Thursday, May 20, 2010
Take a Course
10:02 pm edt
If you are genuinely serious and interested in writing as a significant dimension and part of your life, you may want to
consider taking a course or two. Even the evening courses offered by local schools can give you a better sense of what the
resources for writers may be in your community. Local colleges and universities generally provide resource rich libraries
and on-line support. The wealth of information through on-line courses has been and remains an important source of guidance
and direction for the development of one's writing in any number of areas. Make sure to evaluate these options before you
commit to them, however. Ask for references and seek endorsements or evaluations from those who have enrolled in these in
order to make certain you have identified a program or course which will meet your needs and interests. Be wary of "get
rich quick" courses in areas such as copywriting. Nothing of any true significance can be accomplished without serious
commitment and the investment of time. Writing is a craft. It takes time and commitment to develop any craft. Follow up on
your interests. Find a course or two to consider.
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
Something to Say
7:40 pm edt
The explosure and rampant growth of the varieties of internet communication through blogs, "Facebook" and "Twitter",
to name but a few, underscores the certainty that we humans are hungry for the ability to speak our truths, communicate
our beliefs and experiences and share them with others. We all have something to say. We all have something going
on. Nothing never happens.
We all want someone to listen and to hear what we are saying, and to know what we are doing. Perhaps the hierarchy of
needs Abraham Maslow developed some years ago could be updated and reinforced/expanded by more legitimately appreciating and
recognizing the fulfillment of needs these new modes of communication are providing.
Andy Warhol no doubt would have found the revolution in communication modalities stunning and rife with fertile soil
for artistic exploration. Not only does everyone now have their "15 minutes of fame" but they can gain something
like fame everytime they tweet. How many "followers" do you have? The line between the famous and the
little known blurs in this realm and following the goings on of both provides some sort of kindred friendship among
all on Twitter. The process enhances a communal feeling at some level.
Something to say is so basic. Someone to listen is so necessary.
Try Twitter...do you have something to say?
Keep writing. :}
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
10:47 pm est
10:46 pm est
A current debate is raging brought about by the development of electronic books loaded on portable devices such as the
Amazon Kindle. The new Kindle 2 has a built in audio reader, so that purchases can be read aloud to buyers at will. This possibility/reality
has been challenged by the Author's Guild, which reminds authors that they should make certain the consider the implications
of allowing their books to be made available on the Kindle if they have retained the audio rights to their book. As new technology
develops additional issues and questions of author/publisher rights ownership will no doubt continue to develop. Keep an eye
out for these in the future and do some research so that you are famililar and acquainted with the issues involved. Keep writing.
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Process not Product
5:14 pm est
William Styron declined to call himself an author, though he published many books. He said he didn't think in terms of
having a career...he said "I have a typewriter." Styron was engaged in the process of writing without having to identify himself
with the product of the process itself. The writing process was what was important for Styron.
Neil Simon just recently was given the "Mark Twain" award and recognition at the Kennedy Center for his many contributions
through the writing of plays, screenplays and fiction. Clearly what interests Simon is the human situation and condition
rather than his own identification as an author. Simon is interested and engaged in witnessing and exploring his
fellow humans through the process of writing.
Writing cannot be a goal in and of itself. The practice of writing can be a goal. But one must harness one's interest
in the writing process and allow it to lead one toward the issues and ideas as well as the conditions which emerge and engage
one through it. Writing is most significantly a process, not a product.
Monday, November 13, 2006
Writing Down the Bones
12:25 pm est
Natalie Goldberg's well-known books encourage writers to grapple with the challenges faced by those who want to write.
As a Buddhist practitioner Goldberg is one who strives to demonstrate her practice through writing about the writing process
itself. Her Writing Down the Bones and Thunder and Lightening challenge and encourage would-be
writers to take the process and writing practice seriously.
Writing challenges one to face issues and ideas or concerns we may generally neglect or "shy away" from too
easily...through the writing process, uncomfortable feelings and forces may come forward to address us when we write,
particularly when we write fiction and/or poetry. We sometimes do not know "where we are" with regard to certain feelings
and issues untill and unless we begin to write about them. Writing at this deep level holds up a mirror to our neglected
truths and realities if we genuinely have to courage to look into that mirror and work through them regardless of the surprises,
shocks or confrontations they present.
Writing works on one at as deep a level to which we are willing or not willing to go. Writing dares you to look
deeper into a situation, or a person, a character or a reality you otherwise may successfully avoid...writing creates danger
and possibility and risk and we avoid writing at the peril of our own growth and development as well as our own self-understanding
and knowledge. The courage to write...do you have it?
Friday, September 29, 2006
Just in Case
8:55 pm edt
Just as a visual artist carries a sketch pad with her at all times, a writer must carry a notepad to record senses, observations,
comments and conversations she doesn't want to forget or lose. Make notes to capture and remind youself of the feelings and
sensations you experience when you are traveling as well as just noticing moments during your day. You can go back to these
and fill out the details at some future time, just as the visual artist returns to her sketch pad for the development of future
work and exploration. All art is exploration and you set your own limitations and possibilities based on your attentiveness
and awareness to the details you remember and cherish. If you don't cherish something, you won't feel the need or desire to
retain much. Cherish your awareness and attentiveness and let them record their observations and concerns. They will feed
your writing and creative engagements in the days to come.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
5:22 pm edt
Etymology traces the history of meaning in words and demonstrates the fluidity of our language. Discovering the
history and source of a word's origins reveals the culture and context in which they were created and utilized. New words
are being generated daily, and every year our dictionaries add and/or delete words, based on their use and place in the contemporary
lexicon. Notice the words you hear in conversations and on the internet as well as the prevalence with which they
are used. Words are lenses through which we can see and appreciate the past and present, and they are the tools with
which we work the soil of the present reality. Work with words and let their stories work their ways into you. You'll be the
richer and wiser for it.
Friday, September 8, 2006
3:58 pm edt
Familiarize yourself with Japanese haiku, which communicates so much feeling and essence with such an economy of words.
Haiku invites you to experience and participate at levels beyond those of logical thought. The simplicity and beauty of haiku,
whether you are reading or working on writing it, reveals a complexity and depth of existence discursive writing may often
only begin to hint at.
Today we received this haiku, so appropriate for the coming winter months.
"Winter has arrived,
Shit! Its cold."
Thursday, August 31, 2006
12:34 pm edt
How many conferences or workshops have you attended this year? Getting in touch with other writers, editors, or publishing
professionals can give you a better sense of your own goals, directions and market niches. At a national or international
conference you can see major developments in the industry and acquaint yourself with the newest developing resources and ideas
shaping the landscape. Of course a portion of your expense for these meetings and your travel and accommodations should be
at least partially deductible on your income taxes. The government is thereby actually encouraging you to develop your professional
connections and resources. How can you turn that down? Check out the many possibilities and select several that will give
you the best return on your investment of time and money. Sign up and go! You owe it to yourself.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Too Much Information
2:29 pm edt
When writing a book, you may feel the need to do as much research as possible in order to gain the best insight into
and understanding of your topic. Of course researching and familiarizing yourself with the details of your subject is important,
but you also can stall your project by trying to get more information than you actually need in order to move ahead with your
writing. There really is such a thing as "too much information." Many books have not been completed because of it.
You have to draw a boundary when you run the risk of doing more research than is actually necessary. How do you know
how much is necessary? Are you using research as a way to avoid your writing? Ask youself some challenging questions about
Begin your writing. As you come upon areas and issues that invite reconsideration of your understanding, stop and do
some additional research at that point. Don't get bogged down in too much information before you really need it.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
3:12 pm edt
Build a practice of asking questions. Explore the processes and realities of others as well as your own interests and
insights. Keeping a journal or log of the questions you have asked yourself or/and others during a day gives you a resource
and perhaps provides impetus for future projects which interest and intrigue you and invite further investigation. Once
you have a good collection of questions built up, you can come back at a later time and sift through your earlier questions
and responses and use that as a "jumping off" point for more detailed study. Be an inquiring mind. Ask questions.
What do you want to know?
Saturday, July 15, 2006
10:06 am edt
Gaining a new perspective and approach to writing can be heightened by reading in a different language. Language mirrors
and contains the colors, shades, sounds and sights of a culture, and presents a peoples' history and landscape in every paragraph.
You don't have to travel abroad to experience a new way of looking at things,however, and you don't necessarily even have
to study or learn a new language, though it does enrich one's understanding and appreciation of a different culture to
do so. Reading authors and books from cultures and countries beyond one's own is an easy and engaging way to expand one's
awareness and imagination. Select a country. Find three or four authors from it and read their writings. Study abroad.
Friday, July 14, 2006
11:05 am edt
Writing commentary on recent events or "your take" on current events can be an insightful way to remember and gain your
own understanding of situations. You can ,in the process, work out your own appreciation for and recall some passing circumstances
which then become your "reporter's notebook" for future and more developed writing and research. Just by just keeping
a "running commentary" on what is "going on" you engage yourself in the process of thinking about and practicing your writing.