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Follow Your Mountain

Photo by Flickr user Tony An interesting thing about posting on the first Saturday of each month is that, every year, I get to write an article during the first week of the new year. For the last few years, I’ve written about setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, time-based goals. …

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The Forest for the Trees

One of the hardest lessons I’ve had to learn—and am still constantly learning—as a writer has been patience. Not just moment-to-moment, don’t-re-check-your-inbox patience, but long term, forest-for-the-trees patience. I have had to learn my craft, learn the industry, and then learn to readjust my expectations accordingly. I have had to …

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The Book Contract ‘Red Line’

Recently, I presented a research paper at a publishing conference which was themed around the experience of negotiating, and signing, book contracts. The paper, based on a series of interviews with Australian-based authors, publishers and agents, looked at all kinds of questions around book contracts. One of the questions which …

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The Inner/Outer Balance

Do you talk a lot about yourself, or are you the bottled-up type?  Which is better?  Which type of person do you suppose is easier for others to know? Talking a lot about yourself doesn’t necessarily mean that we know the real you.  By the same token, being tight-lipped could …

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Pursue Your Contentment — and Your Chaos

It is January 1st, and as I sit in my kitchen writing this, there is a strong wind outside. The bird feeders sway, unsynchronized; leaves I thought were long gone fly around the deck; a plastic saucer lacking a plant lifts briefly into the air before crashing into the glass; …

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Looking Ahead to 2019

Writer Unboxed will be on hiatus until 2019! We’re excited for what the new year will bring:  The 3rd WU UnConference (11/4-11/8/19); email us at writerunboxed@writerunboxed.com to be put on the early notification list. A healthy dollop of additional wisdom from David Corbett and Jim Dempsey, as they become monthly …

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Take a Moment to Enjoy the View

  In July, my husband and I had the opportunity to hike Mount Rainier in Washington state. At 14,411 feet, Mount Rainier makes our local Pocono Mountains look like anthills. Though our goal was not to reach the summit (because you need extensive training, special gear, permits, and serious survival …

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‘The New Year’s Eve of Time’

At the Temple of Poseidon at Sounion, south of Athens. Image – iStockphoto: ISO3000 The Heart of the Holidays One of the first extended efforts in features writing I did on the way to journalism, many years ago, included an effort to describe the peculiar sensation of the holidays. Across …

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Navigating Families in Fiction

Flickr Creative Commons: Josh McGinn On Thanksgiving Day, I was standing in my kitchen, chopping celery and contemplating the timing for dinner, when Joni Mitchell’s song “The River” came on and all of a sudden my eyes filled and I felt such a sense of loss I could hardly stand …

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A hook that breaks the Rules

               It’s a given in most writing circles that you should never open your novel with a scene in which little happens, especially if that scene involves a flashback.  This is normally good advice, but this morning’s passage is an example of when good advice should be ignored. …

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