Daily Archives: September 9, 2013


Today I would like to talk about how I am good at starting many things. For example, I am really good at starting the laundry. I’m good at starting meal plans. I’m good at starting to pull weeds. I’m good at starting blankets. I’m good at starting fitness plans. I am good at starting organizing closets. I am very very good at starting books.

Here is what I’m bad at: Finishing things.

I have lots of yarn, lots of rotten vegetables, lots of buckets of paint, lots of piles of laundry, lots of stacks of books and lots of beginnings of novels. All of these have or had the potential to be something new, something beautiful, or something delicious, something interesting, or something true. Something clean or something happy.

But instead, they sit. In corners, in closets, on computers. They sit. They sit and they whisper to me at night. They tell me stories and tickle my toes. They show up in flashes, visions of what could have been. They appear in dreams. And in the sky, when I lay on the grass or float in a pool. They are everywhere, beckoning to me, these unfulfilled creations (and yes, laundry can be beautiful, my friends, it really can).

So why don’t I do it? Why don’t I finish things? Especially when on the rare times that I do finish them, when I make the gigantic effort to see something through to the end and feel the kind of elation that only comes after a tremendous amount of gut-wrenching work, especially when I know the pay-off whether it be a quilt or a meal or a closet full of clean clothes or a new garden or a finished novel, will make me someone different, someone happier, someone calmer . Even when I know that, I still resist pushing through to the end.

I wonder why? There are lots of reasons.

1. I get lazy.

2. Other things get in the way

3. I get stuck

4. It gets hard

5. I stop believing I can do it–that I can’t match the beauty I envisioned. That my efforts will fall short so I shouldn’t even try

6. I’m scared.

7. I stop believing in it. I lose the vision.

8. I mess up.

9. I’m tired.

10. Someone tells me I can’t do it.

I have a book that has followed me around for years. It has whispered, it has called, it has floated, it has sung. And I still will not listen. My goal is to finish it. By the end of the year. I am going to finish it. I am going to push through all the self doubt and hard complexities and tiredness and outside influences and everything else, and i’m going to finish this book.

Neil Gaiman’s advice: Write and finish things. I think he knows what he’s talking about.

What are you going to finish?


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. . . The Whole Truth . . . So Help Me God



1. the true or actual state of a matter.
2. conformity with fact or reality; verity: the truth of a statement.
3. a verified or indisputable fact, proposition, principle, or the like: mathematical truths.
4. the state or character of being true.
5. actuality or actual existence.

For some time I have been thinking a lot about truth and what it is and how it plays in my life.
My first question for you is this– I am pretty sure about my truths. But so are many of my friends. And their truths are not what mine are. Is one of us wrong?
We each have our own truths. The things we hold most dear. What keeps ups going. The line we’ve drawn in the sand for ourselves.

Sometimes we don’t cross our own line, but others do–right into that territory we hold sacred.

This has happened to me and my girls recently. And for the last year we’ve been fighting a battle that, at times, has felt too hard.

Thank goodness for my relationship with God, my girls, and my friends.

But are the people opposing me and my girls–are they wrong?
I think so. I really think so.
Do they  believe their truths are right. (Or do they think I’m an injured quail and so they will attack to try and get as much as they can.)
Sometimes we cross our own lines.
Here’s another question for you–Is it okay to turn your back on your own truths? Will you be a better person for it? Will you grow? What do you think?
As writers we have truths, too. Our own personal truth–whatever that is–and the truths that our characters own.
The issues we deal with.
The stories we choose to tell.
What we do with our lives as writers.
All of that plays into who we are–what is most true about ourselves.
Once I spoke to Matt Kirby (http://matthewjkirby.com) about  his books. I asked him was writing only about publishing or was it about the craft of writing. While this isn’t exactly his quote, Matt said something like, “I’d rather not publish than publish something that is poor or badly written.”
I think our novels can exemplify our truths. We can show those truths well or badly. I don’t know the number of books I’ve read where a teen character is suddenly spouting her political views and bashing anyone that doesn’t feel the same way. Yup! I know that author’s beliefs. And she just sacrificed the story for that rant.
So, what are your truths?


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