Be kind to the journalists

At the end of this election, I have one request: Be kind to each other.

Be kind to those who are different from you. Be kind to those with whom you disagree.

And be kind to the journalists, too. Please.

I say this as someone who works as a copy editor in a newsroom.

People don’t always like what we publish, and that’s OK. We don’t always like the things we’re covering, but we cover them anyway.

But there’s no reason for any of us to be unkind just because we don’t like something.

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Five Ways Word Games Have Helped Me As A Writer

I play a LOT of word games. My mom introduced me to them when I was a kid, and my husband and I have played them together since we first started dating.

The porch of a cabin in Arkansas made a serene Scrabble setting.

The porch of a cabin in Arkansas made a serene Scrabble setting. (My husband probably won this game — he’s really good.)

We took Scrabble with us on our honeymoon.

Zip-It rides along in my purse on nearly every road trip.

We’ve taken Boggle to a pizza restaurant.

And when we’re visiting my side of the family, we almost always play a game of Bananagrams.

I enjoy word games purely for the fun factor. But the more I’ve thought about it, the more I’ve noticed that they’re actually good for my writing. Some of the same skills used in playing these games can be applied when it’s time to put pen to paper/fingers to keyboard. Here are just a few examples.  Continue reading

Guest post: What do you do?

Kelsey Professional Head ShotIt’s my pleasure to welcome my good friend Kelsey Gillespy to the blog today. She’s in the midst of writing a dystopian trilogy, and her short story “Until He Was Gone” was recently published in the anthology Birds of PassageYou can find more of her heartfelt words on

“What do you do?”

That’s THE question of adulthood. The go-to icebreaker. The one everybody asks.

Most people have a ready response.

“I’m a teacher.”

“I’m a nurse.”

“I’m an [insert job here].”

As though what we do from 9 to 5 defines us. Perhaps that’s why I found it extremely difficult to call myself a writer, especially when I first started my career. Continue reading

Why I started reading the acknowledgements

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From bottom to top: All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum, The Plum Tree by Ellen Marie Wiseman.

I used to ignore the acknowledgements section when I read. It was just a long list of names and organizations, peppered with phrases like “indebted to” and “this book would not have been possible without.” What mattered to me was the story.

But since I’ve started working on more writing projects, inching closer to my goal of writing books and getting published, I’ve been paying attention to these often-skipped sections. As I’ve read them, I’ve learned something.

In their own way, the acknowledgements are part of the story.
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