of late nights, nail biting, close calls, celebration, and despair.

During Game 7, in the bottom of the third inning, Carlos Santana crushed a curveball to right for a single, bringing Coco Crisp home and tying the game for the Cubs. And millions of hearts pounded.