Are You In Love With Your Own Writing?

“A word after a word after a word is power.” Margaret Atwood

There’s this thing called verbal narcissism. It’s pretty much the ability to game a wall, if it comes to that. To sell sand in the Sahara Desert.

It also means to be so in love with your own words that it could mean talking on and on about things that few people ever care about. Or it could happen that you do deliver a strong message, but you’re using so many words to do so, that it’s all distilled to the point of making people want to smack you over the head with their keyboards. Continue reading Are You In Love With Your Own Writing?

Book Review: Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov

From Amazon.com:

It is estimated that some three million people died in the Soviet forced-labour camps of Kolyma, in the northeastern area of Siberia. Shalamov himself spent seventeen years there, and in these stories he vividly captures the lives of ordinary people caught up in terrible circumstances, whose hopes and plans extended to further than a few hours.

Feeling depressed? Feeling as if life’s unfair? Hard? People are mean? Read Kolyma Tales. That should make you feel better.

Don’t believe me?

“The men were not shown the thermometer, but that wasn’t necessary since they had to work in any weather. Besides, longtime residents of Kolyma could determine the weather precisely even without a thermometer: if there was frosty fog, that meant the temperature outside was forty degrees below zero; if you exhaled easily but in a rasping fashion, it was fifty degrees below zero; if there was a rasping and it was difficult to breathe, it was sixty degrees below; after sixty degrees below zero, spit froze in mid-air. Spit had been freezing in mid-air for two weeks.”

Continue reading Book Review: Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov

How to Write a First Draft

Forgive me, for I am here to destroy your insecurities. Your excuses. That thing you do when you tell yourself that your first draft must be perfect. The illusion that great writing is born in a single moment of inspiration.

I want to destroy those things so you can get down to the business of writing. And that begins with first drafts.

First drafts tend to scare the hell out of most writers. Even the greats. Kurt Vonnegut said, “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in his mouth.”

So when a writer of his caliber makes a statement like that … do you think you will be any different? Continue reading How to Write a First Draft

The Writer: Episode #6

“A blank piece of paper is God’s way of telling us how hard it is to be God.”Sidney Sheldon

BSOD or Blue Screen of Death is a an error screen displayed on a Windows computer system after a fatal system error.

Writers have something called a WSOD or White Screen of Death. It looks something like this: Continue reading The Writer: Episode #6

The Most Beautiful Lines…

“The apartment below mine had the only balcony of the house. I saw a girl standing on it, completely submerged in the pool of autumn twilight. She wasn’t doing a thing that I could see, except standing there leaning on the balcony railing, holding the universe together.”J.D. Salinger

I have always considered these words to be some of the most beautiful I have ever read. The most breathtaking description. Simple, yet so effective in the way it makes you imagine someone with almost godlike characteristics into existence.

The Writer: Episode #5

“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”Ernest Hemingway

The Writer has always been curios.

Why?

This is the one question that has always defined him as a person. The Writer has always wanted to know why things were the way that they were, why someone worked (or it didn’t) and why certain things happened and not their opposite.

The same principle seemed to apply to people. It was more important to know why they did what they did, rather than try to understand how or when or with whom.

People were one way or another because of their why. Continue reading The Writer: Episode #5