Category Archives: Writing

The Gift of Writing

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Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Baker, Unsplash.com

The more I write, the more I realize writing truly is a gift. It’s a gift given to the writer first, then a gift to others.

While writing a short story I discovered I was learning how to write–by writing. I learned to leave in only what was needed to fit the theme and intent of that story. I took out what didn’t carry the story along, as well as what actually distracted from it, no matter how much I liked the original wording. To learn what to leave in and what to take out is an important skill for any writer, and one I hope to have many chances to practice.

Writing forces me to learn more– about the craft, about publishing, about technology.  I need to know much, much more. The more I learn, the more I find to learn! Developing the discipline to do this is a gift.

Writing is a narrow arena which gives me perspective on the wider arena that is my life. Reading blogs about how other writers tackle problems in writing (the notorious self-doubt, for one) gives me confidence and aids me in applying the same tactics to dilemmas in other parts of my life. The mindset which helps a writer to succeed can be used to resolve situations outside of writing.

For me, writing is a gift that keeps getting bigger.

©P. Booher

Author’s Suggestion: A number of blogs motivate and inspire me. Check these out: http.//positivewriter.com, https//writingcooperative.com, http://www.kristiholl.com, http://www.writersinthe storm.com, http://www.stevelaube.com, http://www.booksandsuch.com, http://www.writermag.com. Andy Mort in the UK writes about creativity in different forms at: https://www.andymort.com. Down under, David Rawlings has a unique perspective in his blog and his short stories at: https://davidrawlings.com/au.

 

 

 

 

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–Writer To Writer

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

Writer To Writer, subtitled Lessons from a Lifetime of Writing, by Cecil Murphey, is based on Mr. Murphey’s blog. Each of the book’s entries is short, one page in length, so the information is easy to digest. Mr. Murphey discusses using proper grammar, confusing words (which/that, for example), displaying professional behavior in interactions with other writers, editors, agents and publishers, following writing guidelines, dealing with writers’ block, handling rejections, having work edited, and many other facets of writing.

Mr. Murphey points out that if a person really wants to improve his writing, there are many ways to do it, such as books, blogs, classes, and conferences. He also points out that it takes time to learn to write well.

Comment: I hesitated buying this book; for me, it was a bit on the pricey side. However, I am glad I bought it. I refer to it often. One downside: my paperback edition published by OakTara doesn’t have an index, which in my opinion would have been helpful. However, there were several blank pages at the end, so I made my own customized index, listing answers to questions that repeatedly come up.

P. Booher

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Writing Resources

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Photo Credit: Kaitlyn Baker, Unsplash.com

Here’s some resources I’ve found helpful in my endeavor to become more skilled in writing:

Blogs

“Between the Lines”, the blog of the Books and Such Literary Agency

the Steve Laube Literary Agency blog

A shout-out to the agents and writers at these blogs: their posts maintain the difficult balance between being  realistic and being encouraging about the craft of writing and the business of publishing. They manage to do it day after day. Both blogs feature people who have years of experience behind them, whether it be as writers, editors, agents, or a combination. With all that experience, they have plenty to write about. Whether you are a “newbie”, like myself, or a seasoned pro at writing, you’ll find something worthwhile to read at either of these blogs.

Magazines

The Writer

Writer’s Digest

Both these magazines have been writing about writing for a long time. As with “Between the Lines” and Steve Laube’s blogs, the magazines convey information and news about publishing without sounding dry and tedious.

Entrepreneur

I include this magazine because the business people featured display perseverance, diligence, creativity and the willingness to take risks–the same attributes writers need too.

Books

The Elements of Style by William Strunk Jr. and E.B. White

Writer to Writer by Cecil Murphey

The Curious Case of the Misplaced Modifier by Bonnie Trenga

Painless Writing by Jeffrey Strausser  (actually a textbook for middle-school/high-school students, but helpful for anyone wanting to improve his writing. Although a textbook, it teaches without inducing boredom.)

A Complete Guide to Writing For Publication, Susan Titus Osborn, General Editor (some material may be slightly outdated, especially the chapter on using Internet resources, but overall, there’s useful information and wisdom to be gleaned from it.)

Note: As you can see, this is just a tiny bit of the huge amount of resources out there for anyone interested in writing, but this is what I am familiar with right now. You don’t have to invest a lot of money.  I think I paid 35 cents for The Elements of Style at a local library’s used book sale. Many online courses are available at low cost, and many local libraries offer free Internet access.

©P. Booher

 

 

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Diving Into A Sea of Books–On Writing

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As an avid reader, I get excited about the great number of books out there to read, either for entertainment, education, inspiration or with some books, all three. The quantity available in print, audio, and e-books reminds me of the vast amount of life in the oceans, so I call these book reviews “Diving Into A Sea of Books”. As with diving into an ocean looking for interesting objects, diving into books means you come across mixed results: over here, a book you don’t bother to finish, over there, a “treasure”–one that you like so much you can’t wait to reread it, and over there, a book you read and think, “Meh”.

On Writing by Stephen King is a book I wish I liked. For one thing, it appears on many lists of recommended writing books. Since I am a developing writer, that attracted my attention. I want to read a book that someone says, “This book is worth reading. It will help you.” Secondly, Mr. King can write books that hold readers’ attention. I’m beginning to realize how hard that is. He is someone to learn from.

The author gives valuable insights into the craft of writing. One of his most important points is that success (and earning enough from writing to pay the bills) doesn’t happen overnight. A writer has to be willing to spend the time to learn and practice the craft, and even then, fame and fortune aren’t guaranteed. Mr. King also spends time on the importance of rewriting. He gives other tips too.

On Writing is a memoir as well as a writing book, so these insights are sprinkled among his memories. The tips are a little hard to pull out from the rest of the narrative.

Although I looked forward to reading a book from an expert in the craft, I was disappointed. The book would have worked better had the memoir been split from the writing insights. What really did it for me was the author’s use of offensive language.  Never having read any of Stephen King’s books, I wasn’t aware of his liberal use of a certain four-letter word. About two-thirds of the way through, I had more than enough of that language and closed the book. The language he chose prevented his greater message from getting through to me.

Comment: I don’t want to read this again; it’s not worth my time.

©P. Booher

 

 

 

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I Am A Writer!

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Photo credit: Kaitlyn Baker, Unsplash.com

I’m finally admitting it; I am a writer! How do I know that? Well, besides typing these words onto a screen, I  do and experience things like this–

  1.  I take a notebook and pen with me everywhere I go. When ideas come, I need to write them down fast, lest I forget!
  2.  I write down ideas (like ones appearing in this blog post) on break times at work.
  3.  I make up stories about strangers I see–where they are going, what they are like, where they work at, who they know,etc. I don’t really know any of that, so I make it up!
  4. I read a lot.
  5. I can’t not write. If I don’t write for awhile, I get irritable and anxious. Something important is out of sync  when I don’t take the time to write.
  6. I invest in writing. I buy books about writing and purchase online courses that fit my time and money budget.  I spend money and time that could be used elsewhere in an effort to get better at this activity. Lord willing, I plan to do more of the same.
  7. I encourage other writers. I collect encouraging, motivating quotes and pass them along. One day a writer friend and I talked about wanting to write and yet letting life get in the way of that passion. Soon after, I spotted a colorful cup that read, “Don’t quit your daydream”–a play on the words writers often hear: “Don’t quit your day job”. I bought the cup and mailed it to my friend, who uses it everyday. Writing is a solitary passion;  writers can easily fall prey to those wolves of discouragement, disillusionment, and despair, so we need to encourage one another.
  8. I find joy and fulfillment in it. Writing is work. No, I’m not digging a ditch by hand, but pinning down exactly the right word, trying to put the words in the right order, and fighting the self-doubt that comes along is mental wrestling.  Yet mixed in with all that is a joy that sings and fulfillment that relaxes. Yes, writing is work; I may never get paid much for it, but it’s the best job I’ve ever had.

©P. Booher

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