Etsy Find Fridays: Writerly inspiration

The first thing I can ever remember writing was a poem about rain. I was 6, in the first grade, and I’d just begun to make the connection that letters formed words . . . and words? Well, words formed everything. In the living room on a rainy day, I took a small pink (pink!) notebook and scribbled down a few phrases. Then I proudly showed my handiwork off to my baby sister and parents.

I don’t remember their reactions, but I’m sure they were struck dumb by my brilliance. I mean, rain? Who has ever written a poem about nature’s beauty — or that wet stuff falling from the sky? I was a prodigy. A revolutionary. I was changing the world!


Aside from a stint in the creative writing program in college, I haven’t crafted many poems — but have diversified my subject matter. Twice a week, I write about my life and adventures for the newspapers where I work. Only 450 words and focused on whatever pops into my brain, the columns come easily. It’s like blogging . . . just in print. Where 50,000 people read it.

Sometimes that scares me.

But that’s another blog post.

No, the columns don’t cause me any trouble, friends. Sometimes the stress of trying to be consistently witty is a little daunting, but that’s totally a #firstworldproblem and not something I would ever complain about. (You know, not in public.) I know how lucky I am.

It’s everything else that’s tricky.

The short format of my articles and these here blog posts have ruined me. After failing to complete a novel for National Novel Writing Month for the second year in a row, I’m beginning to worry that I don’t have the stamina to sustain a single plotline over the course of a 200-page manuscript. Am I now only capable of writing short non-fiction? Am I — gasp — A SHORTY?

Well, yes; I’m short (5’2″). But I don’t want to be known only for the little thoughts I scribble down. I do want to finish another novel, and I do want to seek publication for my works. So unless I’m scooped up and asked to pen a hilarious memoir about cupcakes, online dating and pumpkin spice lattes, I need to get my act together. I’d love to be the next Laurie Notaro or Jen Lancaster, but I have to be realistic. I have yet to be informed that someone soiled themselves while reading something I’ve shared, so I have plenty of work to do. And have to get back to pluggin’ away on ye old book.

But first? I need a little inspiration. And leave it to Etsy to deliver it.

30 thoughts on “Etsy Find Fridays: Writerly inspiration

  1. Hi, Meg!
    I’ve been following your blog for over a year now, but this is my first time commenting on any of your posts!

    Looks like we are in the same boat. I’m starting to think I lack the persistence to finish anything as well. So, just hang in there! I know you can do it:)


    • Hi Bente! Thanks so much for your comment (and visits!). I’m sure that we can both plug through and crank out the great novels brewing inside of us. As my favorite print above claims, Just Start. πŸ™‚


  2. I can remember my first poem that ended up being published in the school magazine. It was awful! They never asked me if they could print it as it was part of a lesson. It was all about fashion. Dreadful piece.
    I didn’t realise you wrote for a newspaper, I can see your funny side within your blog posts. I tried my hand at a bit of comedy within my posts this week. I put one up called Life as We Know It and it seemed to make people laugh. Perhaps now I need to aim at writing comedy instead of YA.


    • Oh, Vivienne — printing your poem in the school newspaper without even telling you? That would be a trauma and a half.

      My fifth grade teacher read a short story I’d written about a family surviving a tornado aloud to the class — without telling me — and I literally crawled under my desk to hide. I was so embarrassed, and everyone was staring at me while she went through the entire ten-page tale. My face is burning just thinking about it.


  3. I know the feeling, but have worked out something that helps. When I feel like my story or character is running out of steam, I imagine a different scene or another thread to the plot and start writing from there. I figure that when I get to the rewriting stage I will find a way to bring all of the bits and pieces together.


    • Love your idea! I find that skipping through a “dead spot” in my manuscript really helps, too. Like you, I figure I’ll come back and flesh out the segues and other details later. You know, when I’m done. If I’m ever done.

      Sometimes, I like editing more than the actual writing . . . polishing a story/column/blog post until it shines is actually really fun.


  4. I love Etsy! I have to say it has been a while since I have been on the site but you have peaked my curiosity again. As far as the writing, if you believe in yourself, you can do the long stuff too. You are obviously a wonderful writer. Maybe it will take more time than you are used to but you can do it. Just find the story that you can’t NOT tell and the words will fly.

    Good luck to you!!


    • Thank you, Hallie! I’m sure you’re right. I need to find the “story of my heart” writers talk about . . . I know it’s there. I’m getting closer all the time.


  5. Love, love, love these items — especially the Keep Calm and Write On one. Keep believing that you’ll write that book: The beauty of writing is that you’re never too old to do it — and you have lots of time ahead of you.


  6. I need these! Well, okay, I *want* these. Good luck with your novel writing. I am in the same boat –trying to complete a novel. So, if you need a cheerleader or a little lift, just let me know πŸ™‚ Sometimes it’s nice to e-mail and just be like, “This is hard isn’t it?” And it’s comforting to hear, “Yes. This is hard. But keep going…” πŸ™‚


  7. I love these!! I always need a not-so-gentle reminder to write every day instead of just when I’m “inspired.” I usually get halfway through a project and then just get overwhelmed by the sheer size of it and overcomplicate things with all the unanswered questions I have about certain plot points/characters/etc. that really can be worked out in revisions. It’s my resolution this year to finish something so I am definitely going to purchase one (or many) of these for some inspiration.


  8. Meg, I love the ‘Keep Calm & Carry On’ poster, so I doubleee love the ‘Keep Calm & Write On’ version haha. (I also love your new layout SOOOO much! – Like… a lot lol)


  9. You are fabulous and in do way to be considered a “shorty,” unless I were to say to you, “Go shorty/it’s your birthday/tip a Zima/like it’s yo’ birthday.”

    Your post inspired me even more than those cute Etsy finds did, FWIW!


  10. Yes, it’s so incredibly scary to see your stuff published where people can read it… It freaks me out too sometimes, even if it’s a just a tiny magazine.
    I’m starting to wonder if I’ve got a full novel in me too – I’ve written a couple that are technically “novellas” so now I should really push myself to go longer…


  11. Oh Etsy ❀

    I love the Keep Calm and Write On posters…I think I need to get one for my cube area at work.

    Like you, I worry about sustaining for a whole novel, especially after writing quick PR pitches and short articles/emails/memos at work. I don't want to be a shorty either!

    Wish we lived closer so we could plop ourselves at the bookstore with coffee and NO Internet and could force each other to just write, write,write.


  12. Well, I love your blog posts and I feel confident that you can turn your blogging genius into a book. I too would love to one day do that but right now I just don’t have the concentration. Usually, I say time, but I know I could find the time – I just don’t. And as much as I hate that, I’m beginning to realize that I need to accept it because beating myself up about not writing doesn’t work for me. One day I will have a writing schedule that I will stick to – and let me tell you, I will have plenty of visual aids to help me get there – just like these cute ones you so kindly shared. Happy writing Meg!


  13. I love this post… I used to write poetry… tons of it and I kept it in this old school photo albums with the sticky sheet that goes over the top…no doubt preserved forever because they will never come out. I should go look for those books…
    To give you a little sample of my immense talent – here is one I still remember that I wrote about my high school crush., David Lee Roth:

    If I can’t have you,
    why can’t I have your socks?
    I would keep them close forever
    under my bed and in a box.

    Yes, yes, I know… why have I not been discovered? πŸ™‚


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