Welcome to this Saturday Edition of What We’re Writing and Reading in which we 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!
Jamie Wallace: Good morning! I hope each of you had had a good week. Seems like this one went by extra fast around here, what with the Veteran’s Day observance and all. (Short weeks always leave me a little off kilter.) And now, with Thanksgiving right around the corner, the end of the year suddenly seems to be quite close at hand. These last couple of months often feel like that rushing fall from the peak of a roller coaster – for months, we’ve been climbing up and up and up, but now we’re suddenly dropping like a stone and there aren’t any brakes (until we slam into New Year’s Day).
Even as the demons of chaos start to tap their cloven feet in time to a frantic music I can’t hear yet, I’ve already begun thinking about ways to protect myself from being pulled into their whirling dervish. Soon, I will set aside some time to look back on 2013 and set my intentions for 2014. I’m also thinking about ways to simplify the holidays this year. We all have so much already.
How about you? How are you feeling at this pivotal point in the year?
What I’m Writing:
I posted on my marketing blog this week. (Hurrah!) The piece is called Exclusive vs. Inclusive – A Cautionary Branding Tale. It’s the story of a concert I recently attended with my beau and the stark contrast between how the opening and headliner acts interacted with the audience.
Unlike consumer brands or B2B companies, artists – including writers – have a uniquely intimate relationship with their audience. While a person might have an affinity for a consumer brand like Life is Good or Coke or Apple, she likely has much more visceral and personal feelings about the artists she likes. How an artist or writer cultivates that relationship – from up close or on far – has an important influence on a fan’s loyalty and behavior.
My experience at the concert was a perfect example of the two possible ends of the spectrum. I would love to hear your thoughts on how you think the ideas I write about play out with your favorite writers and authors.
This week I also joined a small group of writer friends in a daily prompt exercise. It’s very informal, but the small bit of accountability is inspiring me to work harder to carve out even just a few minutes each day to write something (anything!). I’m not usually a big fan of prompts, but when you’re looking for somewhere to begin, they can be a great help. I’m finding that my mind is translating a random series of prompts into a collection of loosely connected snippets of writing that I may later be able to string together into a single story or series of stories. Pretty cool. (If you’re interested in starting your own writing prompt practice, we’re using Sarah Selecky’s free daily prompt email as a starting point. You may want to check that out!)
What I’m Reading:
I have started reading two new books, but since I don’t like to share until I’ve finished a book, I’ll save those for later.
Meanwhile, I have been loving listening to some short fiction via apps on my iPhone. Here are my favorites from this week:
- War Games – In which third grade teacher Micaela Blei tells her story of how a playground war turned her from a “teddy bear” teacher to a hardened general.
- The Prince and I – In which Jillian Lauren shares her very personal story of traveling to Brunei in search of a prince.
- Drowning on Sullivan Street - In which Ed Gavagan tells his story of staying in New York despite a harrowing encounter in the West Village.
Then, I started surfing a new app called Swell. I found this one via Amy Taylor’s post on the Brains on Fire blog. This app is currently only available on the Apple iOS, but they are working on an Android version as well. Unlike other podcast players (like Stitcher, which I also adore) where you primarily choose what you want to hear and subscribe to particular feeds, Swell is like Pandora for podcasts. You pick certain categories and Swell serves you up all different kinds of content and then learns what you like depending on what you listen to and which items you favorite. It’s a great discovery tool.
I haven’t finished it yet, but I’m currently listening to Louise Erdich reading Joyce Carol Oates’ story, Mastiff as presented by The New Yorker Fiction Podcast.
Forget having 1,000 (or 10,000) songs in your pocket. My iPhone has become a library (and performance center) in my pocket!
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- Book Marketing: Generosity, Social Karma And Co-opetition by @thecreativepenn
- Here’s What Kurt Vonnegut Can Teach You About Life via @huffingtonpost (Because … Vonnegut)
- Margaret Atwood declines blurb requests with the “Ode to No” via @ew (Just too cute!)
- Story: I Must Do the Work That I Am Best Suited For by @gretchenrubin (Yep.)
- 6 Unexpected Ways Writing Can Transform Your Health by @amandalynncee
- Storytellers have more fun by @RefeUp
- Want to be a better storyteller? Learn from a Comedian. by @mikaelcho
Finally, a quote for the week:
… and you thought you were doing it wrong. ;)
Have a great weekend. Good writing and good reading to you. See you on the other side!
Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.