Saturday Edition – What We’re Writing and Reading

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! 


wendy-shotWendy Thomas: I’ve hesitated joining these Saturday posts because I’m not sure of what I can add.

Hi, my name is Wendy and I write.

On a weekly basis I have 3-5 newspaper/magazine articles that need to get out and I write 5-9 blog posts a week. I’ve recently started blogging for GRIT and Mother Earth News magazines. I also teach classes and workshops.

On an average weekday I spend 6-7 hours with my butt in the chair. However, I try very hard to not be connected on the weekends so that I can spend time with the family and chickens. (You won’t see me replying to any specific comments until Monday.)

Because of my involvement and experience with internet marketing, I’ve recently partnered with two marketing firms and am now providing web content for various clients including web site overhauls, brochures, white papers, presentations, newsletters, and blog posts in the form of client success stories.

I write enough to get paid enough so that I can write enough of my own material to make me happy.

What am I reading?

Always a big fan of Larry Brooks’ Storyfix blog for writers. What he says resonates so deeply with how I view story writing.

I don’t have much time to read too many other writing blogs but I do read books. (With kids, I’ve learned to always carry a book, you never know when you are going to have to wait.)  I tend to focus on non-fiction and have recently read “Salt, Sugar, Fat”, “Pandora’s Lunchbox” and “The Heavy” – food/diet books seem to be trending right now- hmm, maybe I should write a post about that. 🙂

headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: Hey, Saturday readers! I missed you last week!

What I’m Writing:

Like Wendy (who, btw, can bring PLENTY to these Saturday posts!), I’ve been pretty darn busy lately. I’m currently working on an ebook series and website assessment/content update for one client and a new business pitch deck for another. I’ve also been (hooray!) finding some time to work on rebranding my own business (something I’m pretty excited about).

write drunk edit sober smI did manage to get a post written for my Suddenly Marketing Blog. It has relevance for writers as it addresses some of the fears we have about putting ourselves out there in our writing, particularly blogging: Write drunk; edit sober. How to blog like you mean it

From the post: Blogging can be scary. Some days, it feels like you’ve been pushed on stage and asked to do stand-up. The guy who was on before you totally killed it. The crowd was laughing in the aisles and people were repeating his catch phrase. Now you’re up there, peering through the glare of the floor lights, trying to catch a glimpse of the audience, sweating under the deep and awkward silence of a crowd waiting to see what you’re going to do.

Yeah. Sometimes, blogging is like that. (… read the rest at Suddenly Marketing)

What I’m Reading:
I just finished Chris Guillebeau’s book, The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future.  Guillebeau is a little difficult to define, but I really admire his entrepreneurial spirit and activities. First known for his travel hacking prowess, he has expanded his empire to embrace a diverse audience of self-employed artists, adventurers, and business ingenues. His World Domination Summit was one of last year’s most talked about events.

The $100 Startup is a pretty quick and easy read that is chock-full of interesting stories about people who have found unique ways to earn a living by building businesses that require little or no capital investment. From the book’s description: “Here, finally, distilled into one easy-to-use guide, are the most valuable lessons from those who’ve learned how to turn what they do into a gateway to self-fulfillment.  It’s all about finding the intersection between your “expertise” – even if you don’t consider it such — and what other people will pay for.”

As a writer, I found the case studies (and there are a lot of them!) fascinating. Many writers need to supplement their writing income with other kinds of work. The $100 Startup provides a boat load of inspiration for different types of business models and niches. The stories also got my writer/publisher brain thinking about writing-related business ideas.

This is definitely a book I’ll be referring back to as I revamp my marketing business and branch out into other, non-marketing projects.

I bought The Cats of Tanglewood Forest for my nine year-old daughter, but I’ve been the one curling up on the couch with my own kitties to enjoy this feline fairytale. I love Charles DeLint’s work for adults – Widdershins, and The Onion Girl are two of my favorites – his mixture of urban fantasy and magical surrealism, flavored with folklore is right up my alley. These are stories you can disappear into … for hours at a time.

It also doesn’t hurt that The Cats of Tanglewood Forest is illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Charles Vess. Vess is a frequent collaborator with Neil Gaiman. They did two picture books together: Instructions and Blueberry Girl.

Each of these beautiful books is like an invitation to dream.  Though I haven’t had time to work on any stories of my own, spending time inside the worlds of other writers I admire helps me keep my own imagination lively.

[Disclosure: All the above links are Amazon Affiliate links. I just joined. I think if someone buys something through my link, they put a quarter in a cup labeled “tips” and eventually I’ll earn enough to buy a cuppa at my favorite cafe.] 

photo: M. Shafer

photo: M. Shafer

Deborah Lee Luskin: I returned from a week-long vacation on Sunday and spent Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday playing catch-up, including filing my tax returns. But the time away was all that a vacation should be, and I’ve returned recommitted to working daily on Ellen. So far, so good.

My radio commentary Other People’s Clothes broadcast on Thursday, and I’m (still) reading Slow Democracy for a community discussion on Sunday. My husband and I put the 2117-mile road trip to good use by listening to Team of Rivals in advance of our visit to Gettysburg en route to Louisville, and we enjoyed Bill Bryson reading Home: A Short History of Private Life on the way back.

11 thoughts on “Saturday Edition – What We’re Writing and Reading

  1. As someone who has secretly aspired to have a career in some form of writing, I very much enjoyed this little look into the everyday workload of those in such a field. Thanks for sharing!

    • No need for secrecy around here, Heather-Lynn. You’re among friends! 🙂
      Happy to share bits and pieces of our days. It’s not always glamorous (in fact, it’s hardly ever glamorous), but I wouldn’t give it up for the world.

  2. Great informational links, insights into the behind each writer’s days, and new books to look into reading. Now, do I have the courage to write drunk and edit sober to make my blog more interesting is the question?

    • Welcome, Dame Gussie. I feel like we need a little extra pomp and circumstance now. 😉

      So glad you enjoyed the links and “peeks.” As for writing drunk and editing sober – it’s all in the mind and the mindset. (And, it’s pretty fun, too!)

      Good luck!

      • Pomp for the damegussie name. There is a funny story about how I got that handle. I was the Queen Mum for our local Red Hat Society called the Divine Derry Dames. The were two June’s in the group and people were confusing us. We both told the stories of how we were given our names. I was to be name Augustina after my grandfather Augustus and because I was born in August. My mother told me that at that time you had to write your full name, no nicknames, when in school so she decided to name me June after her month of birth. I told the group that my mother didn’t have much confidence in my learning skills. We laughed. then I said but don’t I look like a Gussie bold and bodacious? The nickname Gussie stuck and because I was the Queen Mum I became Dame Gussie. I decided to take ownership of the nickname and became known as Dame Gussie.

  3. Funny you should ask, since I came to check my email while I was deep in a scene in my MFA thesis novel. I’m trying to show more of the ugly side of “The Most Beautiful City In the World” (a common nickname for Venice). Rats, potions, executions and an uncle with antlers. All in a jester’s night’s work in 1518. I think I need more grappa.

  4. To Wendy: Signed up for Storyfix after visiting through your link! Thank you for pointing me toward yet another valuable resource!

    To Jamie: If you love a beautifully illustrated book, try this one: I Saw a Peacock with a Fiery Tail, illustrated by Ramsingh Urveti, a tribal artist from India whose “art is intense and poetic, realised with precise, intricate lines….” The book illustrates a 17th century English trick verse and has beautiful cut-outs. There is a video online of a reading of this short but entertaining book for all ages.
    The $100 startup – sounds like a book for me. I recently began collecting costume jewelry for resale to help boost my income while I’m a practicing “starving artist.” Bet I can glean a few tips from that one!

    To Deborah: I loved listening to “Other People’s Clothes.” My daughter and I are avid thrift shoppers – and amazed at the “used” clothing we’ve purchased including brand new items from J. Crew, Banana Republic, and other high end designers, all for less than the price of a large cup of coffee at Starbucks! Once, she even picked up a handmade designer skirt from France for $1.99!
    A friend just picked up a limited edition Herme scarf for 99 cents a couple of weeks ago! Amazing what you can upcycle – and upcycling is some of what I do in my art work as well using items that would otherwise be trashed.

    Thanks for sharing everyone!

  5. Pingback: Weekend Edition – Thanks, Mom + Writing Tips and Good Reads | Live to Write - Write to Live

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