Recent Blog Posts


Why Conferences?

Happy People

This past weekend I had the privilege of teaching two classes at the Roanoke Texas Writers Conference. I tasted once again the enthusiasm of writers eager to learn, to share their own experiences and to help each other. I was reminded once again of the communities we writers form—communities as …

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What My Favorite Authors Have Taught Me

19 Jan 2005 --- Row of Old Books --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

 Recently, a reader asked me what authors have influenced me the most. Who have I learned from? I think every author I’ve ever read has influenced me in some way. Either as examples of how to write or how not to write. I’ll focus on the positive side of the …

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The Blessings of Being a Writer

Yes, Virginia, there are blessings to being a writer. And it goes beyond multi-book deals, beyond making the bestseller list, beyond movie deals. Few writers attain these lofty heights. But all writers can experience the blessings of being a writer: Learning And not just learning a new skill such as the …

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The Value of Writing Mistakes

Are you like me? I hate to make mistakes. When I have to fess up, I sometimes feel like a little kid. I tell myself, “I know better than that.” The perfectionist in me tries to correct them. The little kid in me says, “Maybe if I hide them, nobody …

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Researching a Novel

Doing research on a novel is one of the most crucial aspects of creating a winning story. If we don’t get our information right, we damage, if not destroy, our credibility. For pantsers like myself, research can be a huge interrupter of the process if not handled right. When I …

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The Habit of Professionalism, Part 2

Some more thoughts on the writing habit of professionalism. A professional writer seeks input and feedback from others. Continuing with our sports analogy, the professional athlete works with coaches and personal trainers to improve their skills. Pitchers will work with a pitching coaching or guru for weeks to develop a …

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Honor the Craft

James Scott Bell recently posted a blog called Don’t Ever Mail It In where he wrote about the attitude that we’ve reached a certain point in our writing where we don’t have to improve. What struck me most is his definition of a real writer. It’s someone who honors the …

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Using My Writing Mistakes

One of the issues I see writers struggle with is the idea they make writing mistakes. A day’s worth of writing is tossed because, in our judgment, it stinks. The characters are dull. The dialogue is boring. The plot twists aren’t working. There’s no tension, no conflict. Recently I spent …

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What I Learned from President Obama

What I Learned from President Obama by Christina Lieske Christina is one of my writing friends. I really like what she has to say in this article about learning. Visit her at This will be short, but it is about one of the most important things I’ll ever learn in life… …

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