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Musings On Writing  |  Writing Tips

My Writing Journey in Words and Pictures

I often don’t know where my writing will lead me.

Sometimes, I feel I’m banging my head against an impenetrable glass window.

Other times, I don't know which way to turn. 

When I remember this maxim,

then I’m flying high,

and traveling around all over the place, sharing 

my books and stories and laughter. 


Musings on Writing

The Joys of Omission

         My first published poem appeared in The Commercial Appeal when I was thirteen. It was quite thrilling. 

​        Years later, The Wall Street Journal published my second poem, a witty verse, in their Salt and Pepper column. Thus began and ended my poetry career.

​       But never underestimate the power of doggerel poetry. When a friend invited me to apply for a contract writing job at a large company, she introduced me to a room of top level managers by saying, “Deborah recently had a piece in The Wall Street Journal.” 

​      They sat up straighter, looked at me with keen interest, and hired me without asking a single question about my credentials! 

Even When Put Down, Never Give Up

        My eleventh-grade English teacher was the first to encourage me as a writer. She was particularly impressed by my comparison of Seymour Glass and Holden Caulfield. 


        During my sophomore year in college, my creative writing professor was the first to discourage me. He told me my work was “sophomoric!” I didn’t dare say, “Sir, I AM a sophomore!”


       Now, hundreds of articles, essays, and short stories, dozens of books, plus a myriad of editing and ghost-writing projects later, I am living out a long-time dream: writing a novel. An Old Woman Walks Into a Bar is a work-of-my-heart and I am honored to share it with you.

The Wonders of Writing

        Writing invites me into other people’s lives and that intimate window enriches my own life. By listening to others’ stories, my own view of the world expands. By writing others’ stories, I am a catalyst for connection.


       Writing invites me deeper into myself, my soul, revealing a meandering mysterious path that defies mapping. In writing fiction or essays, I explore my life in new ways. I allow my subconscious to guide my words. Then I usher in my grown-up, grammar-laden rational mind to tidy up those lush ramblings so others can understand them.


Writing Tips

Writing Catalysts

  • Permission. I need permission from myself to set aside creative time. I need to laugh when I get stuck and enjoy the process, even when it feels more like quicksand than high tide.

  • Intuition: Push beyond hesitation and doubt and listen to my intuition.

  • Flow. The more I follow my own flow, even if it’s a trickle, the happier I am.

  • Send me one of your writing catalysts at

Bringing Your Life to the Page: The PUNSS Plan

How do you take a challenging part of your life and bring it to the page? Here are a few simple tips:


Pour Out Your Feelings

  • Give yourself time to feel your emotions, whether it’s through writing, art, music, or other.


Uncover the True Story

  • Look for the universal meaning in your specific experience. What is the larger message huddled inside your experience?


  • How have you changed? How will the reader change through reading your words?


Notice the Details

  • Write down the particulars, noting simple concrete facts. You are a researcher collecting data.


Seek Feedback

  • Read the story aloud and see how it sounds. What’s working and what’s missing? Ask writing colleagues for a critique. Think over their advice and decide what is right for you.


Share Your Writings

  • When you’re ready, share your writings with family and friends and then reach out to a wider audience, using your experiences to connect with others and share information and insights.

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