Friday Links: Intentional Writing in a Busy World

Happy Friday! This week, I’ve been thinking quite a bit about writing with intention. As much as I love the speed and convenience of the modern computer age, there are days I wish for a return to typewriters and handwritten letters, not because I’m any sort of luddite but because there’s a certain amount of thought that goes into putting down words when you cannot simply delete them with the stroke of a key. Engaging with paper, knowing you will need to physically recreate your work in order to change in, forces a level of planning ahead that I think has been lost.

There’s a sense of urgency in everything we do these days — not just writing. A need for constant connection, to be plugged in through smart phones and computers and streaming media and instant alerts. It makes it hard to argue that deliberation matters. That it’s important to take a moment to choose the right word or to consider the source of a piece of information or to make sure all the thoughts in your head have actually made it into your work. There’s a difference between a reader “knowing” what you meant, and you actually writing what you mean.

This week’s links are the usual blend of things reading and writing related, but I also think a few of them are thoughtful in a deeper way, and I hope they give you insight into your own writing process and maybe inspire you to consider your craft at a different level. Have a wonderful weekend, and happy writing!

Maggie Nelson Writes Books Like She’s Hosting a Party – A great interview with the author with a focus on her generous spirit.

The Language Wars – An insightful look at how words are being wielded in today’s world.

#ThanksForTyping: The Women Behind Famous Male Writers – A rather disturbing look at how many male writers were apparently above typing their own manuscripts.

The Inbox/Outbox Method: How I Whittled Down My TBR Pile – A really easy method for keeping your book-buying to a reasonable level while encouraging you to read those books you already own. Love this, and I’m giving it a try (seeing as how my book-buying bans always fail within weeks).

I or She: Rereading Hardwick, Adler, and Didion – Author Stephanie Danler talks about how rereading these strong women writers helped her fashion and stick to her beliefs regarding her own work and life.

Dani Shapiro: On Life, Marriage, and Creative Expression – A podcast featuring the author on her new memoir and her writing process.

Friday Links: Emerging from the Writing Cave

Some weeks get away from us, one project or another eating all of our time to the point where, waking up on Friday feels akin to stepping off a roller coaster that left your knees a touch wobbly and the earth not quite solid beneath your feet. This can happen with any occupation or hobby, but for writers it might seem even more disorienting if they’ve spent that roller coaster ride involved with a fictional world. A number of this week’s links focus on the sorts of big projects that a person can sink into, emerging later with a fresh perspective. I hope they inspire you to delve deep with your own work in progress this weekend, or to lose yourself in a wonderful fat book. Happy writing!

Fast Draft Hell: 7 Lessons I Learned (Almost) Writing a Novel in 14 Days – An intriguing look at the experience of writing a really fast first draft.

12 Things I Noticed While Reading Every Short Story Published in 2014-15 – On patterns discovered and realizations made over the course of a major reading experience.

“A’ghailleann”: On Language-Learning and the Decolonisation of the Mind – Looking at the cultural significance of learning a colonized language.

The First Science Fiction Novel?: Kelly Link and John Crowley Discuss The Chemical Wedding – Regarding the project to bring out a new edition of the 17th century work.

If You Use This Font... – A fun graphic matching fonts with personalities.

Joe Hill Remembers Where He Came From (Part One) – An in-depth interview with the author. Second part linked from bottom of the first.

The Whole Spy’s Guide to the Internet: Untangling the Web – Trying to explain would just ruin this for you. Just read it. You’ll thank me.

Friday Links: The Language of Writers

Welcome to April! I must say, April 1st — April Fool’s Day — is one of my least favorite days of the year, because when it comes to pranks, I rarely see them coming, and so I tend to walk through this day with my shoulders hunched around my ears in anticipation of something annoying happening. Today, however, I’ll be wandering the Los Angeles Convention Center with thousands of writers, editors, agents, and other publishing types, and so I’m hoping that everyone will be too preoccupied with the bookish goodness going on to worry about fooling anyone.

So without further ado, I bring you this week’s Friday Links, no jokes or pranks included. May they inspire you on your way to writing greatness. Have a terrific weekend, and happy writing!

From Idea to Novel – Some award-winning novelists share how they deal with the blank page.

First Draft with Sarah Enni: Victoria Schwab – A wonderful podcast interview with the author of A Darker Shade of Magic, Vicious, and much more.

34 Compelling First Lines of Famous Books – Fun graphics highlighting some terrific book openers.

What Literary Discourse Offers in an Age of Extremism – Thoughtful look at why we should talk about writing and books when the world is going to hell in a hand basket.

On the 13 Words that Made Me a Writer – Fantasy author Sofia Samatar talks about making the turn from reader to writer.

The Forgotten Secret Language of Gay Men – In the mid-twentieth century, when homosexuality was still illegal in Britain, gay men apparently spoke a secret language to communicate in safety. Interesting on both linguistic and cultural levels.

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Creative Breakthroughs:

Friday Links: Writing Outside the Norm

Happy Friday, everyone. I hope you all had a good, productive week, despite the ugliness that’s been taking place in the wake of the attacks in Paris. Wishing you a warm, safe corner with people you love, whatever part of the world you happen to hail from.

That said, I’m going to get right to this Friday’s links. Whether you’re enjoying a leisurely weekend or plowing through your #NaNo novel or working industriously on some other project, I hope you have time to check a few of these out. It felt like a particularly good week for interesting, writerly posts, particularly when it comes to writing something different and outside the box. Enjoy, and happy writing!

David Mitchell: Advice to a Young Writer – Some really excellent thoughts from the novelist.

English Is Not Normal – A fun article on some of the stand-out facets of the English language.

Finding Alice’s “Wonderland” in Oxford – A look at the areas of Oxford University frequented by author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson (Lewis Carroll) and young Alice Liddell — the inspiration for his heroine.

Reading Lives #35: Angela Flournoy – The latest Reading Lives podcast at Book Riot featuring the author of The Turner House, which was a National Book Award finalist. Great interview.

From Murakami to Oates, Why Does Running Appeal to Writers? – Interesting look at the relationship between running and writing.

The Art of the Strange Writing Exercise – On breaking out of the norm and experimenting with your writing.

How Could You Like that Book? – Why we read what we read, even when others don’t understand.

Friday Links: Setting Writing Goals and Leveling Up

Happy Friday! It’s been a ridiculously busy week, as evidenced by the crickets chirping around here, but I have several things planned for next week that I hope will make up for the quiet.

As I mentioned last week and a few times on Twitter, we’re into the final quarter of the year now, so it’s a great time to reassess your writing goals if you haven’t had the chance yet. It doesn’t need to be a big deal. If you made goals for the year, pull them out and see how you’re doing, where you might need to focus more time or effort, or — if you’re ahead of the game — change things around a bit to give yourself a challenge in the coming months.

If you didn’t make goals for the year, even easier. Think about where you are with your writing and what you would like to achieve before 2016 rolls around. Keep in mind holidays and such make this time of year busy, but don’t just let yourself off the hook and think you can procrastinate on all the big stuff until January. Break things into bite-sized pieces and figure out what you can tackle now, even if it’s just an aim to write a little each day. And don’t forget that National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) is coming in November, a great way to recommit to your writing.

To help inspire you, I’ve got this week’s links, a broad range I hope you find intriguing and entertaining, and that might give you some ideas on how to level up with your writing. Enjoy, and have a wonderfully productive weekend!

Anatomy of a Discovery: How a Literary Magazine Editor Finds New Writers – Some food for thought for those of you submitting shorter work to the lit mags, or considering it.

53 Wonderfully Pointless Facts about the English Language – For a chuckle.

My Paradoxical Quest to Build a Personal Brand – More food for thought. Ever more pertinent, whether you’re writing novels or freelancing or just designing your blog.

Immigration, Dislocation, and the Search for Home – How immigration and the economy have affected one writer’s work, and outlook. Another good argument for reading diversely in a global sense.

Win a Writer’s Retreat in Iceland – Details for a scholarship covering flight and attendance to the April 2016 program.

Friday Links

Everywhere I look, I see signs that fall is coming. Back-to-school sales, fall book lists, the return of pumpkin-themed foods. But despite all that, it’s still full-on summer in my neck of the woods, another heatwave bearing down and the air conditioning on high to combat constant sweaty foreheads. Though we human beings are the ones who imposed the concept of seasons over the way our weather cycles, we seem terribly bad at actually enjoying the seasons as they play out. Life in a commerce-driven world — we are at the mercy of the marketing calendar.

But I’m more concerned with the weekly calendar today. TGIF! I’ve a nice selection of links for you, and I hope you enjoy them, whatever sort of weather or season you’re experiencing. Don’t forget to squeeze in your writing time. Happy weekend!

The End of the Ambitious Summer Reading List – An interesting look at how our collective reading habits have shifted.

The Great Booksellers Fall Preview – A peek at the books booksellers around the country are looking forward to reading and/or selling.

What Happened to O? – Just one more small evolution of language.

The Purpose of Plot: An Argument with Myself – One reader’s relationship with plot summaries.

When the Editor Becomes the Writer – On wearing two hats.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! Are you ready for the weekend? I certainly am. This week has been… trying, in many respects. Not bad, just the sort of week that keeps you scrambling to keep up.

Unsurprisingly, a host of additional things have popped up on my radar for the weekend, which also happens to be the weekend of the 24 in 48 Readathon, so I suspect I’m going to be burning the midnight oil no matter what I do. But there are worse things than staying up late to read, and I certainly have a sizable stack of books  lined up for my reading hours.

Meanwhile, I have links! This week went very quickly and there were fewer things jumping out at me than usual, but I hope you find the assortment enjoyable anyway. Wishing you some excellent reading and writing time, and a wonderful weekend overall.

Kelly Sue DeConnick Is the Future of Women in Comics – Whether or not you’re a comics reader, this is a fabulous profile of a kick-ass woman and inspirational to anyone who has an interest in working creatively. I highly recommend.

Paper Chasing – On book collecting vs. book reading. Interesting, no matter what format you use when accumulating reading material.

Most Anticipated: The Great Second-Half 2015 Book PreviewThe Millions posts a bi-annual list of the most anticipated books for the coming half year (by their reckoning). Even if it doesn’t cover your own most anticipated titles, it’s a great resource for checking out what’s coming down the pike.

The Writers Who Invented Languages – A look at authors such as J.R.R. Tolkien and George R.R. Martin who have created original languages for their characters.

Writing Excuses: Why Can’t I Just Jump to the Ending? – A really important lesson on writing the middle of the book. Part of the Writing Excuses year-long podcast workshop on writing your book from start to finish, but it works perfectly as a stand-alone look at what can be the most problematic part of a story.

Friday Links

How was everyone’s week? Mine has flown by and there’s still quite a bit on today’s to-do list. But first I wanted to swing through and leave you links to kick off your weekend. I’ve got some fun things lined up, so I hope you take a few minutes to go check them out. Regardless, wishing you a weekend filled with books and writing. Enjoy!

18 Perfect Short Stories that Pack More of a Punch than Most Novels – Great collection of both old and new.

Kelly Link: Get in Trouble – A podcast interview with the author on the occasion of the release of her latest story collection.

The Weird and Wonderful Cover Art of Mexican Paperbacks – As described. A fun assortment of artwork from various pulp titles.

The Weight of Knowledge: On Moving Books – The cost of moving an extensive personal library. I might possibly have nightmares on this topic.

25 Maps that Explain the English Language – Includes origins and influences, and gives you a hint as to why English is so complex and inconsistent.


Friday Links

Friday rushed right up this week, thanks to the Monday holiday. It feels like I blinked and here we are. But Fridays are always a good thing, especially since I can offer you up a fun new set of links to kick off the weekend.

I have something of an odd collection this week, which seems fitting, given some of my weirder moments the past few days. But I think there’s still a nicely rounded assortment, with something for everyone. Wishing you a great weekend that includes quality writing time. Enjoy!

Publication Opportunities for Writers: March and April 2015 – A nice round up of places to submit your work.

Language Change, Slowly Does It – A look at how quickly we change the way we speak, and when those changes should begin to affect written communication.

7 Non-Writing Activities to Boost Your Creativity – Take time to fill the well.

How to Read Intelligently and Write a Great Essay: Robert Frost’s Letter of Advice to His Young Daughter – Some wonderful tips here.

How Writing Fiction Masters Fear – A writer’s approach to handling her own anxiety.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! We’re in the midst of a rain storm here in Los Angeles, getting some much needed moisture to help fight off the recent drought. Weather like this makes me want to snuggle up with a good book, so I’m particularly excited that it’s supposed to last all weekend. I have a date with my couch and my to-read pile.

But first, I bring you links! I hope they appeal and keep you informed and entertained. Wishing you all a great weekend, filled with books and writing time and adventures (or maybe an Oscar-viewing party). Enjoy!

13 Wonderful Old English Words We Should Still Be Using Today – Fun list. I may have to incorporate a few of these into my vocabulary.

The Nebula Award Nominees (That You Can Read Online) – Catch up with some of your award-worthy reading.

28 Books You Should Read If You Want To – A great alternative to those “read these before you die” book lists.

Are the New “Golden Age” TV Shows the New Novels? – Two writers discuss modern attitudes toward the small screen vs. the big book.

Everybody in Almost Every Language Says “Huh”? – I kind of wish we could eliminate it in English, but it’s not looking likely.

Opportunities for Writers: March and April 2014 – A list of contests, calls for submissions, etc.