If there’s one thing writers do with as much (if not more!) enthusiasm as actual writing, it’s seeking advice on writing.
The internet positively teems with the stuff. Plus anyone with even the smallest portion of a novel either on their computer or in their soul is guaranteed to own at least one writing how-to book.
(Personally, I have four, plus a duo tang full of photocopied notes, and numerous downloaded webpages.)
But how much this boundless writing advice is of practical use? At a recent meetup of the writing group I lead, this was the discussion topic du jour: writing advice – the good, the bad, and the ugly. Everyone was to come prepared to share the best piece(s) of writing advice they’d ever heard/read/received, and the worst piece(s).
I have five pieces of favourite writing advice – the specific tips that have really stuck with me over the years, and helped me straighten out some of my own writing flaws. And so, I give you…
Ask any group of writers what technology they can’t live without and you’ll get the same handful of answers…
The voice-recording app on one’s phone…
…over and over again.
(Rare is the astute writer who notes I in no way specified writing-related technology. Few ever answer “my fridge” or “my stove” or “my furnace in the dead of winter”.)
The problem with writing-related tech is that it does little to account for the writing life as a whole.
As a point of comparison, consider the important markers that define a healthy lifestyle: sure, exercising five days a week will give you a hard, hot body that will turn heads on any beach. But if you’re also an insomniac, chain-smoking stress cadet, how healthy can you truly claim to be?
Writing is no different. Getting words down on a page is just the tip of the proverbial iceberg; there’s a lot more supporting it beneath the surface that’s not readily seen.
Here’s some tech that helps me, at least, take care of, not just the writing, but also the person doing the deed, to promote a more holistic writing life:
(A/N: Mild spoilers for Beth Revis’s Across the Universe series)
Here’s a scenario for you:
Imagine you had the opportunity to help colonize a new planet located hundreds of light-years away. This would involve saying goodbye forever to everyone and everything you know and love on Earth, being cryogenically frozen for centuries, and shipped off into the stars.
Would you go?*
This question is brought to you by a dystopian young adult sci-fi series dealing with this very subject: Beth Revis’s Across the Universe trilogy. This trilogy includes Across the Universe, A Million Suns, and the final book of the series – Shades of Earth – which I read back in February.
Just a quick note to all my blog readers and followers:
With the approach of better weather and the ever increasing hours of daylight, I’m making some changes to my personal weekly schedule, both in an attempt to boost my overall productivity and to leave my weekends as unstructured as possible for fun, sun, and adventure.
One such scheduling change is the day I post to this blog.
Rather than on Saturdays, I will now be posting to The Rules of Engagement on Mondays. This change will take effect this coming Monday, April 29 (i.e. I’ll be posting again this coming Monday), and will continue indefinitely unless and/or until I find that another day works better for me.
I want to thank everyone who has been reading and following me thus far. It makes it so much easier and more fun to write posts knowing there’s an audience out there reading them.
I hope you’ll all continue to join me as I carry on along my writing journey.
See you again on Monday!
* SSDD = Same sh*t, different day: from Stephen King’s 2001 novel (and 2003 movie) Dreamcatcher.
(A/N: This post is in honour of the victims, the emergency staff, and those in mourning in Boston)
I was on the treadmill, running, as the devastating events surrounding the Boston Marathon were unfolding.
Because of the time difference between Boston and Vancouver, BC, it was my lunch hour, which, as usual, saw me in the gym located beneath my office.
I was enjoying my run that day, which is by no means a guaranteed occurrence. Afterward, to commemorate, I took to Twitter to convey my delight in how just the right song coming up on one’s iTunes shuffle at just the right time (such as during the final five-minute sprint) can transform an otherwise good run into one that’s AWESOME and KICKASS and makes you feel able to CONQUER THE WORLD!
It was then that I took a closer look at the content of all those #Boston tweets filling my Twitter stream….
“I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect…. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!” (from actress Sally Field’s 1985 Academy Award acceptance speech).
This issue of validation keeps coming up within the traditional vs. self-publishing debate.
For some time now, I’ve been reading various blog posts and articles discussing the merits of one form of publishing compared to the other, particularly as related to the aspirations of unpublished writers.
This debate is nothing new – indeed, it’s been going for so long now as to be almost institutionalized, complete with its own special vocabulary: “gatekeepers”, “credibility”, “the gauntlet”, “vetting process”, “the old guard”, “the new order”, “the publishing revolution”, “the Big 6, 5, 4, etc.”
However, over the past two weeks, a new vocabulary word has appeared on the scene, predominantly in disparaging reference to writers seeking a deal with a traditional publisher:
Or better put: the desire for acceptance by and praise from the agents and editors of traditional publishing as opposed to the potentially greater monetary rewards of self-publishing.