On Twitter, someone asked for book recommendations for Austen fans, and what came to mind was not a continuation, a sequel, or an inspired-by. It was JULIET, NAKED by Nick Hornby.
Nick Hornby is my idea of a contemporary Jane Austen. So is Zadie Smith, particularly her novel ON BEAUTY. Both authors make profound observations of human nature, give us romance without sentimentality, have a divine sense of humor, and are simply master storytellers. In my writing workshops I inevitably read passages from both Hornby and Smith.
For me, Hornby’s JULIET, NAKED brought to mind some of the online discussions that occur amongst Austen’s most devoted readers. A central premise of the book is that no matter how much the admirers of an artist’s work examine that work, study it, parse it for meaning, and become “experts,” they can never acquire irrefutable proof that the creator felt a certain way or had a particular type of experience at the time she created it. Bottom line is that it’s nothing more than speculation. And speculation is often wrong. (more…)
Everyone who knows me knows how much I love essential oils. Just got these early dharmaceuticals essential oil gifts for the holidays and couldn’t help but open them and start spritzing and diffusing. Love it!
The Lift-Me-Up spritz put me in the perfect frame of mind to get going on today’s writing….ttyl :))
If any of my fellow storytellers deal with writer’s block from time to time, here’s some fun help. Fun help? That’s right. See you in the playground.
Photo by Marion Michele on Unsplash
Photo by Sneha Chekuri on Unsplash
I could write a book on all the uses I have for essential oils, and writing is a big one. Productivity, creativity, flow, and focus are just a few of the things I need in my writing life, and I have essential oil blends to help me with all of them.
by Startup Stock Photos
Have you ever tried to write a scene or a post or a proposal and can’t figure which angle to approach it from, or you can’t find the right words or the right tone?
Have you ever wanted to email or text or talk about something—especially if it’s a difficult subject—and you can’t seem to get it out? Or you’re afraid you’ve said too much?
Have you ever felt that way in a social situation—worried that you don’t know how to make small talk or you’re coming off too reserved or you’ve revealed more to a total stranger than you should have done?
My answer would be yes, yes, and yes. (more…)
Are you a writer, too? If so, you may find my posts on the writing life helpful.
Have you ever thought about finding an editor to help you through the process? I can relate. I wouldn’t be where I am without the guidance and encouragement of my own editor/writing coach.
I loved every page of this book, which I listened to on audiobook. Stephen King generously (those darn adverbs!) shares his insights about and faith in the magic of storytelling, the nuts and bolts of the writer’s toolbox, his own creative process, and the life events that shaped the writer he is today. He does all of this with the combination of compassion, encouragement, and straight dealing from the b.s.-free zone that I adore about this master wordsmith. A thoroughly enjoyable and illuminating read, with excellent narration by the author himself
I’ve always been a voracious reader. I read for pleasure, relaxation, inspiration, and insights. I’ve also discovered that for those of us who are writers, there’s a bonus feature baked into every great book: a master class on writing.
I enjoy exploring an author’s sensory descriptions, seamless transitions, witty dialogue, deft handling of POV, and judicious sprinklings of humor. I’m fascinated by the sleight of hand that plants foreshadowings and the skillful ways in which the writer made me lose sleep for turning pages late into the night. And, perhaps most important, I am always in awe of the keen eye that shines a light on the manifold facets of human nature.
Jane Austen is one of those authors with an unflinching eye for human nature at its best and its worst. So are Nick Hornby, Zadie Smith, J.K. Rowling, and Aurelia Haslboeck, whose debut novel, The Journeys of John and Julia: Genesis, exemplifies why I return to the works of these authors again and again. I re-read them for pleasure, inspiration, and to marvel at the sheer brilliance of their writing.
Recently, within the space of two weeks, I devoured the first three books in J.K. Rowling’s Cormoran Strike detective series, which she writes under the pen name Robert Galbraith. Here’s a brief clip of Rowling talking about the creation of her series:
I used to think of ‘writing at a standing desk’ as an oxymoron–can’t be done. And didn’t article after article talk about how despite how good for you standing desks are, writing is best done sitting down? Well, I’m happy to say that I was wrong. I have gone from raising a skeptical eyebrow at the ‘standing desk craze’ to full-on convert.
Why do I LOVE writing at my standing desk?
- It’s energized my writing routine. I feel physically, mentally, and emotionally vibrant as I stand at my desk and write.
- I’ve always thought of writing fiction as something akin to acting, and somehow standing enables me to connect on a more physical level with what the characters are feeling and doing than when I’m sitting slumped in my chair. Yeah, I tend to slump when sitting. Which leads me to the next point.
- My posture is better when I’m standing and writing than when I’m sitting and writing.
- I am more focused when standing than I am when sitting.
- I have more clarity about both big picture and details when I’m standing than when I’m sitting.
- Standing helps me remember to do the ‘power pose’ from that famous TED talk by Amy Cuddy. And that’s always great for my writing.
This is my ReadyDesk standing desk converter, which sits on top of my regular desk. It comes with two shelves that you can move around till you find the perfect height. I also bought an extra shelf:
I’m usually not one for New Year’s resolutions. Probably because I tend to fail at them. But is it the inherent concept of a New Year’s resolution which is at fault? Or is it the nature of my particular resolutions?
This piece in Forbes has some insights into those questions, suggesting that resolutions tend to be unrealistic and/or punishing, and thus we inadvertently sabotage our real chance at making positive change.
Because of course, we can change. I truly believe that with all my heart. If we want badly enough to make a change, and if we make our goals tangible and doable, one bit at a time, practicing till we master and perfect, then of course we can and will and do change. Click here to read more…
“I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”-W. Somerset Maugham
If that doesn’t demystify the process, I don’t know what does. This is well worth remembering, both for its inherent humor and profound truth. Very happy to have rediscovered The War of Art by Steven Pressfield, with a foreword by Robert McKee. That’s where this quote appeared. Just open to any random page, and you will find a gem, too!