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W is for Write

 

“The idea is to write it so that people hear it and it slides through the brain and goes straight to the heart.” – Maya Angelou

Judy Reeves and Julia Cameron both promote daily writing pages. They suggest you write a certain number of pages a day, by hand.

 

With all of the tools we have for writing, I think we sometimes forget about pen and paper. It is convenient. You can always have a notebook on you. I carry one in my purse, in case inspiration strikes. Judy Reeves ‘A Writer’s Book of Days’ contains daily writing prompts. I like writing prompts. Sometimes writing something that someone else suggests takes the pressure of the blank page away. It doesn’t mean I will ever do anything with the prompt but I have it to use in the future. Maybe I will have a scene I am working on and I know I described something in a prompt that I really liked. I can dig for the gold. You can also use what you’ve written for ideas. Maybe something happened one day in the news and you write about it because it caught your attention. That piece might be your next story.

Most of the time when I am writing seriously though, I do have to be in front of the computer. If for nothing else but the ability to edit, the computer is a life saver.

Since I began writing in the ’90’s things have changed a lot. I started out with a typewriter. It had automatic correct and I thought that was the ultimate writing experience. I then moved on to a word processor. It looked like a desktop PC but all it had was a screen and once I edited my work, I printed it out. It printed out like a typewriter. I then moved on to my first PC. It was big but it fit perfect on the desk in the basement of our house at the time. It was clunky and whenever you got on the internet it beeped and whirred and took it’s time. Now I have a desktop with a thin flat monitor and a much smaller tower. I also have a laptop that needs work, a net-book that I should use more because it really is small and has all the programs I use already on it. I have an alpha smart Neo that is strictly a word processor and is just a little bigger than my net-book and runs on regular batteries. I have had it for several years and have yet to replace the batteries. You can save a whole book on it and with a cord download it to any word processing program on your PC. You can also send it wirelessly but I haven’t figured that out yet. I also have an IPad. I love it for the internet. Not so thrilled about the writing programs and even with a keypad it isn’t so comfortable for writing for longer writing sessions.

I guess it doesn’t matter what tool you use if you struggle with the act of writing. I recently picked up another kind of writing book. ‘The Only Grammar & Style Workbook You’ll Ever Need’ by Susan Thurman. Let’s just say that even though I did well in high school English, that’s been a long time ago. I use the book like some people do crosswords. It is packed full of tests. The chapters are:

  • Finding the Right Words
  • Many of the Most Commonly Misspelled Words
  • Parts of Speech
  • Basic Sentence Structure
  • Verb Varieties
  • Pronoun Problems
  • Punctuation and Style
  • Writing Better Sentences
  • Avoiding Common Errors
  • Eliminating Wordy Phrases

I figured that if I planned to continue down this path, it might not hurt to brush up on the basics. The tests remind me of worksheets from school. Don’t know why I think they are fun now and back then it was torture.

What do you write with? What are your writing rituals? What keeps you going?

Virginia

 
4 Comments

Posted by on January 8, 2013 in Writing a Novel

 

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E is for E-Reader

“It seems to me that anyone whose library consists of a Kindle lying on a table is some sort of bloodless nerd.”
― Penelope Lively

“Lovers of print are simply confusing the plate for the food.”

― Douglas Adams

When I first heard about e-books, I thought it would be a phase. People really wouldn’t prefer to read on one of them instead of a real book, would they? I have to admit, I am a bibliophile. I love books and will always prefer reading them but I also don’t like clutter. I have started buying fewer books only because I don’t want to have to deal with where to keep them. Besides clutter, the disorganization can cause me to buy a book more than once because I couldn’t find the original.

I did finally cave in a couple of years ago and bought a Nook and have recently purchased an IPAD. It hasn’t kept me from buying traditional books but I probably buy fewer of them.  I now check out authors with my e-reader, especially when they offer a free read. I used to do the same thing with Half Price Books. I would read new authors and if I really liked them, I would then go out and buy everything else that they had written.

De-Cluttering and saving trees is probably my best reason for turning to e-reading. With an e-book, I eliminate the clutter and I can always find my books. They are all in my e-reader library. No wasting time and money hunting and searching through all the book shelves in my home.

I discovered two more reasons recently. Oprah’s new book club 2.0. She doesn’t tell you how to buy the book, you can still buy a traditional book but if you do buy it in e-form, it has the passages she liked highlighted that you can read as you go along. I did buy this one because it sounded interesting. The title is ‘Wild’ by Cheryl Strayed. It’s about a woman who hikes 1100 miles along a Pacific coast trail by herself. She loses herself and re-discovers herself along the way.

Besides Oprah, there is – Fifty Shades of Grey. Not that I indulge in reading erotica, but if I did, I could read it on an e-reader and no one would know. This one, I haven’t bought yet.

How many of you have an e-reader? Is it the reading experience you expected? Do you like it or are you a die-hard traditional book lover?

Hope your writing is going well and you are finding a little time to read.

Virginia

 
4 Comments

Posted by on June 6, 2012 in Writing a Novel

 

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