It’s easy for life, children and work carry you away from your writing like a runaway horse. Pretty soon, it’s been a few days or a week since you’ve looked at your manuscript and now you’ve forgotten what scene you were writing. Here’s a solution. Copy these side-writing warm-ups into the front of a notebook. Bring the notebook everywhere you go. Instead of picking up your phone in your spare moments, do these. They help you think about your characters and your story, and plan your upcoming scenes. …


Even in the best of times, parents worry they’ll never have the time or bandwidth to write a novel. Now they might be thinking this dream of theirs will have to wait until the kids grow up.

However, I’d like to argue that now might be the time to start. It might be the cure for all the worry in these times. Writing a novel for fifteen minutes a day will bring you joy and help you keep a piece of you just for yourself.

“Writing is a matter of sanity. Even if no one ever read anything I wrote…


Think of Writing Like Smoking or Drinking

A writing habit is not much different from every other habit or addiction, both good and bad. We need to crave it like a cigarette or a beer (or even exercise). And the pattern of triggers for smoking or drinking also apply to writing.

In Atomic Habits, James Clear writes that every habit has a cue, a craving, a response and a reward. But the first thing is the initial CUE, which leads to other cues. To write every day, you need cues to establish habits that trigger other habits, which then lead to you sitting down at your desk…


When I was six months pregnant with my first child, I was accepted into a writing class taught by a famous novelist in his home in Los Angeles. I walked up his fancy white paved driveway to this beautiful modern house with a thick wooden door, which swung open as I approached. Before me stood a short, fit older man with white hair, impeccably dressed. The smile on his face faltered as he looked down at my belly with horror and said: “Oh my god, you’re pregnant? You’ll never be a writer now!”

I gaped at him. Did he really…


Do you want to laugh your head off while teaching? Do you want engaged students who aren’t going on their phones? Let’s all have fun with this!

For my fellow teachers, here are 20 ideas to help you and your students laugh and learn together on Zoom or Google Classroom. As a novelist, I now teach creative writing, but I’ve taught EFL and ELA, and I think some of these ideas can be adapted to other subjects as well.

I’ve found Zoom/Google Classroom can be a very effective way to teach, but it helps to use the student’s environment. Also…


I Was So Jealous of My Friend’s Writing Success

Have you ever read a book and thought I can do better than this?? Or maybe a friend got published and you thought her book sucks and how did it ever get published when yours isn’t?

(Photo from The Atlantic)

I have been jealous of a friend’s writing career. But it hurt me more than them.

Creative jealousy is a horrible feeling and hurts your own creativity in dramatic ways.

It keeps you from accessing your true original creative and brilliant moments that happen in writing when you’re in flow. …


Happy V Day to all the females out there. (V means Vagina for our purposes today.) This post is specifically for about our vaginas and love and writing through our love wounds.

Today I’m thinking about the women creators in my life who may be struggling in their love life in some way. This can be a shitty day if you’re feeling unloved or you’re facing heartbreak. Love pain makes it tough for some people to create.

For any writers, this is a good week to examine how our characters experience love. How do we write about love in general…


The holidays can be tricky for us writer moms. Let’s face it, every time a mom goes for her creative dreams, it is an act of defiance against a culture which still, even in 2019, encourages moms to sacrifice their own dreams for their family. Never is this more true than over the holidays.

I think a family is happiest when all members are striving toward their dreams. Even in the holidays.

When I was pregnant with my first kid, a prominent writer, my writing teacher at the time, said you can’t get any good writing done in the middle…


It’s Day One of NaNoWriMo. I’m actually doing it this year, not just writing about it, but for real, doing it. At the end of the month, I will have a finished draft of a young adult novel. But like many other writers, I haven’t written a word today, on this first day, because I’m paralyzed.

My brain is rushing with potential creative problems and solutions.

Do I need to do more character sketches? Is my main character likeable or interesting enough? Maybe I need to think a little deeper on that. I probably need more research too. And do…


Five Ways to Encourage a Budding Kid Writer (And Five Things To Avoid)

Today a friend contacted me and said, “My daughter is in love with books and writing. How can I encourage my budding writer?”

Parents often ask me this question because they want to encourage their kids’ dreams. Isn’t there something they can do to make sure this isn’t a passing phase? Maybe a way to encourage them to build on their passion and talent?

Below are suggestions for things to do, and more importantly, things NOT to do.

Here are five possible ways to encourage writerly talent:

Kim Purcell

Author of TRAFFICKED (Penguin, 2012) and THIS IS NOT A LOVE LETTER (Disney-Hyperion, 2018), creative writing teacher and mom of two fabulous girls.

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