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: Although I didn’t have any pressing deadlines this week, the time still seemed to fly by at breakneck speed and I STILL have a long list of things that didn’t get done. It was a week that was eaten up in small bites by the Administrative Monster, also known as “life.” There were parenting dramas, school events, and a trip to the ear, nose, and throat doctor for my daughter. (All is fine.) There were technical difficulties like Safari crashing (and crashing and crashing) until I could stand no more and took the time to switch my web browsing world over to Chrome (which, by the way, I am LOVING – SO much faster!).
In short, it was a wonky week.
Still, like any self respecting writer/reader, I made pockets of time to indulge in my two favorite pastimes. 😉
What I’m Writing:
Over on my marketing blog, I posted a “pep talk post” called In a Marketing Rut? Stop Taking Yourself for Granted. So often we do take ourselves for granted. We dismiss our gifts as if anyone could do what we do, but that’s just not the case.
How many times have you responded to a compliment with something like, “Oh, it’s nothing,” or “I just threw it together,” or any other self-deprecating statements? We undermine our own abilities all the time. It’s a terrible thing to do. Writers, especially, seem prone to this kind of behavior. It’s almost as if we’ve bought into the “anyone can write” myth that Lee wrote about earlier this week.
Even if you’re not worried about marketing yourself, just stop it. Be proud of your skill and your creativity. When someone says they love something you’ve written, just say THANK YOU! Let the praise in. It’ll do you good.
I also republished my most recent column. Small Town in a Big World is a piece that came very much from the heart. It began as a kernel of discomfort and grew into an all-consuming train of thought that I had to sort out. I did a mind map outline, but the flow wasn’t coming together for me. Instead of struggling at the keyboard, I opted for a long walk on the beach with my beau. I started talking with him about the piece and the topic, and as we talked a narrative flow began to emerge.
I sat down the next day and most of the piece came quite easily. Though I did refer back to my original mind map, the order of my thoughts was very different from how I’d originally thought the piece would go. But, that turned out just fine.
What I’m Reading:
Because I have several books going at once, I haven’t managed to finish any one of them, BUT … I had to share this one sooner than later because it’s kind of blowing my mind.
You Can’t Make This Stuff Up: The Complete Guide to Writing Creative Nonfiction–from Memoir to Literary Journalism and Everything in Between (affiliate link) by Lee Gutkind is totally living up to the promise of its title.
I discovered the book via Creative Nonfiction – True stories, well told. Founded by Gutkind, this is a print magazine and a resource site devoted to the art and science of creative nonfiction. I bought the book because Susan Orlean (whom I admire greatly) gave it a much-deserved glowing recommendation. The book is divided into two parts, the first dedicated to defining creative nonfiction and the second all about “the writing and revising and writing and revising” of good creative nonfiction.
Perhaps I am exposing my naivete by admitting how much I’m learning from this book, but I’m not going to let something like ego stop me from sharing such a wonderful resource. Until I devoured (and I do mean devoured) the first half of this book, I was a little fuzzy on exactly how many types of writing fall into the creative nonfiction category. Imagine my surprise to learn that many of my blog posts and columns (some of my favorite kinds of writing) fall squarely into the creative nonfiction domain.
I’m sure I will have more to say about this book in another post, but for now I just wanted to put it out there for anyone interested in learning more about what is apparently the fastest growing literary genre. If you write memoir or essays, columns or feature pieces, or any number of other types of pieces (even poetry can fall into creative nonfiction!), you should check out this book.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- How to be unique by @menwithpens – Written with fiction writers in mind – all about getting past the “it’s all been done before” demons.
- How to Create a Three-Phase Writing Ritual by @DebraEve via @WriteItSideways – I never broke it down like this, but the three steps totally make sense.
- 14 Writers Handwrite Their Writing Advice on Their Hands by Josh Sowin via Between Letters – It was a tough call, but I have to give my “fave” vote to Garth Nix.
- How to Take a Massive Leap Forward in Your Writing Through One Simple Exercise by Mitch Horowitz – This surprised me, but I’m going to try it.
- 5 Reasons to Use a Facebook Profile (Not a Page) to Build Platform by @JaneFriedman – This was the first time I’ve heard this advice, but she makes some good points.
- Fiction – Tapas-Style by @andreabadgley – I was delighted to read this post because now I know I’m not alone in my recently acquired taste for short fiction. Excellent reading suggestions included. 🙂
- A Call to Disarm Technology and Hype by @llbarkat via @janefriedman – This felt important to me. We are so overwhelmed with technology and the study of its affect on our ability to create is bringing forth more and more frightening possibilities.
Finally, a quote for the week:
Thanks for being here. Happy writing & happy reading!