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#54 – Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting

#54 – Writing Hacks, Part 1: Starting
By Scott Berkun, Aug. 28 2006 (#54) Writing is easy, it’s quality that’s hard. Any idiot who knows 5 words can write a sentence (e.g. “Dufus big much Scott is”). It might be without grammar, broken, or inaccurate but it is still writing. This means when people can’t start they’re likely imagining the polished precision of the finished work. For this reason writer’s block is a sham. Consider this: Have you ever been blocked while playing Frisbee? So play. Writing hacks for starting In the grand tradition of lists and books of hacks, writing hacks are clever little actions that give you leverage and put the dynamics in your favor. Start with a word. Write about how it feels not to be able to write. Have a conversation. Read something you hate. Warm up. Make lists. Switch to something harder. Run like hell. Whiskey. Rummage your scrap pile. Smart writers have stockpiles of old ideas to arm themselves against the evils of the blank page. [2] True story. Further advice:

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How to write a book – the short honest truth Every author I know gets asked the same question: How do you write a book? It’s a simple question, but it causes unexpected problems. On the one hand, it’s nice to have people interested in something I do. If I told people I fixed toasters for a living, I doubt I’d get many inquires. George Orwell’s 5 Rules for Effective Writing In our society, the study of language and literature is the domain of poets, novelists, and literary critics. Language is considered a decorative art, fit for entertainment and culture, but practically useless in comparison to the concrete sciences. Just look at the value of a college degree in English versus one in computer science or accounting. But is this an accurate assessment of value? Language is the primary conductor between your brain and the minds of your audience.

7 Classic Movies that Influenced Quentin Tarantino - Classic Films Quentin Tarantino Draws on One of the most exciting American filmmakers since Scorcese, Quentin Tarantino’s groundbreaking style has earned its own adjective: “Tarantinoesque.” Revered for his unique post-post modern sense, he’s been criticized for overt appropriation of techniques and imagery from films he admires. Yes, Tarantino’s pop culture-conscious style is an amalgam of the movies he watched during his do-it-yourself film education as a video store clerk. 4 Warning Signs Your Novel Isn’t Working By Jennifer Blanchard As writers, we tend to “fall in love” with the stuff we’re working on—whether that be our blog, a novel we’re writing, a short story, our poetry or any other number of things. I’m the first one to argue that love and passion are an extremely important part of being a writer. But when that love and passion is being spent on a writing project that just doesn’t seem to be working, it’s time to take a step back and evaluate things. Here’s an example of what I’m talking about. In 2008, I finished my first novel.

How to to write a great lead for a blog post In journalism, the first paragraph or two of a newspaper or magazine article are known as the “lead paragraphs” or simply “the lede”. More time is spent writing that those few words than the rest of the story.Why? Because if you don’t catch the reader’s attention, they won’t read the article.The same applies to blog posts: after the headline, the most important words you write are in the lead paragraphs. If you want people to actually read your post (and thus come back to your blog for more), you need to focus on that lead.A great lead should do the following things: Grab the reader’s attention. Make the reader want to read more.

C. S. Lewis on Writing Considering he wrote The Chronicles of Narnia, one of the most popular collections of children's literature of all time, it's no real surprise that C. S. Lewis received thousands of letters from youngsters during his career. What's admirable is that he attempted to reply to each and every one of those pieces of fan mail, and not just with a generic, impersonal line or two. The fantastic letter seen below is a perfect example. It was sent by Lewis to a young American fan named Joan Lancaster in June of 1956 — just a few months before the seventh and final book of the series, The Last Battle, was published — and is actually an invaluable, generous response filled with practical writing advice, all of which still rings true.

(More) tips for writing well (Austin Govella at Thinking and Making) Published Wed, Jul 8, 2009 by Austin Govella. Updated Wed, Jul 8, 2009. As an editor, I’ve noticed several recurring bad habits you heathens would do well to disabuse yourselves of immediately. Almost without exception, these bad habits instantiate themselves as a series of stock phrases and constructions that reflect a lack of focus, a lack of fully developed argument, or the kind of intellectual laziness that sets in as you slog through your first draft. These things happen, That’s ok.

Creativity Takes Courage: 5 Ways To Build Your “Creativity takes courage” is one of my favorite quotes. It’s an oldie but a goodie from Henri Matisse. It’s so true. Creativity really does take a lot of courage. I want to write, but where do I start? As someone writing my first novel, many questions reared their heads. Questions such as why write one? About what? How long does it need to be?

How to do better research A little while back, I wrote about ways for students to add a little extra “kick” to their research papers. Those strategies were meant for students who had already mastered the basics of performing research, not students just getting started doing research and writing papers. As with writing, though, research skills are rarely taught very clearly — professors assume students know or can figure out how to do good research, or at best turn their students over to a librarian for a tour of the library’s facilities and resources. Is it any wonder that so many university students rely on Wikipedia as the first and last stop in their research itinerary?

Themes & Things To Keep In Mind When Writing Fantasy Stories and Adventures » Daily Encounter This list is far from complete. It’s not even trying to be complete. It knows better than that. It just wants to be helpful and provide some inspiration here and there; you know, offer little suggestions that might lead to bigger ideas. (Especially by using the words offered as Wikipedia searches!) Feel free to make suggestions in the comments!

100 Ways to Simplify Your Life (and Make Yourself Happier) I’ve been striving to simplify my life for many years now, and have recently (through my writing) been advising others how to do the same. In the process, I’ve learned that making little changes in our attitudes, habits, and environment can have a big impact. So today, I thought I’d compile a list of 100 ways to simplify your life – from the practical to the philosophical, and everything in between. Of course, not every item on the list will work for every person reading it.

David Friedman's Portraits of Inventors by Maria Popova What Instagram has to do with ice fishing and specialty chairs for canoodling. For the past few years, New-York-based photographer David Friedman has been taking portraits of inventors — those ordinary people who came up with ordinary-seeming things that transform lives, often our lives, in extraordinary ways.