Author Archives: meagh.ok

7 Reasons to Participate in #1LineWed


For those of you who aren’t aware of #1LineWed, it’s a weekly Twitter event, hosted by @RWAkissofdeath, in which writers share their work based on a theme. It’s a wonderful day, filled with candy and rainbows and happiness. Anyone can participate—so if you don’t already, start this Wednesday!

I love 1LineWed because it has reignited my love for writing, and the reason I started writing in the first place. Over the years, I’ve faltered, I’ve felt despair and hopelessness, I’ve wanted to give up. But 1LineWed came along and was all, “Hey! Look how many other people are writing! Let’s celebrate your words, k?”

1LineWed has shown me:

There are TONS of great writers out there.

Some of them are published, many of them aren’t. But isn’t it amazing? This community of people, each doing their own thing, while at the same time being part of something greater; looking at life through their own, unique lens, and sharing it with the rest of the world.

You can always, always, cut words and get the same meaning across…or better.

1LineWed is a rigorous exercise in getting a point across in as few words as possible. Sometimes you need to get really creative. Distill, distill, distill—and BOOM!—you’ve just Hemingway’d your own prose.

Sometimes you just need someone to say, “Hey, nice line!”

Yeah, yeah, yeah, rejection is part of the publishing game. But Jesus H., a little positive feedback never killed anyone. It’s not as if writers are going to get spoiled with it. It might just be enough to keep us from drowning in negativity, both self-imposed and external.

Sometimes you need to be the one to say, “Hey, nice line!”

Step outside of your ego for just one second. Lift another writer’s words through the Twittersphere with a like and a retweet (especially a retweet!), and maybe even a comment showing your appreciation. Celebrating someone else’s work can be more exhilarating than focusing, ad nauseam, on your own.

You have some writing crutches that have got to go.

Man, oh man, do my characters love to shrug and wink. They also like to reach out a hand. They like to have tears in their eyes. And sometimes I overlook entire senses when I’m writing description. What’s a world void of scent? A vacuum, that’s what.

You have some writing strengths that you can develop.

I’ve written some damn good sentences! Hallelujah! Maybe I’m not such a shitty writer after all, no matter what all those voices say. When you revisit your work from a different angle, without the pressure of story arc or publishing goals, you get a chance to appreciate what you’ve done. Maybe 90% of it needs work. Maybe 10% of it is good. Just on Wednesdays, focus on the good stuff.

You can never have enough writer friends (and if you can meet them without having to do dreaded small talk, all the better).

Every week I find writers to follow and some writers follow me, too. And then I’ve added to my rich tapestry of writer friends who are all obsessed with the same things I am, struggle with the same challenges, and get excited over the same nerdy details.

Happy writing and happy sharing!

goodbye timeline, hello creativity


Dear Timeline,

You are a meaningless fabrication. An illusion that there’s only so much of you and you’re running out fast. An unreliable measure.

You suffocate me and my creativity, timeline.

So I’m breaking up with you.

No more rushing to get to the end of writing a book. There is no end. No more calculating how many words in how many days to finish a first draft, a second draft, a polished MS, a query. No more lies about time running out.

No more false beliefs that the window is closing. The window will stay open until I find my way to it.

No more holding out for a book deal as savior. No more figuring out, “If I get an agent by x time and a publisher by x time, the book will come out in the year x and I should have another one ready by x.”

You have sucked the joy out of writing. And it was always supposed to be a joy. You almost took writing away from me altogether, you imaginary construct, you.

It might have taken me a long time, timeline, but I’ve finally come to see how you’ve abused me. There’s no room for you in my life any more.

I just don’t have the time.


the ordinary hero’s journey


“To evolve out of this position of psychological immaturity to the courage of self-responsibility and assurance requires a death and a resurrection. That’s the basic motif of the universal hero’s journey–leaving one condition and finding the source of life to bring you forth into a richer or mature condition.”–Joseph Campbell

I love this definition of the hero’s journey. Joseph Campbell said it best, unsurprisingly. When I read The Power of Myth, a transcribed discussion between Joseph Campbell and Bill Moyers, about the powerful role myth plays in our society, everything changed for me, in a literary sense. I could never reconcile the big heroes, the Odysseus and the Jonas and the Jesus, with my own small heroes, the characters I’m creating, who aren’t journeying to defeat an army or escape a whale, or aren’t sacrificing life for the greater good. Except that, metaphorically, that is exactly what my characters are doing. That’s how they see it anyway. And so should I. Recognizing the hero in my characters is like truly seeing them for the first time. So my Odysseus, in my current WIP, is a 14-year-old girl who feels completely unanchored in a falling apart ship in heavy seas. But the seas are the world around her and the boat is her disconnected family, and the girl’s journey never goes farther than along Route 22 on her bike.

I can’t choose the hero or the journey and then create it. I know some writers can. But I have to dive in, writing messy and unhappily, letting it marinate, skimming off the top, shaking and tossing and scrapping things along the way. And then I have to listen to it. I have to let it settle and see through to the bottom.

And it whispers to me, but I ignore it half of the time. Until I get a little more still. And finally I hear it.

It’s a long process with no guarantees. But it feels authentic and organic. So I’ve decided to trust it.

How do you figure out your hero? How do you know what journey he or she is going to take?

how to break through to the magic

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. You need this in your creative life. You need it now.

One of the basic tenets of The Artist’s Way is the daily ritual of the morning pages.

Three pages, stream of consciousness, handwritten. Every day.

What will you gain from morning pages?

a new relationship with creativity

saying goodbye to not feeling “creative enough”

a place to throw away your mental trash

deep insights into your true desires

pure permission to write horribly

devotion through ritual

the channeling of the story your soul is meant to tell

breaking through self-imposed walls




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make note: the image above is very pretty and neat and insinuates that morning pages are always enjoyable (which they are not), always serene (again, not), and best done with a pen in the shape of a flower (that may be accurate).