Hi there! You’ve probably heard that one should post very regularly and on-brand. Well, I don’t do that! I post irregularly and all about all kinds of things, including writing, religion, being a kid of an alcoholic family system, and anything else I have something to say about. I’ve published in numerous Medium publications as well as my own, Adult Child. I’m also the author of ten books, which you can read more about here. Thanks for stopping by!

QUICK LINKS TO MY MOST POPULAR STORIES. Scroll down for most recent.The End of White American Christianity
When Productivity Tools Become an Emotional Crutch (also published as Someday Never Comes)
Dieting Makes It Impossible to Live in the Present
Series on self-publishing: part 1, part 2, part 3

From the writer side, Amazon’s new serial platform is not great

Victorian serial fiction — a little different from the Kindle app

Yesterday, July 14, Amazon launched Kindle Vella — a platform for serial stories. Quick primer: a serial is an episodic work, released in small chunks or chapters, like episodes of a TV show. Literature has been serialized since at least the 17th century, and really peaked in the Victorian era. Charles Dickens, George Eliot, and Elizabeth Gaskell are just some of the novelists whose works started out as serials, published in monthly magazines.

In ye modern tymes, serials (especially of genre fiction like romance and sci-fi) have reached some…

This past week on Medium and beyond, for 7/10/21

On Writing

I’m always so happy when people who really know what they’re talking about take the time to put a good, long read up on this site, because expertise can be questionable around here, as you know. One good, long post from someone who has walked the walk is worth more than a thousand short ones from folks who just discovered writing last month. Anyway! This is a great one from Cory Doctorow:

This one over at Vox is on writing, too, but specifically writing and gender, writing and social media, writing…

This past week on Medium and beyond. For 7/3/21.

On Writing

This piece from Rachel Syme nails something difficult to describe that I think most writers will understand. I love this line: “When it comes to self-actualization, there’s only one person on the team.”

Literary agent Jennifer Laughran fielded a question this week on her Ask the Agent tumblr that hit home for a lot of writers and others in publishing. To wit: both authors and the people with power over their careers are burnt tf out. There’s a lot of sadness, frustration, and disappointment out there. …

The surprising resume of a novelist.

I’m not THAT old, but I did once work a switchboard.

Before I start, let me define “successful” as it pertains to me. I’m the author of ten books published traditionally from 2007–(forthcoming) 2022 (with at least one more on the way after that). I broke out with a National Book Award finalist debut and have hit a lot of career milestones since. But I’m not bestselling and, therefore, usually struggling to make ends meet between contracts and book payments.

That may or may not fit your definition of success, but in an industry where struggle is the norm, it’s enough success to be able…

In March, people were furious. Here in July, the concerns seem forgotten.

George Cruickshank, public domain

Do you remember March? Three months ago or so? The COVID-19 vaccine was rolling out and changing the world, there were several horrific and deadly shootings in the U.S., and competing laws about voter rights were in the news. Yes, that was just March!

Also, far less consequentially, Substack’s still-mysterious Substack Pro model was revealed (sort of) to the confusion and chagrin of many, and a small wave of writers left the platform.

If you don’t remember or were never aware in the first place, here’s a good…

What’s your real dream?

Image by chenspec from Pixabay

Side hustle saturation!

Every time I open up Medium (or any social media app lately) there’s a new post about a side hustle that “no one” knows about, can allegedly earn you four figures, is easy, is painless, you can do it from the beach. It is, in short, The One.

You’ve probably already figured out that the “no one” who knows about it is, actually, lots of people, which is how it’s trickled down to social media in the first place. And you may have scrolled so far in any given article as to learn that when they…

At Medium and beyond

On Writing

Most of the writing advice on Medium is hot garbage. Actually, it’s cold garbage. Still, whether someone is repackaging tips from famous writers’ books almost verbatim or rehashing common knowledge and tropes, I keep hate-clicking. Don’t be me. Here are two pieces that I genuinely liked:

Outside of Medium, Zadie Smith’s essay “In Defense of Fiction” is a couple years old now, but still relevant and (of course, it’s Zadie Smith!) brilliantly written:

And if you are in need of a hardcore antidote to the mess of what passes for tips on this site, go get…

I liked this piece from Ellen McRae—especially the bit about how many writers won’t admit we’re deeply fueled by the desire to outdo a nemesis or idol. I wrote for a good eight or nine years before I got a book published, and around year seven I think I was fueled entirely by rage and pettiness. I would read new books in my category that I thought were crap, and frothed at the mouth at the idea of proving myself better. Competition kept me going when my other motivations were flagging, and I don’t care who knows it!

Things I’ve learned on the full traditionally-published ride.

This year marks my fifteenth as a published author in the traditional book business. In 2006, the review copies of my very first novel, Story of a Girl, went out, and this year I turned in the final edits of what will be my ninth novel and tenth book.

In that time, nine of those have been published with Little, Brown and HarperCollins and one with a small press. I took the traditional route: write write write, workshop, conferences, cold querying agents, repeat as needed. I’ve been on the ride, from the…

Sara Zarr

I’m a novelist and I also write about writing (and writing-adjacent topics), personal growth, and growing up in an alcoholic family system. sarazarr.com

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