it’s a trip . . .

tips, quotes, insights, and lessons about writing and publishing learned the hard way

Archive for writing habits

Literary Festival pearls

pearls of wisdom

pearl of wisdom -- no E-Z pass to publication

This month, the university where I work is hosting a literary festival. Two of the presenters this week, both published authors, impressed me, and I came away from their presentations with a few pearls to share with “It’s a Trip” readers.

Author and Pulitzer Prize-winner Richard Russo spoke to a crowd of 100+ Tuesday night. He is a man of good writing habits, setting aside time to write every day. Okay, he’s a full time writer. But anyone can carve out some time to write every day or every other day. And if you can’t or if I can’t–I think I am talking to myself here–I don’t know how I can expect to have success as a fiction writer.

Russo also read a story, which illustrated that some people look at things and find them funny and some don’t, and that he gravitates to the humorous in any situation. But that doesn’t make his take on life any less valuable than a serious person’s vantage point. I certainly am drawn to humorous, so I felt validated by his assertion that good writers can be funny, too, that they are not mutually exclusive. Sometimes I try too hard to be funny–I’ll concede that–but I do feel as though my writing has been  unfairly discounted because it’s funny. The judge in my long-running fiction contest over the last several months discounted my pieces as less worthy because they were funny.

Russo’s sharing his own vantage point he comes by naturally was validation for me to keep on being me.

The other writer/presenter who impressed me was Rachel Pastan. Rachel also is a creature of good writing habits despite having two school-age children who provide many distractions. Rachel’s publishing career is also a testament to perseverance. She wrote two novels which were never published, but she kept at it and finally published THIS SIDE OF MARRIED in 2003. Then she had to work hard to get a publisher to pick up her next novel, LADY OF THE SNAKES, in 2008. Rachel even suggested that it’s harder for a novelist to publish the second time around, that authors lose that luster of newness. I always thought it was hardest to get published the first time around. Hmmm.

She has impeccable credentials, including an MFA from U of Iowa’s Writing Workshop, the finest creative writing program in the country. But she still had to work for her success and is committed to working hard for her career.

Yes, as if we didn’t know as much, there’s no E-Z Pass to publishing success. I just like to remind myself of that from time to time.

  • Top Posts

  • my author bio . . .

    I began writing creatively three years ago, fueled by midlife and a Curves' addiction. Since then, I have published short work in The Christian Science Monitor and Sirens Magazine in the same year. How's that for versatility!
    Sirens Magazine

    Sirens Magazine

    Also the Duck & Herring Company's Pocket Field Guide, The Giggle Water Review, Alighted, Wet Ink Press, America's Funniest Humor, Brilliant!, Laughter Loaf, Flash-Flooding, and the Greensilk Journal where my short story, "How I Boinked John Cusack" won editor's pick.
    The Greensilk Journal

    The Greensilk Journal

    My newest novel, THE SHAKER PROPOSAL, has received numerous accolades, the latest a fifth-place in the 2008 annual NWA (National Writing Association) Novel Contest.


    I am a marketing professional by vocation (but not by choice). My husband and I live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania—the sounds, sites, smells, and flavors of which are a never-ending source of literary inspiration.