Elizabeth Barrett

Three weeks ago, I finished the first draft of my latest novel, Time Passages. I set it aside so I could empty my brain, get away from the story for a little while, and now I am waiting to begin again. This is always the tough time for me when I’m writing a book—putting it …

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I walk. It’s a defining characteristic, a must-do every day. These are not long walks, they rarely qualify as hikes, but for me a walk is frequently–maybe always–a creative walk. I read this article about walking about a year ago. I nodded in agreement through most of it, but was certainly surprised to learn all …

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The other day, I was waiting in a small parking lot to pick up a friend. A big black truck—so common here in New England—pulled in beside me. I had my car windows down to let in fresh air, but the pickup driver kept his engine running and had his talk-radio station on just a …

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     “Write what you know” is one of the more confounding pieces of writerly advice. It can, unfortunately, be interpreted as “write what you have experienced.” I say unfortunately because, for most of us, that would result in deadly dull fiction. I used to complain to my mother about having been raised in white-bread suburbia. …

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          No work of art is perfect when first conceived and first worked on. I’ve never been satisfied with a book until it’s gone through at least three sets of revisions. Eventually, though, I reach the final round, and solutions for all the remaining plot and character problems appear effortlessly. The final round can be …

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For most of my life, I never went anywhere without a book. I was always a great reader, as were my brothers, and on trips, silence frequently reigned in the backseat as we all read. This habit held me in good stead in college, where as an English major I had to read thousands of …

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A few decades ago, I read a publishing-industry report about how many times a paperback book was sold and resold and resold again. All those readers, yet the author only earned royalties for one sale. After that, I was careful about books that I bought secondhand—only authors who had sufficient sales and income, or books …

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When I decided to reissue all my previous publications this year, I actually started with my website. When my website guru, Julie, and I first designed this site, I was getting ready to publish two books, Lost Mothers and Every New Beginning. Now, however, there will be six more books. Julie and I agreed: time to update my website.

Many years ago, I published a number of books—five romance novels and Free Fall, a coming-of-age novel. Recently, I reread my first romance, Tailor-Made. I had forgotten how much fun I had writing it; and, considering it was my first book, it’s really quite good. Reading it again got me thinking. Maybe it’s time to reprint.

My urge to create can vary from a background murmuring, like a stream, to crashing ocean waves. When the waves hit, I have no problem setting myself in front of a notebook or computer and writing. But, if too many tasks in my everyday life smother that urge to create, until it’s barely a trickle, I can easily ignore my writing.

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