~ Words by Nicole Bianchi ~
Leonardo da Vinci. Marie Curie. Thomas Edison. Beatrix Potter.
What did all four of these people have in common?
Not only were they all highly motivated and creative individuals, but they also all kept some form of an idea journal.
An idea journal is not a diary where you have to record all of the details of your day. Rather, it’s a place where you jot down daily goals, achievements, observations, ideas for projects, quotes, or other bits of inspiration.
If you’re working on a project, you can fill your idea journal with updates on your progress, thoughts on how to improve the project, and anything else that motivates you.
A writer’s idea journal might be filled with ideas for stories or articles or blog posts. An artist’s might contain sketches or inspirations for drawings. Ultimately, the idea journal exists as a private place to plant your ideas and watch them grow.
Here are four reasons why I keep an idea journal — READ MORE: “Why I Keep an Idea Journal” @NicoleJBianchi https://writingcooperative.com/why-i-keep-an-idea-journal-5c5bdd59b44
I gotta say that Shaunta Grimes really hits it home in this one (with humor too). I can certainly identify with part of what she’s discussing here.
A few words by Shaunta Grimes: “I didn’t make a conscious decision not to publish. It just happened. And then it kept happening for more than two years. As evidenced by the zero fiction that I published.
I was still writing. I’ve written three novels and a dozen short stories in that time. They’re nice and cozy on my hard drive, wrapped in a thick layer of my fear of publishing them.
A fiction writer’s brain is a crafty trickster. It’ll convince itself that writing a whole shit ton of blog posts and MFA packets is the same thing as writing. It’ll rationalize that finishing novels is the end game and totally blow off publishing like it’s no big thing.”
And . . .
“Your writer brain will do everything it can to protect you from the hard, hard work of creating a story and then putting your baby on a street corner and hoping everyone thinks she’s pretty.
Of course your brain is trying to protect you (and itself) from that. That, friends, is crazy town.
And then one day you look up and realize that you have three novels on your hard drive, and you haven’t even sent them to your critique partner. Because one day in 2014 you walked into Barnes and Nobel and realized that they didn’t pick up your second book.”
READ: “This is how to override your writer brain. Publish anyway.” @shauntagrimes https://medium.com/@shauntagrimes/this-is-how-to-override-your-writer-brain-publish-anyway-1e3548cbb4ba
by Samia Rahman
So, how can you write about issues or experiences that you find to be culturally alien, yet do it well? Perhaps the first step is to acknowledge that embarking upon such a task comes with responsibility, and you might want to think carefully about your motivation. Is this a subject that you can do justice to, providing voices for stories that may not otherwise be heard? Objectivity and authenticity are notoriously difficult to achieve. Be honest with yourself and constructively consider your strengths and limitations. Ultimately, if you have the self-belief then go for it!
READ: “How to Write the ‘Other’ (Without Being a Jerk)” @ProWritingAid https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-write-the-other-without-being-a-jerk-18a04902bf4
Intro: Authors often discuss how reading improves your writing. However, there’s a big difference between passive and active reading, and if you’re serious about using published novels to improve your writing you must learn how to do the latter.
When you read passively, you consume a novel as entertainment — you’re trawling through without paying attention to detail. This lets you form a broad judgement (“this is great!”).
By contrast, active reading involves specific focus on an author’s craft. It is to passive reading what fly-fishing is to trawling. Active reading encourages your judgement to be precise (“this is great because the chapter endings created lots of suspense!”).
Read: “How to use Active Reading to Become a Better Writer” by Jed Herne @ProWritingAid https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-use-active-reading-to-become-a-better-writer-b60356bdd212
~ Daybook #11 ~
The picture above doesn’t do it justice (not wide enough) but it is an image of the graphic novels section at one of my local public libraries.
You know you have an incurable book fetish when you find yourself unexpectedly rummaging the shelves at the dollar store looking for unlikely gems. #AlwaysBeReading folks.
A blogger friend not long ago published a post about writing notes for historical novels. It’s a good idea, and got me thinking about making some for my books, the time travel saga set in ancient Greece and Persia. On the other hand, I don’t want to pretend that my books are scholarly or academic – they are fiction, and even if I did research for years before and during writing, I can’t say they are strictly historical. I took too many liberties. So, if I did include historical notes, they would be more to explain where and why I changed things around and not to tell what really happened.
I always thought that a historical fiction writer has to walk a fine line between facts and fiction. I used several sources for my tales, including Arrian’s Anabasis of Alexander, which one can now find online in its entirety. Arrian lived approximately 500 years after Alexander’s death and he mostly used writings from Aristobulus, a historian who accompanied Alexander on his journey; Nearchus, Alexander’s admiral, and Ptolemy Lagos. Unfortunately, those writings have largely disappeared and there is hardly anything left that is contemporary of Alexander. While I was writing, I contacted a professor in Italy, who very kindly advised me on some questions I had, including names and where to look for recipes for toothpaste. A surgeon was very helpful in explaining some of the operations and medical skills of the times, and told me that there weren’t any sutures in ancient times – these appeared late in the 18th century. And finally, Michael Wood’s book, In the Footsteps of Alexander was my constant companion to trace Alexander’s voyage. [more]
From History in fiction – http://wp.me/p6bgv3-1XZ
~ Daybook #10 ~
The wife and I had a rare night out sans children last night and what we had to show for it was a nice Mexican dinner (with dessert — fried ice cream) at a place we’d never been to before, and the other thing we had to show for our evening was an armful of books because as bookworms our evening consisted of trips to two different bookstores, Half-Price Books and Barnes and Noble. A total of seven books — 3 books for her and 4 for me. Though we definitely should, it might be a good thing that we don’t procure books more often from the bargain bin/clearance and half-price stock, otherwise we’d have fare more than we have space to accommodate. Amid the bargain finds I also finally nabbed Normal, the new novella by my main man Warren Ellis that was originally serialized in 4 parts digitally last summer/autumn.
At any rate, according to my better half, this was the perfect kind of date, dinner and books. I owe her a margarita next weekend, though.