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 and seeing the world from your perspective.
Happy writing! Happy reading!
Is it weird that though I’ve been a reader and a writer all my life, I’ve never once been part of a book club?
Well, that oversight was remedied when a friend of mine decided (on a bit of a whim) to start a book club with a few friends. Our first read was Tana French’s Broken Harbor – a “police procedural and psychological thriller,” according to the dust jacket. As I mentioned in a previous weekend edition, this isn’t the kind of book I’d usually pick up, but I enjoyed it well enough to finish.
What’s more, I finished in time for our first book club meeting this past Thursday. Our conversation was both entertaining (we are not a staid or subdued group) and enlightening. As a writer, it was fascinating to hear the perceptions of the other readers. It was sort of like doing a post mortem on the novel. (Yikes! The police procedural language must be rubbing off on me!) I was surprised at the diversity of the reactions to and perceptions of the book. I also took the opportunity to ask questions that helped me see what worked (and what didn’t) with the story.
Plus – there was wine.
All-in-all, the club was – in my opinion – a great success and time well spent. I’m looking forward to discussing our next read and having the opportunity to “look under the hood” with my fellow readers.
What I’m Writing:
I didn’t do much writing this week.
God, I hate having to admit to that.
I did, however, do some other creative things and I also learned some new things – specifically new things to do with building WordPress websites. I’m working on a relaunch of my own site and also on developing a new site for a client. I am not a very tech-y person, so the thought of messing around with website design (even if it doesn’t involve touching the actual code) is a bit intimidating. Still, I got right in there and read the instructions and did various bits of tangential research and actually made some really good progress.
Even though I always regret days when I haven’t done any of “my” writing, I do appreciate the value of other creative work. Whether I’m building a website, taking and editing photos for my Instagram feed, or sketching, I know that all of my creative projects feed my inner artist and my writer self.
Do you have other creative outlets besides writing? How do you think they enhance your writing?
What I’m Reading:
It seems I inadvertently lied about which book I was going to read next. Instead of selecting any of the books waiting patiently on bedside tables, bookshelves, and the tops of dressers, I let my fickle reader’s heart lead me astray and – after finishing Broken Harbor in a late night crib session on Tuesday Tuesday – picked up a new book from the library: Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore: A Novel (affiliate link).
If you’ve read it, please don’t give anything away! I have only read the first seventy-five pages, but am utterly charmed and am quite sure I’ll finish the book this weekend.
The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan’s Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
The narrator’s voice is quirky and the story quickly grabs you and draws you in. And it all takes place in a bookstore. What more could you ask for?
And let’s not forget the blogs. Here are a few of my favorite writerly posts from this week:
- The 3 Questions You Need to Ask Before You “Do What You Love” via @99u – Will professional pursuit of your personal passion rob you of your creative joy?
- How to Create a Loyal Blog Audience by @neilpatel – Written for business bloggers, but just as applicable to writers who blog.
- The One Thing You Should Be Doing on Your Blog to Create More Engagement by @KStaib via @problogger – Another piece with good advice on how to engage your blog readers.
- Anonymous Instagrammer Proves Poetry Can Be A Modern Success via The Huffington Post – Chalk one up for Team Poetry.
- Investing in the Future, While Honoring the Past by @DanBlank – Quietly reflective piece on the tension between old and new in the publishing world. Interesting (and helpful) perspective.
- Here’s What Both Pantsing and Plotting Miss: The Real Story – by @LisaCron via @WriterUnboxed – No matter which camp you’re in – pantsters or plotters – this post has some great advice on how to look at the bigger picture in order to get to the heart of your story.
- 20 Inspiring Pinterest Board for Writers by @carefulcents via @TheWriteLife – I just can’t wait to explore these boards!
- 19 Daily Habits of Artists That Can Help You Unlock Your Creativity via The Huffington Post – Loved the content of this post and the way they illustrated it. Fun read.
- On the Care and Feeding of Writers by @JCBaggott via @WritersUnboxed – This is from a week ago, but I couldn’t resist a belated share.
Finally, a quote for the week:
Have a lovely rest of your weekend! Thanks for being here.
Happy reading & happy writing!
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.
Photo Credit for wine glass with book: Robert S. Donovan via Compfight cc