2013 Parting Advice

I’ve been following this fantastic series of writer interviews in The Atlantic.

As an end-of-year treat, they’ve bundled them all together. Dip in when you get a chance. Great writers, great insights.


Enjoy the holiday season and the final days of the Write Despite challenge. Stay tuned for our plans for the new year.




The 11th-Hour Gift Guide

hollyOkay, this is really late to post. But if you’re wondering what little trinkets to give the writer types in your life, you gotta check these out. Or bookmark for next year!


That waterproof shower pad is fab.

Also, and this is completely awesome, check out:


You can wear—WEAR—The Great Gatsby. The entire book—on a t-shirt. I love, love, love this thing. (But honestly, I don’t think the ENTIRE book is on there, do you???) Be forewarned: They run about a size smaller than normal and there is no stretch in the fabric. They also have posters. Yeah, baby.

So if you’re hard up for a last-minute gift, fork over the express shipping and snag one of these things. Or tell your SO you need one for yourself. Or a subscription to Writer’s Market, or your fave lit mag. Or a promise to take the kids for a whole weekend so you can have a stay-home writer retreat. Oh, the possibilities are endless.

Have a great holiday, everyone!

Social Skills

Social media is all-pervasive. It’s all about the platform these days, and most agents and publishers will expect you to have one. But sailing the social media seas isn’t always a smooth ride. For starters, there are just so many options. Which ones matter? And what’s the etiquette?


My good friend Bridgette Lacy, an ever-savvy writer/publicist based in Raleigh, N.C., was kind enough to pass on these tips from an NPR piece by Guy Kawasaki. Bridgette recently used them in a class she taught called From Books to Buzz: How to Promote Your Work.

According to his bio,  Kawasaki has 3,821,000 million Google+ followers, 286,000 Facebook subscribers, and 1,240,000 Twitter followers. He’s also the co-author of APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur-How to Publish a Book, which explains self-publishing, and he’s written eleven other books, including the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller Enchantment.

Please share the ways you promote your work? It’s an icy day in New England, so send a little warmth our way!

– Karen

Stick a Fork In Us

fork'‘Cause we’re nearly done, folks.

One more month! Can’t believe this challenge is nearly over. Write Despite officially ends on January 1, 2014, but we will still be around—won’t you? Still posting updates and tips and encouragement—guest bloggers and Q&As and other stuff so we can all still hang out together here in cyberspace and help each other through our masterpieces. We hope you’ll stick around too, and tell us how you did this past year.

And since it’s officially still November as we write this and we’re still in our post-turkey comas, we thought we’d spread a little love around and tell you all what we’re thankful for this season.

Give Thanks

Here are Karen’s Writerly Things to Be Thankful for:

1. The Microsoft Word text notes function. Because the editing process is painful enough.

2. Small presses. Where literature, not profit, is the bottom line. So many intriguing voices would never find their way into print in today’s market without them. Raise a glass this holiday season to all the unpaid editors and publishers in cramped home offices reading your work because they really do want to give you a chance.

3. Not having any writer Frenemies. I’m eternally grateful that I don’t belong to one of those writers groups where members rip your work to shreds in a desperate (and bitchy) attempt to feel better about their own. Trolls belong in closets.

4. Moms who write. I’ve got a number in my life, and these ladies have their shit together. Time management, love management, they do it all. I humbly observe and follow their lead.

5. Bridgette. Because she taught me this little trick for those days when you need a lift, such as when the agent who requested your full says she really loves it but just doesn’t think she can sell it. Put your bathrobe in the dryer for five minutes. Get it good and hot, then remove immediately and wrap yourself up. It’s like a hug from the sun. Breathe. Life goes on.

And from Cathy:

1. A clean desk (yes, I’m working on it).

2. Writer friends who read my work and tell me it’s great and say only words of encouragement to keep me going.

3. Writer friends who read my work and tell me it’s a huge pile of Oh-No-You-Didn’t and Stop-Screwing-Around-And-Write-Something-Decent-Will-You, because they are equally as valuable for getting me off my lame ass–or on it and in my chair.

4. A husband who encourages my work and lets me run away from the kiddos and out to Panera Bread with his laptop so I can get something done.

5. This blog, this forum, this great group of people we’ve met and this challenge that has opened my eyes and my mind and has helped me put things into perspective in a huge way. Thanks Write Despite. You’ve made a big difference for me these past few months.

Write well everyone. The finish line awaits!