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MILLLICENT G. DILLON, represented by Harold Ober Associates, is the world’s expert on authors Jane and Paul Bowles. She has won five O. Henry Awards and been nominated for the PEN/Faulkner. I worked with Dillon on her memoir, The Absolute Elsewhere, in which she describes in luminous prose her private meeting with Albert Einstein to discuss the ethics of the atomic bomb. Read more. . .

SASHA TROYAN is a Professor of English at Montclair University and author of the critically-acclaimed novels Angels in the Morning and The Forgotten Island, both Booksense Selections, beautiful stories based upon her childhood in France. I worked with Troyan to develop her new novels, Marriage A Trois and Semester. Read more. . .

LUCIA ORTH is the author of the debut novel, Baby Jesus Pawn Shop, which received critical acclaim from Publisher’s Weekly, NPR, Booklist, Library Journal and Small Press Reviews. I have edited a number of essays and articles for Orth. Read more. . .

BHAICHAND PATEL, retired after an illustrious career with the United Nations, is now a journalist based out of New Dehli and Bombay, an expert on Bollywood, and author of three non-fiction books published by Penguin. I edited Patel’s best-selling debut novel, Mothers, Lovers, and Other Strangers, published by Pan Macmillan. Read more. . .

SCOTT WILBANKS, represented by Barbara Poelle of the Irene Goodman Literary Agency, is the author of the debut novel, The Lemoncholy Life of Annie Aster, published by Sourcebooks in August, 2015. I’m working with Wilbanks on his sophomore novel, Easy Pickens, the story of the world’s only medically-diagnosed case of chronic naiveté. Read more. . .

SCOTT WARRENDER is a professional musician and Annie Award-nominated lyricist specializing in musical theater. I work with Warrender regularly on his short stories and debut novel, Putaway. Read more. . .

M. TERRY GREEN enjoys a successful self-publishing career with multiple sci-fi/fantasy series set in the Multiverse, based upon her expertise in anthropology and technology. I worked with Green to develop a new speculative fiction series. Read more. . .

ANIA VESENNY, represented by Beverly Slopen Literary Agency, is a recipient of the Evelyn Sullivan Gilbertson Award for Emerging Artist in Literature and has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize. I edited Vesenny’s debut novel, Swearing in Russian at the Northern Lights, and her second novel, Sandara. Read more. . .

STUART WAKEFIELD is the #1 Kindle Best Selling author of Body of Water, the first novel in his Orcadian Trilogy. Body of Water was 1 of 10 books long-listed for the Polari First Book Prize. I edited Wakefield’s second novel, Memory of Water, and look forward to editing the final novel of his Orcadian Trilogy, Spirit of Water. Read more. . .

GERALDINE EVANS is a best-selling British author. Her historical novel, Reluctant Queen, is a Category No 1 Best Seller on Amazon UK. I edited Death Dues, #11 in Evans’ fifteen popular Rafferty and Llewellyn cozy police procedurals, which received a glowing review from the Midwest Book Review. Read more. . .

JUDY LEE DUNN is an award-winning marketing blogger. I am working with Dunn to develop and line edit her memoir of reconciling liberal activism with her emotional difficulty accepting the lesbianism of her beloved daughter, Tonight Show comedienne Kellye Rowland. Read more. . .

JEFF RUSSELL is the author of the debut novel, The Rules of Love and Law, based upon Jeff’s abiding passions for legal history and justice. Read more. . .

LEN JOY is the author of the debut novel, American Past Time. I worked with Len to develop his novel from its core: a short story about the self-destructive ambitions of a Minor League baseball star. Read more. . .

ALEX KENDZIORSKI is an American physician working in South Africa on community health education and wildlife conservation. I edited Kendziorski’s debut novel Wait a Season for Their Names about the endangered African painted wolf, for which he is donating the profits to wildlife conservation. Read more. . .

ALEXANDRA GODFREY blogs for the New England Journal of Medicine. I work with Godfrey on her short fiction and narrative nonfiction, including a profile of the doctor who helped save her son’s life, “Mending Broken Hearts.” Read more. . .

In addition, I work with scores of aspiring writers in their apprenticeship to this wonderful literary art and craft.

  • By Victoria Mixon

    At our house, we call this week between the holiday and the New Year “time out of time.” It’s our annual step outside the tide of daily struggle and strife to stop and think and search again for the peace in our lives. In the same vein, we’ve been talking here for the last few weeks about how to find Joy & Fulfillment through Writing, how to find Gratitude through Writing, how to find Community through Writing.

    All of which leads to the greatest mystery of all, the purpose of fiction and the purpose of everything in general: discovering what makes life worthwhile.


    How does being a writer help you find meaning?

    Know that meaning exists.

    It’s out there. It might not be intrinsic to this mortal coil—why are we here? where did we come from? where will we go? are there any answers? who knows?—but it is intrinsic to the self-awareness of the living. There is a spark inside you that animates the body in which you live, that makes it walk and talk and learn to play cards.

    The fact that you are aware of this spark is profoundly meaningful. What are you? You are alive.

    And the fact that you have the written word through which to explore that awareness will lead you to another question: “Who am I?” What does it mean to you, deep down inside, that you are alive?

    Know that you have to search for it.

    The meaning of life is not going to be served to you passively, like television commercials and monetized blogs. The only thing of value that you will ever get without trying is life itself (and even that goes away if you lie down and refuse to feed or clothe or nurture yourself).

    As it happens, writing is excellent work for philosophers and spiritual seekers and questioners because writing isn’t easy. Writing is, in fact, quite a merciless angel, and it’s going to kick your butt. It is—for those of us who love it more than anything else—the ultimate metaphor for quest, the quest for meaning.

    It is the powerful struggle with that metaphor—in all its convoluted, inexplicable, word-heavy impossibility—that makes the answers to our questions about life matter.

    Understand paradox.

    So when we have accepted that there is meaning to our lives, and sought that meaning through this extraordinary craft that is our chosen tool for revelation, and faced that meaning in those ephemeral moments of brilliance in our writing, and accepted our inevitable thwarting at its hands (which thwarting, I’m afraid, really is inevitable), we come to understand something.

    We come to understand that a thing is true only because its opposite is also true.

    We understand that for everything we’ve learned to express through the written word there is an equal and opposite thing yet to be expressed, and that no matter how long and hard we work at this craft, or how talented we were to start with, or how skilled we become in time, we will never write everything we could.

    When we grapple with the potential buried deep inside that paradox, we come to grips with our unlimited freedom to write anything, although it will never be everything. That epiphany allows us to choose.

    And those choices illuminate the meanings of our individual lives.

    Our choices: they’re who we are.

    Happy New Year, everyone.


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One Response to “How to Find the Meaning of Life through Writing”

  1. This was so nicely expressed! Thank you! I feel encouraged.

    The search for meaning and the wrestling with truth is exactly why I want to write. And exactly why I don’t want to write silly romances or gory thrillers. I want thoughtful characters to seek truth and examine and make big decisions for themselves even if they haven’t got life figured out. I think that these are the books that have the longest life and these are the books that have the potential for changing the world. (Now, if only these were the type of books that had the same number of readers as the silly romances and gory thrillers!) Thanks!