Odds and Ends: The false romance of writing
thepostathens.com – Monday March 19, 2018
A great book was written way back in 1918, then expanded on in 1959 and in other editions. The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White is essentially the Swiss army knife of writing – small and bland, but wildly useful when you need it. The book aside, the foreword written by Roger Angell, White's stepson, resounds with all writers: “Writing is hard, even for authors who do it all the time.”
There is a pretty big misconception about writing, and that is that it’s this romantic affair between the author and a blank piece of paper or an empty Word document. Media outlets make writing out to be some odd thing in which you go on a date with your words; in reality, it’s a long-term relationship in which you sit at opposite ends of the couch and argue over what to watch on TV.
What is your writing goal? Digging into the real reason to write
montclairlocal.news – Saturday March 10, 2018
“So,” the literary magazine editor said, peering around the classroom at us over his wire-rimmed glasses. “As a writer, what’s the goal?”
We all glanced at each other and laughed nervously. This was the last formal class of a week-long writer’s retreat at the Martha’s Vineyard Institute for Creative Writing, and so far, it had been a dream.
For five whole days, I had done nothing but write, talk about writing and take classes about writing with 20 other people who also wanted to do nothing but write, talk about writing and take classes about writing. At night, we would sit around the kitchen of the seminar house, discussing our projects while the ocean breeze flowed through the open screens.
It was like the best summer camp ever. With wine.
But by Thursday morning we were starting to wilt.
Writing a novel is hard but the story shouldn’t be. It should be your favourite thing
irishtimes.com – Friday March 9, 2018
It took me a long time to find the story I was able to tell. For years I carried around the seeds of something different – I had the characters, the setting, the incident that would kick the story off, but I could do nothing with it. I gave it time, poked it and prodded it but it was stale. A dead thing. It was only when I gave that up, turned away from it entirely and wrote something new, something closer to home, that I found my rhythm. I’ll never make that mistake again, try to create something that my head tells me I should write but for which I feel very little.
Writing a novel is hard, but it shouldn’t be hard in that way. What is hard is finding the time, fitting it around a day job and children. It’s hard too to build your confidence in your work when the first 20,000 words are, inevitably, rubbish. But the story itself shouldn’t be hard. The story should be your favourite thing. It should call to you in between making the lunches, doing the school drop, between the pages of other novels.
Traditionally Published Authors Want What Indies Have
goodereader.com – Friday March 9, 2018
When self-published authors like Amanda Hocking became book industry names, it was for reaching incredible sales figures on the fairly new Kindle e-reading platform. After reaching newsworthy levels of success, Hocking and others like her attracted the attention of literary agents and publishers looking to reach consumers. Experts would often question why an author who was already on the bestseller list would possibly be convinced to give a sizeable portion of their royalties; the answer was almost always the same: “I’m tired of being a businessman, I want to go back to being a writer.”
This Podcast-Based Writing Course Will Get You Working on Your Dream Novel
lifehacker.com – Thursday March 8, 2018
Tim Clare’s Couch to 80K writing podcast is a delightful, intense, encouraging eight-week journey towards writing a novel. For the best experience, go into it blind; all you need to know is that it’s good and it’s appropriate for any experience level. If you want to know more, keep reading, but be aware that here be spoilers.
Okay, just us? I won’t give away the specific writing exercises, but I’ll provide a rough map of where the course will take you. It’s an adventure! At first I thought I’d listen to a few episodes to see if it was worth recommending. Instead, it drew me in and I completed the whole course. Ever since I finished, I miss hearing Tim Clare’s encouraging and slightly angry voice every day. But that pleasure can now be yours.
Teaching William Zinsser to Write Poetry
newyorker.com – Tuesday March 6, 2018
In the spring of 2012, I got a call from William Zinsser, asking if I thought I could teach him to write poetry. “Yes,” I replied, confident not so much in myself as in him: if Zinsser, the beloved nonfiction guru, the author of “On Writing Well” and eighteen other books, couldn’t be taught to write poetry, nobody could. There was just one catch: Bill was blind.
He wasn’t completely blind, not yet; he could still make out shapes and shadows. Progressive glaucoma had recently caused him to retire from writing prose, a practice he’d maintained, weekdays from nine to five, into his eighty-ninth year, working in a one-room office on East Fifty-fifth Street. Bill’s daily commute to that office—a half-mile walk—had become too harrowing.
Writers, editors offer pet peeves to mark National Grammar Day
prdaily.com – Sunday March 4, 2018
Editors wish people would think about their grammar every day—and those professional nitpickers are using an upcoming holiday to sound off about what drives them nuts.
March 4 is National Grammar Day, and to mark the occasion, we at PR Daily solicited writers’ and editors’ biggest gripes when it comes to linguistic lapses.
Whether it’s in the form of improper punctuation, misapplied homonyms or a lack of care when speaking off the cuff, word nerds can all agree: Bad grammar is like nails on a chalkboard.
Should you enter a writing contest?
seattletimes.com – Thursday March 1, 2018
Yes, yes, yes you should. Writing contests offer many benefits, not the least of which is a deadline. There’s nothing like a deadline to force you to put your posterior in a chair and some words down on paper. You can also win prize money, get published, establish credibility, build your writer’s platform and grow a readership. The first step is to enter. It can be daunting, but to grow as a writer, you need to send your work out into the world. Contests offer that opportunity.
Stop writing and learn to be a better writer
thedrum.com – Tuesday February 27, 2018
A woman walks up to a construction worker in Manhattan.
“Excuse me young man,” she says. “How do I get to Carnegie Hall?”
He puts his pickaxe down and wipes his brow. Finally, he speaks.
“Lady, you gotta practise.”
He’s right. Every skilled, or would-be skilled, tradesperson needs to practise. But what does practise mean? For copywriters, specifically? It might seem obvious. You write. As much and as often as you can.
Ads. Blog posts. Emails. Landing pages. Scripts. Sales letters.
The more you write, the better you get. Right? Wrong.
Book clinic: why do publishers still issue hardbacks?
theguardian.com – Sunday February 25, 2018
Q: Years ago, I read that publishers were going to end the practice of bringing out hardback editions before paperbacks. But it never happened. Why do they still do this, and does anyone apart from libraries buy hardbacks? I never do.
A: From Philip Jones, editor, the Bookseller
Yes, hardbacks are still popular. Hardback fiction brings in about £70m annually (roughly 20% of the printed fiction market), according to sales data from Nielsen BookScan.
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