Writing

I’m a writer. So I like to write about writing. I have also compiled a list of Writing Resources, which I may update from time to time.

The Writing Life: Fantasy vs. Reality

Today, I read the following passage from Emily Magazine and found myself nodding in agreement. How many times have I thought this? How many other writers have thought this, too? At any rate, a wave of melancholy — but also relief — swept over me. Even well-published writers get the blues:

Needless to say — you aren’t reading this in Elle, are you? — I was not lifted up easefully into the realm of the brand-name. Probably because I didn’t do any of the things that I would have had to do in order to get there. I still don’t quite understand what it takes to get there. More and more I think it’s not what I’m good at, or even what I want to be good at.  I still feel jealous of people who get paid well to go on junkets and describe them humorously and vividly, of course. But I want something else, and it does not, for the moment, involve sitting alone in a room with a computer.  It also does, of course.  I have been happiest and most miserable alone in that room.

When I went back to working in an office after years of not, I could suddenly see the particular brand of crazy my former compatriots in freelancing exhibited, revealed in high definition. Their obsessive Facebook status updates, their public declarations about how much or how little they’d written that day or how their writing was going, the kind of super-involved tweeting that you only see in people who are either trapped at desk jobs where there’s too little for them to do or in freelancers desperate to avoid the work they’ve assigned themselves. I have done all of this stuff, of course, but the moment I didn’t have time to do it anymore, I could see it for what it was. It was, initially, a blessed relief to be rendered unable to ride the waves of Schadenfreude and fleeting, irrational enthusiasm that wash over the social Internet all day.  I was also rendered incapable of feeling jealous of everyone whose writing was momentarily elevated by a stream of “THIS!”-style sharing. I had other stuff to do.  I have other stuff to do.

Feels blind [Emily Magazine]

The Intimacy of Text and the Evolution of Language

From Sherry Turkle’s book Alone Together: Why We Expect More From Technology and Less From Each Other to tech writer Paul Miller’s experiment of going offline for an entire year, much has been written about how the Internet is potentially warping our brains. So, I found it refreshing to read Helena Fitzgerald’s recent piece in The New Inquiry, which argues that our current primary forms of communication – texting, Gchat, email, Twitter, blogging – are forging (or re-establishing) a new relationship with the written word:

Internet socialization is far closer to a 19th century mode of intimacy than to a dystopian future of tragically disconnected robot prostitutes. There’s a Jane Austen-ish quality to online social life. The written word gains unmatched power and inarguable primacy.

Whether we’re sending long-form letters to one another or chatting face to face with friends, storytelling is key, according to Jag Bhalla writing for Scientific American:

Any story we tell of our species, any science of human nature, that leaves out much of what and how we feel is false. Nature shaped us to be ultra-social, and hence to be sharply attentive to character and plot. We are adapted to physiologically interact with stories.

Finally, Discovery News reports that there are 23 words that may date back 15,000 years. Here’s a hat-tip to David Weinberger, whose link to this article poetically ties together these ancient words with our modern technology:

 

Blogging for the Art of It

Writing for the TBEX conference website, Pam Mandel answers the question, “Why blog?”

Blog because you are teaching yourself to write – blogging’s time driven nature creates an excellent framework for homework.  Blog because you are compelled to share your stories – blogging is perfect for that. Blog because you can’t not write – a blog is a good place for you to see your story outside your own head, to see your work made real. The roots version of “Why blog?” is still 100% valid – because you’re having an adventure and you want to document it. Or blog for the same reasons I do, because blogging is your medium and writing is your art.

What about the whole issue of making money from travel blogging?

Don’t focus on making money today or tomorrow or next year, instead, focus on making amazing writing. Dig into the dark places the tourist office doesn’t want you to see. Tell a good story purely for the satisfaction of telling a good story. Experiment, write backwards, unravel history, ask hard questions, tell stories that leave your readers feeling dizzy or angry or exhausted as though they have made the journey with you. Turn away from all the optimizing and strategizing and monetizing and socializing because they do not have to be why you blog.

Pam will be a speaker at the TBEX Conference in Toronto this June.

via TBEX Speaker Post: Ask Me About Art – TBEX USA.