Friday Links: Weekend Writing Inspiration

Are you looking for weekend writing inspiration? The end of the year brings so many challenges for writers. Holidays loom, making you plan and shop and rush to finish projects by December 31st. But you still have that writing project that calls to you. Maybe you’re participating in NaNoWriMo or up against a deadline. Or you simply started a new novel and you’re twitching to work on it. Set aside some time this weekend to write. Fight the start of the holiday chaos, and remember to make your writing a priority. I hope the links below will help give you a bit of a kick in the right direction.

This Week’s Links:

Writer’s Digest Short Short Story Competition. – Strapped for time? Try to write a super short story and enter this Writer’s Digest contest. Or look through finished or drafted projects to see what might work.

13 Tips for Actually Getting Some Writing Accomplished. – Author Gretchen Rubin offers some great tips for pushing past your busy calendar and getting words on paper.

Austin Kleon: Pencil vs Computer. – The writer and artist discusses his own process and how different mediums set the mood for stages of his work.

How YA Literature Is Leading the Queer, Disabled Media Revolution. – Looking for ways to be inclusive in your work? Get your weekend writing inspiration from some of these fabulous YA titles.

10 Novels Agents Have Already Seen a Billion Times. – You might want to steer clear of these ideas, or if you have to write one of them, find a great way to turn them on their ear.

Cove Park Literature Residencies: Applications Close 11 December. – Shake up your writing by finding a new place to work, and apply for a writing residency.

Interview with Janet Fitch. – The author discusses research, writing process, and her latest book, The Revolution of Marina M.

Friday Links: Inspiration and Creative Risk-Taking

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you’ve had a terrific week and that your weekend looks equally bright. Spring has truly sprung here in SoCal, and I have the twitchy nose to prove it. Suddenly everything is in bloom. But that’s fine with me, because I always think spring is a highly creative time. Something about all those new things growing and in bloom, plans formulating for summer vacation, stretching muscles that are stiff from curling up in a cozy spot all winter. It’s a great time to brush off your old, neglected ambitions and get moving. So if you’ve found yourself dragging when it comes to getting your writing done, I want you to shake off those cobwebs, flex your fingers, and get to work. Try something new, aim high, and tell that internal voice-of-doom to take a hike.

To inspire some creativity and perhaps a bit of risk-taking, I’ve got a bunch of fun links for you this week. Even if there’s still snow on the ground outside your window, or you’re in the other hemisphere facing down the start of autumn, take a few minutes over the weekend to dive into a different project or take a fresh look at an old one. You never know what kind of inspiration might take hold. Happy writing!

This Is How to Be Creatively Productive – Thoughts from writer and artist Danny Gregory.

Polygon Map Generation Demo – World-building a completely new land for your fantasy novel or story? Use this site to generate an all-new continent to go with your setting.

Readers are willing to follow writers into risky territory: Alexander Chee on Writing and The Queen of the Night – Some terrific observations about how and when it can pay off to write something truly different.

Wit and the Art of Conversation – Thoughts on what wit is, precisely, and observations on what makes it appealing. Great for writers working on improving their dialogue.

6 Ways to Track Down a Magazine Editor – Advice for anyone in the freelance trenches or looking to get into freelance writing. If you’ve been thinking about it and putting it off, what are you waiting for? Go for it.

Second Cousins,” “Once Removed,” and More, Explained in Chart Form – Handy relative definitions, very useful for anyone sorting out a big family drama, on paper or in real life.

A Lifelong Lover of Books Breaks Ground Atop the Literary World – Q&A with Lisa Lucas, who recently became the first woman and first African American to head up the National Book Foundation. Proof that there’s always new ground to break.

Friday Links

Happy Friday! I’m melting here in SoCal, wishing for a nice fall breeze. But other than that, it’s been a great week and I’m looking forward to a productive weekend with a bit of time out to read a book with a cover. But first, I have this week’s links, and I hope they will inspire you to a bit of creativity over the next couple of days. Have a wonderful weekend, and enjoy!

Greasing the Daily Grind – On schedules, habit, and productivity.

Literally vs. Figuratively – A quick-and-handy grammar check, with links to some other commonly confused words at the end.

Who Is Your Boo Radley? Finding Characters Who Motivate You to Write – Delving into the characters who intrigue you to make your writing shine.

That’s too Much: The Problem with Prolific Writers – A look at the question of appropriate literary output.

Moral Craft: Issues of Plot and Prejudice – An interesting piece on racism in writing, discussing intentions and author responsibility.


Making More from Less

How many times have you wished for more time to write, more time to brainstorm, better ideas, bigger ideas, a newer laptop, a real office space…? Whatever your goals and aspirations, it’s pretty typical to wish you had more to work with, a leg up from whatever point you’re at in the moment. But what would you do with unlimited resources? If you had an open schedule, with all the time in the world to write or paint or dance or do whatever creative endeavor calls to you. The finances to support yourself. A great work space just as you imagine it. How much would your work improve? Would you actually spend more time working?

This podcast looks at the effects limits can have on creativity, how it can push you to be better, more resourceful and imaginative, because you have no other choice. Give it a listen, and then go make something wonderful.

Friday Links

Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you had a good week and that your weekend is shaping up to be even better. It’s been pretty busy around these parts, but I’ve still managed to pull together a few links to entertain you and, I hope, give you some writing ideas. Time to ramp up that creativity! Enjoy, and happy writing.

Alan Moore Finishes Million-Word Novel Jerusalem – For the record, this is ridiculously long, and he can only get away with this (possibly) because he’s Alan Moore. Do not attempt this until you are super successful and famous.

How to Stop Putting Things Off and Make Yourself Get to Work – Having a little procrastination problem? Everyone does at some point. Here are some tips to work around it.

The Piebrary – This clever blogger is combining a love of literature with a love of baking. She posts delicious-looking dessert recipes every other week, tied in with books she’s read, including a brief explanation of the connection.

When Writing Well Is Part of the Problem – Novelist Elliott Holt reflects on a lesson in letting go and being a bit less “perfect” in her writing.

The gorgeous handwriting and book-crammed office of Laird Hunt – The author of Neverhome, out this month, allowed his publisher, Little, Brown, to share photos and thoughts regarding his writing space.

Dog-Day Productivity

August tends to be my least productive month of the year if I’m left to my own devices. I think it’s a throwback to childhood, when those last lazy weeks of summer felt slow and uneventful, the weather hot and humid, the shiny lure of the new school year ahead both a promise and a threat. My natural inclination was to sleep late, read more books, and spend my afternoons in air conditioned movie theaters. My most energetic hours came after dinner, when the sun dropped and the temperature cooled as much as it was going to, and I felt like I could think clearly for the first time all day.

As an adult, my inclinations haven’t changed all that much. I’m a night owl by nature, and that’s never more true than during a heat wave when I crave the evening with its escape from a punishing sun and the oppressive heat that makes me yearn for a nap. But being an adult, I can’t quite spend the month lying about all day, seeking shady spots like an overheated house cat. I have a job, and chores, and other grown-up responsibilities. But that doesn’t mean I can’t adapt my schedule to best take advantage of my more productive hours. Come August, I become nearly nocturnal. I’ll use those mid-afternoon hours to run errands in air conditioned locales, then put in a few more hours at my desk after dark. I work when I feel most alert, and leave the more mindless activities for the part of the day when I feel sluggish.

Now, I’m aware that I’m fortunate in having a job that allows me this sort of flexibility. But there are plenty of other ways to ramp up your productivity if the summer has you lagging behind your writing goals. If you can’t rearrange your schedule to take advantage of when you feel most creative, how about changing your location or finding a new way to jump start your brain? Take your laptop to the local library and enjoy their air conditioning while you work on your daily word quota, or maybe shift to a different room in your house. My office has a west-facing window, which makes afternoons at my desk brutally hot, so sometimes I will take my laptop and work standing at the breakfast bar between my dining room and kitchen, the change of venue both far cooler and a great chance to stretch my legs. If the heat has you skimping on your regular workout — and losing out on brainstorming time — try taking a walk through your local mall to rev up your blood and your ideas, or take a dip at a local swimming pool. Let your mind drift and see what fresh plot twists occur to you.

Summer heat can make it difficult to remain productive. Energy dips, the beach or the local pool calls, and a nap in a shady spot sounds like the best idea ever. But if you take a look at your own work patterns and get a little creative, you can still hit those writing goals without feeling stressed. Good luck, and happy writing!

Friday Links

TGIF! I hope you’ve all had a lovely week and that your weekend looks to be even better. I’ve had a busy run of it over here, but things seem to be slowing down a tad, so I’m looking forward to actually prying myself away from my desk for a bit.

I come bearing this week’s links. I hope you find them fun and useful; I think there’s a little something for everyone here. And next week I’m hoping to get back to offering up a little more substance on the blog overall. In the meantime, happy writing, happy reading, and enjoy!

How These Six Highly Productive Bloggers Get So Much Done – Looking to expand your social media platform? Need more writing time? Figure out how to put your goals first with these handy tips.

The Writer’s RoomThe New York Times checks out the work spaces of a number of professional writers.

Is Amazon Bad for Books? – George Packer takes a long, hard look at the e-retailer.

Black Balloon Publishing’s Top 10 Favorite Literary Blogs – You may already be familiar with a handful of these, but there are also a few lesser known blogs mentioned that are well worth checking out.

Literary Prizes Make Books Less Popular, Study Finds – This seems a chicken-or-egg scenario. (Do they give prizes to books that are overly highbrow and unreadable? Or do readers simply perceive prize-winning books to be uninteresting?)

Friday Links

Welcome to Friday, which this week happens to kick off the long Memorial Day weekend here in the U.S., the unofficial start of summer. That means vacations, BBQs, sand and surf, lazy days, stacks of books to read, and — in the publishing world — summer hours (half-day Fridays). The reality, of course, is that work does not cease simply because we have a bit more daylight (Weekend? What weekend?), but it’s nice to dream.

And on that note, I offer up this week’s selection of Friday links, some of which are a bit dreamy, and all of which I hope you’ll find intriguing/entertaining/educational, etc. Enjoy, and have a fabulous weekend!

The Art of Staying Focused in a Distracting World – Social media, email, DVR queue, etc. There’s always something vying for your attention. How do you get anything done anymore? Interesting article.

Writing Excuses: The Short Story with Mary Robinette Kowal – A great podcast on short story writing, with excellent tips for anyone looking to give them a go or simply improve on their current efforts.

Kindle Worlds: Amazon Rewrites the Rules of Fan Fiction – A look at Amazon’s announcement regarding their new plans to monetize the world of fan fiction.

Amazon’s Kindle Worlds: Instant Thoughts – Author John Scalzi’s first take on why Amazon’s new program may not be the greatest thing for writers.

Neil Gaiman’s A Calendar of Tales – Gaiman’s collaborative short story project with Blackberry is complete. Check out the results, including some very cool art created by Gaiman’s readers.