Medicine for Writer’s Block

IMG_0946When you reach a boring spot in your story and lose interest, it’s writer’s block.  Act fast or you’re trapped, maybe for years.

Everything is on the line, so go ahead, let the dogs out.

Opinionated propaganda stories don’t work for readers, but a little of that sort of thing saves blocked writers. And you can always go back later and clean up your ugly mess.

Writer’s block is simply your subconscious mind feeling that she has no dog in the fight. Nothing to win or lose.

To cure it, you let the dogs out.

I write fiction to show my heart, soul, and ideas to my great grand kids – not to whine about gun control, tax code or space debris. And yeah, I want to write a page turner not an opinion piece.

But, like all writers, I have strong opinions.

If you had a friend who understood you, what would you talk about?

For me, it would be psychology, religion, scientific enigmas, writing songs, being funny. And we would come around to discussing my life of self-inflicted suffering…

I’m a doctor.  There’s a special hell for us – life sacrifices, the physical and emotional abuse of training and the disappointment of finally, in your 30’s, landing your first job and discovering a new brand of misery: Being despised by people you care about and want to help. Being legally held to perfection and to a computer’s efficiency.  Living society’s guilt trip: “If you had a conscience you wouldn’t make money by taking advantage of people’s suffering, you’d work for free.”

President Obama implied that we cut off healthy legs and tonsils for an extra buck. Nobody blinked.

For me, I chose this profession to become a medical missionary. The childhood dream carried me along for so many years. But reality struck in my last year of college when I realized that even missionary doctors have to somehow be paid for their work, or they can’t continue. And they have to be hated for being paid. It’s the law.

My dream died, but it was too late to turn back. I’d spent my whole life (since 8th grade) studying like a madman. Few on earth have a clue what that’s like for a person without a nearly photographic memory.

I specialized in pathology. And I get paid.

How do you feel about your paycheck? I feel guilty. Thankful, too.

And maybe “there’s a reason for everything” because there’s an upside to all this nonsense.

As a writer, every strong feeling or opinion is the cure for writer’s block.

You have your own unique suffering. Mine is a piece of cake compared to yours, but that’s irrelevant. Mine is mine. I care about it.

And I use it when I’m in trouble.

When you’re blocked, use yours. Your subconscious mind would like to get things out, I’m sure. Turn the air blue!

Last week, two of my characters were stuck in a concrete conversation on a plane from Portland to Honolulu. I lost interest and felt the familiar early signs of writer’s block.

Some how-to books on writing say that every chapter should have a hook, a climax and all that.

Why not?

From that perspective the chapter was hollow…

1. Max didn’t want anything desperately.

2. There was no organic conflict or fear.

3. There was no interesting idea or theme coming through.

4. There was no ticking-clock phenomenon.

5. There was no hook at the beginning or cliffhanger at the end.

I worked up a few ideas for problems 1 and 2, but nothing happened.

Then I hit problem 3 (no interesting idea or theme)…

I listed some things. Here’s that list, verbatim:

“The nature of reality based on quantum physics and consciousness.  The existence of a creator.  Genetics.  The Ten Commandments.  Forgiveness.  Sociopaths.  Standing up for yourself.  (That would be ironic.)  That’s perfect!”

When I thought about standing up myself, I wanted to write.


All my life I’ve failed to do it. I’ve trashed decades under the spell of a lie that says taking abuse makes you a better person.

Example: I never saw a penny of my sizable inheritance because I wouldn’t fight to get it.

Most of my life I was a fundamentalist: Jesus didn’t say a word when they came after him, why should I?

The point isn’t about my stupidity or my, no doubt, idiotic distortion of Christian fundamentalism.

It’s simply that I wanted very much to have my characters discuss false martyrdom and the virtue of standing up for your own interests. Maybe hearing it would help some reader someday!

I started writing furiously.

New ideas came. The villain would sit next to Johanna (my precious protagonist). Since Johanna hadn’t seen the villain yet, she wouldn’t know who she was talking to. They would talk about “sticking up for yourself.”  This would give depth to the final scenes where the two clash.

I wrote all that day without noticing a minute’s work. All fun!

Oddly, I was so excited about Johanna talking freely, heart-to-heart, with the villain that I forgot to bring up false martyrdom and self-preservation. Later I came back and tucked in a tiny little bit of it gently. That may have been the opposite of what I should have done, but hey, call it a “theme” and it’s supposed to be OK.

Obviously there’s good reason to avoid “message fiction.” Preachy stories, especially political ones, don’t carry readers off into magical worlds.

But when you’re blocked, you have to break the rules or the rules will break you.

Never be silent. The rest of us need to hear your voice telling us what you’ve seen and felt. I’d rather you blatantly preached to me than sat staring at your computer wondering why your story died.

M. Talmage Moorehead

By the way, I recently wrote an ebook for fiction writers. (It’s free: here.) The MailChimp software requires a real email address, but you can fake your name, then “unsubscribe” as soon as you get the download. That way I’ll never see your email address. At least I don’t think I will.

Anyway, if you don’t “unsubscribe,” don’t worry about privacy. I won’t share or sell your email address. It’s been months since I started this mailing list thing (as of January 2015), and I still haven’t written a single email to the list, so no worries about spam. After all, what would I say at this point? “Thanks for your eternal patience. I’m re-writing Johanna as a 5 year-old this time. Should be done in twenty years. Mahalo.” Haha. I am truly slow.

Why the First Chapter’s Different


The first chapter has to create a main character that’s worth caring about in some way.  That sets it apart.  Miles apart.

A main character has to be “sympathetic,” they tells us.  Not parasympathetic.

It means that your hero needs to be a victim in some way.  Big or small.  He doesn’t have to feel like a victim.  It’s better if he doesn’t.  But there’s got to be something to feel sorry for him about, even if he’s a serial killer like Dexter.

You need to find something personal (to you) that’s also happened to your hero.  That way you’re an authority on this kind of victimhood.

The elites harp about the importance of the author’s voice.  “Voice,” in my humble and yet infallible opinion, is simply a matter of how confident you are when you write.  If you stay close to home with your hero’s brand of victimhood, your writing will have a ring of truth and authority.  That’s your voice.

Otherwise, it’s tougher.  If you’re a better writer than I am, which you probably are, don’t worry about being the same brand of victim.  If not, I’m saying it’s better to stay close to home.

“Sympathetic,” as it applies to your hero, also means that he has a character flaw that your reader can relate to.  You lie a lot?  So does your hero.  It’s simple.

You’re loyal to your friends through thick and thin – “unless they piss you off.”  That’s just like your hero.

You can never admit to yourself when you’re wrong?  Sorry, your hero can’t be like that because, as far as you know, you’re not like that either.  You’d probably have to know somebody well who’s like that before you could write that sort of hero with any confidence or insight.

Sometimes you need a hero to carry out a plot climax that a person like you shouldn’t try at home.  You have to look outside yourself for this, of course.  But where to look?

Find an interesting quirky tough-enough person whom you know well, and maybe base your hero on her.  Or…

Read “Please Understand Me,” by Keirsey, and figure out what type of person your character ought to be.  This book shows you how to categorize personalities in a way that’s useful for creating characters in three-dimensions.  It gives you a glimpse into how differently the basic personalities think and feel. It was an eye-opener for me in my 20’s.  Wow.

For instance, I’m an INFJ.  The third letter, “F” is telling.  People with a “strong F” find it impossible to boss people around at work or to be tough-minded with children at home.  The second letter, “N” indicates that I’m more interested in theory and possibilities than in concrete things.  Small talk is almost like work for me.  I’ll talk all day about my narrow range of theories. The weather?  Football?  A good restaurant? When people bring up this kind of stuff my mind goes sort of blank.  I have to concentrate to think of something “normal” to say.  “Yes, just look at that rain!  Unbelievable.”  Once in a while, people will say I’m a good listener.  But it’s code for boring.  The truth is, I’m not boring.  I’m merely an “N” talking to an “S”.  But I digress…

These eight letters INFJ and ESTP (their 16 possible combinations, actually) are derived from a simple test.  If you don’t want to get labeled, don’t take the test.  Just read enough of the book to find your hero.  It will tell you organic details about your hero that you didn’t know.

“Put your hero in jeopardy.”  That’s great advice.  (Wish I could give credit to the person who said it on a CD I heard recently – bundled with a program called Power Structure – but that would take more time than I’ve got right now.)

When the reader sees a perfect stranger about to become a victim of something evil, presto, the stranger is a sympathetic character.  This is magic, almost.  You might use it early in your first ten pages.  Spell it out clearly, if your story allows it.

OK, so you’ve got a sympathetic, flawed character with a genuine personality type (including the appropriate emotional baggage) and someone evil is about to drop a piano on her head.  But that’s not enough.

The first chapter has to make that character interesting.  Here are some hack thoughts:

Have her say something enigmatic, maybe, like…  “Inspiration’s wings are clipped every morning by these fools.”

Have her say two things that are funny.  If you can write humor, that is.  They say humor’s the toughest thing to write.  I wouldn’t know, obviously.

Your hero’s heart melts when he sees a cat.  He’s buff.  He’s a decorated firefighter – fearless, sometimes so brave he’s a danger to himself, but… watch how he picks up this cat.  Like your grandmother.

Say your hero is deathly afraid of heights so she pays a personal trainer to blindfold her and put her in a plane with a parachute on her back.  He pushes her out.  They do this every Saturday.  It never gets easier, but she won’t give up… because there’s a secret she’ll only tell the reader.  It’s about her brother… before his psychotic break.

Or something like this… Your hero’s got a photographic memory for two-dimensional patterns, but can’t remember people’s names worth a darn.

Your female hero’s job requires her to stay in incredible shape.  She runs like a deer.  She’s cut from steel.  If she collapsed on the job, people would die.  People have died.  She’s a scrub nurse at an odd sort of place they’re still trying to keep secret.

OK, your first chapter’s got a specific type of hero who’s a victim of childhood violence, has a wicked temper if you cross him, talks baby talk to any cat he sees – even in front of outlaw bikers – and currently there’s a bad-guy plotting his downfall.  But that’s still not enough.

The hero is three-dimensional, yes.  He goes up, down, sideways, back and forth.  But there’s the four dimension.  He needs to show his past to the reader and then confide that he’s afraid of his future.  Fear is essential, they say.

First-chapter backstory must be uniquely odd and moving.

When I say “odd” I mean novel.  We’re writing a novel.  I think there’s such an emphasis on making things “believable” that we forget it’s a novel not a biography.

I can believe that your hero spent ten years working a desk job and coming home most nights to watch TV with his hamster.  But I won’t read about it.

A hero needs a first-chapter backstory that’s riveting – odd and interesting enough in and of itself to hook an average reader like me.  If you let up, if you get lazy, if you get self-conscious and don’t want to hear your sister say it’s not believable, you’re going to bore me and a lot of dumb guys just like me.

Sure, brilliant people – they’ll read anything.  But have you ever met one of these people?  No.  They both live in London.

First chapters tend to be boring because:

1.) The reader doesn’t care about the hero yet.

2.) The first chapter must be backstory-heavy.  (Backstory is boring unless you come up with something truly special.)

3.) First chapter action is relatively weak, meaningless and impotent.  (Only the later chapters can hold readers with action, suspense, love, little-known information, and insight into the human condition.)

4.) Showing is better (for the reader) than telling, as a rule, but in the first chapter, no matter what the euphemism, we have to tell enough about our hero to get readers to care.  (“Telling” is boring unless the information you’re telling is mesmerizing.)

Anyway, take the word of a slow reader and hack writer who’s never been published…

You need to dissect that first chapter as if your career depended upon it.  It might.

I’ve heard it said that the gatekeepers to this profession become sort of black-and-white thinkers after a while: “You can either write or you can’t.”  Apparently they make most of their negative decisions about manuscripts after reading the first few paragraphs.

Some heretics claim that their decisions are not based on the beauty of your language, the depth of your vocabulary, the freshness of your verbs, your clever twists of phrase, the absence of adverbs, the length of your sentences, the avoidance of simile, the avoidance of alliteration, or even the lyrical cadence of the words you’ve obsessed over.

I hear that if you want to make a living doing what you love most, it’s all about emotion and how quickly you, the writer, can evoke it.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Writing Two Things for Magic

Ordinarily the mind can only have one emotional focus, they tell us.  Nothing so simple is true, but this time it’s a useful rule of thumb, I think.da bears


People don’t read fiction to meet the ordinary.  It’s novel or nothing.

One thing that’s novel is getting the reader’s mind to experience two things at once – two emotional foci.  It’s not ordinary.

People’s favorite songs tend to have two simple melodies (or things like melodies) going on simultaneously.  Descants are a good example.

Another example: The bass line in “Billy Jean” is the second “melody.”

Skim the next paragraph…

The simple chord progression “melody” plays against the vocal melody in Manson’s “Great Big White World.”  If you google and play it, it’s this part: “All my stitches itch, My prescription’s low, I wish you were Queen, Just for today…”.

I’m not a Manson fan, just an over-analyzer.  It’s not healthy, but neither are Ruffles.  I do both.

Nothing but hard-guy here.

In fiction writing, take it from an unpublished hack: making two simple things happen at the same time carries the dogmatic possibility of magic… maybe.

Some obvious examples…

While the hero fights and argues through the plot, she’s falling in love with her side-kick.

While the caped hero fights the embodiment of evil, the two titans discuss mutual back story: “Philip, you’ve changed…”

Maybe that was Eddy Murphy.

Here is a subtle example of “writing two things”:

In front of a huge crowd the hero is screwing up a speech she’s been worried about for weeks.  She’s getting some numbers wrong, mispronouncing a bigwig’s name, and having a sugar crash because she’s a borderline diabetic who just ate half a box of donuts in the throes of back-stage anxiety.   She’s living a fear that’s worse than the fear of death for some of us:  the fear of public humiliation.  While this is happening, someone has switched out her power-point presentation on programmed trading and replaced it with pictures of starving children from rural Africa.  She’s trying to stop the slides, but her enemies have complete control of them.

The reader feels your hero’s horror and at the same time the reader feels his/her own strong compassion for starving children.  Two things felt at the same time.

OK, I guess that wasn’t subtle.  Let’s try again…

The hero is hiding in a small cave on the beach at night, shivering and dying of hunger.  He’s sneaking a look at the pirates not so far away who have a big fire going, a dog and a pig roasting, an endless supply of rum.  He hears a squeak beside him in the rocks and sees the cutest little mouse looking at him with those innocent child-like eyes and those tiny, almost human hands working at his whiskers.  The hero takes off his coat, throws it over the mouse, crushes it in his hands and eats it raw, tail and all.

Your reader feels the hero’s hunger and hates the callous injustice of pirates.  At the same time, similar feelings for the mouse arise against the hero.  Finally this conflicted feeling is met by the repulsion of killing and eating a raw mouse.

Still not subtle.  Dang.  Maybe…

Your hero is giving his dog her favorite dish.  She gobbles it down wagging her tail and glancing up with the heart-warming smile of a chocolate Lab.  But the delicacy she’s eating smells like rotten fish.  (Two things: two opposing emotional perspectives at the same time for the same thing.)

I’m not a rap fan yet, but… The best rap music has two simultaneous “melodies,” in my opinion.  The interestingly rhythmic (spoken) rap section echos in my tiny mind as the intervening melodic (sung) chorus floats by.

One head, two things.  It’s almost as if our brains had two hemispheres.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Description – A Modest Proposal

First, make the reader focus at near objects with minute detail, and also at far-away objects.  This is a type of contrast that gives a 3D image to your work.

Next, remember that some say the only purpose for description is to create a mood or a feeling.

I would suggest that there are two components to this:  first you draw something with the potential to carry the elements of the mood you want to transmit.  Then you do something to transmit it.

Let’s say you want to create a dark place where some sort of nebulous danger awaits.

First you draw a mental picture of the things IMG_0940you want to see.  But to do this well, you might want to brainstorm it by listing a bunch of mood objects, noises, smells and textures that might be found in this sort of place.

You might make one of the objects symbolic of or related to something in the hero’s life…. The hero lost her daughter in a fire she caused by falling asleep while smoking, for instance.  So here in this solitary dark room there is an antique doll, a hundred years old if a day, with cigarette burns on its belly and chest.

You’ve got your list, you pick out the best stuff, make a mental image of the room and start putting the stuff where you want it.

It’s going to be effective if it’s not too wordy, not too long, not too static, and has objects that are interesting in and of themselves (so the reader is not just interested in getting through the boring description).  Example: in the “secret” chamber of the empty jewelry box there’s a tiny gyroscope, a child’s toy from an era where subtlety existed, even for children.

Don’t groan, that’s rude.

Now I’m thinking the next step is to somehow transmit the feelings of this room to the reader.

To do this, I don’t know. But I have some suggestions, at least.

Make the hero’s emotional reactions subtle, less than you hope the reader will have.

Bring the viewpoint character in with his back exposed to something that he and the reader disagree about. Perhaps the hero doesn’t think the object to his right is anything special so he looks away.  But the reader is more concerned about some detail the viewpoint character cavalierly described and dismissed.

Have your hero fixate on one object.  Maybe she stops and back-stories on the object’s history – briefly.  Maybe the object falls from her hands and cracks on the floor.  If so, it was expensive and now she’s worried about having to pay for it. Now you have two worries going on at the same time.  This is like real life!  And two worries amplify each other.  The reader is worried about “what’s behind the door,” and the hero is worried about paying for something she just broke.

That reminds me…  Naah, I’ll write about this later.  But for now, I just want to say that the human mind finds it exhilarating to do two things at the same time.  For instance, most of the best songs have a place where two melodies are going on at the same time – or two melody-like things.  They tend to be simple melodies that are down to a level where the average person and I can keep both melodies going at the same time in our heads even after the song’s over.  The same kind of thing might just apply to writing fiction.  I’m too much of a hack to know, but since I’m infallible and fearless, I’ll write more about it later.

Description is, according to one guru, the place where the magic happens in a story.  I don’t know, it could be.  I tend to write pages of “talking heads” sometimes.  You know, pages where one guy talks to the other and nothing else happens?  Then I go back and it feels like work to put in descriptions of things here and there, just for the sake of making the talking heads seem attached to chairs and whatnot.  I’m not going to be able to write great description while I’m struggling to write decent dialogue.  But, if I can make the process of writing description more interesting, it will be more fun and better for the reader (that theoretical person).


M. Talmage Moorehead

“Adverbs are Not Your Friends” Except When They…

8-2010 Coeur d'Alene--Alanna's 011


“They moved wordlessly to and from the tables they were waiting.”  Hmm.  Is there a single verb you could use to get that idea across?  They sneaked?  No.

I listened to an excellent tape where Stephen King read his own non-fiction book on writing fiction.  At one point he said, “Adverbs are not your friends.”

Yet fiction writers use them effectively sometimes.  I think I may have an idea worth sharing on this.

An adverb that adds something to the verb other than simple modification seems sometimes indispensable.  Maybe the secret rule is that “adverbs should be avoided except where indispensable.”

An example from “Hunger Games” by Collins is, “[They] move wordlessly to and from the table…”.  When your people walk and you want to modify how they’re walking, the books will tell you not to find an adverb.  They don’t want you to say things like, “They moved quickly down the hall.”  They want you to find a stronger verb that means, “moved quickly.”  Like, “they ran down the hall.”  OK, I’ve got no problem with that.  But…

In Collins’ example above, I learned something from, “moved wordlessly.” I noticed that the adverb adds something to the walking that IS NOT about the act of walking.  This may be the key to using adverbs (as opposed to pretending they don’t exist, which is what I’ve been doing for years).

And, of course, being an unpublished hack writer, I’m always right about these sorts of things.

Let me see if I can think of other examples of this new adverb usage principle…

“She diced the eggs mindlessly.”  That works, maybe.

“She diced the eggs rapidly,” does not work because the adverb doesn’t add a new dimension or a new unrelated thought to the verb, “diced.”  Zat make sense?

I remember reading a novel in which the author listed one adverb after another to such an extent that I thought he might have been mocking the how-to-write dogma books that say to avoid adverbs like plague.  I wish I had that quote now so I could look at it again and see if, perhaps, each adverb added a new unrelated thought to the verb…

Like, “He walked foolishly, unknowingly, wordlessly, and routinely toward the ice cream box in the refrigerator.”  Genuine hack, but you get the point.

I hope my new insight is correct because I get frustrated writing obediently in the straight-jacket of  current dogma and trends.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Do Good Stories Move?

Every book I’ve read on writing fiction says to keep the story moving. So I started with a bomb scene in a Hospital. It bombed. Then I went with a bank robbery. Boy did it move…  nowhere.

Then I read, The Hunger Games, by Suzanne Collins, and figured out why my story had failed before it started.2e4c57_274073

Reading Collins, I was stunned at the number of passive verbs in the first chapter. There was no fighting. Back-story was everywhere, woven into every scene! The main point of the first chapter seemed to be the characterization of Katniss. (…as I mentioned on a previous post if you need some sleep).

With this new abrasive knowledge, I began re-writing my own novel from scratch. I made my hero, Johanna, the viewpoint character (vp), and slowed us all down. I forgot active vs passive verbs and focused on the odd talents and history of my young VP, whom I dearly love.

The explosion at the hospital? She wasn’t there. Bank robbery? Never happened.

My wife and daughter do read my stuff, albeit rarely. No one else ever does, sniff, sob. No, no, no, I’ll be fine, just give me a second…

My two readers had previously suffered the hospital and bank versions (now discarded) where the non-hero side kick was viewpoint and the pace was fast and boring.  They had polite suggestions.

But when they read the slow re-write that focused on Johanna as a brilliant, suffering, kind-hearted girl who felt awful about how much she had enjoyed (as a child) strangling her brother’s therapy animal… my two in-house readers looked at me differently. “What happens next?” they asked.

My wife, in disbelief kept saying, “It moves right along!”

Only one scene had a real-time clash / conflict (as opposed to a flashback clash): two under-motivated characters were quarreling for the sake of the pied piper of conflict. (You, know, the little guy with the flute who keeps telling writers that conflict drives good stories. He’s almost right.)

That scene got trashed like this…

“Is this essential to the story?” my wife asks.

“Well, no.”  [me whining]

“Then get rid of that whole section.”

“Yes, Dear.”

My fiendish little mind started to churn…

Stories MUST move! It’s the law. But my only action scene did not move. And yet the scenes where Johanna walks the house suffering memories, reflecting on the paper by the sink, wondering about her hair… This stuff “moves along nicely?” 

On what planet?

But hmmm…

When books say to keep stories moving, they mean that the reader needs to keep moving through the book.  Action, hack attempts at suspense, violence, narrow escapes, poorly motivated conflict… none of that “movement” keeps the reader moving.

The hero may be fascinating to the writer who knows that Johanna did some amazing stuff on page 142, but to the new reader, if Johanna didn’t become interesting by page ten, the hospital bomb on page eleven won’t mean a thing.

More remarkably, the action scene on page three is a yawner unless Johanna becomes interesting before the end of page two!

Amazing. But it makes sense.

So I backed away from “story movement,” and started weaving in the odd things about Johanna. I made up a few new things, too, just for merry measure.

Now my first chapter moves. Wheeee!

“I want to know what happens next,” my wife says. My daughter says the same.

Those are the best words I’ve ever heard!

OK, maybe hearing that The Mentalist is on DVD was better, but that was partly because I had Ruffles in hand.

Don’t be jealous about what my two readers said. Haha. They’re related, anyway.

You’re the one with the real talent! Keep at it.

M. Talmage Moorehead

Note: That picture up top is Chris Farley, the greatest comedian who ever lived. God rest his soul.

In this skit he’s a motivational speaker who lives “in a van down by the river.” My favorite line is…

“We got ourselves a writer here! Hey, Dad, I can’t see real good. Is that Bill Shakespeare over there?”

Here’s a link to a video of the skit:

Happiness, Flow and Writing Fiction

IMG00035Recently I watched a documentary on happiness. The scientists listed things associated with happiness across cultures around the world. Besides the usual suspects – a tight set of friends, community involvement, church attendance, having fun, etc., they talked about something new called, “flow.”

Flow is being “in-the-zone.” Many different things take people there. For distance runners it’s that moment where your body moves effortlessly, for basketball players it’s the euphoria of a shooting streak, for day-traders it’s a feeling that the sixth-sense is back again.

Researchers say that when you’re in “flow,” time passes silently. Hours seem like minutes.

People who try transcranial direct current stimulation to certain brain areas prior to playing video game report better scores, and a bewilderment about the strange disappearance of time.

Does that sound familiar?

When I write, time disappears. On a good day, eleven hours feels like four. I look at the clock in disbelief.

Happiness and flow?

Call it coincidence, but I’m happier now that I’ve started writing fiction again. (I quit writing for a while, discouraged at how tough it was to get an agent. But don’t you be discouraged, I’m a hack, you’ve got talent.)

Now that I’m back as a hack, things are better all around in my life.

The curse of a science background prevents me from saying objectively that writing caused the striking improvement in my life via “flow,” but there’s an undeniable association… in this anecdotal report where n=1.

Fortunately, though, as luck would have it, I’m infallible. So I can go ahead and tell you: writing fiction will improve your life, it will make you a happier person. Count on it!

Just don’t worry about getting published. It’s going to be nice if it happens, but not as nice as the journey toward that destination. The happiness and fulfillment that comes from writing fiction can last the rest of your life if you find characters you love, and keep spending time with them.

But wow, imagine getting paid for that! It wouldn’t feel right to some people.

Start writing a story.

“RUUUUNNN! GO!!! GET TO DA CHOPPA!!!!!” — Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger)


M. Talmage Moorehead