4 Things that Kill Creativity


This may not be everyone’s experience. But here are a few things that stifle my urge to be creative and my ability to write.

Productivity – There is a constant nagging feeling that whenever I’m writing I should be producing something, that I should be working toward a finished product and ultimately, have something to show for it (publication? fame? money?). Productivity could be a high word count, a serious advancement in the story, a strong dent in the characterization. Read more

Solidarity vs. Self-Interest? Gender Ambiguous Author Names


From George Eliot to J.K. Rowling, female authors have sometimes published under masculine or gender-ambiguous names. The decision may have been based on a publishing industry professional’s advice, an author’s own knowledge and expectations of the publishing landscape, or other factors altogether. Whatever each individual author’s reasons, the unfortunate reality is that women are still underrepresented in the literary world.

If it’s still very much “a man’s world” out there, if books by male authors are more likely to be reviewed or even (traditionally) published, and perhaps more likely to sell better (especially in certain genres), it’s not surprising that female authors sometimes feel the best way to give their work its best chance is to slap a male or androgynous name on it. But, this raises a number of perplexing questions and conundrums for me.

Is the choice some women authors make to (at least temporarily, at face value) disguise, or at least not overtly display, their gender just helping to perpetuate the status quo (and therefore ultimately hurting all women writers)? Do women writers have a responsibility to proudly and unequivocally represent themselves as Women Writers, always, regardless of what setbacks — rejection, lack of critical attention, lower sales, a more limited audience —  they might encounter because of it?

Or is each writer’s greatest, foremost responsibility to her own work and ensuring that it has the very best chance it can to succeed (whatever that might, legally, entail)?

Self-interest over sisterhood? Solidarity over sales? And are those concepts even mutually exclusive (or are we all just too caught up in dualities and non-existent “battles” between concepts)?

In short: Is it “wrong” or “anti-feminist” or even just “harmful” for women writers to use male-sounding or gender-neutral pen/author names?

I hate to break this to you, but…

I don’t know. I don’t have an answer. It’s not for lack of trying, as I’ve definitely rolled these questions around my mind a bunch. I don’t know that there is one single, splendid answer, either.

What I would love is to get other people’s perspectives. What do you think?

I Need to Read Diverse Books


Author Natalia Sylvester‘s recent post about the lack of diversity in end-of-year book lists has inspired me. She asks readers to think about the books they’ve read in 2014 and challenges them to fill the diversity gaps they see with books they plan to read in 2015. That sent me running to Goodreads to check out the diversity of my recent reads. Before I get to my findings, though, let me just say a few (dozen) words about my take on diversity.

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An Award? Liebster!

Liebster awardI’m supremely stunned and extremely grateful to Matthew Peters, who nominated me and my little blog here for a Liebster Award. (The Liebster Award is given from one blogger to another just because they enjoy the content and personality of that particular blogger and they want to spotlight the blog for more readers to discover.) I haven’t thought much of my blog in recent weeks (because I’ve been slacking), but the knowledge that people are reading and enjoying is so wonderful and a huge motivator.  Read more