February 11, 2016

An Article a Day--Keep the Conversations Going

Recently, I read this great post about how academics should read an article a day and write down their thoughts about it. The author argues that when you do this on a regular basis, it helps you develop your own voice and keeps you engaged with the world of scholarship.

I love the idea behind it, because it's something I try to do--both as a former academic and a current genre-fiction writer. Monday I quoted Chercover about how writing is much more than studying craft. I believe that. BUT, I also believe that reading a blog post a day by an agent or published author, or reading a chapter in a book on craft, or an interview about the publishing industry can go a long way in helping you be more engaged in the writing community.

I also think as novelists, we should read a lot of novels. Hey, it's part of the job! All those novels, articles, chapters, and blog posts add up to a whole slew of new ideas and thoughts that over time, will make all of us better thinkers, writers, business people, and humans.  

Writing and thinking, whether it's in academics or genre fiction or whatever else you're interested in, are all about putting yourself in conversation with other thinkers, writers, and human beings. So try it:

1. Read one blog post, chapter, or article each day. 
2. Take a few notes on why it's relevant to you or ideas you've been considering.
3. Blog about it, talk to a friend about it, tweet about it. Keep the conversation going.

As long as you're engaging with new ideas, it will help your own writing be more relevant, relatable, and layered.

What do you think? Is reading an article a day asking too much, on top of everything else you're trying to do?

February 8, 2016

Motivation Monday: Sean Chercover

(click for source)
“Don’t confuse reading books on the craft of writing with the act of writing. You must write. And while it’s essential to learn the craft, in the end you must write your own story in your own voice.”
Sean Chercover is a Canadian-American author who has written books like The Devil’s Game, The Trinity Game, and Trigger City.

Fun Facts about Sean Chercover: 
  • He was formerly a private detective! 
  • He was also a scuba diver, nightclub magician, encyclopedia salesman, and truck driver. No wonder he has so many great stories up his sleeve! 
  • Seems like a really nice guy. Check out his website, especially his FAQ to see how supportive he sounds to new and aspiring authors. In fact, his bio is where I found today’s quote! He also has a great list of his favorite books on writing craft. 
So What?
I’m absolutely addicted to books on writing craft—heck, it’s the entire premise of this blog—but I love Chercover’s quote because often I think I’d rather read about becoming a great writer than actually putting in the blood, sweat and tears to become a great writer. This quote is a reminder that if you want to be a published author, nothing takes the place of putting in the time and effort of just writing.