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!
Jamie Wallace: This week was a wonderful reminder that if you want to be good at writing, you need to be good at living. A writer’s mojo does not live in a vacuum. Though the actual work of putting words down is a solitary one, the work that happens before you begin to scribble or tap happens out there – in the Real World. To feed your writer’s heart and soul, you have to live. You have to give yourself the chance to experience all the emotions that you attempt to capture on the page. You have to create opportunities for adventure, learning, and for doing and feeling.
I took most of this week off to spend with my daughter. We didn’t do anything major, like a vacation or a trip. We just enjoyed the bliss of agenda-free days and time to dawdle and noodle and generally goof off. We did a lot of window shopping, slept in, and had Drop Dead Diva marathons. We ordered take out pizza, went for drinks at our favorite coffee shop, and stayed up late reading extra bedtime stories and watching funny videos on Vine. It was lovely.
I can’t wait to do it again.
What I’m Writing: Meanwhile, I did manage to hit a few more client deadlines including wrapping up that 10,000-word beast of an ebook. (Yippee!!) I also shared another of my columns – this one about clouds.
What I’m Reading: This week, I grabbed a book that’s been languishing on my bookcase for years. I picked it up at a library book sale (which is why it bears the embarrassing mark of a red “DISCARD” stamped inside the front cover). The book is called Mama Makes Up Her Mind: And Other Dangers of Southern Living (affiliate link) by Bailey White – a writer who has been compared to Garrison Keillor of Lake Woebegone fame and Fannie Flagg (author of Fried Green Tomatoes). Mama Makes Up Her Mind is a collection of short essays or “microstories” about White’s family and friends and their lives in a tiny hamlet in Georgia.
Though I have ideas for novels rattling around in my head, I admit that I feel a little overwhelmed at the prospect of starting in on a project that big. There is something very appealing about trying my hand at a few short stories – perhaps a series of linked stories with the same setting, theme, or central character. Though I have always thought I would write fantasy first, I’m suddenly feeling a strong pull to write stories that fall into this genre (I don’t even know what you’d call it).
I love movies like Waking Ned Devine and Calendar Girls. I love small town stories with a touch of the supernatural like John Updike’s The Witches of Eastwick and Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic (both affiliate links). There’s something about a small town that seems to create magic of both the everyday and unexplained kind.
In addition to White’s book, I also read a whole bunch of blog posts. Here are my favorites from the week:
- The Most Powerful Secret to Winning New Clients by the fabulous @MenWithPens – If you’re a fiction writer who also works writing features or marketing copy, this great little business tip can do a lot to boost your business.
- Best Business Advice for Writers: July 2013 from @JaneFriedman – There’s always a wealth of good information in these monthly wrap-ups.
- How to Increase Your Odds at Getting Lucky – another one from @JaneFriedman’s blog, but this one written by @ransomstephens – A real life example of one author’s journey through the publishing labyrinth (I also downloaded a copy of Stephens’ book The Sensory Deception, which sounds fascinating.)
- Google+ For Authors w/Evo Terra From ePublish Unum via @TheCreativePenn – I’ve really been meaning to learn more about the Google+ platform and Joanna Penn’s video interview looks like a great place to start.
- 10 More Words That You’ve Probably Been Misusing by @HeyThereFuture – Need a vocabulary fix? This is a good one.
- 10 Comedy Concept Exercises by @kathytemean – I am both intrigued by and terrified of humorous writing. I love to read it, but never feel like I have the chops to write it. I loved this summary of 10 comedy concepts, complete with examples and exercises. I feel ready to try a few out now that I can see the basic structure!
- Are Writers Born Or Made? another one from @TheCreativePenn – Have no fear. You definitely do not need to be born an amazing writer. You can become one.