The MVP (Minimum Viable Product) for Book Authors

What it is, why you should build one, and how it can spread your big, beautiful project.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how to set the stage for the release of a book I am writing, an 80s memoir about houses. The bulk of my proposal for this book is finished, but I find myself  digging into the section about author platform and thinking (and over-thinking) the many ways I […]

A Writer’s Cure for Insomnia

Sometimes it is not the opposite of the thing but the thing itself that is the solution.

I’ve had my fair share of bouts of insomnia. In some ways it marked the end of childhood for me, knowing I could no longer just fall asleep wherever, whenever.  Insomnia is the writer’s curse. It is a situation common to people who spend their waking hours imagining what-if’s and following their thoughts on long […]

That time I took 15 years to write an essay

The reason for memoir is the space between who you were and what you are now.

So here’s a story that basically encapsulates what it means to write memoir. My family has this zany ritual of visiting open houses but never actually moving. It emerged a lot from our love of spaces and more than a little from our long-held belief that life would be better if yada yada [insert your […]

The unexpected benefits of forgetting to save your work

I wrote. It disappeared. I wrote again.

The other day someone sent me one of those stories where a writer ran back into a flooding building to retrieve his laptop because it had something like a 200,000-word novel stored on it. The first thing I did was shake my little finger and say to myself: “Come on, man, Google Docs!” But even […]

Top tips for photographing Oregon ghost towns

Photographer Sheldon Traver his approach to finding life in dead places.

I’ve got a new story out about Oregon ghost towns and thought I’d check in with my friend Sheldon Traver about the best way to photograph them. Sheldon’s a professional photographer, so when his daughter was ready to do a senior portrait photo shoot, he jumped at the chance to photographer her at some of […]

In praise of the 100% Real Fake Book Cover

A little inspirational wall art never hurt anyone.

Things are getting real over at the Emily Grosvenor studio, ahem, in the corner room where I pound out my words every morning. So real, in fact, that I’ve made a real fake book cover for my current writing project. Why? I believe firmly in the power of visual dreaming. It’s been a bit of […]

The one big thing I do to restart my writing practice

After a hiatus of non-writing, the struggle is real.

You might recognize this feeling I’ve been having. The summer is ending and I am completely unmoored from my writing routine. My own reason is specific to the work-at-home mom whose kids are there all summer and who gets hammered with freelance work, but really, all of our reasons are the same. Life gets in […]

Come to my talk: Entrance Strategy for Writers Building Platform

I make the mistakes so you don't have to, and then I talk about them.

I’m talking writer websites this Thursday to a great group, the Washington County Writers Forum. As with all my talks, my goal is to give people in the audience actionable steps for making their big projects happen. Writer websites are a problem. Most are just placeholders, somebody out there standing in place, waiting to be […]