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Do you write like J. R. R. Tolkien? C. S. Lewis? Or somewhere in-between?

Do you write like J. R. R. Tolkien? Do you write like C. S. Lewis? Or are you somewhere in-between? Which of these do you relate to?

1. I like to write in a noisy, busy environment, like a Starbucks.
2. I get my best writing ideas when I talk about my ideas with other people.
3. I love to revise my work over and over. It’s so hard to let it go….
4. I usually have a lot of different projects going, and I like to switch back and forth between them.
5. My best writing is late at night, in quiet, focused blocks of time.
6. If an editor or publisher or teacher asks for a revision, I feel like a failure. It is painful to be forced to revisit an old project.
7. Sometimes I doodle or play with page layouts or design title pages or work on cover concepts rather than actually writing my book.
8. When I get frustrated, I just scrap the whole thing and start over.
9. I work out ideas (even specific phrases and word choice) in my head before I actually write anything down.
10. I agonize over the details and, to be honest, I’m never really satisfied with the work that I do.

Answer key coming in next week’s post.


Talking with Joy Curry at WETN

I have a love/hate relationship with appearances on talk radio. I love the energy and spontaneity of radio, love the chance to interact with listeners, love to talk about the things I am passionate about, like C.S. Lewis, and J.R.R. Tolkien, and creativity, and community.

On the other hand, not everyone who knows how to host a dynamic radio show knows what to do when a guest is in the studio.

Enter Joy Curry, host of the morning show at WETN, 88.1 FM and  She’s got a voice built for radio: lively, versatile, thoughtful, quick, sparkling. I talked with her on the air this morning, and she did everything right.

In setting things up, she kept in touch, answered messages promptly, gave sterling directions on where to meet and how to prepare.

When I arrived, she was warm and welcoming. She was ready to talk about my book, but even more, she had prepared music and introductory material that was beautiffully suited to the occasion and the topic.

On the air, she managed to walk that fine line between substantial content and light-hearted entertainment. And she made it all seem effortless. She was well-prepared and also open to new directions. She immediately found the heart of the topic and kept the conversation on track.

Hats off to Joy Curry and kudos to WETN.  Folks in the Chicago area: you have a real jewel in your midst. I feel blessed to have been a small part of it.

Check it out:

Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Harrisonburg, Virginia


On April 9th, I had the pleasure of meeting with the Harrisonburg C. S. Lewis Society at their local Barnes & Noble. The group, founded by Will Vaus, was attentive and lively– we had a terrific evening.

I enjoyed the fact that this Barnes & Noble did not shove the group off into a little side room, but provided comfortable chairs right in the store for my presentation and book signing. People could easily drift in and out of the conversation, and I appreciated the openness of the setting.

I was also glad that the first question following my talk wasn’t a request for more details about the Inklings, but a plea for advice: how can writers today do what the Inklings did?  Bring part of a writing group has so many advantages, but it can be difficult to start and sustain a group that really works. I reminded them that the Inklings started small, established rituals and routines, met every single week, balanced support with criticism and advice, and were choosy about adding new members. Those components seem to make a big difference in the health and longevity of a group.

The Company They Keep, stacked and ready for signing.

Copies of The Company They Keep, stacked and ready for signing.


Thanks to the Harrisonburg CSL Society for their warm hospitality. And kudos to Barnes & N oble for supporting writers, readers, and reading groups.

Antelope Valley Writers’ Conference

Got a mailing about the Antelope Valley
Christian Writers’ Conference, scheduled for
May 15 – 16, 2009, in Lancaster, California. I don’t know anything about it, but you might want to check it out at If anybody wants to tell me more about it, I’d love to see your comments.

Changing Concept

It seems like it might be easier to blog with a clearer focus. So maybe I could use this blog to share ideas and inspiration for writers. That might have some long-term benefit, not only for encouraging The Company They Keep, but also for my Writing Coach.


It’s hard to find a theme that I really like. I want it very readable, with discreet sections clearly defined. I want a clean color scheme. I want it to feel like me.

Another Try

tree rock sky