21 8 / 2014
Marry your best friend.
Marry someone who you wouldn’t mind waking up to every day for the rest of forever. The one who makes you glad to be alive. Who makes you feel like your heart has a huge goofy smile on its face. Don’t settle.
Marry someone who drives you crazy. The one who frustrates you. Marry the one you don’t mind fighting with, because they will not be stuck up or awkward about it. Don’t marry someone who gives their ego more importance, than they give you.
Marry someone who you can check other people out with. The one who you turn to when your world comes undone. The one whose shoulder you want at 4 AM because “nothing seems to work out”. The one you want at 2 PM because you hate eating your food alone. Marry someone who knows how much coffee you need in the morning to be fully awake. The one who knows you are not a morning person.
Marry someone you can imagine yourself spending not just Friday nights but also Sunday afternoons with. The one you can see yourself with in the future…. maybe twenty or twenty five years down the line. The one who can take your sadness away in that one hug.
Marry someone who makes you the best version of yourself. The one who believes in you, even when you don’t. The one who stands by you, through thick and thin.
Marry someone you can’t imagine your life without.
Marry the one you are insanely in love with. And the one who is insanely in love with you.
Marry the one who knows what you want to say, when you’re too tired to say it with words. The one you can spend comfortable silences with from time to time.
Marry the one you can imagine yourself going on long road trips with.
Marry your soulmate. Marry your best friend."
21 8 / 2014
One of the pervasive myths throughout publishing, and one that I hate more than any other, is the belief that you need an MFA to get published. While an MFA can help you improve your writing/find your voice/make new friends it is NOT a magic publishing button. Sure it can help you find a job teaching writing at the collegiate level. If that isn’t your dream maybe an MFA isn’t for you.
Look, an MFA is expensive. Like, mortgage on a modest house in an inner ring suburb expensive. In addition, a lot of people come out of MFA programs as merely adequate writers, and a lot of really good writers have never even attended an MFA program. So here are some easy ways to improve your writing without shelling out THOUSANDS of dollars.
1. Read Books on Craft
Books on craft are great at looking at writing as a holistic approach; that is, giving you a good idea of how to get your butt in the seat with some direction. Craft books can also give a lot of would-be authors the push they need to take their writing to the next level. If you aren’t sure how to get started, books on writing can break down simple concepts like plotting and voice into even simpler pieces, as well as clarifying why your third act tends to break down into the hum-drum “And they lived happily ever after” trope.
FREEBIES: Beth Revis has a Wattpad primer on craft called Paper Hearts. It’s a great starting point for most folks. Courtney Summers also peppers her tumblr with great writing advice, as do many published authors. Find an author whose work you admire and stalk them from afar. By reading and seeing the books they like, you can broaden your own knowledge base.
A SMALL INVESTMENT: I highly recommend Donald Maass’ books The Fire in Fiction and Writing the Break Out Novel, but only one or the other since the books are essentially the same. Stephen King’s On Writing is also a popular writing book, but tends to be heavy on opinion and light on actual advice.
FOR THE ADVANCED WORDSMITH: Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird is pretty much the go to tome for folks that have mastered the basics of writing. It’s a great resource for stoking the creative fires when they seem to have burned themselves out.
2. Attend a Conference
Conferences are a great way to network and make connections, as well as get great insights into publishing and writing. They are also an excellent way to regain the spark of writing if you’ve somehow lost your way. Be warned, they can be exhausting for the sheer fact of being around so many people, so if you are especially introverted this may be a little too much for you.
FREE: Write On Con is a free conference that takes places every year. Also, social networking is free and is kind of like being at a conference all of the time. Consider joining Twitter (where most publishing folks seem to hang) and checking out message boards like Romance Divas, Absolute Write, and the Verla Kay Blue Boards.
A SMALL INVESTMENT: Many writing associations plan local events. SCBWI, RWA, and SFWA are a few examples. Check out what local events are near you, and make an effort to attend. A lot of the cost of attending a conference is the lodging, so anything within a couple hours drive can really save some moola.
FOR THE ADVANCED WORDSMITH: If you’ve finished a manuscript or you’ve moved beyond local conferences, you’re going to want to think about attending a national conference. These usually involve traveling to a major city and shelling out some dough for a hotel room and attendance. Most national conferences have more agents and editors than any other conference, so your chance for some face time is pretty good. Be warned, though, many don’t offer a very robust listing of craft classes, focusing on publishing trends instead. But even the priciest conference will be much cheaper than an MFA.
3. Take a Class
Most folks considering and MFA are really wedded to taking a writing class, even if they have no idea how they’ll actually pay for a class. I never attended a single craft class before I was published, which might be a good or bad thing, depending on your opinion of my work. However, if you are set on attending a class, you probably should. Just be warned, attending writing classes is pretty much a guaranteed way to find someone who hates your work.
FREE: Check to see if your local library or community center offers any kind of free programming. A lot of libraries offer classes on the basics of writing and craft, and they can be a great way to get the proverbial foot in the door. There is also Janice Hardy’s Fiction University, a website broken up into a class like structure, minus that jerk who thinks he’s the next Faulkner.
A SMALL INVESTMENT: Most local community colleges offer writing courses, the same with most local colleges. To attend a class on the cheap, check to see if your local college will let you audit the course (which basically means you don’t turn in the work or get a grade). It’s all of the knowledge for only a fraction of the cost.
FOR THE ADVANCED WORDSMITH: Media Bistro and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop both offer writing courses with editors and published authors. Taking a class with one or either of them might be a good way to figure out where your writing is lacking. This can be an investment though, so be ready to shell out a few hundred dollars.
And that’s it! A few ways to improve your writing without going bankrupt.
21 8 / 2014
I’ll rent out my condo so I get that income and rent out the extra rooms in my house. It would essentially be a savings account other people pay for me. I have big dreams for me and most of that is retiring well before 65.
21 8 / 2014
"I don’t know why he treats me this way. I’m fucking hilarious."
21 8 / 2014
I haven’t gone for a run in over a month. So today when I came home from work I laced up my shoes and went.
I didn’t warm up.
I didn’t stretch.
I reactivated my plantar fasciitis.
Not a good choice, but I feel so much better now that I went on a run.
20 8 / 2014
I can’t believe drawing a black line across my eyelids makes me feel 10x prettier.
20 8 / 2014
Like seriously. You’ve known him 4 days.
And you are CERTAIN you want to spend time and all eternity with him?