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! 

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headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie 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:

bored dog sm

New day. Same old, boring stuff.

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.

Stop it.

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.

smtown_bigworld smI 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:

Affiliate Link


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:

Finally, a quote for the week:

story in head

Thanks for being here. Happy writing & happy reading!

15 thoughts on “Saturday Edition: What we’re writing and reading

  1. Great advice, Jamie – we should be proud of our creativity!

    I’m reading Falling to Earth by Kate Southwood. It is about a tornado based on the historic Tri-State tornado that devastates the fictional town of Marah, Illinois. The aftermath isn’t what you might expect!

    On the writing front, I’m getting ready for NaNoWriMo!

    Here’s my wrap-up for the week: http://wp.me/p2O4mI-ds – I shared the link to your post on Your Writer’s Mind!

    • Hello, Jennifer!
      As I commented on your blog, there won’t be any NaNoWriMo in my future this year, but I’ll send you all my best NaNo juju! Good luck!

      (And thanks for sharing your wrap up!)
      🙂

  2. When I was scrolling through and noticed “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” My hairs stood up, and my senses went into overdrive! I am currently writing my own memoir. It has been such an amazing journey coming up with Story Arcs in my life. Building characters the way I see them or want them to be. Describing the scenery so that people feel as if they lived my life with me. I am going to go get this book now! Thanks for the suggestion 🙂

  3. I am actually not reading anything at the moment, or I should say I haven’t decided what to read next. I am working on writing some science fiction and I want to read something to get me in that mindset but I haven’t decided which book to read. I think I might try to read some Isaac Asimov but I need to do more research.

    • I have a soft spot for science fiction. Though I don’t read much of it these days, it was a staple of my reading diet throughout my youth and young adult years. I have especially fond memories of Robert Heinlein’s books as well as Frank Herbert’s epic Dune series. I also loved Anne McCaffrey’s dragon books and the wacky world of Douglas Adams. Science fiction is such a rich genre. I can see why you’d have trouble choosing!

  4. I just discovered a book, Explosive Awareness by Michael Payne

    Explores the world of spirituality and meditation, the human being and opens a better understanding of life for a peaceful state of mind and positive changes.

  5. I am rereading Beowulf and Death of a Salesman. Yup, I’m a literature teacher. I’m also an author. My first book is Private Hercules McGraw. My second is The Journals of Lt. Kendall Every. Both are book of poetry that, poem by poem, form a clear, defined narrative. My publisher is Anaphora Literary Press. Currently, I am writing a similar book. It focuses on the outlaw Jesse James.

    • I visited your site and found the concept of your books so interesting – using poetry to form a narrative. Perhaps it’s just my lack of experience with poetry, but that was an entirely new approach for me. Very cool.

      Have I already asked you if you’ve read “Grendel?” It’s a modern retelling of Beowulf from the POV of the monster. Sounded intriguing. I wasn’t as drawn in as I’d hoped to be by the story, but I think that may be in part because I am not that knowledgeable about Beowulf. You, on the other hand, might find it pretty interesting.

      • Indeed, I have read Gardner’s “Grendel” and will soon be teaching it.

        Thanks for the kinds words regarding my books.

        I sent you and email regarding marketing issues. If you haven’t read it, I am sure you will find it sooner or later. Just had a few questions. Thank you and thank you.

      • I’m so glad you’ve read it – I loved the concept.

        I received your email & replied. Looking forward to chatting.

        Best,
        Jamie

  6. Thanks so much for linking up to my “Fiction, Tapas-style” post, Jamie. And I keep hearing about Gutkind’s book and have been debating if I should put it on my wish list. You have convinced me that I should. Can’t wait to hear more about it.

  7. Pingback: What’s on Your Shelf Plus Shareworthy Reading and Writing Links Jul 23 | Live to Write – Write to Live

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