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Blog Posts

[SWP: Behind the Book] Why I'm Telling Secrets

Posted by Colleen Haggerty on October 20, 2014 at 7:00am 0 Comments

I grew up as the peace-keeper middle child, wanting everyone to get along. I don’t like to ruffle feathers or stir the pot. And if conflict does happen, I’m the one who plays mediator, ensuring everyone’s viewpoint is heard. 

This all comes from my desire to be liked. I really want people to like me.  And yet I also have an intense need to be authentic, which creates inner tension for me. If people really knew the Real Me would I still be liked? Admired? Respected? For years I thought the answer was No, so I kept secrets about parts of myself.

So why did I decide to reveal two of my biggest secrets in my memoir, A Leg to Stand On? Perhaps being a contributor to the anthology Dancing at the Shame Prom (Seal Press, 2012) made me think twice—three times—about the shame I…

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Experience Required: Be All the People You Can Be

Posted by Anjali Mitter Duva on October 19, 2014 at 1:30pm 0 Comments

(Originally posted on bloom-site.com, an excellent literary site featuring authors who first published over the age of 40. As they say, "Late" according to whom? )

In my grandparents’ dining room in a suburb of Boston, there was a shelf devoted to the books by our family members. My grandfather was a poet—a witty, brilliant one, but also humble and unpractical, and so although there should have been many by him, there was only one book with his name on it, a delightful volume of light verse titled Shrinklits. Then there were books by my uncle…

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The Mindsets that Keep You From Starting (and Finishing) Your Book: Part I

Posted by Alissa Johnson on October 17, 2014 at 11:00am 2 Comments

Perhaps this sounds familiar: You have an idea for a book, and writing it feels like your next step as a writer. But you think about it more than you write. You can’t get past the first few pages, or you’re sidetracked by questions (memoir or fiction? real names or aliases?). Maybe you can see how it ends, but you can't get it there. You might even have a full draft tucked away in a drawer—you haven't looked at it in a long time, but it's always on your mind.

You're not alone. As a writing coach, I frequently hear from writers about their books and their frustrating lack of progress.

“If only I had more discipline,” they tell me. “Then I would finish my book.”

They sound sad when they say it, and I can hear the lack of faith in their voices. Like they'll never find the discipline. I…

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[Tips of the Trade] What Makes a Perfect Book Party? Count the Ways

Posted by Ellen Cassedy on October 16, 2014 at 12:30am 4 Comments

When my friend Jackie hosted a book party for me at her home near Chicago, she did everything right. 

 

No surprise, given her background. As the director of The Midwest Academy, Jackie spent years teaching people how to organize for social change. 

 

She brought all those skills to bear as she planned and executed the book party. It showed!

 

P.S. A lake was involved.

 

Here’s what Jackie did: 

 

1) She stepped up and volunteered to host the party in the first place--without my asking. What a gift!

 

2) She knew 25 guests would fill her living room, so she figured she needed to send out at least 140 invitations. 

 

3) She put together a short but terrific…

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