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Deserving to Write

Half-knitted mittens with needlesWhat writer hasn’t worried that she is wasting precious hours working on a project that might never come together? We are conditioned to believe in our culture that work should be compensated by money, which in turn confers value and worth. When a writer devotes months and years to a novel, with no guarantee it will earn a penny, it’s logical, at some point, to question whether that effort is justified.

It is. We deserve to write. I’m not saying it’s right to neglect other responsibilities, but when writing expands… Continue reading

Managing a Writer’s Platform

Snowy ChairsWriters are often advised to develop their platforms so that when publishers consider buying a novel, they’ll see that the author already has a built-in audience, a direct connection to potential readers. I see the merit of this concept, and many authors are genuinely excited by the idea of reaching out on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and elsewhere to connect with friends, readers and influencers who can spread the word about their books. I have been in that mode, and it’s fun. If you’re there now, I salute you.

I think… Continue reading

Head Space

Low clouds over a freeway.Perseverance. It sounds like slogging through mud. On an empty stomach. But perseverance also provides purpose and the satisfaction of returning to the same difficult project that gradually yields to the effort. When you build a life around perseverance, if you dare to risk admitting to something so old-fashioned, your truth is so small, day to day. It’s so inconspicuous and personal. It’s a novel coming alive word by word, and then taken apart scene by scene and rebuilt and transformed. It’s finishing that novel and starting, good Lord, another… Continue reading

Writing YA When You’re Not a Teen

A friend asked me lately how I, as an adult, write YA. In particular, she wanted to know if I need to be around teenagers to write for them.

It helps, certainly. I taught high school English for years, I’ve volunteered with teen writers, I’ve raised my own kids, and I have teenage nieces and nephews. I once was a teen, too, which counts for something. Still, since I’m not around teens on a daily basis right now, I’m conscious of my limits.

For instance, I would not attempt to… Continue reading

Playtime is Messy

Messy ToysI like toys and colorful messes when I’m playing. When I need to concentrate, though, I often have to tidy up a bit so that I’m not itched by tippy clutter in the background. Similarly, I’ll make a list of pesky things I need to do and park them for late in the afternoon so phone calls or errands don’t chop up my writing time.

When I’m starting a new writing project, though, the mess is in my writing. I land in a world I can’t see clearly and start… Continue reading

Summering, 2020

Island Lake, MinnesotaIt’s hard to know where to start these days, isn’t it? Those of us fortunate enough to be well and working from home have seen the isolation of the pandemic’s early stay-at-home orders smear into the social distancing of the summer. The effect is a timelessness that’s difficult to explain or capture.

I’ve attended a couple of protests, an online bridal shower, a virtual conference, and a long-distance funeral, but most of the time, my days are defined by a sameness that blurs them together. I lose track of which… Continue reading

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Caragh's Latest Favorite Reads

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
Every Day
The Dog Stars
The Reinvention of Edison Thomas
The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie
The Fault in Our Stars
Two of a Kind
Until It Hurts to Stop


Caragh's books »

Audio Books

The audio books of BIRTHMARKED, PRIZED, PROMISED, and THE VAULT OF DREAMERS have been released by Tantor Audio. They're available through Tantor, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and Audible.com.
Book Trailer for Promised