2013: A Retrospective

icy branch

Happy new year!  

To celebrate this crackling new January, I thought I'd take a look back on my site and share my favourite posts from 2013. I've selected one for every month of last year, and compiled 12 sweet articles to refresh, inspire, and clarify your writing goals for 2014. Enjoy this year in review!

I'm excited to announce that I'll be taking a writing retreat from now until April. That means I won't be online as much this winter; I'm going to be putting that time and energy into my book. But Hannah and Ashley are housesitting my site during this time, making sure that we're on track with regular programming. Look for brand new articles twice a month, plus an exciting line up of new Writer Spotlights, and news about The Little Bird Writing Contest when I'm back in the spring.

Here's to 2014! Oh, it's going to be good.

With love,

Sarah Selecky

The Favourite Posts of 2013


Go outside, you animal.
This is your mind without language, a feeling-state that exists without judgment or naming or articulation. This is the state of mind that is most conducive to your writing.


White space.
How can you have that gorgeous, rich feeling of having images come to you as you write, if you haven’t given your mind any time or space for insight?


Your writing rehearsal.
Be honest: are you the kind of writer who feels like writing exercises are a waste of time? Do musicians have this problem? Do dancers ever feel that they’re wasting their time when they warm up?


Not knowing is the goal.
What if your characters are already living their story, and you don’t have to make them up?


Is it good or bad? Is it good or bad?
When you write something new or raw or strange or deeply true, you’ll have a feeling that what you just did might be brilliant, or it might be ridiculous. You won’t be able to tell.


Be grateful for your crazy, active mind.
Your mind is like a border collie. When you put it out in a field with some sheep (read: get a notebook and write in it), all of those active, festering, non-stop, sometimes anxious thoughts can become something else: Scenes!


Do you have too much discipline? Writing and OCD.
Are you using your overactive and bossy left brain to support your right brain by making you write the prompts, or is it acting more like a dictator and taking the gentleness and uncertainty and playfulness away from your creative process?


Write a list. (A writing tutorial.)
Why do I love this simple, powerful writing exercise more than any other? It’s pure. It’s forgiving. And it is writing practice, distilled.


On connection and disconnection: a birthday letter. What else have I missed? What other moments have I Instagrammed instead of experienced? For my birthday this year, I gave myself the gift of connection – I left social media.


You’re an introvert, aren’t you?
Why introverts benefit from practicing in solitude (with notes from Susan Cain, author of Quiet). "When you practice deliberately,” Cain writes, “you identify the tasks or knowledge that are just out of your reach."


Tigers on a gold leash.
Ask yourself: what do you think is cool? What if you wrote with the energy of a sixteen-year-old?


What my piano teacher taught me about writing.
All of the chords are connected, she said. They already have a relationship to each other - and your song will find the relationships.

In the Spotlight: Pam Smith
Fiction and the art of making something real.


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