Monday, April 30, 2012

What Brings You Joy

Yesterday, the store I work at hosted an end-of-quarter meeting to discuss our brand and our priorities for the rest of the year. One thing that we talked a lot about is joy. How can we find joy in what we do and pass that along to our customers.

The more I thought about it, the more important that seemed.

No one likes to go into a store or restaurant (or really anywhere) when the people working there are clearly miserable. Moods are incredibly contagious. When you're feeling bad, it shows, and it affects other people. The same goes for when you're feeling good. 

I think this translates to your writing too. If you're writing a piece because you're passionate about the message you're sending, it will show. Your reader will be able to see that the writing brings you joy and it will make them want to read more. It will make them feel good to read your work.

However, if you're only writing to make money or fulfill some other need and there is no joy in your writing, your reader will not want to keep reading. They will see that your writing is forced or not genuine and they will turn away from it. 

If you want readers to keep reading and coming back to your work, you need to find what brings you joy in your work. Remind yourself of why you started doing this in the first place and come back to that on your bad days. Remember that feeling of joy and try to bring it into everything you do.

It's easy to get discouraged in this business, but by remembering the joyful moments, you can keep your spirits up and keep moving forward. That's the only way to succeed.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Friday Food For Thought

Oprah Shares Letter to Younger Self I love to hear the stories of how successful people started their careers. (@ Huffington Post, CBS News)

Slow Jam the News President Obama was a guest on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon this week. If you didn't see it (and even if you did) check out this video. (@ Late Night's Youtube page)

Keep Moving Forward This is a great post on the importance of perseverance. You personally have to keep moving forward if you want your writing career to go anywhere. (@Writer Unboxed)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sick day

I've been dealing with a nasty cold for almost a week now. Yesterday when I woke up, I could barely stand. So, I called work & let them know I wouldn't be coming in.

I spent most of the day reading and sleeping. Today I'm still a bit sick, but I'll be able to go to work. Taking the day off gave me a chance to relax & heal, so I'll be over this cold much sooner than if I had tried to push myself to go to work.

Sometimes staying at home with a good book really is the best medicine.

What do you like to read when you're sick? Tell us in the comments below!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Friday Food For Thought

Toni Morrison This is a fascinating interview with the author about her new book and her life. (@ The Guardian)

Knock Off Books Fooling Consumers This is my main concern with self-publishing: there are very little barriers on that road so it's incredibly easy for someone to pull off something like this. (@ January Magazine)

By now I'm sure you've heard that there will be no Pulitzer Prize for fiction this year, but in case you haven't here are some of the more interesting articles about the non-award.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

The 18th of April

In my family, we have a tradition of reading Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem "The Landlord's Tale; Paul Revere's Ride" every year on the 18th of April. 

It's sort of a game (especially between my father and his brother) to see who can recite the most lines from memory. Usually everyone sort of trails off after the first two stanzas and then we have to consult the actual poem.

Anyone else's family do this? Or does your family have some other bizarre literary tradition of it's own? Share it in the comments.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Food For Thought

Computers Are Replacing Journalists  A fresh perspective on the issue. It's certainly not the end of journalism, just journalism as we know it. (@ The Starved Writer)

The Books We Come Back To There are a lot of books that I like to reread, but none on any kind of schedule. It fascinates me to read about authors making a point of reading their favorite books once a year. (@The Millions)

 The Story of Keep Calm and Carry On You never know what you'll find in secondhand book shops. (@ BarterBooksLtd Youtube page)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Write Your Way to Happiness

For the last few weeks, Friday has been my only day off from my day job. For several weeks in a row now, I've had to schedule meetings and run errands on those days, meaning that my days off were just as (if not more so) stressful as the days when I had to go to work.

Last week, I was able to get my errands out of the way earlier in the week, and only had one quick meeting in the morning on Friday. This left me with an entire day to myself; a day to do whatever I wanted on my own schedule. I took out a notebook and got to work.

Before I knew it, I was digging through my books and re-reading old journals trying to find that one note I'd written myself three years ago. It seems only fitting that my new Kindle arrived in the middle of the day on Friday as well.

You might be wondering how much writing I got done. In terms of actual sentences and paragraphs, not a whole lot. What I did instead was create a timeline for my WIP. It takes place over nearly 100 years, so I had to get my years straight. I spent almost two hours working on this timeline, and another hour or so gathering all of the notes I had written about this piece.

It was an incredibly productive day overall, even if from the outside it might not appear that way. The fact is, focusing so closely on my writing made the day fly by. I barely noticed the time passing, and I felt relaxed and happy at the end of the day. It wasn't like all of my other 'days off' where I was rushing around town trying to get things done, and stressing out about not having enough time. I was able to sit and work at my own pace and accomplish only the things that I wanted to accomplish while not worrying about anything else.

This is why I do this. It's what I love. No, not everyday is going to be easy and full of sunshine and roses, but even on my least productive days, I'm still more likely to feel good if I've written even one word. It's the days when I haven't touched my WIP that make me feel horrible.

Go ahead. Get started. Write down two sentences. It doesn't matter if they're good or bad, just get them out of your head and onto the screen (paper, whatever). Just write a few sentences a day and see how much better you feel each time. Soon you'll have a whole page. Then a chapter. And so on.

You'll be amazed at how much happier you feel with each word.

Kindle, Wi-Fi, 6" E Ink Display - includes Special Offers & Sponsored Screensavers

Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Food For Thought

The Old Man and the Sea A beautiful stop motion video summarizing the whole book. (@ Vimeo)

How to Write the Great American Novel I laughed out loud several times while reading this. It's a great way to start the weekend if you're looking for a bit of humor. (@ The Awl)

The Berenstain Bears and the Tyranny of Timeliness Goodman makes an interesting point here, writers in the past have been able to write for the sake of writing and expressing thoughts, whereas the internet has made timeliness a necessity. Readers want to know, as Goodman puts it, "not 'why this?' but 'why this, now?'" (@ The Millions)

The Role(s) of Reversal in Fiction  I love the idea of using reversal to add humor and/or tension to a scene, as in the Pride and Prejudice example. Reversal can add another layer to an otherwise simple story or scene. (@ Beyond the Margins)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Benjamin Franklin on Failure

"Do not fear mistakes. You will know failure. Continue to reach out."

-Benjamin Franklin

Monday, April 2, 2012

Finally Jumping On The Bandwagon

Today, I ordered a Kindle from Amazon. I decided to go with the most basic design for a few reasons.

1. I already own a laptop that is light and very portable, so a Kindle Fire would have been superfluous. There's nothing that I would want to do on the Kindle Fire that my laptop doesn't already do.

 2. I didn't want the Kindle Touch because even though it holds more books and looks a little cooler, it's not all that different from the basic Kindle. I didn't want to pay extra for a touch screen (my phone has one of those and to be honest, I can't stand it.)

3. Why go with Kindle over Nook or any of the other options? E-Ink. I use the Kindle app on my phone and laptop all the time, but my eyes get tired pretty quickly that way. When I read on paper, I don't have that problem and the few times I've played around with other people's Kindles, I've been amazed at how closely it resembles a regular book.

I'm truly excited to try it out. I'll give you a report in a few weeks of what I think. In the meantime, do you have a Kindle? What do you like or dislike about it? Let us know in the comments!