Just Write

Fake it until you make it.

I facilitate Jumpstart writing workshops in Petaluma, California and here, online, with you. People new to writing have a hard time saying “I’m a writer.” So did I, until my writing teacher, Pat Schneider, made me say it out loud. And now I’m encouraging you to say it out loud. Come on. I’ll say it, too. I am a writer. Again, louder. I AM A WRITER. There now. . . and if you weren’t able to say it louder, fake it until you make it. No need to fake your writing. . . Just fake having confidence in your writing. And now . . . select a prompt and Just Write!

Book Reviews

The Guardian Herd Starfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez.

The Guardian Herd Starfire by Jennifer Lynn Alvarez. Jennifer Alvarez has an amazing ability to bring pegasi to life with believable dialogue and actions. This is a story of courage, friendship, loyalty and the difficulties of growing up. . . growing beyond childhood and accepting change, including death. — Marlene Cullen Starfire is a very engaging book for young readers, especially those that like horses and animals.  Alvarez creates a compelling society of Pegasi (mythical winged horses) to tell the story of growing up and what it means to follow your own path.  The main character, Star, is a misfit who struggles to find his place in the often harsh and hierarchal society of winged horses.  Grappling with his need to fit in despite the hatred and scorn of fellow Pegasi, Star ultimately learns about the transforming power of friendship and the importance of staying true to who you really…

Places to submit

Rejection . . . experience it, write about it, submit to Tin House

Tin House Magazine: We accept submissions September 1 through May 31, and, as always, our summer and winter issues are not themed. We consider each submission for all upcoming issues regardless of theme. If you wish to be considered for a particular theme, please make a note in your cover letter. We have provided suggested deadlines for each theme issue, but please be aware that these fill up fast, so get your theme-issue submissions in as soon as possible. Tin House has announced the Spring 2015 theme of Rejection. We are looking for fiction, essays, memoir, poems, and interviews about rejecting or being rejected. Rejection of, or rejection by people, animals, organizations, institutions, belief systems, physical locations, a calling—the theme is open to interpretation. Deadline is September 15. Click here for Submission Guidelines

Guest Bloggers

Guest Blogger Jennifer Lynn Alvarez talks about the importance of daily writing

The Importance of Daily Writing, by Guest Blogger Jennifer Lynn Alvarez Writing is an exercise that requires practice and training to build the muscle required to become a “finisher.” When I set out to write a novel after a fifteen-year break, I struggled to trap my imagination on paper. I wrote a few days a week, and it was mentally agonizing, similar to how I feel when I begin a new exercise routine for my body. However, I was happy to be writing again, and so I kept at it, but my writing routine was sporadic. I finished a middle-grade book, THE PET WASHER, in about a year, and it’s only 33,000 words. In January of 2012, I made a decision to write something—anything—every day. I announced this on my blog, and like any new routine, it was difficult to keep up at first. I didn’t have a book contract…


” . . the most important tool . . . to help me make the big choices in life.” — Steve Jobs

The subject of death may be uncomfortable or difficult for some. And yet, we are all going to die . . . some time. . . somehow. Next a quote from Steve Jobs, then a note from me. “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure — these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” — Steve Jobs Note from Marlene: Writing. . . letting others read your writing . . . can make you…

Just Write

Why do you write?

“Life often has a way of making people feel small and unimportant. But if you find a way to express yourself through writing, to put your ideas and stories on paper, you’ll feel more consequential. No one should pass through time without writing their thoughts and experiences down for others to learn from. Even if only one person, a family member, reads something you wrote long after you’re gone, you live on. So writing gives you power. Writing gives you immortality.” — Antwone Fisher, Screenwriter and author Note from Marlene: I write to get out of my head and onto paper. Writing, with a pen or pencil, is an extension of my arm. When I picture my arm, it’s elongated by the pen, which in my mind, is always there. Computer typing — same thing — the keyboard is an extension of me. Writing is as natural and as much…