“If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go. I can’t allow what we learned in English composition to disrupt the sound and rhythm of the narrative.”
—Elmore Leonard

The Writing Life Quotes

The Writing Life Quotes

Natalie Bright


“The greatest part of a writer’s time is spent in reading, in order to write; a man will turn over half a library to make one book.”
—Samuel Johnson

The Writing Life Quotes

The Writing Life Quotes

Natalie Bright


“Making people believe the unbelievable is no trick; it’s work. … Belief and reader absorption come in the details: An overturned tricycle in the gutter of an abandoned neighborhood can stand for everything.”
—Stephen King (Writer’s Digest 
an interview with King in our May/June 2009 issue)

The Writing Life Quotes


“Who wants to become a writer? And why? Because it’s the answer to everything. … It’s the streaming reason for living. To note, to pin down, to build up, to create, to be astonished at nothing, to cherish the oddities, to let nothing go down the drain, to make something, to make a great flower out of life, even if it’s a cactus.”
—Enid Bagnold



by Sharon Stevens


I was so down-deep, dark, under the bridge, deep in the tunnel, buried six feet under, destroyed.

Anyone who is a writer knows this feeling, that overwhelming sadness that comes with the knowledge every dream is dead, and will never see the light of day. That moment when you realize deep in your soul that any passion should have been buried way before thoughts were turned into words. Powerful images that come from within the heart of anyone that celebrates putting letters together to form a visual emblem.

Who cared? What did it matter? The pain is real. We know we must let it go, but we hang on against all hope that an idea will magically appear.

I gave up and gave it away. THEY had won and I had nowhere I could go. Actually, at peace knowing there was no way to turn, knowing that no one would be there waiting on the other side.

So I put everything aside and picked up the book I had been reading, turning to the next chapter to begin again. The first words were, “Myron Dart stood inside the Doric fastness of the Lincoln Memorial, staring moodily at the expanse of marble beneath his feet.”

OMG! In that one sentence my world was renewed! Lincoln Memorial, what a sweet memory that surfaced and broke. My faith was restored. Who could imagine that words written in a book could have that much power. This was such a message to me, for me, about me.

The book I was reading was Preston & Child’s “Gideon’s Corpse” and Lincoln’s statue had special meaning to me. I had no idea what a doric was, but I knew that within minutes I could find the definition, and I did. I had alternated between this book and my new “Chicken Soup for the Soul, Inspirations for Writers” reading each story over again. Our fellow Wordsmithsix blogger, Rory Craig Keel’s story appeared in this issue. His and all the other authors brought me such peace.

As writers we never know when our reader will be facing great joy or absolute and draining sorrow. We can’t choose anyone’s memory for them or what they will celebrate or what they will shed. So never, ever get down in the depths of darkness where you can’t see the light that surrounds you. You never know when a sentence, or word just might be the ticket to drag the reader’s heart out in the open where they can face another tragedy, another day, another memory.

The doric’s will still stand.

How Did You Do It?

css-inspiration-for-writers-2How Did You Do It? 

By Rory C. Keel

This is the number one question I’m asked when others learn that my story, The Challenge, was published in the recent edition of Chicken Soup for the Soul:Inspiration for Writers. 

There is no magic button

In trying to answer this question, I realized there is no one specific thing that will get a story published. There is no switch to flip or button to push that makes it happen, nor did I have an acquaintance or inside contact at Chicken Soup.

However, hard work along with a few of the following things can improve your chance of success.


To keep me from getting writer’s block, I have made it a practice to write in a journal everyday. I jot down simple things like a quote, a thought or a remembrance of something in the past. Many times I express an emotion and try to explain in words how I feel. The words in a journal don’t have to be profound, hilarious or novel worthy, but write something, anything.

Over time your journal becomes a vault of story materials.

Study the publication

I believe a crucial step in getting published in any market, is to know the market. If you desire to be published in Chicken Soup, read it, study the stories and notice how they are written.

Submit, Submit, Submit

Watch for story call outs. Many publications announce the type of stories they are seeking to publish. This is where the journal comes in handy. You may have story material already waiting to be expanded, worked or polished.

Early in my writing at a writer’s conference, I remember a publisher who said, “Ninety-five percent of those who want to be published begin writing, but only five percent finish and submit.”


Finally, sometimes it’s a matter of having good work at the right place at the right time.