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On Writing

What It Takes to be a Successful Writer

editing paper

Several people have asked what it takes to be a successful writer. In order to address this question, it requires that I ask a question in return: What is your definition of success? Because there are many kinds of successes–and failures–one can experience in writing. The writing experience can run the full gamut from simply loving something you’ve written, to getting it published, to experiencing writer’s block, to not being able to get a foot in the publishing door.

As … Read More

Dog Writers’ Oscars — The 2011 DWAA Awards

DWAA logoI’ve just received the happy news that my blog post, What You Can Do to Avoid Getting Bitten By a Dog: 10 Common Mistakes People Make Greeting Dogs is in the running for a prestigious DWAA (Dog Writers Association of America) Award.

The last time I had the honor of being in the running was back in 2007, when my book Dogs of Dreamtime was a finalist in the general book category. It lost to a book about the Search … Read More

Amazon.com — Readers Want You to Re-institute the Down-Arrow Button Next to Customer Names to See Review Totals at a Glance!

Calling all fellow book lovers who buy from Amazon! I’d like to ask for your assistance.

Maybe you’ve noticed. Maybe you haven’t. But Amazon has removed the ability to view how many reviews a reader has contributed by deleting the “?” button next to the reviewer’s name. What this valuable little button used to let us do, was to see at a glance (simply by hovering over the arrow, without having to leave the page) how many reviews each reader … Read More

When You’re in Need of Inspiration

All creative types run into creative blocks at one time or another — that’s a given. But what we do to break through those blocks can vary from person to person. When I’m stuck, I look for people and ideas that inspire me. And, often, I don’t need to look any further than TED. Take a look and listen to this guy, Shea Hembrey. Unbelievable.

Read More

Is The Pioneer Woman Going Downhill?

From the Mailbag: Mallory writes, I found your site from your post on Ree “The Pioneer Woman” vs Heather “Dooce”. I pretty much agreed with everything you said. But I was wondering what you think of Ree’s blog now. In my opinion, it seems like she’s turned herself into too much of a bland brand. I used to think her site was fun and interesting. Now it seems to be too many throwaway posts about Charlie, her basset hound. Read More

My Article in New Homesteading Magazine

Flagship issue of New Homesteading MagazineIt’s no secret that I’ve been working toward producing most of my family’s food for the past several years. And while I don’t even come close to qualifying as a real homesteader, I do seem to represent a rapidly growing segment of the gardening population: people who have become extremely conscientious about where and how they get their food. Think locavore on organic fertilizer. You know, those of us who’ve rediscovered the wisdom of the “Victory Garden” of yore and … Read More

How to Find an Agent or a Publisher

Seems aspiring writers want to know–Many people have asked me about the process of getting published. (There are a lot of stashed manuscripts hidden in those drawers out there!)

I advise finding an agent first. The process of getting an agent is the same as getting a publishing house. No matter which route you decide to take, there are two books you need to get. They are Writer’s Market (current year) and Guide to Literary Agents. They list what … Read More

How to Break the Writing Procrastination Grip

From the Mailbag: Martha writes, I found your blog after reading Dogs of Dreamtime (loved Loved LOVED it!) and have been a reader ever since (thought not a very good commenter, sorry). I’m taking a writing course now and realize how hard it is to sit down and write everyday. How do you make yourself do it? I have a great idea for a book with lots of ideas percolating, but I’m having a hard time getting myself going and Read More

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