I grew up in the midwest, however I lived in San Francisco for awhile. It’s a beautiful city and I enjoyed my time there. But one of my most vivid memories is when I returned to Chicago. I stepped off the train and was immediately overwhelmed by the rich smell decaying leaves, the cool, crisp air, and the cornucopia of fall colors. I didn’t realize until that moment how much I missed the change of seasons we experience here.

At the moment, it’s still hot and humid, but there’s already a subtle shift in the air as summer wanes and gives way to fall. The night air is a little cooler, and soon the first leaves will begin to change. This transition made me think about changes in my writing and reading life. It’s easy to fall into a pattern, writing in the same genre, following the same schedule, returning to the same characters and themes. Yes, it’s important to find our writing niche, but it’s also good to shake things up once in awhile. I did that when I switched from writing screenplays to writing romance novels. Now I feel it may soon be time to change course again, though perhaps not so radically.


I think we need to shake things up as readers as well. If we tend to read romance, we need to pick up science fiction, a mystery, a literary novel, or perhaps a biography. It keeps our minds fresh and full of wonder, like the change of seasons.

What kind of transitions do you enjoy in your life? I’d love to hear.

Best wishes,


Taking a Vacation from Writing

It’s summer, in case you haven’t noticed. Time changes in many ways. The days get longer. Sometimes they’re lazy, sometimes harried, but they have a very different feel than the rest of the year. For families, the regularity of the school year is on hold. Instead, there are camps, playdates, trips to the beach, and too much time watching Netflix. (At least for my kids.)

It’s difficult for me to make the transition to summer. I feel guilty that I’m not writing more. I’ll allocate a few hours to write, but I’ve forgotten I have to take a kid to an appointment, or I have to run a forgotten lunch over to camp. The day gets away. I’ve lost my rhythm. My writing suffers.

Then it’s time to head out of town for an extended family trip. I leave writing completely behind. After a day or two, I don’t miss it. Instead, I focus on scenery and family time. I allow my brain to recharge. The chapter I’ve been struggling with will still be there when I return, but perhaps I’ll have a new perspective on it. I keep faith with the idea of process, not results. Taking time off is part of the process. I’m still a writer even if I don’t churn out several thousand words per day. I give myself permission to take a break, to recharge, to live life outside the page.

Happy summer, everyone. I’ll see you when I get back!