Welcome to this Saturday Edition of What We’re Writing and Reading in which we 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: My week was off-kilter this week. At noon on Monday, my daughter’s school called to let me know that my peanut was sitting in the nurse’s office feeling crappy. Luckily, it turned out to be “just” a cold, but she wound up being home on the couch until Thursday morning. Even though she’s a good egg and able to keep herself occupied with books and drawing and (yes) some TV, I still find that my mommy radar kicks into high gear and I have an awful time focusing on my work.
Because of this, I decided to spend most of my time on administrative tasks because I could do that despite constant interruptions for ginger ale, cough drops, and tea. Sometimes, you just have to surrender to your situation.
What I’m Writing:
This week, I can share a piece I wrote about a local composer and the world premiere of his latest piece by our local “community orchestra.” Though I’m definitely still honing my interviewing skills, I really enjoyed talking to the composer. Being able to get an inside look at his creative process was fascinating. I only had about 800 words to work with, so the hardest part was deciding what to include and what to leave out. I’m learning a lot from Lee Gutkind’s book, 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). I can’t wait to start putting his knowledge to work for myself!
I also posted on my marketing blog. How to Charge More (And, Have Happier Customers) is a post inspired by a pretty amazing experiment that an artist performed on the streets of New York. The story is an excellent illustration of why branding (something I’m passionate about) is SO important – especially in our world of information overload.
As artists, writers need to not only attract attention, but create value around their work. Brand is how you do that. Brand is how you connect with your readers and create meaning around your work – meaning that makes your writing more valuable to them than someone else’s writing.
What I’m Reading:
The only book I finished this week is the one I was reading to my daughter for bedtime, Paddington (affiliate link) by Michael Bond.
I definitely have a soft spot for British bears. I adore Winnie-the-Pooh, and Paddington is a close second. It’s been so long since I’ve visited the Brown family and enjoyed adventures with this young bear from Darkest Peru. It’s nice to be back. And, even better, it’s so much fun to hear my daughter laughing out loud at these innocent and charming stories.
I did also absolutely revel in a gorgeous essay by Meredith Fein Lichtenberg on my new, favorite online literary magazine, Full Grown People. In The Pull of the Moon, Lichtenberg writes about the irrepressible and unceasing tides of parenting. Her language is rich, her metaphors are perfect. I commented on the post, “Beautiful and deep and alluring. You’ve captured the lunacy of motherhood – in it’s coziest sedation. And then you turn the tables on us with your wild ride. Exhilarating!” (Image Credit: Gina Kelly)
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- Five proven ways to get more people to read your blog by @markwschaefer – A few quick tips from one of my favorite marketing guys.
- My Newest Project: Scratch Magazine Launches Today by @JaneFriedman – An exciting announcement from Friedman (whom I often feature here) about her new magazine that’s all about writing & money. Free first issue available, official launch is in January.
- Three Simple Tips On Your Personal Path As A Writer by @Michelle_Gagnon via @MartinaABoone – I found this comforting.
- How Posting a Humble ‘Selfie’ Grew Traffic, Shares and Comments on a New Blog by @problogger – This was a really interesting read on the affect of bringing some personal images and personality to your blog in order to better connect with your readers … something all writers want to do!
- The Radical Act of Play by @thewordstrumpet – I could almost share this one just because I love the author’s Twitter handle that much. BUT … this post also contains links to two writing books that look fabulous. In fact, I already ordered one of them. (I’ll let you guess which one.)
- 4 Tips for Making Visual Content Go Viral — and Benefit Your Business by @danieltynski via @cmicontent – This post offers a data-driven look at what kinds of images go viral on social media. Although we writers have a preference for words, most of the world (including readers) love pictures, AND … they especially love pictures on social media. Some of these ideas might work well on your Pinterest boards, shared on Twitter, or on Facebook.
- Don’t take any guff off anybody. How to make your writing quirks work for you by @RiteLikeRowling – In this post, Carolyn quotes from an interview with gothic horror writer, Anne Rice. I have to say, I like the way she thinks.
- How a Scene List Can Change Your Novel-Writing Life by @monicamclark via @write_life – I haven’t fully processed this one, but my inner Excel geek is grooving on this spreadsheet approach.
And last, but certainly not least, a great video from @wdbk – Inspiring Authors:
Finally, a quote for the week:
And … that’s all she wrote … for now. 😉
See you on the other side!