14 Years of Building a Writing Career in 14 Days of Emails

The first time an idea for a book hit me was in 2006. I was four years into my career, teaching high school English in Miami and coaching my younger sister through her own first year as a teacher. Neither of us responded well to the generalized advice or inspirational stories offered to beginning educators. During one discussion, I described a moment from my own rookie year, after a particularly bad month, when a well-meaning colleague gave me the book Chicken Soup for the Teacher’s Soul. “But on a bad day,” I continued, “new teachers need something stronger than chicken soup. They need something more like Hard Liquor for the Soul.” And then I thought, now that should be a book. This is how it starts.

Before long, the initial idea became a few pages of frantic notes that seemed like they could, maybe, one day, be turned into a book. What I didn’t have was any idea of what it took to get a book out into the world. So it felt like a lucky sign when I heard a radio ad that asked, “Do you have an idea for a book?”

The ad was for the Miami Writers Institute, an annual creative-writing conference produced by the Miami Book Fair. And in 2006, one of their courses was a four-day class on how the entire publishing process worked.

I signed up immediately.

Since that first class, I’ve written a nonfiction book, a children’s book, and a novel, as well as smaller pieces like articles and columns. I’ve also attended over a decade’s worth of courses at the Miami Writers Institute. And I’ve got many notebooks full of writing tips to prove it.

Recently, I distilled the lessons I’ve learned from the last fourteen years into a fourteen-day email series. The result is part creative-writing crash course, part mobile-friendly memoir of discovering what it takes to build a writing career.

Might we de think of this as Hard Liquor for the Writer’s Soul? Well, it’s definitely got more of a kick than chicken soup. It’s a two-week sprint through years of lessons learned by trial and error, with the occasional indignities that process entails. That, plus my favorite nuggets of advice from a tall stack of notebooks from all those writing workshops. It’s also totally and honestly free; there will be no offer for subscription-based advice or coaching services in these emails. (On the flip-side, I’m not promising you an easy way to become a successful author. So. . .)

If you’d like to get the emails, you can enter your email address here or in the form below. No matter what stage you’re at in your own writing life, I hope you find them helpful.

14 Years of Building a Writing Career in 14 Days of Emails