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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”). 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. Notes [1] I sometimes write “I have nothing to say” and repeat it on the page. [2] True story. [4] I wrote the novel on and off for 10 years, and finished in 2005 (with draft #5). Further advice:

How to Flex Your Rights During Police Encounters A Flappers' Dictionary Hidden deep within a box of materials that came into the shop this week was a short stack of old magazines. I’d never seen this title before, but I knew what it was just as soon as I saw it: Flapper. “Not for Old Fogies” said the masthead, but I took a look anyway. These were in beautiful condition (“Near Mint” is the technical term) and were just a lot of fun to page through. During the Roaring 20s of the last century, young ladies took on a new, and for the time radical, lifestyle. It was all a reaction to what women perceived as stifling control placed over them by the male of the species. The July 1922 edition of Flapper contained “A Flappers’ Dictionary.” “The flapper movement is not a craze, but something that will stay,” the author maintained. The dictionary went into some detail, listing the group’s slang and providing definitions. So, whether you be airedale or biscuit, put down your dincher and pretend your munitions are fine for the moment. Airedale—A homely man. Berries—Great.

Software by Rob : Personality Traits of the Best Software Developers If you're trying to grow your startup you've come to the right place. Get my 170-page ebook on how to grow a startup and join thousands of self-funded entrepreneurs by subscribing to my newsletter at right. I come from the world of corporate software development. It may not be the most glamorous side of software (it’s nowhere near as interesting as shrinkwrap startups or those fancy-dancy Web 2.0 companies that show up in your browser every time you mistype a domain name), but it’s stable, pays well, and has its own set of challenges that other types of software development know nothing about. For example, when was the last time someone working on the next version of Halo spent three weeks trying to gather people from accounting, marketing, product management, and their call center in order to nail down requirements that would likely change in 2 months once they’ve delivered the software? Or when was the last time someone at 37Signals sat through back to back weeks of JAD sessions?

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. People are curious about writing and that’s cool and flattering. But on the other hand, the hand involving people who ask because they have an inkling to do it themselves, is that writing books is a topic so old and so well trod by so many famous people that anyone who asks hoping to discover secret advice is hard to take seriously. Here’s the short honest truth: 20% of the people who ask me are hoping to hear this – Anyone can write a book. If you want to write, kill the magic: a book is just a bunch of writing. Writing a good book, compared to a bad one, involves one thing. Getting published. 30% of the time the real thing people are asking is how do you find a publisher. Discouraged yet?

EDC - Lip Balm Applications in Survival Situations via... Lip Balm Applications in Survival Situations via theprepared: Chapped lipsIn extreme cold weather, you can rub it on the exposed parts of your face. The thin layer helps prevent heat loss by limiting radiation and air convection.Lubrication for your fire bow drill, etc.It is a great firestarter! It works just like petroleum jelly. Editor’s Note: I know a lot of you guys probably carry chapstick and don’t even think of it as “EDC.”

The Proletarian Writer Broadcast in the Home Service of the B.B.C., 6 December 1940; printed in The Listener, 19 December 1940. Discussion between George Orwell and Desmond Hawkins Desmond Hawkins was an author, editor and radio personality. He founded the BBC's Natural History Unit. Hawkins: I have always doubted if there is such a thing as proletarian literature — or ever could be. Orwell: No, obviously not. Hawkins: Still, I think one must admit that the cult of proletarian literature — whether the theory is right or not — has had some effect. Orwell: I think it is simply a matter of education. Hawkins: Then, after all, the appearance of the proletariat as a class capable of producing books means a fresh development of literature — completely new subject-matter, and a new slant on life? Orwell: Yes, except in so far as the experience of all classes in society tends to become more and more alike. Hawkins: And how about language and technique? Orwell: I think in the main that’s true. Orwell: Oh yes, lots.

how to be interesting While I was at the U of O I kept going on about how the core skill of any future creative business person will be 'being interesting'. People will employ and want to work with (and want to be with) interesting people. And since I’d spent quite a lot of time telling them all the things they should stop doing I’d thought I’d try and teach something useful. I’ve based it on two assumptions: The way to be interesting is to be interested. Interesting people are good at sharing. The marvelous thing about tinterweb is that it’s got great tools for being interested and great tools for sharing. It's sort of didactic, bossy even, but it's supposed to be instructional, rules you can follow. 1. You should carry a camera with you. Posting it to flickr (or other photosharing sites) means that you’re sharing it. 2. This is pretty easy. It’s easy to knock blogging as a kind of journalism of the banal but in some ways that’s its strength. 3. I’ve talked about this before. 4. 5. 6. It could be anything.

How to Write a Book - Writing a Book Guide - Living Bueno - How to Live Anywhere in the World for Free Skeptical Face Travel for free? This dudes crazy right? Today is part two of what I am calling the "Knowledgeable Nomads" series, in which I will be teaching my readers how they can travel the world while ballooning their savings accounts rather than draining them dry. Possibly the most common excuse I hear when urging others to travel and see the world, is the financial barrier that is separating them from partaking in such a journey. How To Live Anywhere in The World For Free By- Rick A. Letter from Franco, my host from my upcoming voyage to Sicily: "Rick, sounds good, I do have a couple of people here, what I could do is give you the country cottage and that way you can have the freedom to do your writing. would you be interested in that?" Franco For the next few months I will be living in a country cottage in Sicily a few hundred meters from the village of Sciacca. I was naturally skeptical and figured I'd come across a salesman promoting his own website in a clever way. 1.

Film School: How to write an ending- Flixist Good afternoon, class. Please settle down. Tomkins, put that finger away. In our sophomoric lesson in the Flixist Film School class, we are going to be looking at a problem which has proven a challenge not only for many aspiring scriptwriters, but even seasoned professionals. There's the old saying, 'first impressions count'. Let's start off with the basics. I'm not going to go through what each part means, partly because it would take too long and partly because it's fairly self-explanatory, but having the structure laid out in a graph like the one above does illustrate an important point about endings. That point is that they are just as important when developing your plot as the beginning and the middle. The way to avoid this is as simple as could be: don't rush. If you're anything like me, knowing your ending is a vital part in discovering that technique. Worse still is how it makes the protagonist into a spectator in his own adventure.

Fire And Motion by Joel Spolsky Sunday, January 06, 2002 Sometimes I just can't get anything done. Sure, I come into the office, putter around, check my email every ten seconds, read the web, even do a few brainless tasks like paying the American Express bill. But getting back into the flow of writing code just doesn't happen. These bouts of unproductiveness usually last for a day or two. Everybody has mood swings; for some people they are mild, for others, they can be more pronounced or even dysfunctional. It makes me think of those researchers who say that basically people can't control what they eat, so any attempt to diet is bound to be short term and they will always yoyo back to their natural weight. What drives me crazy is that ever since my first job I've realized that as a developer, I usually average about two or three hours a day of productive coding. But it's not the days when I "only" get two hours of work done that worry me. I've thought about this a lot. I remembered this for a long time.

: How to Write Like You Love It: Stephen King and 6 Tools Every Writer Should Have in His ToolBox In his Memoir of the Craft , Stephen King breaks up his book into three parts: 1) memories of his personal and professional life told in numbered chunks and fragmented snippets; 2) what's in his toolbox and what should be in yours; and 3) comments on the actual craft of writing. In this post, I will be discussing the toolbox and what King deems worthy in including in his own writer's tool box. He compares writing to a craft, a trade, like carpentry. Writing requires skill, but for every skill, tools are required. 1. 2. 3. Freddy and Myra are your subjects, not the dead body (which is already passive since it's dead). 4. 5. On paragraphs, King also reveals that they are not the melody of your work, but the beat, and in order to find the beat that will rock your writing, you must practice. 6. How about you?