creative writing

The Whooshing Noise of Deadlines (NaNoWriMo 2017)

NaNoWriMo — short for “National Novel Writing Month” — is a challenge sponsored by a non-profit organization (also called, unsurprisingly, National Novel Writing Month) that encourages people from all walks of life to express their creativity through the written word: by writing an entire novel, 50K words, in the 30 days of November. During my early attempts, I successfully completed NaNoWriMo two years in a row from 2009-2010. After a seven-year hiatus, I decided to tackle this challenge again with a different approach and, hopefully, better writing thanks to additional years of writing experience. How did I fare, and have I learned anything new with this insane challenge? (more…)

There Is Only One Of You

As a writer, it’s difficult to stay motivated. The art of writing can be taxing, frustrating, and at times, almost impossible. There are days when everything except writing sounds like fun: climbing Mt. Everest, running an ultra-marathon, stepping into the ring with Brock Lesnar, finding One-Eyed Willy’s treasure map… okay, so that last one is pretty awesome, gotta admit. Anyway, how does a small-time writer (such as myself) stay on top of his/her writing goals? Here are a few things I’ve discovered that keep me going despite all the distractions of daily life: (more…)

So Long And Thanks For All The Fish

“I graduated.” This two-word statement carries the weight of two years’ worth of sleepless nights, deadlines, and enough frustration to fill the Mariana Trench (see what I did there). And yet, I have no regrets. My time at Stonecoast has pushed me to achieve writing heights I didn’t think possible. Now that I’ve had ample time to reflect upon my MFA journey, I’m amazed at how much I’ve evolved. The bright-eyed, bushy-tailed firstie who entered Stonecoast isn’t the same writer who graduated last month. So what’s different? What’s changed? (more…)

Fantasy Is A Tool Of The Storyteller

A couple of weeks ago, I ran into someone I’ve known for several years (an acquaintance I’ll refer to as “Boba Fett”), who asked me how my writing was going. This being my fourth semester with Stonecoast, I talked about the collection of stories I’m working on for my master’s thesis. I gave a very brief overview of three stories, just to give a taste of the kind of stuff I like writing: there’s a tale with a talking dragon, another featuring a ghostly girl, and another one about hills made of chocolate. Boba Fett, with one eyebrow arced slightly (I could see through his shady helmet), asked me what the other stories were like. I responded by saying, “Well, most of the stuff I write I’d classify as fantasy, but I like messing about in other genres, too.” Then, with a very serious face, he asked if I had ever considered writing “real stories instead of this fantasy stuff.” (more…)

I Want To Be A Paperback Writer

It’s been a few days since I’ve returned from my fourth residency with the Stonecoast MFA Program in the University of Southern Maine.  I’m still trying to recover from the whirlwind of events.  I’ve gotten into the habit of taking hour-long naps after work, followed by a few hours of wakeful restlessness, then about nine hours of additional sleep.  A few more nights following this pattern, and I think I’ll have caught up on my sleep deficit.  I’m so excited about that.  Got to celebrate the little victories in life, right? Although, you’d think I didn’t have any time to sleep during residency.  That wasn’t the case at all.  I did sleep, but my dorm had a mattress that was about as soft and delicate as a slab of marble.  Oh, and my pillow gave me the impression of sleeping on a cloud made of crinkly newspaper.  I have a strange feeling that sleeping in a coffin would have been more comfortable.  Man, vampires have it good. (more…)