Monday, January 31, 2011

Seth Godin does it again!

Today's words of wisdom from Seth Godin--a smart man who is also a smart businessman!
"In and out--That's one of the most important decisions you'll make today.
How much time and effort should be spent on intake, on inbound messages, on absorbing data...and how much time and effort should be invested in output, in creating something new.
There used to be a significant limit on available intake. Once you read all the books in the college library on your topic, it was time to start writing.
Now that the availability of opinions, expertise and email is infinite, I think the last part of that sentence is the most important:
Time to start writing.
Or whatever it is you're not doing, merely planning on doing."
Sounds like a message from the universe, eh? Time to start writing! And check out Seth's blog here, for more words of wisdom about life and work.
I'm writing today--and getting ready for my workshops and seminars this month at the Southern California Writer's Conference, and at San Diego Writers, Ink.
And I just finished a wonderful book called Room, by Emma Donoghue, which I highly recommend--not only is it gripping writing, but it's thoughtful and moving story about human goodness and strength (and its opposite) in the modern world. And a great example of someone who created an unusual and true "voice" in a work of fiction.
hasta pronto!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

We Can Change the World--with Writing!

Okay, I'm jazzed about the written word--high on literary forms. Started the weekend with the first night of "The Tragedy of the Commons" at Cygnet Theater. The play was written by Stephen Metcalfe, an amazing playwright. If you are in San Diego--or anywhere in Southern California, for that matter, go see it! It's arguably the best play I've seen in a decade. Who is arguing? Me, I guess. Maybe I'm just trying to remember if I've seen anything this vital or current or real this century on this coast, period.
Can't remember it, if I have.
The really great thing about the play--aside from brilliant acting, fierce and dynamic direction, and a fine set--was that it not only felt real, and true, but it made you want to keep discussing its ideas, and start solving the problems, not just go out "humming the tune". Of course I am not comparing it to a musical, just the usual mindless "fun" television-posing-as-theater that seems to be our little/big town's constant fare.
Also finished Anna Karenina, and was struck by how often Tolstoy wrote about things that seem so very "now." Politics, labor, and war, but also so many kinds of pride and status-seeking and fashion-chasing in society as a whole.
So I guess what I'm saying is that great writing is as meaningful today as a hundred years ago. And today's writing...So, what are you writing today?
hasta pronto!

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Resolution: Attend a Writers Conference in 2011

This is a short follow-up post to remind you of your New Year's resolution: write more. Okay, one way is to attend your writer's group. (Don't have one? Start one!) That will spur you on to write, because otherwise you'll have to say "I didn't write anything this week/month" to more people than just a few of your personalities (and the voice of your grandmother in your head).
My writers circle (we like the word circle better than group) of six warm and talented women, has been meeting in some incarnation for about 5 years, almost monthly; we always enjoy the opportunity to share new and revised short stories and poetry, encourage new work, and, of course, to constructively critique each other's writing. So start attending or creating a writer's group!
I talked about writers conferences and workshops (like the Southern California Writers Conference and San Diego Writers, Ink) last week, but I bet you haven't signed up for a conference or a workshop/class this Spring, yet, right?
Check out this short piece on Divine Caroline (a very cool site that is a virtual "writers community") on how and why writers conferences benefit writers.
And see info and links for my amiga CM Mayo's latest fiction writing workshops here.
Meanwhile--until you get to your group, or find your circle, just resolve to write or rewrite something today...or this week, and I will, too.
I'm re-reading "Anna Karenina" and loving it--"A Tale of Two Cities" was much better than I remembered.
hasta pronto!

Saturday, January 1, 2011

A New Year's Resolution for Writers

Writers write.
We've all heard and read this so many times, it has probably ceased to mean anything, but nonetheless, it's true. Actors will find a way to act, painters will find a time and place to paint, and writers do, in fact, write! One of the best things about being a writer is the simple fact of being able to do it almost anywhere...and almost anytime (even when pen and paper are not handy--one can always THINK about one's story, setting, or characters!) unlike most artists, who require studios, orchestras, or productions companies.
So, for 2011, make a promise to yourself to write--no, it doesn't have to be every day, and it doesn't have to be work on a project with a date-specific deadline, or even a goal. Just write. Enjoy the process.
For those who need encouragement--and who, among us does not, at times--here are two encouraging groups that can set you on course, and teach you a course, as well.
Regular readers may remember my recommending the Southern California Writer's Conference before, but it's worth repeating. The next conference happens February 18-21st here in San Diego, and the lineup of authors, agents, editors, and workshop leaders is very impressive, as always. (Full Disclosure: I'm on staff and have been for years, but I'd recommend you go whether I was there teaching a workshop or not). The 25th anniversary conference this year promises to be a special and inspiring one--but no doubt fun and laugh-filled!
Another great local (San Diego) resource is San Diego Writer's, Ink which is a wonderful, warm, giving community of writers and teachers (who are all published writers and really know the ins and outs of what they teach).
Of course, no mention of resolutions for writers would be complete without this brief directive--keep reading great writing while you are working on your own books or stories or notes for future works. The rule holds: Good in, good out, and that's nowhere more true than with writers. That doesn't mean you have to read Literature at all times, but don't waste your time with junk, either. There are plenty of good writers writing in all genres of fiction and non-fiction--if you're in doubt, drop by your favorite bookstore or neighborhood library this week and do some looking. I love to look in the new fiction and new nonfiction to start with, but I often end up buying or checking out a classic, too.
That's all for now, I've got to save some time to write today--how about you?
Happy New Year--and hasta pronto!