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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Remember the Day I Set You Free

It’s 10:20, do you know where your Golden Globe is? People knock the Globes and award shows in general. They’re too long, they’re self-satisfied, rigged, the monologues are terrible, etc. Here’s what I have to say: SO WHAT? People ask me why I watch them and the answer is simple: because I want to win one. Because I want to thank the Foreign Press Corps and my fellow nominees. I want to be at one of the back tables and have to walk the entire length of the room when they call my name. When I recite one of the million acceptance speeches I’ve written in my head over the years. 

Who do you have to thank?

I Am I Said


Went to bed at 11:45 as my own special poke in the eye to New Year’s eve. Broke my diet first thing today. Fuck you resolutions! Here’s what I can tell you. Hold fast to those you love. Write every day even if it’s just a sentence, a snippet of overheard dialogue. Read more. Form a writer’s group. If you’re stuck, go back and make an outline. Spend three months on your outline. If you’re stuck, go back and develop your characters. Get back into therapy. Get back on the Stairmaster. Bake a cake, pull weeds, practice scales. Sleep late, irritate someone you love, remember to bring bags to the Stop and Shop. And to all the freaks and geeks who still visit this site: Happy new year. I love you.

What to you hate?

And It Wouldn’t Be Make Believe if You Believed in Me



Why is everything curated from artisanal pickles to a reading series in Dumbo.  One editor I met at a lunch date said she curates her Instagram account. You mean you put up pictures that you choose?  How does a smart Vassar graduate recently promoted to assistant editor say, over cobb salad, that she’s curating projects in the non-fiction space. I give up. Stop with the curate. Stop with the space. It’s happened. I’m no longer that young thing in a rust colored raw silk blouse and a black Ann Taylor suit trying to impress some agent bitch with her lacquered nails and signature necklace. I hate the world right now. I’m in the self-loathing space.

What are you curating.


The Movement You Need Is On Your Shoulder

Custom-Cartoon-Printing-Cover-Girls-Diary-Wholesale-School-Supplies-Cute-Diary-Notebooks-for-Gift.jpgDid you ever start a successful new writing project in a new notebook? I think not. A new notebook, in my opinion, is a cry for help. All of my new notebooks start with a proclamation that I will write every day. It’s like making a promise you know you’ll never keep. Like a diet or the desire to become a better person. I wrote every day from the time I was in high school until I got married. If you call squalling writing. What you want is a notebook that’s broken in like a pair of jeans. And yes you mourn when you have to throw the jeans out. When the tufted pages dwindle down. What I can’t figure out is why some notebooks stall out after a few pages and others take root. For all those years when I wrote every day, I used a basic composition notebook. Now it’s all Moleskins and Shinolas, and other fancy assed notebooks. What’s become of me? 

Do you have a relationship with your notebooks?




I Can See All Obstacles in My Way

Finished the fucker last week. Hold your applause. But, yes, thank you. Any toe over any finishing line is worth celebrating. I had a plate of spaghetti.Image result for spaghetti in red sauce

What do you do to celebrate finishing a book?

You Are My Love and My Life You are My Inspiration

 I don’t believe in inspiration. I believe in compulsion. Anything I’ve ever written, including when I wrote poetry, came from self-loathing. I never saw any light, angels, symmetry, never heard a muse, never lit a candle, saw Jesus in the tapestry or golden scroll unfurl with a string of notes only God could hear. I wrote out of pain, loneliness, confusion and desperation. I needed to keep diaries. I never said, “I really should write every day.” I wrote every day and it was a cross between a school girl’s cry and a banshee’s screech. I was compelled to write as surely as a leech needs to suck blood from a dying man. I was compelled to write because I was depressed and it was how, bucket by bucket, I pulled myself out, if only for the time I was actually writing. No halo effect. No resonance. No satisfaction. No after glow. In this way writing, for me, is like a contact sport, a staring contest, a long and exquisitely held grudge, a splinter. That’s what writing is like for me.

And for you, Boo boo?

God Save Your Mad Parade

“Life is a racket. Writing is a racket. Sincerity is a racket. Everything’s a racket,” as spoken by none other than the late, great Nick Tosches (1949-2019). I have to admit, this quote comes about as close to my life philosophy as anything I’ve ever seen. Insincerity is also a racket. Love is a racket. Friendliness is a racket. Hopes and dreams: big racket. Being nice, gossip, NYC, racket, racket, racket. Nature is not a racket. Good self-esteem may seem like a racket, but it isn’t. Your book advance, your number of followers, the idea of following is a racket. Publishing is a racket. Believing that you can make a difference is not a racket, though it often gets dressed up as a racket. Rachel Maddow, Starbucks, Netflix, New Yorker, the guy on the home page of Chase on-line.

What’s your racket?