Welcome to this Saturday Edition of What We’re Writing and Reading.
We’re taking a little detour on the weekends now to share some of what we’re up to with our writing (when we’re not here) and what we’re into with our reading (around the web). We’ll also pull back the curtain a little to give you a behind-the-scenes look at what went into a piece.
We hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own posts and picks in the comments.
Happy writing! Happy reading!
Lisa J. Jackson: The week started off intending to go one way and it turned out to be a lot different! The joys of freelancing – and why I still ‘pencil’ things into my day planner instead of writing them in pen. But it all works out in the end, every time.
What I’m writing: Blog posts and short stories ruled this week in the writing arena. Editing marketing collateral made up the bulk of my work, which is more reading than writing when it goes smoothly. And it did. Ahhh.
What I’m reading: I love this post by Pam Moore that touches on how important it is to just “be” sometimes – The Power of Focused Passion in Business and Life. I’ve found a blog that is inspiring for fitness goals – Train-Eat-Sleep - it’s insightful, motivating, and most important, real. And Lou Bortone has oodles of experience to share regarding video marketing and he makes it fun and easy to learn. Definitely a blog worth reading.
In other news: I’m enjoying my first-ever visit to New Jersey this weekend and attending a concert that’s pulling me back to my teen years. Pat Benatar still knows how to rock and roll, oh yeah. Even better, though, is I’m spending some awesome quality time with my brother. Fabulous.
Deborah Lee Luskin: I’ve had a perfectly lovely week with “nothing” exciting to report, save steady progress on my novel, steady progress on a special project for Vermont Public Radio, and a proposal to a prospective client regarding manuscript development. I’ve come to appreciate the magic of such “ordinary” weeks where all I do is forge ahead without fanfare but with concentration and delight. Part of me loves having one day much the same as another – until I hit a wall, and then I want everything to change. This has been a lovely week of diligent work. Hooray!
Diane MacKinnon: I’m working to cut 1000 words from a short story I’m getting ready to send off to a contest. I’ve been rewriting my story for the past couple of months and I think it’s a lot better than it was–but it’s also a lot longer. I’m going to see how many words I can cut without cutting the meat of the story. I’ve saved the long version because maybe it’ll end up being a novella–who knows?
A blog I read regularly is The Health Care Blog. It’s about all aspects of the health care field and I find it fascinating. While it’s aimed at health care professionals, many of the topics are important to health care consumers.
Jamie Wallace: Morning, all! It’s a cheerfully sunny, not-quite-warm day here on the north shore. I’m getting ready to hustle through a quick breakfast with my daughter so we can arrive early at an equine expo and sale where I hope we’ll be able to pick up some quality riding attire on the cheap. (Wish us luck!). Meanwhile – here’s what’s been cookin’ in my writerly corner of the world:
What I’m Writing:
Again – not a whole heck of a lot. I’m in week two of a nasty cold that took me out at the knees at the start of my daughter’s April vacation. My energy level has been very low, but I’ve been trying to resist the urge to beat myself up about it and indulge, instead, in some sensible TLC. I have been working on client projects (an ebook for a software company and some key website copy for a friend and local architect). I have also been doing some discovery work on rebranding my marketing business. This is a fun but intense process that is helping me discover and define the “why” that drives my business.
Inspired by this work, I wrote a post for my marketing blog on the importance of Marketing From Your Core. I am an unapologetic branding geek and champion. In this post, I get back up on my soapbox to talk a little bit about why getting a handle on the core values and mission of your brand are so critical to your long term success. Even for writers (and perhaps I’ll put together a post on this soon), developing a brand is a smart and powerful way to set yourself apart from the competition. I know many writers balk at the idea of “being a brand,” but if you think of a brand as simply a “defined story” about who you are and why you do what you do, perhaps it won’t seem like such a foreign idea.
What I’m Reading:
Last weekend, I bought a used copy of Alice Hoffman’s novel, The River King (affiliate link). I’ve only just started to read it, but I’m enjoying her characters and the setting which is a small New England town much like the one I live in. Magical Realism is probably my favorite genre, and Hoffman is one of the best-known writers in that category. The movie Practical Magic (which I adore) is based on one of her novels, but I’ve never read the book. I’m surprised at how slowly The River King starts, though. All the advice I’ve heard tells us to get things moving quickly – grab the reader’s attention, start the story in the middle. Hoffman seems content to spend quite a long time just introducing the characters and the setting. She is, I think, doing a little foreshadowing, but there aren’t any page-turning elements in play just yet. We’ll see how things develop as I continue deeper into the story.
And then there were the blog posts – lovely, lovely blog posts:
- How to Publish an E-Book: Resources for Authors by @JaneFriedman – A comprehensive wrap-up of posts on the topic of ebook production & publishing
- 2 Strategic and Compelling Reasons to Keep Blogging by @DanBlank – A head-clearing post on the value of a blog for a writer trying to develop a body of work
- Lean Sideways by Stacia Duvall – A beautifully written piece inspired by the maelstrom of controversy around Sheryl Sandberg’s book, Lean In
- What’s the Best Way to Backup Your WordPress Website? by @JerodMorris – Technical tips to protect your blog
- Slash: Not Just a Punctuation Mark Anymore by Anne Curzan – A word nerd’s look at the evolution of language
- Art exists everywhere…. – via @NPR – Art in your coffee (for all you cafe-loving writers)
- The Bookstore That Changed My Life by @joshhanagarne - A beautiful, booklover’s story
Happy reading! Happy writing!