Monthly Archives: November 2017


There is strong contingent of researchers, dietitians, therapists and other medical professionals who believe that dieting is harmful to health. Instead they emphasize how important it is to listen to your body–to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satiated. They talk about honoring your hunger and rejecting the idea that you had a good or bad day based on what you did or didn’t eat. This movement is called intuitive eating. 

I am now going to say what I have been feeling lately about writing. I think it should be joyful. I think it should be something that pushes me and makes me try new things and brings me fulfillment. I do not think it should be painful (at least too painful) and I do not think it should be competitive or results-based (if the only results that matter are publication or making a million dollars or making it on subjective lists). I also believe it should not be soul sucking.

Am I wrong?

Can writing be intuitive? Can it be something that feeds our souls? Brings us the kind of happiness that comes from creating something beautiful and personal and honest?

I know that there is a reality to the business of art–the reality of making money, the reality of needing to market, the reality of putting food on the table. I also know that there is value in doing things we don’t want to do, pushing through, butt-in-chair. There are also things like revision if you love drafting or drafting if you love revision.

Intuitive eating doesn’t say eat anything you want. They don’t say binge on Twinkies all day. They say, re-evaluate. Eat and enjoy. Exercise for fun. See what it feels like to move your body–doing the things you love. If you don’t like running, swim or dance or hike. Don’t base your value in whether you ate a doughnut or not. But also be curious and evaluate how your body feels when you do eat things that don’t give you adequate energy or that weigh you down. Practice making choices that will bring you happiness

Does writing bring you happiness? Do you love it? Do you write things that matter to you? Do you find joy in the struggle? Do you place your value in how a piece or manuscript does? Do you support other writers? Do you push through when things get hard and keep trying but at the same time, let yourself have breaks and not feel guilty if you didn’t write for a day or two or 34? Do you laugh while you write and cry and try new things and send things out and then breathe through rejections and then talk to someone you love about it and then laugh and do it again? Do you celebrate when things go well? Do you lay on the grass and stare at the sky? Do you yell your biggest dreams to the wind on the top of mountains? Do you love yourself no matter what? Published or not? Finished a book or not? New York Times Bestseller or not? Never write again or not?

I say write for joy.

Also, you can tell me I’m wrong.


Filed under Uncategorized

Nana and the Last Days

Anyone want a little Bantam rooster and his best friend? Tiny and Runny need a new home. Tiny lays one little white egg a day. If you’re interested, please email me at

Okay you NaNoers! We have today, tomorrow, Wednesday and Thursday to finish up our 50,000 words.

Where are you? Me? I’m pretty far behind. But I’m trying for a big 4-day push. And why not try? “It’ll be fun,” she said.

I’m writing a little with Ann Dee, a very little with Kyra (she’s pushing to rewrite her fabulous Mermaid book) and then more on this adult novel. This mystery. That plays with time. And several characters. Including more than one killer. And a ghost. And . . . I chose this for NaNoWriMo?

What I’ve found interesting is as I’ve settled into the story (or sorta settled), a favorite character of mine showed up. My grandmother, Nana. This time she is a very fancy Southerner. Wealthy! But it was such a relief when I realized old Grandmommy is based loosely on someone I love. November 26 is Nanny’s birthday. She would have been 100 years old.

If you have followed the NaNo plan, you are right in the place where the character makes (or is getting ready to make) another choice that will change her life forever. You’re building to the reveal of that choice. What makes her say, I won’t do this anymore?Whatever this choice is will propel you into the climax of the novel.

And if you’re writing a mystery, you’re character is narrowing down and getting closer to the killer. Her life is literally at risk. Tension is rising in both stories. Characters are making decisions. All are life and death, as far as character goes. All are life and death, as far as genre. This part of the novel matters that much.


Slow and steady wins the race. Keep writing. You’re almost to the finish line!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

My Friend, Chris Crowe

I haven’t been writing lately. My grief for friends lost and parents and children mourning has been overwhelming.

This is no different today as I write a note of sorrow for Chris. He lost his oldest grandchild. Ella’s funeral is tomorrow.

Lots of you know Dr. Crowe.

He’s a husband, father, grandfather, friend, teacher, writer, jokester. He’s hilarious. Compassionate. Loving. Devoted. The adjectives are endless with him. If he were reading this as I wrote, I know just what his expression would be. There’s be a little bit of a smile and then zing! A joke from him. Chris is who he is, in part, because of wife Elizabeth. She is just so good.

Many years ago, Chris came to me and asked, “If you could run any kind of writing conference or workshop, what would it be?” With John Bennion we brainstormed what became Writing and Illustrating for Young Readers. For several years we ran the conference together. And sang If I had a Million Dollars, Oops, I Did It Again, and Paperback Writer for everyone (agents and editors included). The words changed, of course.

Here’s the thing. With all the joking, all the teasing, all the tricksies you almost miss Chris’s kindheartedness.

He loves babies and I remember when my youngest was born. Anytime we were together and I brought Carolina, he took her from me and held her. He should have been the father to a hundred kids. The grandfather to a million. One day, I’m sure he will be.

But for now, I am heartbroken he’s doing this. Ella was a baby the Hughes fought to get. I remember when she was born. She was a beautiful girl. And she grew into a talented young lady. Not unlike her grandmother and grandfather, not unlike her stunning mother, Christy, and her artist father, Daniel. And Chris adored her. Has adored each of the children and grandchildren that have come into his family.

There are no words for this kind of loss. I haven’t been able to say the right things to any of my friends who have lost parts of their hearts lately. I wonder at my inability.  My frozen fingers, weeping heart. Shouldn’t a writer know how to say the right things? Be able to reach out? Soothe?

Some of you (of the 8) who read this post know I am a faithful Latter-day Saint. A few days ago, as I wept for Stephanie Moore at the loss of her baby, something came to my mind that offered me insight and comfort to lots of what’s going on now. And while I won’t share that here, I have a feeling Chris and his family already know what I learned during prayer.

Chris, thank you for believing in me as a writer and as a possible conference organizer. Thank you for the jokes, even though I did go and tattle on you to Elizabeth. Thank you for being an example –by loving your family and God more than the writing or teaching or anything else you do.



Filed under Uncategorized

Three Things Thursday

What is unusual about your story?
Write down a list of things that make your story different, special, or unusual. (maybe all three!) Every great story has something that makes it shine, and sticks out from others. What makes yours shine? And how does that move the story forward?

Write out scenes.
Writing scenes can help push your story forward. Sometimes it’s nice to take a step back, and write out of order. Write the end, or the climax. Maybe a great kissing scene you weren’t expecting! I do this whenever I get stuck, and it really helps! Especially if you’re trudging through the icky middles.

Surprise yourself.
Write out three or four things that surprise you about your character. What if you just discovered that she’s a softball champ? Or maybe she’s a terrible cook, and somehow that adds to the story! This may not push the main plot forward a whole lot, but fun little quarks can help build subplots and character development.

We will be writing at my casa tonight, and also snacking. If you’re interested in participating, shoot me or my mom an email.


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized