Wednesday, July 31, 2013

The Writer’s Genie

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Firstly, I lied about the genie. There are no genies that can help a writer, magically sparing him or her from all the pain and fret of the work. Secondly, a part of this lie is truth. Of course, there is one thing that can help a writer. Guess what?

Type writer?



Writing software?

If you are still following this sequence of guesses, you prove yourself to be a serious searcher of the art of writing. At one point in life, we all search for a support mechanism in our work. However, if you are guessing along the same lines, as mentioned above, you are going the wrong way.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Interview with Jodi Desautels

Good Morning Jodi - I have heard so much about you but for those folks who haven't stumbled across you yet let's start by telling us about yourself...

Hi Ingrid, I am a children’s book author/illustrator as well as an educator. I live with my husband and mother-in-law in the country. I enjoy nature, photography, and caring for others.

Sounds like the perfect life...Is writing your full time career?

No. I am a full-time caregiver for my mother-in-law. The time home with her gives me the time to write and illustrate, as well as grow my online education site.

The internet is definitely the way forward for education now.  Kids are engaged with learning in a way they weren't a few decades ago... What is the worst job that you have ever done, and why?

Thursday, July 18, 2013

23 Tips from Famous Authors for New and Emerging Writers

“I have advice for people who want to write. I don’t care whether they’re 5 or 500. There are three things that are important: First, if you want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you. Where you just put down what you think about life, what you think about things, what you think is fair and what you think is unfair. And second, you need to read. You can’t be a writer if you’re not a reader. It’s the great writers who teach us how to write. The third thing is to write. Just write a little bit every day. Even if it’s for only half an hour — write, write, write.” ― Madeleine L’Engle
“Let the writer take up surgery or bricklaying if he is interested in technique. There is no mechanical way to get the writing done, no shortcut. The young writer would be a fool to follow a theory. Teach yourself by your own mistakes; people learn only by error. The good artist believes that nobody is good enough to give him advice. He has supreme vanity. No matter how much he admires the old writer, he wants to beat him.” ― William Faulkner
“Read Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande. Then do what it says, including the tasks you think are impossible. You will particularly hate the advice to write first thing in the morning, but if you can manage it, it might well be the best thing you ever do for yourself. This book is about becoming a writer from the inside out. Many later advice manuals derive from it. You don’t ­really need any others, though if you want to boost your confidence, “how to” books seldom do any harm. You can kick-start a whole book with some little writing exercise.” ― Hilary Mantel
“Start telling the stories that only you can tell, because there’ll always be better writers than you and there’ll always be smarter writers than you. There will always be people who are much better at doing this or doing that – but you are the only you.” ― Neil Gaiman
“Becoming a writer is about becoming conscious. When you’re conscious and writing from a place of insight and simplicity and real caring about the truth, you have the ability to throw the lights on for your reader. He or she will recognize his or her life and truth in what you say, in the pictures you have painted, and this decreases the terrible sense of isolation that we have all had too much of.” ― Anne Lamott

Monday, July 15, 2013

Your Regular Job

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Regularity in action often turns the act into a habit and the habit is always capable of sustaining itself into time. Great many self-emancipation gurus contempt habit and ask people to move on and do things that are out of their regular rhythm and comfort zones. There is a certain truth about what they say. Especially, for a writer, it will do her great good if she prepares herself to experiment with the daily, the mundane, the spiritual, and the fantastic.
Even writing these words—fantastic and spiritual gives me goose flesh. Such is the power of the fantastic and the spiritual upon human consciousness. But in order to experiment with these out-of-the-ordinary-experiences, a writer must have a strong control over the craft. In this article, I am focusing on nothing else but how to manage this hold on one’s craft.
 It is an art in itself.

In order to hold onto one’s craft, one must be artistic enough to know that it takes the understanding of the rhythm of the art to do this. The rhythm indicates regularity. Regularity is the consistent interaction with a focused intention towards a cause.
Regularity with some intervals in its practice is rhythm.
To write is to follow the rhythm one’s mind allows one to be comfortable at within the premises of the art.
How one follows, one’s cause depends on individuals and also on the craft they follow. For a writer, she should decide the frequency of practicing their art in consideration with what their art wants from them, what time, what attention, what diligence.
In the case of writing, it wants from the artist—everything.
Sustaining frequency is very important in developing style and craft. In order to achieve frequency, a ‘habitualization’ of the craft is crucial. Turned into a habit, the craft of telling stories will accompany the frequency, unaffected by the interventions of the outside world—the nagging family, the demanding wife, the short tempered boss of your day job and a particularly bad day in the coffee house.
But how does one achieve this? How can a habit be useful tool for a writer?
As one can see, in cases of human metabolic activity such as the activation of salivary glands at the sight of food items and the initiation of hunger at the usual lunch time, that habits can leave such tremendous impact upon us. They govern our responses both physically and mentally. Salivary glands in their daily action indicate this very truth. The ejection of saliva is both a physical and mental action. In this manner, if a writer habituates his writing activity, the act as such can flow uninterrupted at the precise time or manner that the writer practices daily. At least, the mental and physical preparedness can precede the real act of writing.
Still, it is a matter of debate whether creativity is time bound or if it could be habitualized.

Perhaps, it is not.
Hemingway said there are no great writers, but only great re-writers. This means, you have a chance if you have a draft, although not much ‘creative’ in its appearance or impact, to think about and depend on in your writing journey. The life of an uncreative story ends in the editor’s waste bin. But for a blank page, there is no life at all.

Anu Lal is the author of the up-coming collection of short stories Wall of Colors and Other Stories. He lives in Kerala, South India. He blogs at The Indian Commentator 
You can catch up with him in Facebook too. 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Writing for Mills and Boon

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If like me you haven't picked up a Mills and Boon since you were at your grandma's house a quarter of a century ago then you may be forgiven for thinking that Mills and Boon books are mild, slightly stomach churning romance stories.  You know the type I mean - the ones with the Milk Tray Men - Strong masculine dominant types wooing and ultimately marrying saccharine sweet, simpering, doormats.