Zero to 60: Volume in Writing

From zero to sixty in just under a minute?  Sure, its no record if you’re a race car driver.  But for words on a page, 60 wpm ain’t too shabby. With a focus on workshop as our instructional model this year, a trend is emerging.  With the  structures of Daily Five lifted out of the…

Getting Started

There is barely enough space to write here.  Just enough for the screen in front of me, my forearms resting on the edge of the desk in front of the keyboard,  a store-bought coffee cup full of a homemade latte, and a small stack of notes that are now a few days old. Surrounding me…

Unearthed

A new string of planets was discovered orbiting the “habitable zone” of a distant star… A few years ago, I began a story about a girl who lives after an astronomical catastrophe has knocked Earth off its axis and affected the rate of its rotation.  I wrote about this girl for the good part of a year and…

The Writer’s Release

Angry, and it’s only Tuesday. I can feel it coursing through my veins like a toxic drug.  Feel the constriction across my ribs, the pinch in the back of my neck, the tension in my shoulders, the empty pit in my full stomach. For what? I’m not even sure I could explain.  For all the times…

First Pages

“You knew.”  It’s not a question. My voice carries across the room to where my father stands silhouetted in the doorway. Let me break it down for you.  Picture a room with no windows.  Synthetic sunlight streams in from the center of our world through a glass tube that plunges past each of the twenty…

At Last

It’s time to write my slice… Write after I eat dinner watch The Voice on DVR shop for dresses join a Twitter chat (#ReadingScience) shop for sandals unload the dishwasher try to register for a spring kickball league convince Cam to take a shower read last night’s comments answer to the cry for “Mommmmm…” diagnose the newest…

Scrapbooking

Today was an interesting day for me as a “slice of life-er” because for the first time in a long time, I didn’t come the page with even a shred of an idea.  I came, instead, tired and full after a day of errands and chores and bill paying. So I entered into a space…

Why Use a Thousand Words…

…when just a few will do? I tend to use more words–and in many cases, words strung together in sentences as long and as tangled as a string of Christmas lights–than are necessary to say what I mean.  And looking back at that last sentence, I can only say, “Ugh!  See what I mean?” Often it…

No Better Place

It starts with a word from Mary Pope Osborne printed on the back of an old Scholastic Book Club catalog cover: Before I know it, the door swings open to the courtyard and I am caught up in a stream of 4th graders rushing into the fresh August air. “Stop,” I say before the few stragglers can make…

Off to the Gym

One of the things I’ve realized about my own writing process is that–sometimes like working out–the hardest part is getting started. If that is the case, then the warmup–the entry point into the daily exercise–is even more critical than we ever thought.  The warmup is what gets the ideas–the writer’s blood–flowing.  Even when the movement…

Storyboard

I sit at the conference luncheon, enjoying Roland Smith’s tales of nature and preservation of species.  I always love hearing where authors get their ideas. This time last year,  it was Gary Paulsen who inspired me.  And this time, I can hear the familiar voice in the back of my mind. It is no longer discouraged that I…