Shut up! (and other writing advice)

Note: This is a thinly veiled link dump. :P

I’ll be honest, I have no idea who Polly Frost is, but her tongue-in-cheek piece at the Atlantic made me laugh. From “Reblock Yourself the Polly Frost Way!”:

Everywhere on the web I found writers expressing themselves.

I was swept up in the exhilaration. I ran multiple WordPress blogs. I dashed off rants about the New York City book publishing world, sharing them on Scribd as downloadable PDFs. My “What I Ate for Lunch” Tumblr photoblog earned consistently high rankings on Technorati. Fame came to me as well as one of the most prolific photo commenters at Flickr.

But after a year of madness and intoxication I took an honest look at myself. I took an honest look around me. And I didn’t like what I saw.

There was too much writing. And it was everywhere.

Exactly. And this is why I always shoot myself down when I get the idea for some great new domain name that I could launch into the next Dooce!

Next, for those of us in the throes of revision, writer Karen Outen has some useful insight via her engineer friend. From “How I learned to love revision”:

He told me that in any project, once he hits the thing that won’t work as he imagined, the question then becomes, how will he get what he wants anyway?

His answer clicked with me immediately, and I said, “That’s revision!”

She makes it sound so fun, no?

Later, when I’m not in the throes of revision, I may have to give some of Bruce McAllister’s writing exercises a try. From “About Writing” (which is a terrible title for a good little piece about things writers can do to strengthen their writing):

Hemingway’s favorite exercise—which was to take a favorite scene from another writer’s novel, try to recreate it in words as close as possible to the original, and compare the two versions. Every writer I’ve ever known who’s tried this has been blown away by it. You learn instantly, among many other things, whether you’re an underwriter or overwriter, a visual writer or an audial one, and have an ear for dialogue or prefer summarizing speech.

I also love how McAllister lambastes the idea of writers avoiding reading because they don’t want to “corrupt” their own original voices. Um, it’s called apprenticeship, and it’s the best way to learn anything.

Finally, 10 “easy” steps to becoming a better writer, via copyblogger. It’s a short, funny post, so no quoting.

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5 Comments

  1. Krissa

    Hi, I saw your name on Dooce’s comment section and I had to click over, because my name is Kristan, too! I just never see my name spelled the same ANYWHERE, so I had to say hi. :) Have a great day!

  2. Oh wow, hi! Yeah, we Kristans are a rare breed. ;)

  3. The writing exercise actually seems quite fun. And I’m glad you have figured out what your priorities are…me :) jk jk jk.

  4. nicole

    why thank ya! like she said, I do love love.

  5. Angie-
    Doesn’t it? And yeah, haha, it’s all you baby.

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