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.
Cloud Photo Credit: Broo_am (Andy B) via Compfight cc
31 thoughts on “Weekend Edition – The story is just the beginning plus writing tips and good reads”
Reblogged this on Elaine Beare and commented:
An interesting article for you to peruse
I like the comparison of writing and puzzles. I am fairly “new” to writing even though I am OLD. I am reading, Blueprint Your Bestseller and it fits your comparison of how all the pieces fit together.
I think OLD can be a writing asset. I certainly feel more confident and have more to say now that I’m in my mid-forties. Glad to hear you’re diving in to the writing journey! 🙂
C’est intéressant j’aime votre blog ,Bonne Continuation
de rien bonne soirée
I love the post and I really love that picture with the quote by Samuel Johnson! I’ve been trying to figure the ins and outs of blogging…. I see you got the pic from pintrest…but how did you post it? I’m not sure of the way we are to post pics and give credits. I thought it was through the URL but when I click on your pic it takes me to Pinterest but if I put that URL in, I get nothing… any tips please?
Hello! I’m so glad you liked the quote. That was the first time I’d come across that one. It felt like a great find. 🙂
RE: how I posted it, I use a tool called SnagIt to take screen grabs of web pages, images, etc. I couldn’t live without it! (http://www.techsmith.com/snagit.html)
RE: the attribution, my guidelines are as follows:
1. If I use my own image, I link to where it lives online (usually Instagram), or I don’t link at all. It’s my image, and I don’t plan to sue me. 😉
2. If I use a Creative Commons image (which I usually find via http://www.compfight.com – a 3rd party search tool for Flickr), I pick up the bit of code they provide and paste that into the blog editor.
3. If I screen grab one of my pins, I link back to the pin because items on Pinterest are supposed to be linked back to their original sources, SO – if someone clicks my image and links to the pin, they should (in theory) be able to click on Pinterest to get to the original source. Now, this doesn’t always happen, but at least I’m trying to point people in the right direction. (Most of what I pin on Pinterest is a re-pin, so – unfortunately – I have to rely on other pinners to properly attribute and link.)
I hope that helps.
Hi Jamie, Thank you for finding time for us. You are always so busy and, I think, happy to be busy. I know you will find time for your family. And I am relieved to have permission to write less than perfectly. Silent
Always my pleasure. Truly. I have been extraordinarily busy lately, but I just couldn’t give up my time to share with you guys. It really is one of my favorite bits of the week. 🙂
Another great post! I love that you’ve been comparing writing and jigsaw puzzles! Very true quote at the end of your post. Thank you and have a good weekend!
Thank you so much.
Always nice to have you here.
Aspiring writers should read read read. I never appreciated this advice until I started writing purposefully – not sitting down occasionally when I felt like it, but truly putting pen to paper (or hands to keyboard) and writing on a schedule. Even if that meant I sometimes sat and stared at nothing for minutes (hours). I’m almost always pulled out of that funk by reading and appreciating someone else’s work. So, you’re absolutely right, Jamie: “A story might inspire a change of heart, a new passion, or another creative act.” I certainly am a grateful beneficiary of other artists’ endeavors.
Reading absolutely greases the wheels of writing.
Glad you’ve discovered that trick for beating writer’s block.
For me if I think of writing a story like a puzzle I would get too intimidated to even start. I need to dumb it down and hope that I open the box of the puzzle and find a majority of the pieces stuck together. Then I could arrange them the right way and put the picture on it and work hardest on making it come to life. Because its really one of those tricky 3D puzzles.
Ooh! A 3D puzzle – now there’s a metaphor!
I think that sometimes the puzzle does emerge from the box with a bunch of pieces stuck together – both in real life and in terms of the writing analogy. With writing, sometimes it’s a character or a setting or an inciting incident, or sometimes you know the ending before you start and that’s the piece you hold onto.
Whatever gets you started. That’s the way to go. 🙂
I can surely see how writing a novel is incredibly akin to working on a 100,000 piece jigsaw puzzle. Trying to fit all those pieces that look so much alike – but are entirely different – together. Some of the pieces are even printed on both sides. And when you get to the stage where you say “Done!”, that’s when you snap the last piece of the puzzle into place.
I look at writing like carving out a fine statue from a faceless block of stone. It’s fantastically delicate, requiring patience and perseverance and most of all, attention to detail. The more time you spend on it; the better it gets but if you chisel away too much you might end up with a broken nose.
I have always wanted to sculpt and did some wax sculpting (in preparation for lost wax casting) a few years ago. That process, however, is additive rather than subtractive. You just keep layering wax on and shaping and refining. AND – thank goodness! – if you make a mistake, the pliable material can be taken off, reformed, etc. There really is no way to make a “forever mistake.”
Wow. Like every other Saturday Edition, I love it! What you wrote at the beginning is so true. Stories are like that….a puzzle put together. I love to write to inspire. This week, I read a book called,”When did you see her last?” Even by the title, you just want to get down the mystery Its a book you can’t put down. Too much going on. It is the sequel to the book,”Who could it be at this hour?” The series is called,”All the wrong questions.”
Writing is all about connecting … connecting to the story, to the reader, to ourselves, and to the world at large.
When you can make a connection, it feels so good. It just clicks. 🙂
Thanks for coming by!
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Thank you for your gifts!
You’re so welcome. Thanks for being here to receive them!
I’m always amazed by 2 things when you write this post:
1. That you read 2 books each week
2. That you seem to find the best blogs/articles to share.
Two of the many reasons I look forward to your weekly post.
I am trying hard to find (and make!) more time to read these days. It doesn’t always work out, but I’m ALWAYS surprised at how often it DOES work.
As for the blogs – I’m a but of an addict. Truth be told, I read most of them on my iPhone while lying next to my daughter as she goes to sleep. It’s a pretty peaceful way to wrap up that part of my day.
Thanks for the comment.
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