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Semi-Retired Hens: In praise of the best writing group

Semi-Retired Hens: In praise of the best writing group

One February morning last year, I shuffled along a snowy Toronto sidewalk, internally freaking out. I was on my way to the very first meeting of my new writing group. My friend Teri had set it up, and while I trusted her, I didn’t know what to expect. Would we all get along? Would I fit in? Would we be able to help each other? One year later, we have a name (the Semi-Retired Hens), our meetings are longer because of the ~30 minutes of general… (READ MORE)

The history of fictional worlds

The history of fictional worlds

In 2016, I wrote the following blog post for my history blog, The Small Histories. I was thinking about it again recently and wanted to share it here as well – book lovers will appreciate it! Also, I had to actually laugh out loud when I read “I’m not a worldbuilding sort of writer” – Oh if only the me of 2016 knew that worldbuilding would be ALL she’d do just two years later! June 27, 2016: I was about 13 years old the first time… (READ MORE)

My DIY writing retreat – what I learned

My DIY writing retreat – what I learned

In 2008, I booked myself a hotel for the night for a DIY writing retreat, after being frustrated at not being able to afford a traditional retreat, and also too impatient to wait for one I could afford. I’d been meaning to do it again since then, and last weekend I finally did. Here are my thoughts about my DIY writing retreat, what I learned, and what I’d do differently. (READ MORE)

A library clerk saves the day!

A library clerk saves the day!

February 29, 2016: A few months ago, I visited Ottawa and went on a guided tour of Centre Block (which is one of our Parliament buildings, for those unfamiliar). It was very interesting to see all of it, but my favourite was the Library of Parliament. There were many gasps from my group when we walked in, and I was definitely one of those people.

I mean, just look at it! (READ MORE)

My summer of sorta writing

My summer of sorta writing

It’s been fall for a few days now, and it’s probably the third one in a row where I can look back on my summer writing and actually feel fairly impressed. Usually, summer is terrible for my writing. In my part of Ontario the summers are scorching, humid, and long. Many people love this, but I tend to wilt and become sluggish and annoyed. In the past this has meant my writing becomes sluggish too, and I don’t really produce much of anything at all. However, since the year I started writing my first novel, not writing in the summers simply wasn’t an option. It just wouldn’t work. (READ MORE)

“Freedom is the best thing” – Reading ‘Tove Jansson: Work and Love’

“Freedom is the best thing” – Reading ‘Tove Jansson: Work and Love’

Written by art historian Tuula Karjalainen, Tove Jansson: Work and Love, as the title suggests, focuses on Jansson’s life as it relates to her work and her relationships. I knew a bit about her life, and I knew that she did more than create the Moomins (I own a few of her non-Moomin books and love them dearly), but her level of dedication to her work was new to me. From an early age, she knew she wanted to be an artist. She worked at it diligently, and was prolific across many creative fields. (READ MORE)

Stop calling yourself an aspiring writer (please)

Stop calling yourself an aspiring writer (please)

I hope this is a positive rant! I’ve just been noticing that a fair number of people on social media refer to themselves as an aspiring writer. They post pictures of their works-in-progress, they talk about story ideas they’re fleshing out, they talk with other writers, they even attend workshops and conferences.

And every single time, I wish I could tell them: You already are a writer! (READ MORE)