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: Summer is really and truly almost over. I’m torn between a desire for a few more chances at seaside afternoons with a book, a blanket, and a few hours of uninterrupted bibliophile indulgence and my geeky writer’s love of the back-to-school season with all its notebooks and pens and new books.
Surprisingly, my daughter also seems torn. Though she has had a wonderful summer – just the right balance of structured camp days and unstructured “hanging out” days plus a few dashes of special trips and adventures – she actually confessed the other day that she’s looking forward to school starting. Be still, my heart.
Anyway, in this second to last week of the season, I’m delighted to share my latest writings and reads.
What I’m Writing:
How to write an About Page: 5 steps to get it right is a post that was born out of a personal frustration.
In case you haven’t noticed, I read a lot of blogs AND I tweet a lot of other peoples’ blog posts. I don’t automate any of this. If I retweet a blog post, that means I read it. I like to take a personal approach to my content curation. Part of this personal approach includes being a stickler for proper attribution. As a writer, I know how important it is that creators are properly credited for their creations. Each time I share someone’s blog post, I do everything I can to make sure that they are acknowledged, usually by including their Twitter handle in the retweet.On the flip side, when someone is kind enough to retweet something I’ve written, I like to thank them. By name.
Nothing makes me crazier than going to someone’s blog or website and being unable to find their name on their About Page.
On the lighter side, I also republished my latest column, Spiders, just part of the historic charm. I live in a 300 year-old house. Though I love it, I’m often thankful it’s not mine. As a tenant, I don’t feel the weight of being responsible for three centuries of architectural history. I do, however, have to deal with the many eight-legged roommates that share this ancient space with me, my daughter, and our two cats. No matter how often I vacuum, they keep reappearing. They are a persistent bunch, and in this column I share my feelings about co-habitating with arachnids – the good, the bad, and the oh-so-creepy.
What I’m Reading:
This past week I read a book called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time (affiliate link). Written by Mark Haddon, the book is another one that has been sitting on my shelf for a long (long…) time. I believe a friend gave it to me when I commented on the title and the unique cover, which features a die-cut silhouette of a poodle. I wish I could remember which friend it was, because I really enjoyed the book.
The narrator is a fifteen year-old boy named autistic boy Christopher who while extremely gifted in mathematics is completely hopeless socially. His literal approach to the world makes navigating the nuances of normal human behavior very challenging. While the book is in part a sort of murder mystery, it was – for me – more about the way people relate to themselves, the world, and each other. It was about the ideas of honesty and truthfulness. It was about how we make choices and make sense of the insanity that is the world we live in.
I do not know a great deal about autism, but I thought Haddon did an amazing job of showing the world through the eyes of someone who is both a natural genius and so deeply out of touch with how most people live their lives. The frequent tangents that are included as the story winds slowly – at Christopher’s pace – to its conclusion are fascinating. Like other books I’ve read recently (The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating and My Name is Mina), The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time is a book that forced me to slow down. It pulled me out of my daily grind and into a place where I could see the world through someone else’s eyes and perceive it in a whole new light and at a much slower pace.
I recommend this book, but more than the book, I recommend giving yourself the chance to slow down. Look at the world for a moment – really look. Don’t be blind to the details that are right in front of you. Don’t take anything for granted. These are skills every great writer learns. Why not start today?
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- 5 Easy to Use Tools to Effectively Find and Remove Stolen Content via @KISSmetrics – An important issue for any content creator, but especially for writers.
- Chronic Back Pain and The Writing Life: A Few Remedies by @JaneFriedman – I seriously need to check these out.
- 7 Ways To Be Insufferable On Facebook by @waitbutwhy – You will recognize these kinds of posts and you will cringe, but take heed so you don’t fall into the trap yourself.
- Walking more helps you write better by Toby Knott via @MStibbe – I couldn’t agree more. There is magic in putting one foot in front of the other.
- Five Reasons Every Writer Should Journal via @shewritesdotcom – As a journal writer, I especially loved this post.
- For the reader who asked: 15 blogging tips by @andreabadgley – Solid advice on the art and science of blogging.
- Stop Trying to “Go Viral.” Your Author Platform Should be Focused. Simple. Human. by @DanBlank – Wonderful post including a great video from @zefrank
Finally, a quote for the week:
That’s all from me.
Thanks for sharing your week. Have a wonderful weekend & we’ll see you on the other side!