If there’s anything I enjoy more than reading or writing, it’s reading about writing. Here’s 10 writing posts from 2011 that have challenged, informed, angered, inspired, or motivated me. If you have the time, I’d encourage you to follow the links and ponder these helpful posts.
5 Crippling Beliefs That Keep Writers Penniless and Mired in Mediocrity, Jonathan Morrow at CopyBlogger – The most heinous lie to ever infect the mind of a writer is the belief that your work is all about you. You believe your writing is a form of self-expression, an extension of your mind, a little piece of your soul imbued into the page. To write well, you just need to be authentic, and if the world doesn’t like it, the world can go to hell. Provocative, right? And like all the best lies, it has a grain of truth to it. Yes, authenticity matters, but only to the extent people enjoy what you do.
Naturally Beautiful Novels, Athol Dickson at NovelRocket – IT’S EASIER TO WRITE ABOUT BEAUTY than it is to write beautifully, because the difference between good craftsmanship and beautiful writing is something like the difference between goodness and morality.
Don’t Be Afraid to Fail Aggressively, James Scott Bell at Kill Zone – As writers we have to be willing to fail aggressively. If we don’t, if we play it too safe, if we spend too much time worrying about the market and how to chase it down, we will lose that chance to be what the world prizes most—an original.
On Writing, Righting, and Apathy, Kathy Dishman Richards – …one of the occupational hazards of being a writer is that you’re always writing. Every situation becomes a potential story. But I never want to come to a place where what I put on paper becomes more important than inserting myself into the bigger story of life. Especially if by abandoning my mental pen and notebook I might have a hand in changing a tragedy into a happily ever after, or at least an after.
Publishing in the Brave New World, Rachelle Gardner — Here’s the deal: I don’t like the fact that you have to “build a platform” these days, any more than you do. But I get weary of writers constantly complaining about it. I get frustrated by hearing over and over that publishers are “abandoning writers” and “bringing nothing to the table.” …REALITY CHECK: Publishers did not create this brave new techno-world we live in.
Why Writers Blogging About Writing is Bad, Kristen Lamb – There are blogs that get millions of visits a year. I guarantee you they ain’t writing blogs. Writing blogs focus on a very small segment of the overall population that is in need of informing or entertaining. The topics that are going to get thousands or tens of thousands or even millions of hits are blogs on subjects most people care about—celebrities, pop culture, soap operas, cooking, pets, travel, etc. The general public capable of buying books care more about Lady Gaga than narrative structure. Sorry. That’s the truth.
5 Ways to Take the Ickiness Out of Marketing Our Books, Jody Hedlund – Nowadays, authors are searching for THE best ways to get their books noticed. We’re striving for the most creative, the most eye-catching, and the most vocal marketing techniques. But after a while it can begin to feel like we’re standing out on the corner hawking ourselves.
The Myth of Knowing It All, Dean Wesley Smith – Long term professionals are constantly learning, both in craft and business, since everything always changes so fast. Let me be clear. I don’t just mean keeping up with business. I mean craft issues as well. Just because a writer sold a number of things or a dozen novels doesn’t mean they still don’t have a ton to learn about craft.
How to Get Noticed on Twitter, Carol Tice at Make a Living Writing – …only about 8 percent of people are yet on Twitter. Those of us who’ve been cranking along on it for a while tend to forget that not everybody understands how Twitter works yet.It’s worth taking the time to do that, because Twitter can be a powerful tool for spreading the word about what you’re doing, and for meeting great, useful new people.
How to Avoid Being Fooled by Bad Writing Advice, Jane Friedman at Writer Unboxed – Playing to extremes is exceptionally helpful in getting readers. Writing a great blog post or developing a successful online presence is often about knowing how to attract attention, or be bombastic in a charming way. Talking about the gray areas within an issue—parsing through all the intricacies—isn’t known for generating traffic. Boldness is.
And though not directly writing related, I really loved Katherine Coble‘s recent
Top 10 Great Things About Kindle – …books on Kindle are as much “real books” as those things we grew up with. And like the Velveteen Rabbit, a book is made most real by being loved. I first loved George RR Martin’s books on Kindle and now can’t even imagine trying them in the fifty-pound paper version. They are very real to me, in spite of our electronically-aided first encounters. But there are a lot of plusses to Kindle besides the ubertrendiness.
So there’s a few of my favorites from 2011. I’d love to know some of the articles that stuck with you this year.