Monday, December 30, 2013

Writers Need Rewards

It's been said writing is its own reward, but let's face it, sometimes we need just a little bit more to keep going.

There are days it takes all my energy just to get to the end of a chapter or blog post. I wish I could hold out clear to the end to feel that sense of accomplishment, but it helps me to break down my writing goals into smaller milestones and give myself a mini-reward. Somedays it's the end of the chapter, somedays it's the end of a paragraph. I'd be lying to say I've never needed a reward at the end of a sentence!

Whatever your writing milestones are, this will help:

The Leaky Pen Writer's Reward

There's nothing like that little sweet reward, that naughty little sugar rush to push you on! When the jelly beans are gone, refill it with whatever motivates you.

And if you're not a writer maybe it's your significant other or family member who is the writer and needs a little incentive.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas, 1998

From the Editor, December 1998:

Another year blinks past.

I remember Christmases as a kid. I grew up here in Utah, in Kearns and in Cache Valley. Christmas was magic, especially the year there was a knock on our back door and we found a box of presents on the back porch and sleigh tracks with reindeer hoof prints (we didn't have a chimney, so I guess that's the best he could do).

I would sleep in the front room in my sleeping bag, near the Christmas tree, letting the lights carry me off to sleep with dreams of anticipation.

Every year, the presents I looked forward to the most were books. I remember sitting on Santa's lap—I was only six years old—and having him ask me what I wanted. All I told him was "books."

Over the years I've come to regard the gift of reading as one of the greatest gifts I've ever been given. With this one gift I've traveled the world, through space and time, and always before me are worlds yet to explore.

This year, I hope books are among the gifts we all give, and along with them, give the gift of your passion for reading. Share it often with those you love.

The Leaky Pen, Vol. 1 Issue 5, December 1998

Monday, December 16, 2013

Jane Austen on Writing

Jane Austen's most popular novels were written over a twenty-year period between the ages of 21, and 41 when she died. You could probably chop off nine of those years when the family was moving around a lot before settling down in Chawton—from her existing letters it doesn't appear she was actively writing much during those years. 

Early on she kept her writing a secret. She wrote in the main room of the house and the door had a squeaky hinge, giving her time to cover her papers with a blotter and pretend to be doing something else.

The Family Who Reads Together...

I understand what family life was like back then, to a degree. My teenage years were spent with no TV in our home. We  spent our evenings reading aloud Tolkien's Lord of the Rings. What I can't understand is what it must have been like to be a published author and hiding it from everyone.
“...sometimes the niece [Anna] would skim over new novels at the Alton Library, and reproduce them with wilful exaggeration. On one occasion she threw down a novel on the counter with contempt, saying she knew it must be rubbish from its name. The name was Sense and Sensibility—the secret of which had been strictly kept, even from her.”*
Sense and Sensibility was published anonymously with the attribution "by a Lady." The other books simply said "by the author of Sense and Sensibility," or one of the other books.

Learn to Write by Reading

Many times Jane mentions in letters the books the family was reading together, and we glimpse some helpful insights. One of those insights is to know and develop your characters so they become believable in their own right and are not a reflection of the author. Jane mentions one book they were reading together and comments,
“Never did any book carry more internal evidence of its author. Every sentiment is completely Egerton's. There is very little story, and what there is is told in a strange, unconnected way.”

Writers Are Always Writing

It may appear that writers are engaged in the same mundane daily activities as the rest of us, but don't be fooled. You might be standing there riding public transport, not paying attention, while the writer across from you is mentally taking notes about your awkward stance, bright lipstick and striped leggings, and your boyfriend who is too cool to hold on to anything.

After Jane's writing was no longer a secret, her niece, Marianne Knight, recalls an instance of her writing:
"[Jane] would sit very quietly at work beside the fire in the Godmersham library, then suddenly burst out laughing, jump up, cross the room to a distant table with papers lying upon it, write something down, returning presently and sitting down quietly to her work again.”

Criticism and Encouragement

Some of Jane's best advice we have on writing comes from letters with her niece Anna. Anna was 21 years old at the time—the same age Jane was when she began writing what became Pride and Prejudice.

Awareness of Locations and Travel Distances

“Lyme will not do. Lyme is towards forty miles' distance from Dawlish and would not be talked of there. I have put Starcross instead. If you prefer Exeter that must be always safe.”
“We are reading the last book. They must be two days going from Dawlish to Bath. They are nearly 100 miles apart.”
“...we think you had better not leave England. Let the Portmans go to Ireland; but as you know nothing of the manners there, you had better not go with them. You will be in danger of giving false representations. Stick to Bath and the Foresters. There you will be quite at home.”

Go Easy on the Minute Descriptions

“You describe a sweet place, but your descriptions are often more minute than will be liked. You give too many particulars of right hand and left. ”

Naming of Characters

Have you ever found yourself mulling over the name of a character in a novel you're reading? Sometimes the name is so perfect it launches a story all by itself.  Stephen R. Donaldson tells of three names he liked "so much that [he] began consciously trying to pull together a story good enough for them," eventually leading to the best-selling four-volume Gap series.

Jane particularly liked a name in Anna's story.
“The name of Newton Priors is really invaluable; I never met with anything superior to it. It is delightful; one could live upon the name of Newton Priors for a twelvemonth.” 

Humor in Developing Characters

In developing the character Emma, Jane created “a heroine 'whom no one would like but herself.” The authors of Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters have this to say on the characters in Emma:
“And the humour is always essential to the delineation of character—it is never an excrescence. It also depends more on what is said than on any tricks of speech; there are no catch-words, and every one speaks practically the same excellent English. Besides this, Emma also gives a very good instance of the author's habit of building up her characters almost entirely without formal description, and leaving analysis to her readers.”

Again, Write What You Know—Recognize Your Limitations

As Emma was nearing publication Jane learned that the Prince Regent was a huge fan of her novels, and would she consider dedicating a future novel to the Prince Regent? This news was delivered to her via the Prince Regent's personal librarian, Rev. Clarke.

Mr. Clarke also thought it would be wonderful if she would write about an English clergyman, since no one had captured one in the right way yet, and she could do it perfectly, he was sure.
She responded,
“I am quite honoured by your thinking me capable of drawing such a clergyman as you gave the sketch of in your note of November 16th. But I assure you I am not. The comic part of the character I might be equal to, but not the good, the enthusiastic, the literary. Such a man's conversation must at times be on subjects of science and philosophy, of which I know nothing; or at least occasionally abundant in quotations and allusions which a woman who, like me, knows only her own mother tongue, and has read little in that, would be totally without the power of giving. A classical education, or at any rate a very extensive acquaintance with English literature, ancient and modern, appears to me quite indispensable for the person who would do any justice to your clergyman; and I think I may boast myself to be, with all possible vanity, the most unlearned and uninformed female who ever dared to be an authoress.”
After further encouragement she responded:
“No, I must keep to my own style and go on in my own way, and though I may never succeed again in that, I am convinced that I should totally fail in any other.”
Even though she declined Mr. Clarke's request, it must have tickled her sarcastic vein because she outlined a vastly sweeping novel about just such a clergyman.

We All Like Visible Proof of Our Efforts

Finally, in a letter to her niece, Fanny, explaining the purpose of a recent London trip to discuss printing a second edition of Mansfield Park, she expresses what must surely be the feeling of all writers:
“People are more ready to borrow and praise than to buy, which I cannot wonder at; but though I like praise as well as anybody, I like what Edward calls 'Pewter' too.”

Jane Austen Poster

Here is a poster of Jane Austen with a thought-provoking quote on writing.

*All quotes are taken from the book Jane Austen, Her Life and Letters by William Austen-Leigh and Richard Arthur Austen-Leigh

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Robert Louis Stevenson on Writing

In honor of my friends who are tackling NaNoWriMo this year, let me share some encouragement and insight from Robert Louis Stevenson—it's his birthday today (November 13, 1850).

He wrote his first novel, Treasure Island, when he was 33 years old. He had been writing short stories and travel essays for ten years. Echoing feelings many writers have felt, he said of this time:
“I had quite a reputation, I was the successful man; I passed my days in toil, the futility of which would sometimes make my cheek to burn - that I should spend a man’s energy upon this business, and yet could not earn a livelihood: and still there shone ahead of me an unattained ideal: although I had attempted the thing with vigour not less than ten or twelve times, I had not yet written a novel.”
“I remember I used to look, in those days, upon every three-volume novel with a sort of veneration, as a feat... of physical and moral endurance and the courage of Ajax.”*

But it's so hard! (said in a whiny voice)

If you have not written a novel yourself, have you considered the scope of the task? I have so much more admiration for those who have, after reading this:

“Anybody can write a short story - a bad one, I mean - who has industry and paper and time enough; but not every one may hope to write even a bad novel.  It is the length that kills. The accepted novelist may take his novel up and put it down, spend days upon it in vain, and write not any more than he makes haste to blot.  Not so the beginner.  Human nature has certain rights; instinct - the instinct of self-preservation - forbids that any man (cheered and supported by the consciousness of no previous victory) should endure the miseries of unsuccessful literary toil beyond a period to be measured in weeks.  There must be something for hope to feed upon.  The beginner must have a slant of wind, a lucky vein must be running, he must be in one of those hours when the words come and the phrases balance of themselves - even to begin.  And having begun, what a dread looking forward is that until the book shall be accomplished!”

I hope that wasn't discouraging. Obviously successful writers must have determination. He mentions another tool every writer should use, a map.

The Sun Rises Where?

The idea for the novel Treasure Island came to him from a map he drew with his stepson. It's one of the most famous maps in literature.

In the development and research process nothing grounds you quite like a map. Now in our age of Google Earth we can zoom right to any area we need, and once there, enter street view and get a fuller sense of our character's surroundings. I can't afford to travel to Robert Louis Stevenson's native Edinburgh, but I did the next best thing and zoomed over there and took this screenshot.

Using a map will help you avoid errors in your characters' timetables and directions. Robert Louis Stevenson tells how maps have helped him in his writing.

“It is, perhaps, not often that a map figures so largely in a tale, yet it is always important.  The author must know his countryside, whether real or imaginary, like his hand; the distances, the points of the compass, the place of the sun’s rising, the behaviour of the moon, should all be beyond cavil. ...But it is my contention - my superstition, if you like - that who is faithful to his map, and consults it, and draws from it his inspiration, daily and hourly, gains positive support, and not mere negative immunity from accident.  The tale has a root there; it grows in that soil; it has a spine of its own behind the words.  Better if the country be real, and he has walked every foot of it and knows every milestone.  But even with imaginary places, he will do well in the beginning to provide a map; as he studies it, relations will appear that he had not thought upon; he will discover obvious, though unsuspected, short-cuts and footprints for his messengers; and even when a map is not all the plot, as it was in Treasure Island, it will be found to be a mine of suggestion.”

And one final thing, here's a poster of RLS with a thought-provoking quote on writing.

*All quotes are taken from Robert Louis Stevenson's Essays in the Art of Writing.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

That Smell? Oh, That's Just the Hyperbole

Here's a little something from the February, 1999 issue of The Leaky Pen.

I hesitated posting this because of all the hyperbole. It's what happens when you don't have another set of eyes looking over your work (even editors need editors). But I saw a few grains among all the chaff, so here it is.


All I want to do is write. I'm sure that's because I have a full-time job doing something else.

I want to write so bad tears are just below the surface. Passion is riding the winds inside me. There's a tsunami inside and it won't—come—out. My pen seems too little to let such a storm flow through it. What wants to come out? What is my purpose? I feel it is only to find those right words.

No, that's not right. It's not finding the right words. What if I found them tonight? Like the Lost Chord? Would that mean that I would never need to write again?

The purpose of my life as a writer is to embark on the journey, new, every day. There are only right words for this day. This moment. And these are the ones for today. The words of quiet. The quiet place where the pages hold still as I try to channel the storm and give it form.

The Foundation of Writing

Do you practice your craft of writing every day? For those of you who play a musical instrument, you put in practice for one performance. And if you don't practice, your performance stinks, right? Why would your writing be any different?

Writing practice is the foundation of all writing. It is the air I breathe, the water I drink. The process of keeping my hand moving for a specific amount of time (10 minutes, for instance) unlocks those places inside that contain the important things I need to say as a writer.

After 12 years of writing practice, I'm only recently discovering the things I have to say, my deep reasons. The experiences in my life that have been composting for all these years are now yielding rich fruit as I daily put pen to paper, turning and turning, keeping my hand moving.

In Wild Mind, by Natalie Goldberg, she points out the obvious, and at the same time, not so obvious. "Reading a book about writing is different from actually getting down and doing writing."

The Leaky Pen,  From the Editor, February 1999

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Splat By Another Name

Asterisks are such funny little things. The name comes from Latin and Greek and means "little star."

It was created at the ancient Library of Alexandria but punctuation wasn't standardized until the invention of printing. And the main reason for the use of punctuation was to clarify syntax, or laying out the rules governing sentence structure. Boring, right?

But this is cool—in the 19th century a writer named Cecil Hartley wrote a poem illustrating how punctuation is used to clarify spoken text:
The stop point out, with truth, the time of pause
A sentence doth require at ev'ry clause.
At ev'ry comma, stop while one you count;
At semicolon, two is the amount;
A colon doth require the time of three;
The period four, as learned men agree.
It doesn't say anything about the asterisk of course, but it was fun to read.

One of the asterisk's early uses in feudal times was to indicate the date of birth on family trees. And I bet you didn't know that asterisks are usually five-pointed in sans-serif typefaces and six-pointed in serif ones.

It's such a useful little mark. I'm mostly familiar with its use in typography, but it seems every field has their own use for it. In music notation it tells when the piano's sustain pedal should be lifted. In human genetics it's used to indicate someone's a member of a haplogroup and not any of its subclades. (Wikipedia lists a whole bunch of other uses if you have nothing better to do with your time.)

The asterisk has been a mainstay in the comic world, and nowadays it's used to briefly correct mistakes in our already brief social media posts.

Well, now you're so much smarter than you were five minutes ago.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Excuse Me While I Get This

I'm trying to think of the longest stretch that I've been able to write without an interruption. I'm sure there are times that I've been lost and swimming in hours-long sessions, but it seems rare.

Mostly I just pick up the pen, put on my thoughtful expression, and the phone rings or an email alert beeps. I think that's why I have to get out of the house to write. I feel like a man on a mission and I can't come back without my words of prey.

How do you make the time to write and keep from being interrupted?

Friday, July 12, 2013

William Styron Quote

Does anyone else feel like this?

William Styron is the author of Sophie's Choice, The Confessions of Nat Turner, and Darkness Visible: A Memoir of Madness.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Write For The Right Reason

There are likely as many reasons to write as there are writers. Some of us write for a living, some of us write to keep the demons at bay, and some of us write to impress someone else. 

I write because the words have to come out. Writing is it's own reward. Write for you. Be selfish. If it doesn't satisfy you, how can you expect others to appreciate it? 

What About Writing for Money?

I like what Stephen King said about doing it for the money (i've shortened the quote, but it keeps his intent):
…I never set a single word down on paper with the thought of being paid for it. I have written because it fulfilled me. I did it for the buzz. I did it for the pure joy of the thing. And if you can do it for joy, you can do it forever.
—Stephen King, On Writing pg. 249

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Dried Ink

Fountain pen with dried ink, painted in Artrage.

I wrote this for the "From the Editor" column in the second issue of The Leaky Pen:

Dried ink.

It makes me careful while holding the pen. Because some of it isn't dry.

I was standing at the counter at the bank when it first leaked. I always carry my pen in my shirt pocket and miraculously it didn't leak while in my pocket. Only when I took it out and uncapped it to endorse the check. Then I saw my fingers were stained.

It was surprising—after 12 years of using a fountain pen, this was a first. I felt betrayed. I've always felt or thought of my pen as a friend. Of course that sane part in my mind knows it's only a tool to make marks on paper, but the playful side, the muse-tickled corner remembers the sudden unexpected sentences that touched the emotions in just the right way.

Perhaps it was because I hadn't written for awhile and all that ink was just bursting to get out—with or without my help.

Now I'm afraid to trust it. I keep it in my backpack (which I always keep with me, but it's not the same).

It's a friend that done me wrong, but my best friend nonetheless.

The Leaky Pen, Vol.1 Issue 2, September 1998

Monday, July 1, 2013

Capturing Memories (Without Digital Cameras)

A Record That I Was Here.

Last weekend when I went to the Corner Bakery Cafe in Draper to write, I also took a few minutes and painted my empty plate and napkin.

When it's so easy to snap a photo and post it to Facebook and move on, picking up a pen and notebook puts the world in slo-mo, and pause even. The same thing happens when I draw and paint. For these few moments I stopped my mind from constantly grinding through all my worries and concerns and focused on the napkin on my plate, the way the light reflected off the different textures.

I stopped and observed the people around me and tried to describe them in a combination of words that was meaningful to me. Out of all the moments that will make up today, all the moments I give to others, that dribble away watching something on TV, running errands… I have these few moments that are mine. I have a record of my attempt to capture these moments in words and images.

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cursive? What's that?

For those of us who frame our thoughts best with our pens on paper, this is sad news.

Margaret C. Galitzin wrote an article about the decline of cursive writing in our modern school systems. "Learning to write a beautiful, flowing, cursive handwriting is simply “irrelevant” in the modern world."

"It was kind of cryptic." Words from a girl trying to read her grandmother's journal.

Be sure to read the whole story here:

Leave a comment! If you learned to write in cursive, do you still use it now?

Writing at the Corner Bakery Cafe

I went to the Corner Bakery Cafe in Draper this morning. After a toasted sourdough panini breakfast sandwich I uncapped my pen and took a few minutes to write in my notebook.
There's a lady in one of the stuffed chairs in front of me. Laid back, reading and looking at pictures on her Kindle in the landscape position. Her fingers held thoughtfully to her lips, gripping a stylus that she never uses. Black windbreaker, matching stylish black cap, bright fuchsia shirt. Her blond hair in a faux wind-blown style sticking out from under the cap, narrow reading glasses, olive capri shorts. All the pieces in place, but the sum is less than the parts. In spite of all the effort it still feels like she's in a house dress with curlers—if anyone still wears curlers in their hair.
A couple tables away sits a soccer mom with her teenage son and his friend. They're in their high school soccer uniforms, she's pulled out knitting needles and a ball of dark grey yarn and is furiously knitting away while interrogating the friend. They're silently chewing and texting except for the occasional barely-audible grunt replies and barely-visible eye contact while she desperately pecks away at their teenage ennui.
After a few minutes to myself writing, I take a deep breath and the world feels right, at least for a little while. Not the best writing, not the worst. But at least I spent a few moments capturing my observations.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Early Morning Drawing

I'm drawing a new Leaky pen cartoon. The first new one in thirteen years. The tripod behind me is filming a video that I'll post in the future.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Original Drawing—Run Out of 'E's

This is the original drawing, showing all the fun, scribbly-pencil lines. After all these years it's great to see it on a mug!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You're Not From Stink Onion, Are You?

I come from the Land of the Sun. Yes, it's a blazing desert, but not as bad as The Reborn in Small Springs to the south.

That sounds more exotic than "I'm from Utah, it's a desert, but not as hot as Phoenix, Arizona."

For writers, place names are as much a part of our characters' makeup as the times in which they live. We can feel the cold and gloom in New Bedford, Massachusetts, from Melville's Moby Dick. And the grime and soot of Dicken's London.

And wouldn't you love to read about characters from Dreaded Fort, Raven Breach, and Swampy Hole? Locations also form the identities of characters in our favorite movies and TV series. Would Walter White, from "Breaking Bad," be the same person we know if he was from Nebraska?

The establishing shot of Slough in the British version of "The Office" tells us something about all the characters. And for the life of me I can't figure out why it's so amusing to the british cast of "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret" when the titular character first tells them he's from Leeds. But apparently there's innuendo of some sort, and it helps them understand his character immediately.

As a lover of maps and word origins I was happy to learn about the combination of the two by cartographers Stephan Hormes and Silke Peust from Kalimedia. I read about them in recent articles from Slate and Fast Company. You can buy their "Atlas[es] of True Names" for the USA, Canada, the British Isles, Europe, and the World. These atlases are the perfect blend of maps and etymology.

Spend a few minutes with them and you'll catch a glimpse into the history of where you and your characters are from.

As quaint and curious as some of the place names are, it's a good thing some names have changed. Al Capone and the Chicago gangsters would seem a little less (or more?) intimidating if they were from Stink Onion.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Secret To Writing

After our last writing practice session, it came to me, the Secret To Writing.

The Secret To Writing is to let the tip of the pen actually make contact with the paper, then flex the muscles of the fingers, wrist, and arm in such a fashion that words begin to form.

Sounds easy? Now comes the tricky part. You have to do it every day. Or at least so often that it feels like every day.

The amazing thing is that by forcing the pen to move, whether you have thoughts behind it or not, writing happens. Words place themselves in that unique combination that is yours. It's only with daily practice that the words start to feel comfortable enough that they're willing to tumble out of your head to the paper.

You just need to put the pen to the paper and get out of the way.

The Leaky Pen, Vol.1 Issue 2, September 1998

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Re-Thinking Natalie

I did something this morning I haven't done for years. I blew the dust off my fountain pen, put a new ink cartridge in, opened a notebook (the paper kind) and wrote.

June 23, 2013

Words are nothing really. I mean you can't see them when they're spoken. Remember the last time you heard people nearby speaking in a foreign language? Those are words, floating around with no meaning. But when we write them down we give them shape. In some way they take form, give form to our thoughts.

I remember buying Natalie Goldberg's "Writing Down the Bones" from a book club back in the '80s. Holding it in my hands, the answers. Here's a way to write, a way to get those tangly words out of my head and onto paper. That's all I was looking for. At least now 30 years later, that's what I think I was looking for. For many years I treated that [book] like the gospel for writers. Good news, yes. Truth crystalized and given form. I could hold it. Read it. And every time I read it, opened it, it told me the same things. It became a comfort.

Then I heard a recorded version of it. Natalie was reading her book. I could hear the same words I was familiar with. But then unexpectedly at the end of the chapters she had some new things to say. Things that have given me much to think on ever since. For example, she had said to buy a fast-writing pen. She said she uses a cheap Shaeffer fountain pen, the kind you can buy at a corner drugstore. So that's where I went, and that's what I bought. In fact, that's what I'm using to write these words with right now. Buy a college-ruled notebook, cheap, so you're not afraid to write stupid, crappy words, whatever comes to mind. I did that. I've got a box full of those notebooks.

Then the surprise came on the tape. She said she doesn't use fountain pens now. At least not exclusively. Just use whatever. As long as it's fast. I laughed. One of those times when your perspective shifts. And you see things sharper, clearer. Things about yourself. I realized what a trap the written word can be. The fact that it's tangible gives it importance. It's more important than any thoughts or words that I've ever thought or written. Because nothing I've ever written exists in as exquisitely tangible a shape as a book. If it's in a book it automatically has weight, in both senses of the word.

She talked about that. Lighten up people. Nobody has all the answers for you. Only you do. And the way you find out what those answers are for you is to put the pen on paper. Of course I'm paraphrasing. I don't remember what she said exactly. But I do remember how my own perspective on writing shifted. One day I cleaned my pen, put it in a cup on my desk with some other pens, and didn't touch it for thirteen years. I guess I needed some time to figure out if I had anything worth writing about.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Leaky Pen Cartoons

A main feature of the original Leaky Pen publication was the cartoon about the writer's life. The character started as a nondescript, balding, middle-aged man (who eventually acquired the name "Henry"), and his wife. They were single-panel cartoons with captions.

Ultimately I drew the Leaky Pen cartoons for myself. I wasn't trying to please a client or anyone else. Each cartoon made me smile—from the moment the idea first came to mind, to when it was inked on paper. Even now, thirteen years later, they make me smile.

And since I've seen others enjoy them as well I wanted to find a way to make them available on different products, like mugs, shirts and whatnot. Now, thanks to these times we live in, I've found a way! Here's a link to The Leaky Pen's Zazzle store where you can get the cartoons on a bunch of stuff. I hope they make you smile too.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Will's Corner

One of the small features from the original Leaky Pen was a quote from William Shakespeare. Occasionally I'll post them here.

Version 2.0

History Lesson

The Leaky Pen was a publication of the Salt Lake Chapter of the League of Utah writers from August 1998 to October 2000. It published stories, information, resources, and tips to the Salt Lake writing community.
Regular features included a cartoon by illustrator Lauren Ball (yours truly), a letter from the editor (yours truly, again) short quotes from Shakespeare, a column focusing on online resources for writers, and an example of a line well-written from books I was currently reading.

So what is this "Leaky Pen 2.0?"

Thirteen years later so many more resources are available to writers. I want a place to share them when I come across them.
Also I want a way to make the original cartoon designs available, as well as new ones that keep waking me up at 2 in the morning. I've set up a Zazzle store where writers can get—and give as gifts—their favorite cartoons on mugs, t-shirts, tote bags, and more.
And above all, I hope to share things that inspire and motivate me in the hopes that they will light fires for others as well.