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Guest Post: Traveling the Publication Road

Enough about my journey to book publication. Let’s hear from another author, novelist Sheila R. Lamb. I first encountered Sheila on Twitter in 2010. We were on the same road, creative writers looking to grow. Since connecting, we both researched, enrolled in, and graduated from low-residency MFA programs. We also both became published authors (well, […]

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5 Blog Posts that Keep Readers Coming Back

One common misconception I find many of my Loft blogging students have is that they believe their blog is like a book written in real time, with each chapter building upon the last. I have to point out to them that unlike a memoir, where you read from beginning to end, with each post you […]

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MFA Nugget: Down the Rabbit Hole

Fans of my MFA Nugget series–posts sharing the wisdom and personal experiences of my on-site Vermont College of Fine Arts MFA residencies–likely assumed there would be no more such posts after I graduated last summer. Well, I’m delighted to revive that series–for one post at least–with a guest blog by J.M. Cooper. J.M. currently is […]

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Why I Left my Literary Agent

It was the hardest professional decision I ever made. Harder than leaving a stable think-tank job to join a start-up as its CEO. Harder than walking away from that successful start-up four years later to answer the call of an art-committed life. After three years of labor, with the finished memoir in hand, I chose […]

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Celebrating an Escape into Fiction

News flash: A compelling novel can magically transport you to another world. Apparently this lifelong reader needed that reminder this past weekend. I’ve been feeling creatively underpowered, as I’ve written, but I’ve also been physically unwell and busier than usual at my day job. So this weekend I traveled to a dystopian future world called […]

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Creativity and the Aging Brain

“Don’t imagine you’ll have it forever. Use it while you’ve got it because it’ll go; it’s sliding away like water down a plug hole.” So said Nobel Prize-winning novelist Doris Lessing of creativity. The author of The Golden Notebook, who passed away recently at the age of 94, said this five years ago when describing […]

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How I Failed to Avoid the Post-MFA Slump

I have a confession to make. It has been six weeks since my last serious effort at creative writing. One thing I’ve learned from interviewing artists is that even the best of them sometimes find themselves in a slump. And we can be very supportive of each other in these times, as I discovered when […]

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The Elusive Nexus of Creativity and Mental Illness

She insisted she killed people with her mind. She was a creator and destroyer of worlds. She also found new ways to comprehend the wisdom of Aristotle and earned four prestigious academic degrees across varying disciplines with top grades and high achievements. She struggled with a diagnosis of schizophrenia yet created a life for herself, […]

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How I Came to Embrace Goodreads

I can barely keep up with Twitter and Facebook, so when I accepted a friend’s invitation to join Goodreads–a social media network dedicated to books–I did so with reluctance. For months I allowed my account to remain idle. Then I searched Audible for a good audiobook to download for the long drive to Montpelier, Vermont, […]

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4 Steps To Slashing that Manuscript in Revision

My mission: Reduce a 384-page first-draft memoir manuscript to 300 pages. Why? Because I know a tighter book will be a more pleasurable read, and because I know it will be easier to sell a shorter book to a publisher than a longer one. I’ve spent the last two months revising the memoir I wrote […]

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