A Day in the Writing Life: Chapter 9 of EVERY NOTE PLAYED

From my writing journal…. Okay, clearly I need some time with no kids to bang out some chapters. 9am-noon isn’t enough right now. I’m still at the beginning of the book when there’s so much resistance, and I dick around for too long before starting. Man, I really don’t feel like writing today---wah, wah, wah. Too bad, Lisa. The only way to finish this book is to write it, one page at a time. You have to put in the time to get the words down. There is no other way. Looking forward to connecting with Barbara Shapiro next week. I need a pep talk. I know the next three chapters, which is amazing. I almost never see that far ahead this early in the story. It’s like having high beams on. So this s

The Oscars

It's Oscars season. I love movies and try to catch as many of the Oscar-nominated films as I can before the Academy Awards. So far, I've seen Lady Bird, Three Billboards Ouside Ebbing, and The Post (all great, but my vote goes easily to Three Billboards). And I can't help but get a bit nostalgic now, thinking back to Oscars night three years ago. I still smile as I remember clutching onto producer and dear friend James Brown, holding our breaths, waiting for Matthew McConaughy to open that envelope and then hugging, laughing, and crying after he read, "Julianne Moore for Still Alice." I think I almost passed out when Julianne Moore included thanking me in her acceptance speech. It was magica

EVERY NOTE PLAYED: Chapter Outline

I outline my books AFTER I’ve completed the entire first draft. Is that weird? I begin writing most of my chapters with a question: What happens next? The answer is almost always some version of: I have no idea! Don’t freak out! Stay in the seat and find it! I begin every book with a set of characters and a neurological crisis. And then I follow what happens to them. This process requires that I stay extremely present, that I open myself to all the sensory and emotional moment-to-moment details, that I inhabit the characters and their stories as they develop, unfold, and change. While writing without an outline can be terrifying, it’s also exciting and at times, it allows for genuine surpris


I’m reading through my research and writing notebooks for EVERY NOTE PLAYED, going over the journey, fascinated and amused to witness my struggle to discover these characters and their stories, proud of my persistence and willingness to surrender, amazed that I eventually unearthed the words to build this story. And then I found some words that I’d forgotten about, words that really should be in this book. Oh well—Bonus Material! ALS is inside him, a faceless enemy because he can’t see or even imagine it. The problem is, he’s taking this personally. He needs a face, someone to blame, to fight. But there is no face to this disease. Scientists don’t even know what to target or battle. So he si

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