Welcome to Writing School

I’ve written two novels. I self-published the first, and am in the process of doing the same for the second.

(I’m waiting on edits, and to finalize cover art. The back cover will include, “Best selling author (to friends and family) of Under the Same Moon. Because I am nothing if not self-deprecating.)

$1.50 transformed

The third book is in limbo. I have two ideas:

1. A lifestyle book including recipes, sewing and knitting patterns, and gardening ideas with a desert southwest touch

2. A female detective series set in Phoenix with a science fiction thread

A Book on Writing Letters: Must have

Here is what I know for certain:

1. I want to write full time as a novelist. Like, as a career. I would like to make up stories and have people pay me enough to live on it.

2. I don’t write enough to do this.

3. I don’t read enough to do this.

4. I need to be more disciplined.

5. I need to not let my insecurities about not having the talent, luck or contacts to make it big in publishing. There are rather awful things published daily. You’ve read them. I’ve read them. We’ve all picked up that book and thought, “The verbs don’t agree! How did this get published?” Which, sadly, soon seems to be soon followed by, “Wait! They are making a movie out of that utter nonsense?” (Only to then be followed with, “Gah. Of course it broke attendance records. Of course. Just of course,” as I hold my head in my hands.)

Tattered Cover

So, I’ve created a plan:

1. Every Friday until I get my butt in gear, I’ll write a blog post about writing. The topics will vary, but I hope to connect with more authors online and share writing routine tips, great resources, books we should all be reading, etc. Language is fluid. We can be good storytellers if we aren’t throwing ourselves into the magical, fantastic world of prose.  #writerschool

2. I will read at least 200 pages a week.

3. I will write at least 5000 words a week. This includes both blog posts and book projects.

4. I will connect with authors online.

5.  I will schedule  a writers’ retreat in Arizona with other friends working on being published. I have a fantastic group of women in Denver I got together with weekly for more than year. We shared our projects, edits and passion. We kept each other accountable. I sincerely miss this group for all of these reasons. I’d like to create something similar in Phoenix, and have everyone get together once a year at a long weekend retreat in the mountains where we share our stuff, including those ever elusive secrets of being published and the joy of finding your book on a stand in an airport. Or at Changing Hands. Or, who are we kidding: Costco.

Llamas or alapacas?My newest novel is set here: Bolivia. And you’re going to love it. Stay tuned.


The only way this plan will work is if I bear down and get after it. It would be even better if you’d participate too. Leave a comment if you are a budding writer. Tell me what you are struggling with, and share your successes. Tell me what you are reading. Tell me what you’d be interested in reading about around here.


Future Best Selling Author — to More than Just Friends and Family,


P.S. Min, this post isn’t entirely for you — but I hope Writer School is the nudge you need. You are one of the funniest, most poignant writers I know. We are all waiting on your book. And God knows if I can do it, you certainly can — and with more sarcasm and panache.




9 Replies to “Welcome to Writing School”

  1. Hi, Kelly:

    I’m a budding writer, too, and that bud has failed to flower for a couple of decades now. I love your idea about encouraging writers and building community with a weekly post. I’m getting ready to read some Barbara Pym. Have you heard of her? She was a British writer and is often compared to Jane Austen. Her story is inspiring to me because she continued writing despite struggling to get published and even when public attention to her writing ebbed and flowed.

    My struggle is committing my heart and time to writing when there are other demands that seem more immediately pressing. A recent cancer scare has made me reconsider the priorities in my life. Some day there is not going to be more time to finally turn out some writing. Writing is my one gift and probably the purpose of my life. So why am I not writing every day?

    I always enjoyed reading your “Sisters in Spirit” posts when I was participating in that. If you ever need a reader for your books, I’d be happy to volunteer.

    Looking forward to your posts,

  2. I think I have no time. Like Rhonda, there seem to be other pressing needs – sick parents, school-age kids that need help with homework and then driven to soccer practice. Then I’m stuck at soccer practice. Dinner. Oh, and work. I keep hoping Alice is going to appear at my door and take over the chores and make dinner but…

    I need to make time. Lots of women do it. It needs to move up on my priority list. I need to put my butt in the chair and leave it there for x amount of words! I have great ideas swirling in my head that need to go down on paper. Even if it’s crap – just get it out of my head.

    And I think I sometimes lack confidence – that I’m actually a better editor than writer. But then I go back and read stuff I forgot that I wrote and think, wow, this is pretty good, and then I’m even more impressed when I realize I wrote it!

    Just keep it coming. You inspire me with all of your efforts – crafty and otherwise.

  3. Such a great idea!! I might borrow/tweak a few of your rules and use them as my own. Did you know I once had a blog? Ha! I’d come to the retreat too if I could swing it!

  4. I am a budding writer and hope to be published someday. I have had poems published but would love to write a book as well…So many ideas floating in my head, I just need to force myself to actually just keep writing more than my blog and Facebook posts! 🙂

  5. I have been trying to do this for a while, I think I could use some feminine energy to help… most of my helpers/readers/editors have been male and I don’t think they are equipped to deal with my stories. I would love to be a part of something like this; I have been trying to write a magic realism story about growing up in Latin America… so, the genre might be hard for some to work with.

    I have an online group that we shoot for 40 days straight of writing once or twice a year, they are fabulous but I need something a little more face to face.

  6. Hooray Writer School! And I vote on a detective series. 🙂 (Is it obvious I just finished reading a Sherlock Holmes book?!)

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