Welcome to this Saturday Edition in which I share a little of what I’m up to with my writing (when I’m not here) and what I’m reading (between the covers and around the web). I’ll also pull back the curtain a little on my version of the writing life (but not so much as to be indecent).
I hope you enjoy this little diversion and encourage you to share your own thoughts, posts, and picks in the comments. I love hearing from you!
Writing the story is just the beginning.
Earlier this week I posted a piece that compared crafting a story with doing a jigsaw puzzle. A thoughtful comment from a friend and fellow writer inspired me to think about the idea of writing as a puzzle in a different way:
I love the way that our dialog gave me yet another way to think about the role of writing in my world and the world at large. It was a little intimidating, but mostly comforting to think about my writing in this larger context, kind of like how looking at the stars makes me feel small and fragile, but also reminds me of the beauty and magic of being connected to the Universe and all the creatures in it.
The stories we write are like that, too. Though each one is only a tiny piece of the puzzle, together they create an endless and ever-changing web of ideas, memories, and dreams that help illuminate the human experience. Each story creates ripples within the minds and hearts of its readers, and those ripples reach out into the world and create more ripples. A story might inspire a change of heart, a new passion, or another creative act. It might inspire tolerance or rebellion, empathy or outrage, or simply provide a different perspective.
You never know who your writing might touch or how it might change a reader. Getting the story down really is just the beginning. From there, anything can happen.
What I’m Writing:
My client workload continues to be quite heavy, so I had no time for non-billable writing, but I did republish a recent piece from my column: Finding the Flu’s Silver Lining. As writers, we have the ability to put our misfortunes to good use by turning them into fodder for our writing. I find that knowing I can write about it makes even the most unpleasant situation more bearable. It changes my mindset from one of just feeling sorry for myself to one of thinking a bit more objectively and exploring the situation from a writer’s perspective.
What I’m Reading:
Once again, this week finds me reading two very different books. Last week’s crazy combination was a mediocre YA fantasy plus a wonderful literary collection of essays and letters. This week, my schizophrenic reading involves another fantasy YA novel (though this one, in my humble opinion, features much better writing) and a genre I have never read (unless you count Nancy Drew novels) – mystery (or, to be more precise as stated on the book jacket, “signature blend of police procedural and psychological thriller”).
I learned about Etiquette & Espionage (Finishing School) (affiliate link) by Gail Carringer from the excellent genre-focused podcast, Writing Excuses. I am a closet steampunk fanatic (you can check out my steampunk Pinterest board if you have similar leanings), so I was instantly intrigued by the premise of this novel. The author does an estimable job of capturing the flavor of the Victorian time period, but also manages to keep the story alive with action and excitement. Though I haven’t quite finished listening to it (I’m “reading” this one as an audio book), I am thoroughly enjoying this romp through a landscape that includes young ladies wearing full skirts, vampires, werewolves, dirigibles, and all manner of strange devices and intrigue.
On the flip side of my reading this week is Broken Harbor: A Novel (Dublin Murder Squad) (affiliate link) by Tana French. I picked this book up from my local library because my friend picked it as the first read for her new book club (of which I am a member). I’m only one hundred pages into this one, but am surprised at how much I’m being drawn into the story. This isn’t at all the kind of book I’d pick up on my own, but I’m always happy to try something new.
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- Follow the Fear: My ‘Bold Talk’ at Hubspot [Video] by @annhandley – Not strictly about writing, but a lovely presentation on the importance of pushing past your fears.
- 5 Steps to Declutter Your Schedule and Live Your Desired Life by @mikemimeburns via @joshua_becker – We could also use more time in our day, right?
- Creative Entrepreneur: The Tools I Use In My Creative Business by @thecreativepenn – Author and online creative entrepreneur shares a mammoth list of the software and apps she uses to run her online business. For writers interested in developing digital assets, this is a great resource.
- Making time to read: supply vs. demand by @lvanderkam – I used to be a “demand” reader, now I’m more of a “supply” reader. Which are you?
- Marilyn Monroe’s Unpublished Poems: The Complex Private Person Behind the Public Persona via @brainpicker – Interesting look at the inner world of an icon via her writing.
- Five Ways to Beat Creative Roadblocks via @99u – You can always use a few more of these tips. 😉
- Your Writing Doesn’t Have to Be Good by @danasitar – Interesting theory. There’s only one way to get to good writing, and that’s bad writing. Don’t hold back.
- Let Glove And Boots Puppets Fix Your Grammar – Grammar geeks unite and rejoice. This is the best grammar primer I’ve seen in a while. So fun!
- Earning the Authors a Say by @Porter_Anderson via @JaneFriedman – More excellent coverage on what is shaping up to be a publishing revolution led by authors. Very interesting stuff …
- Sir Hugh and the Snail by @Porter_Anderson via @WriterUnboxed – … and a follow-up that involves medieval tapestries and a call for peace and collaboration.
Finally, a quote for the week:
Thanks, as always, for being here and sharing part of your weekend with me. It’s always one of my favorite parts of the week.
Happy writing! Happy reading!
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.