Tuesday, August 21, 2012

6 Writing Tips From John Steinbeck - The Atlantic

6 Writing Tips From John Steinbeck - The Atlantic

If this is indeed the year of reading more and writing better, we've been right on course with David Ogilvy's 10 no-bullshit tips, Henry Miller's 11 commandments, and various invaluable advice fromother great writers. Now comes John Steinbeck—Pulitzer Prize-winner, Nobel laureate, love guru—with six tips on writing, culled from his altogether excellent interview it the Fall 1975 issue of The Paris Review.
1. Abandon the idea that you are ever going to finish. Lose track of the 400 pages and write just one page for each day, it helps. Then when it gets finished, you are always surprised.
2. Write freely and as rapidly as possible and throw the whole thing on paper. Never correct or rewrite until the whole thing is down. Rewrite in process is usually found to be an excuse for not going on. It also interferes with flow and rhythm which can only come from a kind of unconscious association with the material.
3. Forget your generalized audience. In the first place, the nameless, faceless audience will scare you to death and in the second place, unlike the theater, it doesn't exist. In writing, your audience is one single reader. I have found that sometimes it helps to pick out one person—a real person you know, or an imagined person and write to that one.
4. If a scene or a section gets the better of you and you still think you want it—bypass it and go on. When you have finished the whole you can come back to it and then you may find that the reason it gave trouble is because it didn't belong there.
5. Beware of a scene that becomes too dear to you, dearer than the rest. It will usually be found that it is out of drawing.
6. If you are using dialogue—say it aloud as you write it. Only then will it have the sound of speech.
But perhaps most paradoxically yet poetically, 12 years prior—in 1963, immediately after receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature "for his realistic and imaginative writings, combining as they do sympathetic humour and keen social perception"—Steinbeck issued a thoughtful disclaimer to all such advice:
"If there is a magic in story writing, and I am convinced there is, no one has ever been able to reduce it to a recipe that can be passed from one person to another. The formula seems to lie solely in the aching urge of the writer to convey something he feels important to the reader. If the writer has that urge, he may sometimes, but by no means always, find the way to do it. You must perceive the excellence that makes a good story good or the errors that makes a bad story. For a bad story is only an ineffective story."
If you feel bold enough to discount Steinbeck's anti-advice advice, you can do so with these 9 essential books on more and writing. Find more such gems in this collection of priceless interviewswith literary icons from half a century of The Paris Review archives.
 Open Culture

Monday, August 13, 2012

8.13.12 #NaBloPoMo

Today's writing prompt: "Who in your world is made of sugar and spice and everything nice?" 

This is very easy for me to answer, my mom! My mom and I are like best friends. We can share anything with each other and are very similar in our personalities. There is something wonderful about not having to explain yourself or what you mean to others; it's a blessing that she just gets it. There's hardly a day that we don't go without texting each other, she lives nearly two hours away, so we don't see each other really often. But when we do get together, we're often doing fun things, like shopping, getting coffee, eating, or on occasion, gambling. 

I remember growing up, my mom and I had a strained relationship. I think this happens to many mom's and daughter's, as we butt heads. My mom was a hard worker, still is. She always worked and often worked weekends and long hours. She still works two jobs and has always focused on her career. She wanted me to set my goals high and never let me consider not attending and graduating from college. My mom has always believed in me, even when I didn't. 

We all need the support of a mom like I have. She's full of sugar and spice and everything nice! 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Back to School

My favorite time of year is Autumn. I love everything about it, including, the weather, holidays, the clothing, colors and smells. I also feel invigorated during this time of year. My depression seems to improve and overall, I feel more content. I have some ideas on how I’m going to be spending this Fall, which has me pretty excited.
First off, I am going to start taking some online classes. I’m looking at free classes that may be an online seminar or a format where there are questions and answers. The classes I want to take will be in writing, art history, literature and religion. Those are a few of the interests that I have and would love to learn more about; I want to become engrossed in knowledge. It’s odd because I never enjoyed school and certainly not college. However, I now feel a longing for knowledge. I think it has to do with my no longer working, due to disability. I now have all the time in the world to focus on areas of interest.
I’m also a huge TV fan. Yes, I know it’s not cool to watch TV. I watch a ton of TV and I’m not embarrassed to admit it! I find it a great distraction during the day and if you think about it, a writer wrote the episode, so I’m supporting my fellow writers. I’m not sure why watching TV is taboo, at least I’ve heard a few comments related to that. There’s nothing wrong with my TV viewing. I have a laptop with me the entire time and get a lot of writing done while I’m watching TV. I suppose I can multi-task without any issue. Therefore, this Fall, I’m really looking forward to watching some new TV series, including Revolution, Elementary and Nashville. I have a blog devoted strictly to TV, at TheTVLady.
I’m also going to start keeping up with blog reading. I use BlogLovin, which you can find a link to on the right side of this blog.  I faithfully add blogs routinely, well over 40 right now, but I’m not so great at reading them. Some of the bloggers I follow do a great job in updating, therefore, there are 100′s of blog posts that I need to read. Another favorite media format that I’ve become enamored with, are podcasts. I have added several podcasts, including NPR and other varied topic related podcasts.
I’m giving myself time off until “school” starts, so I have some type of routine to my studies and reviews. Please let me know if you are aware of any classes, blogs or podcasts I should be keeping up with!