Yes, You’re Still a Writer.

Writers write. Right? That’s what it means to be a writer. But what about those times that you need to take a break?

This is life. We encounter problems like lack of time (even if we try to make the time, sometimes we can’t), health problems (physical or mental), and unexpected obligations or tasks that require our time and energy (in work, our personal life, or both). Sometimes we are so drained or unable to put pen to paper (or fingers to keys) that we just can’t write. So we don’t.

You’ll probably see a lot of advice out there telling you that in order to call yourself a writer, you must write every day. I have said before that in order to be a writer you must write. But I know it isn’t reasonable and shouldn’t be expected that a writer writes every single day.

Instead, I think it’s more realistic to say that a writer writes when he or she can, regardless of inspiration. It’s about dedication. Practice writing is important to making your writing better. But sometimes writers can’t write, and that’s when they often sit and think about writing. Or the fact that they’re not writing. It’s a guilty cycle. When you write, you don’t feel like a real writer. When you don’t write, you feel like a bad writer.

My advice is usually to try to make yourself write something every day. Even if that something is a sentence. But if you can’t, it’s really okay. I promise. You don’t stop being a writer. It’s okay to take a break when you need to. It’s okay to skip days. I’ve skipped days, I’ve taken long breaks for months. I’ve had years where I barely wrote a word. I’ve felt the guilt and the itch of not being able to write for one reason or another. But I’ve learned that it’s okay.

Think about the stars. Do they go away when the sun comes out? No! The sunlight just keeps us from being able to see them for a while. But as soon as the sun goes down, the stars come back as bright as ever.

It’s the same thing with writing. If you’re taking a break from writing, think of yourself as a star during the day. You’re still a writer, you just aren’t showing your writer side for the time being. It will come back, if that’s what you want.

So don’t stress yourself out so much. Write when you can, when you have the time and energy and health to put into it. If you can’t, don’t count yourself out. Come back to it when you are able, and focus your energy on where it needs to be in the moment.

Don’t let anyone tell you that means you’re not a writer. You are still a writer.

How to Keep Writing in the Middle of Health Problems

Nearly every writer will be faced with a health issue at some point in their life that will interfere with their ability to write. As writers, this lack of creative activity can be disheartening, guilt-inducing, and crippling. So when these problems in our physical or mental health occur, how do we keep ourselves creating through the troubles?

1. Understand the illness. The first step in overcoming a problem is understanding what to expect and knowing how to evaluate your ability. For example, someone with depression is likely to have motivational problems and fatigue while someone with a physical illness such as multiple sclerosis or cancer may be forced to contend with pain and lack of energy. When you know what to expect, you can create a plan to address those problems if or when they arise with your doctors, family, and friends. They all want to help you.

2. Know your limits… don’t overextend yourself. Once you understand the illness, take it easy while you understand how it is affecting your mind and body. Pay attention to when you have overextended yourself or when you haven’t pushed yourself enough. Take notes on what makes things better or worse. This can also help you create a plan and a schedule to keep working.

3. Set reasonable goals. Only you can define what is reasonable, but use your knowledge of yourself from point 2 to define it. For me, for a while my goal was simply to write one sentence per day. Maybe for you what it looks like is keeping a journal or writing one paragraph from a writing prompt or cutting down to one writing day per week. And I will be the first to tell you that it isn’t easy to maintain, and you may fall into a creative drought in which nothing is accomplished. It’s okay. Don’t waste the energy on blaming or berating yourself, no matter how justified it feels. You will get past it, and being sick isn’t your fault. Just take care of yourself. Which leads to…

4. Your health comes first. Creativity and creative energy will follow. Make your health and recovery a priority. Talk to the doctors. Follow their instructions. Take your medications. Get enough food, sleep, and exercise. And I know that can also be hard to maintain. That brings me to my last point…

5. Get support. Find an accountability partner to ask you about your health, well-being, and writing. Trust your loved ones to be there for you and encourage you, even when it feels like they don’t or that you are a burden. They do care, and you aren’t a burden. They care, and they want to help. Beyond your loved ones, find support groups. Meeting with other people going through similar things can be very encouraging and helpful to your overall recovery. Find encouraging blogs or posts online and make yourself a motivational or inspirational file, Pinterest board, collage, whatever works for you. I myself have both a Pinterest board and a file on my computer filled with things that encourage me when things aren’t going so well for me.

Whatever you’re going through, please remember that you aren’t alone. There are people who understand, people who have experienced or are experiencing similar issues, people who care, and people who can and want to help. Reach out.

And whatever happens, do your best to keep writing. For a writer, writing can be one of the best forms of self care.

Chin up, my friends. It’s going to be okay.

Marking Time

When I was in high school, I was a proud, happy member of the marching band. Every summer for four years, in the dead heat of August (and once during a hurricane that reached into the mountains of Pennsylvania), we were on the field, learning and practicing basic marching skills and the half-time show for the fall’s football games. One of the skills that we practiced and used regularly was the concept of marking time. Marking time is when the band is standing still but music of some sort is still playing, sometimes just the percussion, to keep the beat and to keep the feet moving. Instead of standing perfectly still, like you would at attention or parade rest, to mark time meant that you continued marching in place, keeping the rhythm moving so that you are ready to continue marching when instructed. It is quicker to continue marching from mark time than from a dead stop. You maintain movement.

It occurs to me that marking time in band is similar to the querying process.

I have been querying my current manuscript for a while now, and the waiting is killer. You wait for feedback on your query letter, you wait for responses to your initial query, you wait for responses to requests for partials or fulls, and you wait again after that if you manage to land an agent while the agent is trying to sell your work. It’s a lot of waiting. It’s easy to sit back and bite your nails, just hoping that something sticks, that something works, that you’ll have an offer and a publishing deal eventually. It’s also easy to think there’s absolutely nothing you can do in the meantime.

But that’s not true.

While we are waiting on our queries, we can be marking time. We can be actively working during the waiting so that we are prepared for what comes next, just like in marching band. We can keep our momentum. But how do we do that for writing?

  1. Keep polishing your query materials. I know this can seem like a waste of time and it’s so easy to sweep under the rug once it’s “done,” but your query can always use improvement. If you see a contest for a query critique, enter it. If you have a writer friend, have them read your query and offer input. I recently read that advice that if you do not receive at least a 40% request rate, then your query could use some work. Keep moving forward!
  2. Be proactive about any feedback you receive. If you do hear back from an agent, that’s great! But it may be that they want to see something a bit differently. Consider those opinions and know that as the writer, it’s up to you to change it, but these are industry professionals who know what the market needs and wants. If you need to keep polishing that manuscript, then break out the polish. The work isn’t over once you hit submit to those first few agents.
  3. Keep current on the market. Whatever genre your book is in, whatever age category, keep an eye on the current trends. If you wrote a vampire book and vampires are going out of style, your query might be harder to sell. But if you wrote something that’s just gaining popularity, then you might have an easier time. Make yourself an informed client. Keep researching new agents and looking for what agents may be searching for your book. It doesn’t stop with your first list.
  4. Don’t let the rejections get you down. There are so many agents out there. Hope is not lost. If you keep trying, you will find what is best for your book, even if it’s not an agent. Rejection isn’t the end of your manuscript, and every author faces this. It could simply be that your manuscript will fit better into an independent publisher or through self publishing. So don’t give up!
  5. And most importantly, keep writing. Agents like to hear that you have more projects in the works, that you’re not just a one-trick pony. Write other things, submit short pieces to magazines or online blogs. If your current manuscript isn’t right at the moment, perhaps your next work will be. You always want to be refining your craft, and the best way to do that is to write!

The querying process can be daunting and full of discouragement and disillusionment, but there is so much that you can do while querying that can refill and energize your creative spirit, the dreamer within you.

So don’t get discouraged, friends. Mark time, and when the order comes, you’ll be ready to march.

Advice for Aspiring Writers

  1. Claim your name. If you write, you are a writer. The longer you call yourself an “aspiring writer” instead of a writer, the longer you keep yourself from the pride and inclusion and knowledge that you are, indeed, a writer.
  2. Get serious about your craft. This means making time to write every day or almost every day. Writing out of habit and commitment will get you closer to finishing your first book than waiting for inspiration.
  3. Start even if you don’t feel ready. Because I’ll give you a hint: no one ever actually feels ready. The longer you put it off, the longer it will be until you feel like a writer.
  4. Make some writer friends. Talk to writers online. Talk to writer friends in real life. Just connect with someone who will be able to discuss the finer points of writing with you and inspire you to keep working for your dream.
  5. Read up on your craft. This includes blog posts from other writers either on Tumblr, online blogs, or, where I found most of my beginning knowledge, Pinterest. Read some classic books on the craft of writing like On Writing by Stephen King or Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott.
  6. Learn how to write. Commit yourself to learning the rules so you know how you can break them in ways that make your writing stronger.
  7. Just Write. This is the key to being a writer. Write when you don’t feel ready. Write when you’re not sure. Write even when you don’t feel like writing. Write because you’re a writer and you must. Just write. For this is literally the only way you can actually improve your writing.

How to Write a Fairy Tale Retelling

Fairy tales have become very popular lately, particularly unique retellings of fairy tales such as The Lunar Chronicles series, Ella Enchanted, Hunted, the ACOTAR series, and many, many others. In fact, the small publisher Rooglewood Press has been hosting a fairy tale retelling contest for a few years now, and they just recently announced this year’s (sadly the last): Snow White. If you’re interested in that, I’ll include a link to the contest page and previous winners below.

If you find you’re one of those people (like me) who is just a sucker for fairy tale retellings and want to try your hand at writing one, how do you going about doing that? Well, there are a few simple steps to make it the best it can be.

  1. Pick something new. Personally, I am tired of the “classic” fairy tales like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty. Everyone and their mother retells those. What about other classics, like Donkeyskin and the Little Match Girl? I love the story Donkeyskin, but very few authors choose to retell it. Just by picking something lesser known or with fewer popular versions, you will immediately create something that stands apart from the crowd of retellings. In a world saturated with fairy tale stories, that’s a good thing.
  2. Start with the source. Go back to the source material, those first recorded instances of the story. Read the base story before you dive into creating your own version. How can you make a retelling if you don’t know the original? And no, Disney absolutely does not count!
  3. Expand to variations of the source. Look at different variants of the same story. Did you know that many fairy tales have versions in a number of different cultures? A couple years ago, Sleeping Beauty was the theme of the Rooglewood contest, and I hated how passive the heroine was. Turns out, all I needed to do was find a different version, and there she was! My active participant from a Middle Eastern version of the story. Dig around, and it will almost definitely give you ideas and inspiration.
  4. Look at other retellings. Find other, more recent versions of the story you want to tell. Look at how other authors approached the story, what they changed and kept, how it influenced the themes and plot. But don’t stop there! Look at reviews from bloggers and readers of the story. See how the audience reacted to the retelling, the elements they liked and didn’t like. Use this knowledge to your advantage!
  5. Make it recognizable. One of the most important parts of writing a retelling is making sure enough elements are present that the reader knows what story you are retelling. Otherwise, it’s just another story, not a retelling at all. Recognition is key.
  6. Make it new. We are all familiar with classic versions of stories. What readers want is a new take. Maybe there’s something different about the hero and the villain. Maybe the setting is in outer space instead of a woodland. Give your plot twists that may not have been present in the original. Maybe even mix several fairy tales together, like in the Lunar Chronicles. Whatever you decide to do, make it your retelling, not just a copy. Your readers will find it far more interesting that way.

For more reading on fairy tale retellings, you can check out this post from Ink and Quills and this post from Lianne Taimenlore. And if you have any suggestions for writing these kinds of stories, be sure to comment! I’d love to hear your input!

Rooglewood Press 2017 Contest: Five Poisoned Apples
2015 Contest: Five Magic Spindles
2014 Contest: Five Enchanted Roses
2013 Contest: Five Glass Slippers

Reading Like a Writer

Time to read Stephen King.pngWriters are quite often first and foremost avid readers. Many of us grew up carrying a book (and a spare or two) everywhere we went, regardless of whether we would actually have to time to read it. This immersion in the fictional worlds we craved perhaps led us to create our own fictional worlds, to fill voids that no book in existence could fill. And so we became writers to create those books.

But even as writers, we are still readers. And we should be. How can we possibly write well if we do not continue to immerse ourselves in the worlds of books? But while our love for reading has not changed, perhaps our style should. Now the question becomes how to read as a writer.

In general, reading like a writer means examining other authors’ writing so that you can apply their knowledge of the craft to your own writing, thereby improving it. The focus isn’t on the story itself or the content or message. It is on the actual construction of the story from a wide (story structure) to a narrow (sentence structure and word choice) level. You read to learn how to write. How do we actually go about doing this? Here are five simple ways to read like a writer.

  1. Read outside your genre. Writers often start by mimicking the styles, settings, and characters of our favorite authors. But the true key to becoming a writer is to grow past this stage, to find our own characters, our own voice. One of the best ways to do this is to keep on reading everything. And I mean everything. Don’t just stick with stories within your preferred genre of writing. For example, I write mainly fantasy, and while I read an obscene amount of fantasy, I also read nonfiction, historical fiction, science fiction, contemporary, children’s books, and anything else that can hold my interest. I learn so many new things and glean so many ideas from these books that I never would have encountered had I not read outside my genre.
  2. Read inside your genre. It is important to also keep up to date on the new releases in your preferred genre. Even if you don’t read all of the new books that are released, have some idea of what is out there, what publishers are buying, and what readers are consuming. This will help you to compare your book to similar books when it’s time to query (many agents prefer that you use comparison titles released within the last couple of years) and understand how your book might fit into the current market. How do you keep up to date on this? Follow people. Follow everyone. But on social media… don’t actually stalk people. Look for publishers, agents, authors, and book reviewers on any social media outlet, including (but not limited to) Twitter, Tumblr, WordPress, Instagram, and Facebook. Make yourself an attractive author when it’s time to market your story by knowing as much as you can about industry trends.
  3. Re-read. The idea behind this is to choose a story that you want to use as a model for your own work, to re-read it and actively observe the pattern of the plot and development of the story. Since you’ve read the story before, you know ultimately where it is going and can sit back and pay attention to the details in between. Another personal example is when I was preparing to begin my current WIP, Foxfire. I wanted to write urban fantasy, but I wasn’t sure how to structure it. I re-read some of my favorite stories within the genre, writers who are well-known and well-received (Patricia Briggs and Anne Bishop), and worked from there.
  4. Take notes. Now, I don’t care if this is directly in your book or on a notepad you keep with you while reading. But the point is to specifically notate the story with your own questions, comments, and observations as you read. This makes you an active reader (like active listening). Even if you don’t write it down, pay attention to your own thoughts and experiences as you read.
  5. Take it all in. Examine the details of what you’re reading, how each scene was composed and how it fits into the overall story. Notice the development of the characters and how the story changes them. Follow the plot arc and how each important point is achieved. Map it out, if that helps.

Now, there are plenty more resources out there for learning how to read like a writer. Writer’s Digest offers a variety of resources on writing and publishing, including on this topic. However, the biggest piece of work I would recommend today is Mike Bunn’s “How to Read Like a Writer.” He gives some interesting background and explanation in more detail than the tips I share above.

Now go forth and read books!

Friends in Creative Places

A while back you may recall my post titled “The Demons of Discouragement.” Well, after reviewing that post recently, I realized that the discouragement I was feeling has been somewhat alleviated. So I started thinking about why that might be, and I have come to a conclusion: I found the right creative friend. This isn’t to say my other support hasn’t been phenomenal, and I love my friends and family for their support every day. But it’s quite different to have a creative friend doing the same work as you.

Back toward the end of summer I had joined a local writing group that met in the Barnes & Noble closest to where I lived (I still attend every meeting!). About the same time I started going, another woman near my age also began attending. Like me, she had written a book. Like me, it was fantasy. Like me, she was ready to query. Unlike me, she was vocal about it.

So we gravitated together at and around these meetings, talking shop and gushing over our books. She began pushing me to do things I would have avoided out of my introverted, shy nature or because of the cost. With her, I attended a writing workshop in Philly in April. I went to a Sarah J. Maas book signing and discovered that she lives pretty close to me. I traded critiques and reviews of synopses and query letters and drafts.

And you know what? The query process is going so much better. I got a request for my full manuscript at the workshop. I have six queries out in the world, shining in their new and improved status. I feel more confident in what I’m doing, not like I’m just flailing in the dark and hoping to hit something.

But you know what’s even better than all that?

I’m in love with my writing again. Because of her, I’ve had professionals tell me I was talented and skilled (a huge boost for the discouraged writer!). I’ve had a passionate friend who loves fantastic worlds as much as I do. I’ve had opportunities to meet people and grow not only as a writer but also as a person.

And because of her, I’m back.

So what about you? What have you experienced or done that has fueled your creation and your passions? I’d love to hear about it!

Scientific Misconceptions and Misrepresentations in Writing

Hey there! Sorry it’s been so long, but life has been crazy! Let’s dive right into a topic near and dear to me: science, scientists, and common scientific misrepresentations in fiction.

Many writers want to include an element of science, either by writing a scientist character, focusing on science fiction, or creating a system of rules for how magic in a fantasy story may work (hey, logic! I use science in my fantasy writing all the time!). For ease, I’ll break this into two pieces: myths surrounding the people involved in science and myths around the science itself. For many of these, I will also give you a way to approach these myths to improve your writing.

Myths of the Scientist

Myth #1: All scientists work in labs at universities. This is just plain untrue. While some scientists remain in academic environments, the funding and lack of tenure-track faculty positions, not to mention the simple fact that not everyone wants to stay in academia, means that a large number of scientists go elsewhere. In fact, most scientists are not tenure-track faculty. They may be found in government work, private companies (scientific or otherwise, believe it or not… people like people who proved they can think), scientific writing and publishing, ethics, consulting, or a large number of other positions. WE’RE EVERYWHERE.

Another reason this is untrue is that it focuses on biomedical-type science. Remember there are ecologists, psychologists, sociologists, geologists, archaeologists, etc. Every field in science is different, and many of them include field work. Take some time and talk to one of them, even if it’s by email. HINT: Scientists love talking about what they do.

Myth #2: Scientists are all stuffy old men in lab coats. Also false. While it is true that this is still a largely male-dominated field, and largely dominated by white men at that, there are tons of women, young scientists, non-white individuals, and jobs without lab coats. Would a consultant wear a lab coat? Maybe, but not always. When writing scientists, keep these things in mind. Make them a diverse bunch. And yeah, scientists can be quirky and awkward and arrogant. But remember that a stereotype is nothing but a perceived image and isn’t always true. Choose your representation of these folks carefully and deliberately. They are not cardboard cutouts, so don’t treat them that way. They still have their own personalities and lives and hobbies outside of their profession. But chances are good that if they are in science, it’s because they love it.

Myth #3: I don’t know enough science to worry about good science in my story. This may be true for you, but don’t let it stop you. Consult. Talk to people who know what you don’t. Writing isn’t solitary. You can ask to visit and shadow, ask them to look over your logic or give you the right knowledge. Even a student can give you basic information. If you don’t ask, the answer is no, but you may be surprised. And if you get a no, don’t let it discourage you. If one person doesn’t answer or is too busy, try someone else. Look on university and college websites for email addresses, and give it a polite, enthusiastic try. Even something as simple as “Hi, I’m a writer and I wanted to talk to you about your research” can open so many doors. Believe me, the readers (and scientists) will thank you for taking the time and effort to do your own research.

Myth #4: Scientists are not religious people. Again, take a step back. Scientists are first and foremost people. Within science, you will encounter both religious and non-religious individuals, just like in the general population. For example, I have been studying and working in science (biology, no less) for over 8 years and am a steadfast Christian. There are also a number of scientists with beliefs in any other religion (or non-religious viewpoint) found anywhere in the world. In fact, a 2005 survey observed 48% of scientists had religious affiliations and 75% believed that religion is important for conveying certain truths or ideas (see this page for more questions and answers). Don’t be afraid to make your scientist a person of faith (whatever faith that may be). Be true to the character, not the stereotype.

Myth #5: Scientists are not superstitious. While once again this depends on the person, I can say from personal experience and interactions that many scientists are very superstitious people. But not like you’d expect. What I mean is that because some experiments can be so tricky or finicky, if it works one time a scientist may choose to keep everything the same so it works again. Not just the procedure. Simple, unscientific things like not putting away a solution until a certain point in the procedure or doing a dance while an instrument is collecting readings (I knew someone who did this). And yes, we know it doesn’t make sense and isn’t logical. Yet…

For further reading on the public’s idea of the scientist, check out this page from the National Science Foundation (NSF). And remember, this is how they are perceived, not how they are. To read more about scientist portrayals in Hollywood, read this post from Euroscientist.

Myths of the Science

Myth #1: Humans use only 10% of their brain. False. False false false! I can’t tell you how often I see this in books and movies and it ticks me off every time. We use all of our brain. Maybe not all at the same time. But there’s nothing there we don’t use. End of story. So no excuses just so that you can write a character with special superhuman abilities. Find another way that doesn’t perpetuate a myth.

Myth #2: Antibiotics are good for getting rid of any infection. Nope. Antibiotics will only be good against bacterial infections… for viruses, you need an antiviral, and for parasites or fungi you need antiparasitic or antifungal agents. BUT also remember that use of antibiotics can lead to superbugs… those organisms that are not killed by a certain antibiotic, or are resistant. In fact, prescribing antibiotics for viral infections could also be contributing to antibiotic resistance of bacteria. If you’re interested in the major implications of antibiotic overuse, I recommend looking up information about antibiotic overuse and the post-antibiotic era. Scary stuff.

Myth #3: Hair and fingernails keep growing after death. They don’t. The body dries out after death, causing the skin to pull away from hair and nails so that it merely appears they have grown. They haven’t.

Myth #4: There is a dark side of the moon. Not really. This myth may come from the fact that on Earth we can only ever see one side of the moon. This is because the Earth and moon are what is called “tidally locked”, a case in which the rotation of the moon around its own axis is the same as its orbit around Earth, causing only one side of the moon to ever been seen by Earth. However, there is no dark side of the moon, as the sun hits every part of the moon at one point or another.

Myth #5: Brain cells (neurons) can’t regenerate in an adult. This is a myth that even scientists believed up until the late 1990s. It was thought that a person was born with as many neurons as they would get in their adult life, but in fact there are new neurons born all the time in a process called neurogenesis. There are particular regions of the brain where this process occurs regularly, such as the hippocampus (the region of memory).

Myth #6: People are left-brained or right-brained. This one isn’t true either. Whether an activity is creative or logical, both sides of the brain show activity. There is no such thing as a left-brained or a right-brained person.

I hope this gives you a place to start for your own writing. But I warn you, this barely scratches the surface. I encourage you to look at some other resources, including those listed above as well as other lists of scientific myth and fact such as on Alternet, Dan Koboldt (who discusses genetics myths in fiction), Listverse, IFLScience, and again this page from Berkeley. However, I encourage you to research any scientific idea you want to use in your writing. Doing the extra work now adds to your credibility and the enjoyment of your story by your readers!

My credentials to prove I know what I’m saying: BA in biology, MS in neuroscience, working in science industry since 2015.

This post first appeared on Paper Cranes Writing.

The Transformative Power of Snow

Last night I had the first significant snowfall of the winter season.

My parents and grandparents already got to experience this, but because I live in southeastern PA, I don’t get to experience the same mountain weather as they do farther north.

There’s just something about the snow that makes winter seem a little more bearable. I was born in winter, but I can’t say it’s my favorite season (actually, fall is my favorite). It gets cold and miserable. There’s not much daylight to enjoy, which is a big deal to someone who already has low vitamin D from spending so much time in the lab. Everything looks gray and bleak and sad.

Until it snows.

Suddenly instead of gray and bleak and dark, everything is bright white and blue. The snow mutes the sounds, making the air peaceful and calm. The cold isn’t just miserable anymore; it’s crisp and fresh and invigorating. It’s like having a snow day as a kid all over again, and all I want is to watch the snow fall and make soup and hot chocolate and watch Disney movies, cuddled up on the couch with pets and loved ones. It’s filled with comfort and joy and excitement.

And all it took was a single snowfall.

I have been struggling to get back to work on my once-regular writing schedule, around my day job, relationships, and other obligations of course. And seeing the snow takes me right back to the last time I was obsessed with my stories, to another snowy season when my mind was entirely consumed by writing with every free moment.

I was still in grad school, and I lived close enough that every day I walked to and from the lab. Unfortunately that meant that no matter the weather I could make it in. So I would bundle up, pull on my tall boots, and trudge through the un-shoveled snow that was at least up to my knees.

But the whole time, I got to feel the crispness of the winter air, to enjoy the quiet that comes with snow. And let me tell you, that’s a rarity where I had lived. Few people were out and about, cars were scarce, and there was no pressure, since no one was waiting on me to get to school. And it was exactly the inspiration I needed for my work in progress at that time.

I was working on a story that involved a very snowy clime, and being in the snow made it easier to imagine being with my protagonist. Every step I took was another thought she had, another event she encountered. The snow was my inspiration and my encouragement to continue.

And now that I have snow again, I feel that familiar itch of creation. I want to create and write and build worlds and art and beauty. I want not only to write but to paint and draw and be consumed by creation. To be truthful, I don’t know how long it will last or if this will be what I need to get back in my groove. But for now, I’m going to run with it.

I hope the snow can push your inspiration, too.