I wrote a book called THE FOREST FOR THE TREES. It's an advice book for writers, though it's more about what makes writers tick. For four years, I blogged every day about the agony of writing and publishing, and the self loathing that afflicts most writers. A community of like-minded malcontents gathered and thus ensued a grand conversation. I post less frequently now, but hopefully with as much vitriol. Please join in!

    Gluttons for punishment can scroll through the archives. If I’ve learned one thing about writers, it’s this: we really are all alone. Thanks for reading. Love, Betsy

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I Can’t Make You Love Me

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I’m just going to say it: you have a to keep a journal or a diary if you call yourself a writer. You can’t count on memory. You can’t count on anyone to remember what kind of hat she wore or what you felt about Hart Crane. I know a writer who kept a day book during her thirties. On any given day, she can consult it and see if she had her period, if she had a crush, if she learned a new song, or found treasure in the form of a biker jacket with a paisley lining, You must take notes,on pads, placemats, notebooks, the inside of your palm. You must write and write and write and write. Your arms are branches, your lungs fill and empty, your eyeliner is flawless.

Do you feel me?

Is That You Baby, Or Just a Brilliant Disguise

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Every now and then you have one of those days when BAM you have three new book ideas. Not saying they’re good ideas. Not even saying they’re actually ideas. In all likelihood, nothing more than a derivative half thought based on nothing more than a phrase or silent fart. Still, it’s better than walking around like the living dead, which is about as close an approximation of how I amble though my life. But today I had a whole flounder of ideas and we both know that I’m not going to write any of them, that come morning I won’t even remember them, but you can’t take away that popping feeling I had crossing Tower Parkway on the way to dinner.

What do you do with your brilliant ideas?

Hey There You With the Stars In Your Eyes

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Today, a client asked me why I like the Emmy’s. Get to know me. I live in a perpetual award show. Have you ever seen me in an elevator? I don’t just like award ceremonies, I am an award’s speech aficionado. I came of age during you like me you really like me era. I understand what it is to spend most of your life in therapy. To want love and greatness and appreciation and spotlight. Double-sided tape and jumbo shrimp. I want to congratulate all other nominees in the category. It is such an honor. 

Who are you going to thank?


You Turned Out to Be the Best Thing I Never Had


Where do you go for feedback? Who is your best reader? Is it the person who likes your work the most or the one who gets up in your grill? Are the comments you hate the ones that are the most important to heed? (Hint: YES) Why is that most writers I know feel like arsenic has been thrown in their face when met with criticism. It’s a little like telling a parent his or her child is ugly. Of course some comments are off base, but when someone doesn’t get what’s going on it’s incumbent on you to address it.

Or what?

Please Allow Me to Introduce Myself

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I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole. I’m a genius. I’m an asshole.

How was your day?

Find Out What You Mean To Me


Finished a draft of the fucker before labor day. Now, she and I are giving each other the cold shoulder. I’m a firm believer of leaving your shit alone for at least a few weeks, become detached, even cold, before looking at it again. My husband asked me what I liked best about it and I said setting up stuff and knocking it down. Thirty five years ago at an alternative summer camp I got into a fight with a guy I had a crush on. He insisted that feeling was all that mattered. I was insisting structure. I guess I haven’t changed.

What do you do when you finish a piece?

I’m Going Down, Down, Down, Down, Down, Down, Down.


It’s one short mostly inconsequential scene and yet it takes all day, two days, three. Keep going back to it. More, less, add, chip. Why is it there. Delete. Replace, Delete. Now, it’s more a contest of wills. Will this little piece of shit scene win? Vanquish you and your lands. Oh, lord, let it go, move on, you are not the youngest person in the room. Maybe the scene is key or is it just setting something up and if that’s the case isn’t it, by it’s very nature, a golf tee?

What’s your favorite sports metaphor for writing?