It’s been a long winter and, as you can see, a long (though not intentional) absence from the old blog here. But as the sun starts to shine again and I can hear real live birds outside my window, so does my online life return, as well. Over the past two months, I’ve had the pleasure of teaching a single fiction workshop and a one-day seminar I call “A Practical Guide to the Writer’s World,” in which I attempt to present all the many things about the “business” of writing that I had to learn on my own the hard way (and am still learning…again, the hard way). There are so many things I wish I’d known up front, though, like the fact that getting into an MFA won’t necessarily lead to quick (or any) publication, that attending that dream writer’s conference might not be the “dream” it looked to be in Poets & Writers, that a workshop may or may not yield the good advice you’d hoped it would. And there are good lessons, too, like how sweet is the friendship between writers or how satisfying it is to have a complete stranger reach out to tell you how much they enjoyed your story in XYZ Journal. And there are times, too, when the work itself is the true reward, even when not a single eye has read the words you’ve written, but there’s the hope that’s in it that pushes you on. So, in honor of my return to the world of social networking and the blogosphere, I offer the article below. Happy Spring!