Loose and casual graphic-blogging with random thoughts and links to interesting things.
Access to wifi password
“You owe it to your children to be interesting people.” Those kids might not realize it now, but they’re pretty lucky.
Goddamn it! I keep finding dreams! I thought I was all caught up except for two more dream-fragments I recorded in the back of the journal. I’m seriously two sheets of paper away from the center of this journal, which is a lot of writing in a little time.
But then I found another notebook page yesterday with three dreams on it, two short and one lengthy bastard. I finally got those transcribed today, fleshed them out as well as I could (usually after a few glyphs it comes back to me, but these are too far in the past). So what do I discover in the back of another notebook? Three more damned dreams.
The fact that I’m finding them everywhere is a mixed blessing. On the one hand, it means great, I’m very good at recording my dreams and I have more than I thought. On the other, I clearly lack any sort of system and will continue to stymie my own progress through my current methods.
It’s almost as though I need one formal dream journal, with everything written out nicely, and one smaller notebook in which I quickly crib the notes from what little I can recall the next morning, and the latter will feed the former. This is starting to sound (even to me) ridiculous.
I’ve had writer’s block the last few days. There are all sorts of creative exercises people can recommend to get over it, and some people apply some tough love and tell you to quit dinking around with fancy-dancy little creative exercises and just sit down and write. Write anything, write crap, “write twaddle,” but write.
A very popular contemporary author said as much. He was in town for a book signing (for a while, you could not keep him out of town or abate his book signings) and he gave me grim advice. I asked him how one gets over writer’s block and he said, “Take up plumbing.” He paused and I considered the Zen-like riddle of what must have been some level of sagacity beyond my comprehension. What did he mean by plumbing? Would a change of lifestyle improve my perspective? “Or carpentry,” he added. I wondered if there was something energizing about working with your hands. “Or anything. Pick up some other profession, because writers write.”
Oh. He was bitching me out. If I couldn’t write, I couldn’t sit at the cool kids’ table.
That doesn’t help me now. My eyes are burning with dryness, I’m well abreast of world news as I scan Google News and Al Jazeera, I’m about to fix yet another drink, and nothing’s compelling me to launch into a creative exploit. I’m kinda hoping that complaining about it (on a blog nobody reads) will help me through this, but there’s no reason it should produce a miracle. But at least I wrote about it.
I’m supposed to be writing stories.
I found a graphic artist and set up a contract. She’s very excited about it and so am I. This is the first real step toward professionalism in my chosen career I’ve taken (except for those two years in copyediting, because I chose to do that, too, but my overarching goal has been to become a writer for a living). Tonight I sent over the instructions for the cover art (three pieces) and now I’ve got to get these writing samples cleaned up and ready for publication in two weeks.
So why am I digging through my old college coursework from over three years ago?
Good writing is not a natural gift. You have to learn to write well. Here are 10 hints:
1. Read the Roman-Raphaelson book on writing. Read it three times.
2. Write the way you talk. Naturally.
3. Use short words, short sentences and short paragraphs.
4. Never use jargon words like reconceptualize, demassification, attitudinally, judgmentally. They are hallmarks of a pretentious ass.
5. Never write more than two pages on any subject.
6. Check your quotations.
7. Never send a letter or a memo on the day you write it. Read it aloud the next morning — and then edit it.
8. If it is something important, get a colleague to improve it.
9. Before you send your letter or your memo, make sure it is crystal clear what you want the recipient to do.
10. If you want ACTION, don’t write. Go and tell the guy what you want.