A reading event at the Breathe Conference

Last spring I attended a wonderful conference for undergraduate writers. It was Taylor University’s Making Literature Conference. I went to numerous workshops in which undergraduate writing students read original essays, fiction, and poetry. I enjoyed being back in a college classroom, among students, and around a generally academic atmosphere.

I attended two workshops during that conference that featured multiple writers. They read short pieces aloud which were thematically related (e.g. “Mixed Prose: The Body”). The sessions were typically 50 minutes long and featured three different writers. After all the pieces were read, the writers then participated in a Q and A session with the audience.

I found these sessions to be enormously meaningful. Watching another writer overcome their nerves and step out on a ledge (as it were) was inspiring. I found myself rooting for the students to read their work well. And the Q and A sessions afterward were encouraging and insightful. As an attendee I walked away charged up to go do my own writing and to feel more confident about sharing it with others. I imagine that the presenters felt their own confidence get boosted as well.

writers conferenceI liked these sessions so much that I pitched two of them to the Breathe Conference planning committee–and they said yes!

If you’re attending the 2015 Breathe Christian Writers Conference, and if you’d like to have an opportunity to share your writing publicly, please read this post on the Breathe Blog and submit your work. The full details are included here. I would love to see you at one of these sessions.

If you are introverted the way many writers tend to be, it will be a challenge. However, I can assure you, it’s one worth taking. And don’t worry. You’ll be among friends.


Sign up for the Next Jot Conference

My writers group puts on a bi-annual free event for writers called, The Jot Conference. We’ll be hosting the next one at Lowry’s Books and More in Three Rivers, Michigan on 9.12.15. Our seating is limited. So sign up today if you’re interested in attending. I’d love to see you there!

Don’t be the LEGO Movie Dad

I am a guest blogger today on a blog for gamers called 3-Sided Die. My post is entitled “4 Ways to Avoid Becoming the LEGO Movie Dad.” If you’re a gamer of any kind (video games, RPG’s, MMO’s, tabletop games, etc. etc.), and if you’re a parent (moms included), then this post is for you! I’ve posted an excerpt below. Read the whole post here.

Will Ferrell Lego Movie


I don’t want to be like the Lego Movie guy. You know the guy I’m talking about, the dad.Will Ferrell’s character.

Fictional characters are memorable when they’re built on a grain of truth. I think one of the reasons the end of the Lego Movie is compelling is because we all know someone just like that guy. [spoiler alert] We all know a dad who won’t let his kids play with his toys. A dad who has taken his hobby to a place where it’s not just a hobby anymore, it’s an obsession.

Is obsession too strong a word? Maybe, but hear me out.

Read the rest at 3-Sided Die.com

What is a Portmanteau Word?

A few editors at work recently led a training session on editing. They included this video by Anne Curzan from the University of Michigan and then led a discussion on portmanteau words. (If you enjoy learning about the English language and you’ve not watched any Anne Curzan videos then I heartily recommend them to you. Her TED Talk is excellent.)

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Short story published on Daily Science Fiction – “Buried in Sand”

I have the honor of being published today on DailyScienceFiction.com. I’m thrilled that they accepted my short story, “Buried in Sand.” You can read it here. 

167px-Small_flash_symbolThe editors at DSF asked for author notes about the story. You can read those at the bottom of the post. I thought this was a lot of fun to include and was grateful for the opportunity to share a few thoughts. I hope you enjoy them as well. (The Flash symbol will make sense if you read them.  :-)

Read on! Write on!



Are You A Writer Or Interested In Writing? Come to Jot

My good friend Bob Evenhouse posted an invitation to JOT #5. Hope to see you there! – Andy


Three years ago my writers group had a crazy idea. Hey let’s throw a writers conference. At first, it was cute. What did we know about launching a conference? Four conferences later, around two hundred and fifty people have attended Jot.

Regular attendees are budding poets and professional novelists. We’ve kept the conference free thanks to Baker Books House and the donations of time from the Weaklings writers group and gracious local authors.

This installment of Jot is tremendously exciting. We have an award winning illustrator and children’s book writer, an owner of a literary agency, a newly published novelist, and an established writer that volunteered their time to share with you what they know.

After the presentations there will be an opportunity to write in the cozy store or coffee shop or attend one of three workshops.

It’s a time to learn, meet, and write.

It’s on March, 13

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Perseverance in Writing

Perseverance is a restless state. At least for me it is.

Some writers write best when they are in their favorite chair with a steaming cup of coffee or tea nearby. They might also like to wear a comfy old sweatshirt or have an overlarge tabby purring in their lap. Their perseverance is fortified by the warmth and safety of home.

Others persevere at their desk, with a clear view out the window and a small lamp on. Their perseverance is more habitual, colder perhaps, but solid as poured concrete.

Still others persevere at noisy cafes. They need their laptop, earbuds, and the milling activity of strangers around them in order to write best. Their perseverance is fueled by a little controlled chaos.

Perseverance. Every writer needs it and can’t, in fact, succeed without it.

A saying popular at writers’ conferences goes like this, “You don’t find time to write, you make time to write.” Another writerly saying I’ve heard more than once is, “AIC: Ass in chair.”

Perseverance, for me, is a restless state of being. I mean this in two ways.

1) I’m always struggling with perseverance. Some days I’m on fire to write. Some days I’m not. Sometimes five pages come easily. At other times I can hardly write five sentences. Sometimes I’m emotionless, writing gray, egg carton words. Other days I’m livid or delirious or silly and end up writing junk food that leaves you hungry for something worthwhile.

Sticking with writing through these times – the doldrums of creatively dead writing sessions . . . the angry bursts of bitter, unusable paragraphs – that is perseverance. And I’m always taking it off and putting it on again like it’s a shirt I’m not sure I want to wear. But it should be my skin; always with me, always growing, bleeding and painful when cut.

2) Perseverance is also a restless sate for me because I have no special chair which draws out my best writing. I don’t have a routine, a dedicated space, or a certain way I write best. I often write standing up at my kitchen counter, until my feet hurt and I move to the sofa. There I loom over my laptop perched on an ottoman. After a while I get up, grab a drink, and head into the bedroom. I can’t write slouching against the headboard, so I sit with a straight back on the edge of the bed, writing until I feel burning in my shoulders. Then I head back to the kitchen.

Between paragraphs I change the laundry, start the dishes, fold the throw blankets, and perform any other random tasks while my ideas are forming. This may sound distracting, even unproductive, but this is how I almost always end up writing. This is what perseverance looks like for me. It’s a restless state.

What does perseverance look like for you? 

blank paper on desk

(photo unsplash.com)