a quote from my favorite author

“The most solid advice, though, for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep, really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive, with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell, and when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough.”

-William Saroyan, The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze

Thursday, April 9, 2015


4.9.15 | nothing

If there is one thing I have learned as a teacher of writers over the past 15 years it is this:
I have nothing to write about is never the truth.

I have nothing to write about is always code for something else.

Sometimes it means I don't feel like doing the hard work of thinking right now.
Sometimes it means I don't believe my thoughts, my ideas, my story is worth sharing.
Sometimes it means what I have to write is too painful to write about.
Sometimes it means I have compared myself to others and the monster voice in my head is overpowering the writerly voice.
Sometimes it means I have made a habit out of avoiding work this way.
Sometimes it means I am afraid to try and end up disappointing you.
Sometimes it means I have so many ideas I am overwhelmed.
Sometimes it means I will write tomorrow.    

Always it means writing is hard work.


  1. You are so wise in the ways and language of kids. Sometimes that nothing is so hard to decode.

  2. You have a special talent for looking below the surface and getting to the deeper meaning. It is something I deeply admire about you! Your understanding love pulses through your teacher's heart!

  3. Yep. Your translations run true to both young and adult writers. Having a list like this helps to think, "If so, then what?" and find solutions to get started - write small, write random, write lists etc. I so like your post. I can use it for myself and for my students.