Posted in Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Becoming a Real Writer

It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time.

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

It doesn’t happen all at once. You become. It takes a long time.

Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit

“You’re a writer, aren’t you?”

Someone asked me that a few years ago, and I had to awaken myself to the reality. Yes, I guess I am.

Even after self-publishing five books, I mentally pinch myself to remind myself that I am a real writer.

What constitutes becoming a real writer?

Is it having a degree? Is it being published? Is it having someone tell you are? While these things might have something to do with being a writer, they are not what makes someone a writer. The answer may seem simple, but it is the answer.


Writing can be public blogs or private journals. Drafts are stuffed in messy desk drawers and stored in computer files. Writing compels the writer to dash home from a nature walk to scribble on a Post-It note. It fuels the coffee and tea industries. It yanks the writer out of bed before everyone else wakes up or keeps the writer up after everyone has gone to sleep. Either way, writers write.

No, it doesn’t happen all at once. It does take a long time. It also doesn’t take a flower fairy waving a magic wand to make it real.

It takes you with pen in hand doing what you love and becoming what you believe you are. Those tears and that leap of joy will prove it so.



Posted in Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Alone, But Not Lonely

Sometimes you have to be alone in order to find out who you are without anyone telling you. Sometimes you have to be alone so you can learn the sound of your own voice.

from You Can Do This by Tricia Lott Williford

As a home educator, I am rarely alone in the house. There were years when finding a place of solace meant sitting in the bathroom longer than necessary or clearing a place in my walk-in closet to have my quiet time. As my children have grown, my moments of reprieve have expanded. They sleep in, and I have a few more minutes before the hurry-scurry of the day. We go off to their activities, and I have time to read or knit while I wait. I leave the radio off in the car on purpose so that I can drown out the cacophony of life with silence.

But, my favorite escape is to my local coffee shop. I pack my bag with my laptop, reading material, notebook, and anything else I might want. I order my signature beverage that the coffeehouse staff knows by heart and find a table. Alone.

Yet, I’m not lonely.

I write. I read. I study. I listen. I hear the voices around me, but mostly I hear my own voice.

That’s important for a writer.

All writers have a unique tone and style. Having time alone allows that voice to be heard. We might not always like what we hear, but we must heed it. This is the voice of reason, our purpose for existing.

Because no one can tell your story the way you can.


Posted in Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Reading to Inspire Writing

When I’m not reading poetry, I am rarely writing poetry. I was reminded by an exercise in Dr. Caroline Leaf’s The Perfect You to include the practice of reading poetry daily. This is a great exercise for everyone to practice, but essential for a poet. Not reading poetry for a poet is like skipping workouts for an athletic trainer.

So, I am feeling quite guilty at the moment because I have been reading more fiction and nonfiction, but not much poetry. I’m not writing much poetry either. I plan to remedy this situation by continuing my reading of Spoon River Anthology. I suspect it will go well with my reading of Lincoln in the Bardo. (More on all three of these books later in book reviews.)

What are you reading to inspire writing or simply life in general?



Posted in Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Music to My Ears

I live in a house of musicians, but we all like different music. Well, I like different music. My husband and kids like that heavy stuff with words that can’t be understood. I call it “angry music.”

Music I can sing to is what I like. Give me instrumental music anytime!

A few years ago, I set up a playlist of Jim Brickman songs. Something about starting my writing with “The Road Before Us” gets me in the mood for writing. The repetition of the songs keeps me focused. I can also block out the noises and other music coming through the floorboards and vents.

I also have a collection of Chopin that helped me complete my novel. One of the characters played Chopin, so it seemed fitting to have his songs coming through my earbuds as I wrote.

I need to set up a new playlist for this year, which will probably still include Brickman. I find I require a bit more inspiration these days to drown out the household sounds and keep me focused during my writing time. I also want to figure out “theme music” for my WIP.

Sometimes that musical cue simply motivates me to fill in my blanks with words.


What music inspires you?


Posted in Between the Lines: This Writer's Journal

Reading Days

We are having a snowy day today. So, I decided to make time for more reading after cleaning the house. It’s important for writers to read. In fact, we should read more than we write.

It seems like a guilty pleasure, doesn’t it? To sit on the couch with two dogs and a good book. But, this is the privilege of being a writer. The inexcusable excuse to set all aside and indulge in a captivating story.

It isn’t all about reading, in case non-writers think so. This time is meant to analyze the story, the characterization, the theme, and the style of the book being read. Why is this book getting five stars? How can I write in a way to do the same in my own way? Those are the questions being asked by the writing reader. It isn’t all about pleasure, but working at the same time.

Although, I have to say, it is quite fun.