Friday, April 29, 2011

How Are You Spending Your Summer? The Value of Writer's Retreats

Like many creative artists who have jobs and families that demand attention, I sometimes dream of everything being quiet.  Of finally having time and privacy to get deep into my writing--without phone calls or texts or emails; with nobody to think about but my characters and the words they give me for the page.

Especially as we're coming out of a long hard winter here in New England, with the weariness that brings, I find myself dreaming of

Friday, April 22, 2011

Five Fundamental Practices That Keep You Away from Writer's Block While You're Writing a Book

It isn’t talent that makes an artist succeed. Talented people fail all the time. Success comes from belief in yourself, persistence with your craft, and a good routine—setting aside regular, sacred time to make art. To dedicate time, you must believe in your worth.

As the painter and author Frederick Franck wrote, “You shall not wait for

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Letting Myself Exhale--Celebrating the "Empty Nest" of a New Book

I've just finished a book.  No, I mean, really finished it.  The last change is proofed, the last word typeset.  It's on  It's being ordered by bookstores.  It's published.

It's completely out of my hands.

That's a relief, and it's also a worry.  No longer is

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Online Class--Your Book Starts Here--Begins May 16

If you're interested in studying book-writing with Mary, there are a few spots left in the Your Book Starts Here online class, beginning May 16.  Sponsored by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, this 12-week course is entirely virtual, so you can access the weekly lessons, writing exercises, videos and articles on writing, and more 24/7 from anywhere.  Limited to 20 writers.  Includes weekly feedback from Mary on your writing and a wonderful online community of fellow book writers at all levels.  For more information visit the Loft at and click on Online Classes or call the Loft at 612-379-8999.  Register soon if you're interested!

Researching Your Book--How to Do It, When to Stop and Get Writing

A children's book writer sent me the following question:  "I am interested in writing a non fiction book for 11-18 year olds and wanted to know how to go about preparing myself to do the research for the book effeciently?"  This writer had a timeline for her book and wanted to complete it by the beginning of December.

Research is both a blessing and

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Preparing for Publication--Writing Your Book's Premise and Synopsis

A reader from Minnesota has gotten interest from a publisher, but the publisher has asked for a written statement of her book--often called a premise statement--and a longer synopsis with market analysis.  Hers is a nonfiction book that straddles memoir and investigative nonfiction, and she wondered about how to put these two items together. Her publisher was specific:

1. Descriptive statement. Please provide a 250-300 word description of your book that includes