Book Club Guide for The Long Awakening: a Memoir

Photo: Getty
Photo: Getty

Some readers have been asking if there's a book club guide for my memoir The Long Awakening. Now there is. If your club has chosen my book, please tell everyone I said Thank You! I'm honored.

Click below to download the free Reader's Guide. It's also permanently available for download under "Useful Things" on the homepage menu.

The Long Awakening Book Club Guide

Is your book club reading my book?

Getting Back Your Writing Groove

Writing regularly makes a blank page welcoming, a call to come and sit down, do what I love. But when I get sidetracked by life, or fear, or failure, or the dreaded “wanting to write” more than I write, I lose my groove. The blank page of a new document or the first page of a new notebook when my groove is —gasp—AWOL is like gripping my toes over the edge of a dock, staring at the cold lake waiting.

So I jump. Feel the initial wave of fear, then cold, joints and muscles momentarily stiff, tense with the immersion. Then I move, kick, begin to swim and now I’m no longer on the dock, no longer hesitant, no longer facing a new notebook with one hundred sheets of blank paper, or the blinking curser with unlimited blank pages.

Ink fills the page. Words fill the page.

It comforts. Tomorrow, the water will be less cold.

Six ways to get back your writing groove:

  1. Smack down the fear of beginning. Say, “it’s just words.” Junk is okay.
  2. Get thee to thy desk; derrière in chair summons your groove.
  3. Take a book you love and copy a paragraph you particularly like three times. You only use it to warm up. It’s just practicing your scales; getting your fingers moving. An author you love inspires you to write.
  4. Jump in. Write a six word sentence. Ignore the cold. Write a longer one. Keep going.
  5. Write 250 words (about a page) before checking your email. If the rest of the day is a wash, you will have written a page. Feel the comfort.
  6. Remember why you are doing this. You are a writer. Splash about. When you’ve written something, anything, dry off, repeat 1-5 tomorrow. Smile.

Tweet this: How to get back your writing groove.

What do you do to find your writing groove when you've lost it?

Spread the Word and Get Some Perks


There are a few more spots available on The Long Awakening Launch Team for those who'd like to help get the word out about my new memoir, and receive a few things as well.

As part of the team, you'll get:

  • free hardcover or electronic copy of The Long Awakening.
  • To be part of the strategic planning team for a national book campaign.
  • Access to a private Facebook group to connect with other team members, me, and my marketing and publicity team at my publisher.
  • A one hour group consultation for those interested in writing and publishing.

Team members agree to:

If you'd like to be part of the team sign up here.

Thanks so much,


An Invitation to Join The Long Awakening Launch Team


So many of you have told me that you’re reading my new memoir, The Long Awakening. This means the world to me. I worked on this book for ten years and for it to finally be out in the world drenches me in joy and grace and gratefulness. I wrote it because I had to; some books cannot stay inside you. When I write I immerse myself in the story, the craft, the shape and heart of it, with utter honesty, working, bleeding, to find what the story is supposed to be.

When I’m done creating and have worked to make a little bit of art to the best of my ability,  and finally, finally launch it out into the world I have one thought.

It’s for you.

The book is no longer mine, but for you to take from it what you will. The act of writing is for me, but what it becomes is yours.

To those of you who’ve read it, want to, or have supported it in any way, I want to say thank you again and again until my voice and heart are raspy from the saying.

Would you like to be part of my launch team?

Staying put in front of my computer and behind my pen to work on new projects holds appeal, but now it’s time to join my publisher in sharing this book with others.

If you’d like to actively help spread the word about The Long Awakening and be part of the book launch team with some free gifts and special opportunities, sign up below for more details and to join the team. Limited space is available.

Click here for more details and to sign up.

This is my heart book. I will always write, but I’ll never live another story like this, God willing.



On Meeting My Two Month Old Infant

A person should never have to try to remember when they were introduced to their baby. Should never have to meet their newborn only to find the baby is no longer a newborn, but is now a  two month old tiny person. Of course, one should never have to sleep for 47 days either.  

"There's still so much I'm unclear about even now, years later, so much I'll never know, like layers and layers of baby Swiss cheese, holes lapping over substance, but when peeled apart, you still find holes. I keep doing what any good reporter trying to keep at a story does--as new questions in an old story surface, go back to your primary source. So much later I do.

"Tim, remember the day you first brought Caroline to me after I woke up?" I've called him at work because I'm trying to remember this and I'm unclear when exactly it happened. It's a memory floating, without context, and I need him to ground it for me. "She was wearing a red outfit. Sharon handed her to me. What day was that? Was it October 15th?"

"Well, there were two days. Which one do you mean?"

"Two days?"

"Can we talk about this tonight?"

"Sure, but you remember?"

"Yeah, but I don' have time right now to explain it."

I hang up feeling a little like when you get to the end of a chapter in the book you're reading and you get one question answered only to have another question raised, so you turn one more page because you really want to know what happens, except you have to stop reading now because it's time to fix dinner or the house is on fire or something and you're a little irritated because this unanswered question's still hanging out there and you want to read a little longer but you can't. I have a single memory of waking from unconsciousness and being presented with my baby. And now there are two days, another page to turn, another layer of Swiss to peel back.

-Excerpted from my memoir The Long Awakening.