Work in Progress #8: Through the Nitty Gritty to the Good Stuff

I’ve hit yet another “thin” place that I’ll have to thicken up with more research before I continue with my narrative outline of chapter 6. My subject took a “motor” trip from New York to San Francisco in 1915. It seemed like a bit of a lark that had nothing significant to do with the… [Read More]

Work in Progress #7: Writing Thin

As I was plugging ahead with the narrative outline for Chapter 6, I discovered I was “writing thin.” As thorough as I try to be with my research before sitting down to write, there are numerous spots along the way when my writing gets “thin” – it becomes hesitant, tentative, and starts to sound like… [Read More]

Work in Progress #6: Snails Take Heart!

I am a hopelessly slow writer. I set aside three to four hours each morning for writing and on a good day, I have one and a half typed pages to show for it. On a bad day, I can have two paragraphs. I never sit and stare into space. My fingers are always on… [Read More]

Work in Progress #5: A Masterpiece! (Or…Not)

Last Friday I came to the halfway point of my young adult biography. I finished chapter 5. I decided to go back and read the whole thing from the beginning. After focusing on words, sentences, and paragraphs for so long, it seemed like a good time to take a look at the Work as a… [Read More]

Work in Progress #4: Elizabeth Gilbert to the Rescue

Writers, like all who create, suffer mightily. We wonder if we will ever write anything “worthy” and, if we do come up with something that gets noticed, we wonder if we will ever be a second act. I’m told that the great Dr. Suess (a.k.a. Theodore Geisel) felt the Cat in the Hat constantly taunting… [Read More]

Work in Progress #3: Writing and Then Really Writing

Confession: I can’t walk and chew gum at the same time. Translation to my nonfiction writing life: I have trouble keeping piles of research straight while trying to write a decent story. Writing is often about solving problems of this sort and here’s an idea I’m trying that seems to be helping with this particular… [Read More]

Work in Progress #2: To Write or Not to Write

I mentioned in my last blog that I would talk about when to stop researching and start writing. The truth is, I’ve already started writing…but only sort of. I’ve found it really helps to get the first three chapters of a piece down as quickly as possible. So, as soon as I’ve read four or five key books on my… [Read More]

Work in Progress #1: Drowning!

I’m hard at work on a new young adult biography and drowning in research! Before I attempted my first longer biography (The Brave Escape of Edith Wharton) research for shorter pieces was a simple task consisting of three steps: create a list of the books and articles I needed to read, find the books and… [Read More]