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!
What I’m Writing: I’m working on an essay to submit to a new magazine. The assigned topic is “I Used To Be…Now I’m…” I’ve had a few ideas but now I think I’ve got the meat of the essay. I just need to finish it. I’m also going back to work on my novel. I’m going to work on it as an exercise in rewriting a longer piece. They say your first novel never gets published, but sometimes “they” are wrong, right? Anyway, I know I’ll learn a ton from the experience and it will only help me as I think about writing my next novel (not right now!)
What I’m Reading: The Charge: Activating the 10 Human Drives That Make You Feel Alive, by Brendan Burchard. I’m reading this for the transformational book club I joined. The meeting is this week and it’s the first one I’ll be attending. I’m excited to meet a group of people who are as interested in reading and discussing personal development/self-help/positive psychology topics as I am.
Deborah Lee Luskin:
What I’m Writing: The week started strong. I wrote a radio essay and a blog post before noon on Monday – but from Monday afternoon on, it was one thing after another: my computer broke down (again), I spent a day in the recording studio, and just as I was about to reclaim the week on Thursday, the call from the Farm Supply store came, announcing that my baby chicks had arrived, so I had to pick them up. Also, the garden. Lots of distractions, but each day is another chance to reclaim my attention and forge ahead on the novel.
What I’m Reading: The Decameron (audio), a book on craft (for a future blog – stay tuned), and The New Yorker (always).
Julie Hennrikus: What I’m Writing: I am working on a new book–really trying to hit 1000 words a day, or average 7000 a week. I am also blogging with five other cozy mystery writers, and writing blog posts for Wicked Cozy Authors. And I’ve been working on grant applications–does that count?
What I’m Reading: Focus is a struggle for me right now. I am reading Molly Macrae’s Last Wool and Testament. A Tine to Live, A Tine to Die by Edith Maxwell and Liz Mugavero’s Kneading to Die are next. A friend also recommended Revive: Stop Feeling Spent and Start Living Again. It is on my Kindle.
What I’m writing: This week has been more about editing projects than accomplishing anything writing-related, which is quite all right. Editing needs to get done too!
What I’m reading: I’ve read a lot of archived e-mail and deleted deleted deleted. Technology makes it so easy to keep files and messages that “I might need/use/search for someday.” But, let’s get real, is any email from 2007 or 2008, or even 2009 going to be relevant to me in 2013? Heck, most of 2010 and 2011 can go too. I can probably find what I need faster by doing a search on Google or Bing rather than searching my Archive folder. And I have to say it feels good to know I’ve eliminated a lot of KB of clutter from my Outlook folder!
Jamie Wallace: After surviving the first heat wave of the season, we have had the loveliest weather this week – sunny and breezy with temps hovering in the upper sixties and lower seventies. Bliss. The perfect weather made keeping my butt in the chair a little challenging. I admit, I took a few extra power walks (which I’ve been especially enjoying since I discovered the Latin Workout station on Pandora). Still, I managed to have a fairly productive week.
What I’m writing: I wrote next week’s column for my local paper. The topic I’d originally intended to tackle turned out to be too involved and politically hot to take on without a great deal of due diligence and investigative inquiry, so I opted for a lighter piece about the wild animals in my ‘hood. I look forward to sharing that in a week or so. I also worked on some brand messaging for a new client project. Other than that, most of this week’s work time was dedicated to administrative tasks, business development activities (spoke with two potential clients), and a lot of project kickoff work. Not as much actual writing as I would have liked, but sometimes there are just weeks like that.
I also published a new post on my marketing blog: How Marketing Is Like Riding a Horse and How To Avoid Getting Thrown. I recently took up riding again (after a 12-year hiatus), and after my first lesson I had a little epiphany about just how much marketing and riding require similar skills. Since I’m a sucker for a good metaphor, I immediately sat down and outlined this post.
What I’m reading: I borrowed a book of short stories from our public library, Strange Happenings by the staggeringly prolific writer, Avi. I have been considering trying to work on some short stories, and was intrigued by the sheer volume of this author’s work. I also listened to an extended excerpt of Neil Gaiman’s upcoming novel,The Ocean at the End of the Lane: A Novel, which I have pre-ordered and which I’m looking forward to with great anticipation.
I also had the chance to see Neil Gaiman and Chip Kidd present an informal talk about their collaboration on the new book Make Good Art. Chip Kidd, introduced to the crowd at Club Oberon in Cambridge as the “rockstar of book jacket design,” took Gaiman’s commencement address (the one that went viral) and translated it into a graphically gorgeous, mini coffee table book. My beau and I enjoyed their presentation, and I suffered a temporary fangirl swoon when I shook Neil’s hand during the book signing. (I SO wanted to get a photo, but I didn’t have the nerve to ask.)
In addition, as usual, I chewed through my fair share of blog posts on the interwebz. 😉
- Inside Creative Writing: Episode 11: To Adverb or Not to Adverb? [podcast] by @bradreedwrites – I finally “get” the whole “evil adverb” thing … except I know that they aren’t always evil.
- The Verve of the Blogging Journey [podcast] features two of my favorite business blogger people: @jonbuscall interviews @Soulati on what it takes to be a standout blogger. Though they both play in the marketing pond, their advice is very relevant for writers looking to make blogging a worthwhile activity.
- 9 Tips on Becoming a More Creative & Productive Writer by @WinningAgent via @copyblogger – You’ve likely heard this advice before, but it never hurts to hear it again … and a few ideas were new and inspiring!
- New eBook: A Writer’s Guide to Email Marketing by @DanBlank I have always admired Dan’s work and this ebook addresses an oft overlooked, but very powerful marketing tactic: Email. Yes, boring email actually packs a pretty powerful punch when it comes to building your audience.
- 10 Stupid Writer Tricks (That Might Actually Work) by @chuckwendig – SO much fun, and valuable as well.
- And then there was @JaneFriedman‘s fabulous wrap up: Best Business Advice for Writers: May 2013 … several “keepers” in this curated collection.
One last special treat before we go: This week, I discovered Coffitivity – an elegantly simple, scientifically inspired, and oh-so-fun online app that streams a soundtrack of ambient coffee shop sounds through your computer speakers. You balance the coffee shop soundtrack with the music stream of your choice (I have a great Pandora station based on the band Pink Martini) so that your creative brain gets the benefit of non-distracting background noise. I am LOVING it. It’s perfect for writers who love that coffee shop vibe, but can’t spend their whole lives hanging out in that space. Give it a try & let us know what you think!