Author MJ Pullen, the Distracted Writer

Posts Categorized: The Distracted Writer

Follow M.J. Pullen’s blog posts about writing and publishing. Geared toward beginning writers, pre-published authors. seasoned veterans, and authors attempting to navigate platform development on social media.

Relevant to self-publishing, traditional publishing, indie authors and hybrid authors.

Have you heard of “the evil sentence”? Have you ever caught yourself using it in your writing?? A friend of mine shared this thread on A Reader of Fictions with me a few years ago, and the evil sentence–in which a character releases a breath he/she did not realize they’d been holding–has been stuck with  […]

When you’re writing a story, which comes first: the plot or the characters? This is a classic chicken-and-egg conundrum many new writers (and veterans) face as they’re crafting a story. Should the character’s personality, background and decision-making drive the plot? Or does the action of the story make the character who she is? The short  […]

…How can you not remember? Here’s a thing that happens to me: Last week I was talking to a book club (Hi, ladies! I love the fuzzy socks – thanks again!) and someone asked me how I pronounce the name “Carras” from Sugar Street. In my imagination it’s pronounced like “Care-Ehss” which I’ve seen spelled  […]

YOU ASKED, I’M DELIVERING… Two of My Most Popular Workshops in Q1! I’ve taken a couple of years off from teaching publishing workshops for writers — not because I don’t love it, I do — I’ve just been busy with lots of other priorities (some of which obviously include my own writing). As I’m in  […]

Have you tried word sprints (or writing sprints)? For those unfamiliar, this is the practice of sitting down for a short, specific period of time to focus only on your writing and try to achieve a certain word count or other goal. I’ve done writing sprints for years, off and on. My “Draft Queen” partner  […]

You’ve probably heard the expression, “kill your darlings,” that common writer’s advice derived from the original “murder your darlings” in a 1913 writer’s guide by Arthur Quiller-Couch.* I recently re-read Stephen King’s On Writing, in which he referred to the concept this way: “kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little  […]

In a conversation over in the Draft House Writer’s Studio this week, one of our members mentioned that she has a filing cabinet full of discarded attempts at fiction. She said this with a sense of discouragement I think is common among early-career writers. We think: I tried. I failed. This is hard. I may never be good  […]

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit. – Will Durant I have mixed feelings about New Year’s resolutions. On the one hand, I’m the kind of girl who needs all the structure she can get. For those of us with disorganized brains, goals that are tied to  […]

I’m writing this on a chilly Georgia morning, the Monday before Thanksgiving, with my peppermint mocha coffee in hand. Like many of my American counterparts, my kids are off school this week and we are gearing up for family and turkey and major indigestion. I have a deadline next week, which is why my kids are enjoying  […]