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This is not a story about Writer’s Block and trying to find ideas. I have plenty of ideas. What I need is time to write them down.

I even have space to write — a room of one’s own. I love that room. I believe with all my soul in the sacred space that is that room.

I know some writers are like “I can write anywhere,” as they balance a yellow legal pad on their lap and scratch out War and Peace with a broken nub of pencil in the corner of the produce aisle next to the onions…

Image credit: Alexas Fotos on Pixabay

I’ve lost my filter. Especially when it comes to how I talk to my husband and my kids. I used to be a diplomatic, thoughtful, mindful human. Now I just say whatever is in my head. This is my not my usual modus operandi, but somewhere around Day 45, when I realized our lockdown order had lasted way past the “15 days to flatten the curve” and we were now past even the forty days of Lenten tribulations, I just stopped trying to couch anything. Yes, I will stay home. But I’m gonna need a coping mechanism. …

And how to help yourself by helping others during a pandemic

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We’re anxious. We’re uncertain. We’re worried. That’s all normal and important to validate. How do we alleviate that? Studies show it’s by helping others.

I’ve worked with nonprofits for decades, and recently gave a workshop about the personal benefits of volunteering. Volunteering is not just great for those receiving assistance, but also a huge benefit for those doing the work. I think this can be a great focus for everyone feeling anxiety about coronavirus right now. Yes, plan and prep for your family. But here are other things you…

A guide for anxious people who want to at least pretend they are normal

Image by Ray Shrewsberry from Pixabay

What I really should be doing right now is editing the book I’m trying to get published. You know, the one I wrote about a pandemic virus that ends the world (and only the women survive). In answer to your potential questions: Yes, my husband and I are happily married. No, I didn’t know we would be facing a real global pandemic that affected men more than women when I wrote it. I have often wondered about the gender differences in immunity. …

Embracing my inner weird made me a more confident writer

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I met dozens of writers at my first writer’s conference. There were hundreds of us descending upon midtown Manhattan (which means no one in NYC noticed). Tucked into the bowels of windowless conference rooms were so many people dedicated to story telling that it made my heart sing. I learned so much from the industry pros leading workshops on everything from craft to comps, plot to platforms. And while it may be a sweeping generalization, I also discovered that writers are mostly weirdos. I believe that the amount of weirdness can be attributed directly to the genre with which a…

Tools for new authors learning about agents, the publishing industry, and some great free advice

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While I did study screenwriting back in college, I did not study novel writing, publishing, marketing, or a whole bunch of other things that would be generally useful to the writer I am becoming now. So when I decided I wanted to be a novelist, and be traditionally published (still dreaming this for anyone out there who wants to be my agent, it will be an absolute pleasure to meet you), I had to do a wee bit of research. I enjoyed that process, as I’m a total dork who loves to learn something new all the time. …

Inside My Writing Head, Again

I haven’t been writing much in the blog department while I’ve been writing my novel. The great, American, elusive, kick my butt novel. This writing thing is funny, because I love the short form immediate-gratification of blog, post, hear responses, see applause, collect some actual writing money (my last monthly payout from Medium’s Partner Program was a whopping $3.23), but every moment I spend on that is time that I am not writing The Book, and that is exactly the kind of thing I’m trying to eliminate right now. It’s all distraction.

I’m trying to eliminate a lot of distraction, but still find fuel to keep going.

I’m working to maintain the daily (yes, daily)…

Am I Not Good at Receiving Writing Feedback, or Afraid of an Echo Chamber?

courtesy of Ivan Pais, Pixabay

The funny thing about being a writer is that everyone has a lot of advice about what I should or should not write. Not only readers — I actually love hearing from readers — but also the new editors that I’m pitching and trying to convince to publish my work. Submitting articles and being rejected is probably my least favorite thing I’ve ever done. And I’m doing more of it as I attempt to grow and expand my writing life. So that’s fun.

“How To articles…

“Brain Power”, courtesy of Felipe Augusto de Oliveira Soares

How to Use A Pollyanna Parenting Perspective — Part One

Teenagers are designed to make parents lose their minds. It is a developmentally appropriate part of their growth towards adulting, and a required part of your parenting life. It can also lead you to question your own sanity, test the strength of your marriage, and bemoan life on this planet in general. You can read every book about parenting on the planet — and there are some good ones — but in the end you’re still going to just need to wait some of it out. …

Photo by Rafaela Biazi on Unsplash

Monday. My office space in our house does not have a door. Just an open doorway to the rest of my house where various humans and dogs march in and out, their feet and paws unhindered and unimpeded. I decide to make a door, and double-purpose my giant whiteboard on wheels to block the entry point while I am writing. The white board is covered in colored index cards, scenes from my current book project, some ordered and numbered, some hanging in empty space awaiting placement. It is eerily similar to the hidden lair of a serial killer. I am…

Colleen Markley

Novelist (#amquerying a novel about the end of the world where only the women survive). Writer. Speaker. Do-Gooder.

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