7 Ways to Be A Writer (or not)

As an aspiring novelist, I’m often drawn to articles and blog posts offering advice on:

How to be …

  • … a writer
  • … a better writer
  • … a more prolific writer
  • … a published writer
  • … a writer with a following
  • … a writer who tweets
  • … a multi-layered writer
  • … a writer who Facebooks
  • … a writer who researches
  • … a writer who …

Shall I go on?

Some of these articles offer sound useful advice, others seem to be exercises in ego inflation.  That’s why I really enjoyed this article from The Faster Times.  It’s a little of both.

Read more …  How to Be a Writer (Although You Probably Shouldn’t Be One) | The Faster Times.

Beating Real Life Writing Obstacles

Most writers I know face the same obstacle in reaching their writing goals.

Real Life.

How many times have we made a commitment to our selves and to our writing, only to have to put that commitment aside and tend to dear daughter’s science project, dear husband’s broken down car, or dear boss’s last minute work project.  These aren’t excuses, they’re real life.  And it often becomes too easy to put our writing aside while all the other responsibilities in our lives take precedence.

Jamie Lee Wallace, aka Suddenly Jamie on Live to Write — Write to Live, knows the drill.  She set some writing goals for 2011.  But,” she says, ” these intentions were all summarily slaughtered by the demands of my Real Life.”

She decided not to be done in by the slaughter.  After some serious thinking, she came up with 7 Steps to Better Writing Habits. Here’s what she had to say:

A confession and 7 steps to better writing habitsI’m experiencing a bad case of writing resolutions whiplash. At the start of 2011, I was all revved up and ready to plunge into my writing practice like a pelican diving head first into an ocean seething with slippery, silvery deliciousness. I had plans – Big Plans. “This is the year,” I said, my heart full of confidence and enthusiasm. And then my daughter came down with the flu. And then I came down with the flu. We had a succession of snow day … Read More

Resources: Live to Write – Write to Live, The Daily Post

Remember Me? from ThirtyCreativeStudio

Remember Me?
by Deborah Deck-Suárez

I was the water on your hands,
the shine of your days,
a lonely companion
for your times without hope.
I was the salt of your sea,
the strength of your arms,
a thought without sense
vanishing within me. … Read More

I’m sharing this poem by Deborah Deck-Suárez at ThirtyCreativeStudio because tonight, when I needed to be (should have been) writing, I was doing the old point and click around the web.  I ended up at Deb’s site and found this poem.  I was so inspired by the beauty of her words, and by the strong sense of connection, then loss, then longing conveyed in those few short lines, that I clicked off the internet and started writing.

Thanks, Deb!

Resources: The Daily Post

“The Count” Confirms Publishing’s Gender Bias

What would you think if I told you that in 2010 magazines like Harper’s, The New Republic, Poetry Magazine, Granta, The New Yorker, and most of the other big names, published more work written by men than by women?

Would it shock you?  Surprise you?  Raise an eyebrow?

What if I told you that those magazines didn’t publish just three or four more articles by men than by women, they published three or four times more.  It calculates like this:

  • The Atlantic published 154 pieces written by men, 53 by women.
  • The New Yorker: 449 by men, 163 by women.
  • The New York Review of Books: 462 by men, 79 by women.

That raises more than eyebrows, it raises questions and VIDA is doing the asking.

VIDA, a literary group formed last year in response to gender inequality in print, has just published The Count.  I might have called it “The Countess,” but that’s probably too cutesy.  The Count is literally that, a count of male to female writers in the country’s most prestigious magazines, and it is proof positive of just how skewed the ratio is.

As a woman writer, the survey could be depressing.  I could throw up my hands and say, “Why bother, there’s no breaking into the old-boy’s club.”  If it was just a survey, it would be depressing, but it’s not just a survey, it’s the beginning of a conversation and VIDA is leading the way.

“Our count is by no means a blame-game,” says Cate Marvin, VIDA co-founder. “It was time to stop speculating that things didn’t seem entirely fair and find out if we did in fact have reason to be concerned.  The conversation only begins with the numbers.”

More data on submissions and books published by gender is needed for a true picture, but what is included in “The Count” makes it clear that there is a startling imbalance and something needs to be done.  Yes, the conversation has started.  As a woman who writes, it’s now my responsibility to be a part of it.

For more details, read the study by VIDA: “Numbers don’t lie. What counts is the bottom line.”

For an analysis of the numbers, read A new tally by VIDA shows how few female writers appear in magazines from slate.com.

Resources: VIDA, The Daily Post

Prompt-a-Palooza for Silent Writers

If you’re a writer finding it difficult to make time for writing, think about joining the Silent Writers Collective tonight for its weekly online silent retreat.  All writers are welcome to join in at 9 EST and PST and commit an hour (more if you want) to their art.

You can work on your own project or use one of the exercises provided below.

For more information, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources: The Daily Post

Writing Prompt for Tonight’s Silent Writers’ Retreat

William Faulkner's Underwood Universal Portabl...
Image via Wikipedia

Tonight at 9 EST and PST, the Silent Writers Collective holds its weekly online writing retreat.  All writers are welcome to join in and be quiet.

You can work on your own project or use the writing exercise provided below.  For those participating in the WordPress.com Post A Day challenge, it’s a great time to stockpile a post or two.  For those who aren’t sure what they want to work on, here is an interesting exercise from Poets & Writers’ new series, “The Time is Now.”

This exercise may be more writing than you can fit into one hour, but if you’re inspired to keep writing, that’s the whole idea!

As J-Lo would say, I’m “Waiting for Tonight!”

Resources: Post A Day, Silent Writers Collective, PW.org

Now in Print: Best of Friday Flash – Volume One

There aren’t many shopping days until Christmas, so save yourself some trouble and give a gift that will please everyone on your list.

“Best of Friday Flash – Volume One”

What could be better?  This collection gathers sixty-seven of the very best flash fiction from writers around the world.  Mystery, intrigue, romance, sci-fi, horror, slice of life, humor.   Just about every genre is represented and each story comes in a quick hit, flash fiction format — one thousand words or fewer.

Don’t let the short format fool you.  There are some powerful stories here, including mine, “Bottom of the Ninth,” about a nervous preteen whose softball team championship rests in her pudgy little hands.

The flashes were written by members of the Friday Flash community, an online writer’s group that posts stories on their blogs and announces them via the #fridayflash hashtag on Twitter or Facebook.  The variety of styles and the amount of  talent included in this anthology will keep you turning the pages, and wishing for more when you’re done.

“Best of Friday Flash – Volume One” is available in paperback for $7.99, and  ebook for just $2.99.

Don’t wait!  Act now!