Saturday Edition – What We’re Writing and Reading

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!

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headshot_jw_thumbnailJamie Wallace: Although I posted here last Saturday, it seems like this is the first “official” Saturday Edition for 2014. Last weekend was sort of still on the border of the old year, somehow. It felt like a hanger-on, lingering after the party is over, not entirely sure it wants to go home.

But now we are truly into 2014. Most of us have returned to routines and work. I am personally relieved. Though I enjoyed my time off and a whole slew of days with my daughter (including an extra forty-eight hours courtesy of the snow storm), my writing self was craving a return to normalcy. I was dreadfully and desperately overdue for some quiet time. I had work projects to dive back into, but just having the house to myself was a nice change of pace.

Though being a writer does not mean you are automatically tend towards being quiet or solitary, most of the writers I know personally do seem to have these personality traits. Even the most gregarious of my creative friends admit to needing alone time to regroup and renew. That is definitely a theme that is top of mind for me at the moment. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the matter.

What I’m Writing:

pin be quietThough it’s not writing, I did “create” something this week. Well, technically, I curated it. After a long respite, I have returned to Pinterest and rekindled my love for this visual platform. In addition to creating a private board full of images about my personal word of the year, I created a board called “Quiet and Solitude.” I found it strangely soothing to scroll through hundreds of pins with images and sayings about silence and being comfortable in your own company. It is reassuring to know I’m not the only one with these yearnings.

I also wrote a column on the topic of slowing down and reclaiming January.

take it slowJanuary, even when its days are full, has always brought a wintry quiet that is a welcome counterpoint to December’s spin cycle of joy. Even though most of us resume normal routines after New Year’s Day, January still seems to be a month in repose, its days stretched long and languorous by the absence of holiday tasks.

To the uninitiated, this shift in energy can come as a bit of a shock. Our tendency is to continue barreling forward, fueled by the momentum of the previous months. We become ambitious cleaners and organizers, dive enthusiastically into planning and new projects, try to catch up on old tasks, or get a head start on new ones.

In short, we completely miss the point. (Read more …)

2014 sparklersI also wrote a piece for my marketing blog, The Only Way Your Business Can Compete in 2014. Don’t let the word “business” throw you. This post is (once again) about branding, which is very applicable to the business side of being a writer. Interestingly, the topic of this particular post is about connecting with your “customers” (readers) on an emotional level – something that writers and artists of all kinds are uniquely suited to accomplish. Unlike the B2B companies I work with, artists naturally deal with emotions and know how to create stories and messages that resonate at that level. THAT is exactly what marketers of all kinds – whether for widgets or novels – need to grasp in 2014. So, you’re already ahead of the game. Isn’t that great? πŸ™‚

What I’m Reading:

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I have several books going at once at the moment, but the one I’d like to share with you is The Annotated Hobbit (affiliate link).

I first read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy when I was in the third grade. I have read them numerous times since then, but it’s been a while since I re-read The Hobbit. I bought this annotated edition of Tolkien’s classic last year at this time after seeing the first part of Peter Jackson’s movie trilogy. Last weekend, I went with my parents, beau, and daughter to see the second movie in the Hobbit trilogy and was inspired to (finally) crack the cover on this book and learn more about the story’s history and roots.

I’m only a few pages in, but it has been fascinating to get a behind-the-scenes peek at Tolkien’s life, process, and inspirations. The world of Middle Earth is unquestionably the most detailed fantasy world ever created, but it isn’t until you read about how it came together – piece by piece – that you can really start to get a sense of the work that went into building out the history, mythology, landscapes, languages, culture, and politics. It really does make your head spin.

I’m curious, have you ever read any annotated texts? This is my first, but I may look for others.

I also read a beautiful essay that my friend Tracy Mayor (@mommyprayers) shared on Twitter: The Raven and The Crane was written by Julie Hill Barton for Two Hawks Quarterly. It’s a gift from one writer to another.

And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:

google drive trackerI also wanted to share a fabulous word count-tracker spreadsheet template that my writer friend Elisa found. It’s built on Google Drive (formerly Google Docs). The spreadsheet lets you tracks your daily word counts and color codes each day based on how many words you log. It gives a beautiful and simple at-a-glance view of your productivity and also helps motivate you. To use, click the link to download and then go to File > Make A Copy and save to your own drive.

Finally, a quote for the week:

Following the theme of quiet and solitude …

pin introvert writers

Thanks, as always, for sharing part of your weekend with me. I wish you peaceful quiet and creative solitude. See you on the other side!

Jamie Lee Wallace is a writer who also happens to be a marketer. She helps her Suddenly Marketing clients discover their voice, connect with their audience, and find their marketing groove. She is also a mom, a prolific blogger, and a student of the equestrian arts, voice, and trapeze (not at the same time). Introduce yourself on facebook or twitter. She doesn’t bite … usually.

30 thoughts on “Saturday Edition – What We’re Writing and Reading

  1. Thanks for the kind mention – and THANKS for mentioning the annotated Hobbit. I’m rereading LOTR, and just last night was looking up backround stuff on Middle Earth. Adding annotated Hobbit to my reading list. Have a great day!
    -Dan

    • My pleasure, Dan. So glad you’re going to check out the annotated Hobbit. I’m really enjoying it & hope you do, too.

  2. Hey there would you mind sharing which blog platform you’re working with?
    I’m planning to start my own blog in the near future but I’m
    having a tough time choosing between BlogEngine/Wordpress/B2evolution and Drupal.
    The reason I ask is because your design and style seems different then most blogs and I’m looking for something completely unique.
    P.S Sorry for being off-topic but I had to ask!

  3. I just finished reading Dracula and I needed a new book to add to my reading list. I was torn between reading some Agatha Christie, but I went with Dickens instead. I’ve never read any of his works besides the one or two things I had to read for school so I wanted to read at least one of his novels. I decided to go with Bleak House because I had just finished watched the 2005 miniseries and it had interesting characters and an interesting plot. πŸ™‚

    • Everyone should read more Dickens. I’ll have to add him to my “to read” list as well … maybe David Copperfield. πŸ˜‰

  4. Gosh what a useful and entertainng post – kept me fascinated. I’m in hospital at the moment and likely to be stuck in bed for a couple of weeks so thank goodness for the blogging community! I will have time to read every word! I am also enjoying books by Sally Vickers – I have meant to read them for a long time but now I can. Just finished The Cleaner of Chartres and am enjoying Miss Garnet’s Angels x will hunt out more online !
    They are gently mysteries set in beautiful places such a Venice and Chartres, with a spiritual angle, lots of psychological insight and history as well – all written in glorious prose x magnificent!

    • Thank you.
      I’m sorry to hear you’re in hospital, but glad to know that I’ve been able to provide you some small distraction.
      I looked up the Vickers novels on Amazon and they sound lovely.

      Thanks for stopping by. Feel better & get well soon!

  5. Pingback: Writing and reading tips | heavenhappens

  6. Hi Jamie; I always look forward to your thoughts. Over Christmas, I saw part two of the Hobbit, and was one of numerous people to softly booed at the ending. I’ve since read both Snyder’s “Save The Car” and Brooks “Story Engineering”, and now understand my reaction. Thank you, Silent

    • Hello!
      I have loved both Hobbit movies, but at the end of each I said (not so softly), “Seriouisly?!?!?!” The cliffhangers are to be expected, but still awful. I can’t believe we have to wait another whole YEAR before we get to see the final movie.
      πŸ˜‰

  7. I have been in a conversation about alone time yesterday where everyone said it’s not good being alone and that it leads to crazyness. Well, in a creative way I could live with that. I enjoy being on my own, so thanks for this post and the nice quote! πŸ™‚

    • Thank you for taking the time to visit and comment. πŸ™‚
      I think that never being alone is what would lead to craziness.
      Solitude centers and grounds me. I wouldn’t want to be alone ALL the time, but I think I could take quite a bit of it before I lost my marbles.

  8. Jamie, today’s my first visit to your blog so it was perfect follow your recap and curation… I got a wonderful sense of your style and focus so will enjoy coming back. A a writer living alone I spend a lot of my time in my own company. I’m not an introvert at all, rather far from it. But I’m easily distracted by my fascination with others peoples worlds so more productive in solitary moments. I recently defended my lifestyle when a friend voiced concern over me being lonely. Here is my response http://alisonrichards.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=2134&action=edit

    • Welcome, Noni! So glad to have you here. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit and plan to come back and see us another time. πŸ™‚

      I enjoyed your post. I agree that you can be alone without being lonely. I also agree that spending time alone makes us better appreciate sharing time with others.

      And, of course, as writers we really must embrace solitude in order to do our work. (Unless, like me, you can also work in a loud and crowded coffee shop … where I can be alone in a crowd.)

      Thanks for coming by! “See” you again soon.

    • The only way to become the writer you want to be is to write. It’s that simple and that hard. Good luck and thanks for being here.

  9. I saw The Hobbit 2 and I believe it’s going to continue into the third movie because the dragon escaped loose and the orcs, or orgs, whatever, couldn’t be defeated in the end and everyone in the theater was like, “WTF??”. That was crazy!

    • Oh yes, it will have a third movie. πŸ™‚
      You can get the “rest of the story” if you read the book, but the third and final part of the trilogy will come out NEXT holiday season.

  10. Interesting thread. I finished writing the latest work – Trailing Sky Six Feathers: One Man’s Journey with His Muse. Getting my website up to speed with a sidebar for the new book. Reading is a bit sparse – Meg Wheatley and Carolyn Baker have been on top of the pile.

  11. Enjoying this post, lots to cull. Liked the intimacy, and being led to your Pinterest board(s)!! Helped me appreciate P. more since I’ve found it a maize. Is it possible to use any of those beautiful pins outside Pint.? Seems a waste not to.

    • Thanks for being here, Sandra, and thanks for clicking over to my Pinterest boards. I have WAY too much fun over there. πŸ™‚ I sometimes use images from there in blog posts (always with appropriate attribution, of course), but I haven’t yet come across anything that allows me to pull the images into the real world. That would be kind of cool!

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