Untethered Dog

You Never Know Where He Will Go

Writing Life

Who Do You Want Me to Be?

Copywriting. Press releases. I once wrote a blog as a bird for a bookstore. Who here’s got that one on their writing resume?

Restart

Essay filed. In the meantime, illness paid a visit. Nothing serious, nothing that could not be endured, certainly nothing of the order of which many deal daily, but enough to cause a downshift in gears. Is there any moment better in life than the one in which your become newly aware malady is on its […]

Pause

This space has been vacated of late as my meager writing bandwidth is being taken up by an essay I am writing for a regional magazine. I will note the occasion of its publication at that time.

Give Up the Dream

Sometimes an utterance — whether an essay, a book review, a personal communication, whatever — comes to mind with such clarity. It makes me giddy. It’s about all I can think about. Or want to. For an hour or more. In my head, it’s forceful or sweet or tender or provocative. But then … when […]

Work-in-Progress

I am trying to draft an essay. I am putting pressure on myself to make it good. This is not advised. First drafts and good are mutually exclusive. When I start an essay I am cranky until I have a solid draft. When I have a solid draft, I can fly. I can edit and […]

Preparation Not Procrastination

Looking for something to listen to as I dosed off — something that didn’t involve Trump news — I stumbled last night upon close to the opposite: “Roy’s Writing Tools,” a “podcast” version of the Poynter Institute’s Roy Peter Clark’s book, Writing Tools: 55 Essential Strategies for Every Writer. Exactly eleven years ago today tool […]

Attention!

Mindfulness is all the rage right now. Maybe it’s the contrarian in me, but for some time I have noticed a mild but adverse reaction arise inside when I hear that word. This even though I know — even though I have seen in my own life — that locating oneself in the present brings […]

Failure Is Definitely An Option

One thing I’m going to have to face is the fact that I’m going to come up short in this life. I am going to fail to create what I am capable of creating. Or — either that — I am not as capable as I think I am. I am not sure which it […]

Three Things

I have over time discovered that there are three things I must do each morning in order to have any semblance of a chance to win the day: Write something that moves me. Move me (work out). Take care of my dog (walks, meals, meds, bath*). While the dog still gets his daily doses, I […]

Happy Endings

I want to get better at ending my days. I have gotten pretty good at starting my days. I know the things I need to do in order to don my metaphorical suit of armor. Writing. Workout. Dog care. Go. I am less good at follow-through in the final hours. When fatigue has set in. […]

‘A Moral Obligation to Say What You Think’

I am working on a post about grief. It’s about grief I am experiencing in my relationship with my country. This grief did not begin with COVID-19 but its presence has become more identifiable to me in light of our nation’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s a challenging post for me to write. I […]

Blah, Blah, Blah

One of the constants with expression is that you don’t have much to say if you are talking all the time. Put another way, you do not have much in the way of outputs if your inputs are minimal or uninteresting. It’s the same for a writer as it is for a growing boy or […]

Frequency Redux

Ten minutes. Ten minutes a day. Let us say that is all the time you have to write. To lift. Consider: ten minutes a day adds up to an hour and ten minutes per week. An hour and ten minutes per week is more than sixty hours per year. How many words could you write […]

The Hemingway Way

Leave something in the tank. That is another parallel between writing and lifting. Both the writer and the lifter benefit when she or he learns just how hard to work. This means two things: (1) starting and (2) knowing the right time to stop. Let me explain what I mean by that. I carry with […]

Habit Forming

One way to form a habit is to make the matter your day’s first priority. If something is important to you, after all, you put your attention to it first thing. This is where the writer-lifter runs into trouble. For here’s another parallel: the later the day gets, the harder it is to lift — […]

Intensity vs. Frequency

There are two means by which one grows muscle: by lifting weights with intensity or by lifting weights with frequency. Intensity: you lift hard. Frequency: you lift often. While you can, of course, find outliers, generally speaking, that is the choice. You must take one approach or the other. That is, you cannot do both […]

A Thought While at the Pot

I don’t know if this is the case for other writers but I wonder if one reason we are notorious procrastinators is that when we are writing we are, by definition, in direct contact with our primary materials — the things that make us us — our core — our soul, if you want to […]

Writing and Lifting

Here are two things I must do daily in order to be me in the world: 1. Workout 2. Write With respect to the former, for a number of years now, at least seven, possibly eight, I have made it to the gym with clockwork consistently. Committed or should be is how I phrase it. […]

The Word is Sword

In our writing group the format is as follows. After intros and a reading of the rules, the organizer says aloud a word, one word only,, and for 30 minutes we write in silence. Most take up the word in some direct or indirect way, though it is not in the rules that you must […]

Hangover, Too

You can, of course, experience a hangover without having first consumed any amount of alcohol or drugs. The body reacts to just about any over indulgence. I staggered out of bed yesterday morning and tried to pry my eyes open — about needed a power tool — as lightning reflected through my living room window […]