- Dumb luck
- Big Cheese
- Wonderous Oblivion
- Tragic Conflict
Tuesday, November 07, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
Friday, October 27, 2006
I was curious about how Kimmel's mother is doing now and ran across this interview with her on the Southern Scribe website, and she had this great advice for writers:
"Writing is like carrying around an empty bucket. You have to fill it up with words even if they're crap. You have to be willing to write one bad draft after other."
Now we know where "Zippy" got her tenacity and persistence. If Zippy's mom can overcome all of these things, you can fill up your bucket with words... even if they are crap.
Tuesday, October 24, 2006
Friday, October 20, 2006
Thursday, October 19, 2006
The Playful Way to Serious Writing by Roberta Allen; Houghton Mifflin; 2002 (Paperback) 200 pages
Roberta Allen’s book is short, (I read it in about an hour.) but has some good information. Using that quirky style often used by several of writing prompt books such as Monica Wood’s The Pocket Muse, and A Writers Book of Matches compiled by the staff of Fresh Boiled Peanuts, Allen’s title mixes in photos, an unusual book size and a font designed to look like handwriting to provide some good information along with exercises designed to crack your creative side wide-open.
She uses what she calls the “Energy Method” which is similar to Natalie Goldberg’s “Keep your hand moving,” or my own “Flash writing” process. It involves using timed writing sessions and writing fast to avoid your inner critic and just get something down on the page.I hate books that have you fill-in-the-blanks in order to round out the content provided by the author. I see this as a cop-out, but at least Ms. Allen balances these fill-in-the-blanks with good ideas and examples of her own. She encourages you to list your fears, the fears you have overcome, realizations, “before and after” statements, and much more.
In short, The Playful Way to Serious Writing does a great job giving you some starting points for writing if you are totally lost and have no idea what to do next. Yet, it isn’t as good as some of the other similar books out on the market. At only 200 pages the book feels more like 50 or 75 pages after you consider the smaller footprint of the book, the large handwriting-like font, and the previously mentioned fill-in-the-blank pages. At a cover price of $14.00, I think that there are many other similar writing prompt books out on the market that are a better value for your money. But if you need some some fresh ideas or a quick spark, don’t hesitate to borrow this one from the library or simply flip through it in a bookstore. That should be enough time to get value out of the book.
Rating: ** (Borrow It from the Library)
About Ratings: ***** -- Well Worth it at Full Retail Price; **** — Buy on Sale/Discounted; *** — Buy Used; ** — Borrow It from the Library; * — Waste of a Good Tree
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
Friday, September 29, 2006
Tuesday, September 26, 2006
Friday, September 22, 2006
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
Friday, September 15, 2006
I have been tracking the books I read July 2002 on a spreadsheet. I list the title, author, publisher, publication date, number of pages, category, the date I started reading the book, the day that I finished reading it, and some general notes about it.
I have 11 books that I've started reading and have yet to finish. One of them, Atlas Shrugged, has been on the list since April 1, 2003. I am about two-thirds of the way through it, and can't bear to take it off my list, but yet I am not in a big hurry to finish it either. It has been sitting on my desk at work, and every once in a while I'll read a few pages during lunch if I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE available to read. It has been one of those efforts to read one of those books that are considered to be classics, but I still can't quite figure out why.
I am up to 74 books on my list for this year. I count audio books (20) and graphic novels (36) on this list so this is where the bulk of my reading has been this year. The audio books, strictly for long drives and my commute to work, and the graphic novels... I use them as light meal-time or just-before-falling-asleep reading. I just love comic book superhero sagas. I always have, and probably always will, and they are the perfect way to end a long day or take a mental break from a work day.
I've always been bad about finishing the books that I start, but this is bad even for me. How can I call myself a writer if I haven't even been reading too many books this year? This is going to have to change...
- Keep walking.
- Do you believe?
- Wouldn't it be a...
- I stood there at the door...
- She'll never know you can't...
- I am no longer afraid...
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
- The blahs
- Too dangerous
- Turning around
Tune in this Friday for the first Provocative Phrase Friday, where you will get six unique phrases to start a new writing session or bring a new twist to an existing one.
Monday, September 04, 2006
Their creative spirit snarls and growls at the walls of their cubicles, their offices, their lockers or work areas. It whimpers at the time that melts away the days when they'd rather be reading a trashy sci-fi novel, hiking up that mountain, playing marbles with their kids, or painting a masterpiece on the back of the garage.
Day jobs suck and here's a neat little song parody that I stumbled across reading the Cincom eXpert Access newsletter which always seems to have some good articles on marketing trends, blogging, or some other online content issue. But this one made me laugh out loud and is very appropriate for this day to commemorate those of us who still toil in our day jobs. Enjoy My Comfy Cubicle. Happy Labor Day everyone!
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
She is a sweet-tempered kitten with a constant purr. Who loves visits from the kids who find new ways to make her leap and jump around with various strings and kitty toys. I think that Ben wants to train her to do a trick to get her on America's Funniest Animals on Animal Planet. She is a hard working mews.
Sunday, August 27, 2006
I also met a couple of wonderful agents who I will keep in touch with. Both seemed to really like my next project idea: The 15-Minute Writer: How to Achieve Your Writing Dreams in Just 15 Minutes a Day, and this has given me the kick in the ass that I needed to get going on the book proposal that I've been too busy to start. They both loved my marketing idea for the book, which is to show how I wrote this book in 15-minute chunks of time and tracking it on a blog from the beginning of the project. Granted I’m not at ground zero, as far as starting the whole thing, but there is a lot of work that needs to be done, and I can do it… 15-minutes at a time. Check it out at http://15minutewriter.blogspot.com/
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
“Muhammad Ali did not become heavyweight champion of the world by punching twenty people one time each. No, he became champ by punching one guy twenty times. By applying frequency to the poor opponent’s head, Ali was able to bring his message home.” Page 82.
I love Seth Godin. He knows his stuff and communicates clearly, and this was yet another great example of this. Check out Seth’s Blog at http://sethgodin.typepad.com/. On paper, you’d think that marketing would be a dry subject, but Mr. Godin always seems to find a way to make abstract concepts clear through the use of metaphors like these.
So what does this mean to you as a writer? How many times have you started a project that you were REALLY excited about, only to run out of gas, or get sidetracked by another project? Sometimes projects need that extra push to get beyond the initial adrenaline rush when you start a new project… where you get that first questioning thought that asks you, “What the hell was I thinking when I decided that THIS would be a great project?” Sometimes you have to apply some frequency to the poor project’s head. Work at it just a bit longer when you are convinced that it is going nowhere.
This is your Inner Critic’s way of shutting down an idea if you ignored his initial grumbling at the beginning. He switches tactics and no longer blocks the individual words and thoughts, but attacks the concept itself, by making premature (and often unrealistic) expectations on the end result, when in reality you are still working through the details. If push through this resistance, you’ll be able to bring your own message home.
Sunday, August 20, 2006
There is also an advice column: Ask the Muse, where you can ask writing and publishing related questions, as well as anything else that might come to mind. The content of this blog will serve as the basis for the monthly Grist for the Muse newsletter, so stay tuned over the next couple of weeks as I stumble around the blogging process.