An easy-reading weekend post for my writer friends: I got a few chuckles out of this infographic about writers, 11 Signs You’re Meant To Be a Writer, from Laura Pepper Wu at The Write Life Magazine. I am throw-away-the-key guilty of every single one (says the woman who bought yet another set of stationery yesterday).
What are you guilty of, fellow word nerds?
Need a brain break? Love Dr. Seuss? Actor Hunter Davis does impressions of great actors reading The Cat in the Hat. The Michael Caine impression rocks. As does the sheer randomness of the Evil Emperor from Star Wars. The winner, though? The Patrick Stewart. Engage!
(The reality is that this post is also a test of my newly-learned skill: embedding a video into WordPress. Please, please, applause is not necessary as I’m likely one of the last bloggers on Earth who had not yet acquired this ability.)
Pinterest!? You know, I can sense your belly-aching from here (I’m looking at you, my social media-resistant writing colleagues!). Take a deep cleansing breath. I’m not here to say that Pinterest is a channel ALL writers NEED to utilize. Not every social media site is the right time investment for every writer, or every business for that matter. Pinterest, the virtual bulletin board, is no different.
Why I Like Pinterest for Writing
It’s not right for everyone, but it’s becoming right for me. I’ve used Pinterest for the last year, mostly to post DIY projects I will *never ever* do (but, darn it, they make me look like one of those pinny, superwoman moms). Recently I’ve started to like it—really like it—as a writing tool. I use Pinterest for:
- Writing prompts – My Writing Inspiration Board is the board I use the most; it’s where I post images to juice up the creativity gears. Sometimes I’ll search for a specific type of image I’d like to write about; other times I’ll type in a random search term and write about the first image that shows up in the search.
- Writing nudges- The world is full of writers way smarter than I am, so I pin relevant quotes from others and re-read them when I’m having those “I have no idea what I’m doing…I’m an utter fraud” moments.
- Writing humor- Writing is hard. Occasional doses of silly writing pins make me less grumpy.
Tips- Pinterest for Writers
I am not a Pinterest expert, but I’ve learned a few helpful tips and tricks:
- Poke around. If you’re not already using the social site, check out Pinning 101 for the how’s, what’s, and what the hell are those’s.
- See how writers are using Pinterest. Look for your favorites or find others in your genre. You can also check out the profiles for Lauren B. Davis and Jenny Lawson, The Bloggess. I looked for some of my favorite male authors on Pinterest, and I found a few profiles, but none heavily used. That doesn’t mean Pinterest isn’t for boys. In fact, I’d suggest that if you’re a male author who attracts a chunk of female readers, Pinterest might be worth consideration.
- Set a timer. Like other social networks, Pinterest can be world-class time suck. You log on and suddenly you’ve lost an hour of your life to Grumpy Cat or T-Rex. Depending on my schedule, I limit myself to 5 or 10 minutes once every few days. Not a second more. (Oh, if only I had the same restraint with an open bag of pita chips.)
- Brand it. If you’re using Pinterest to build an online presence, the profile should be consistent with other social media channels so the audience recognizes that this is you. For example, use the same headshot or avatar you post on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.
- Create dedicated boards. While Pinterest does offer dedicated business pages, I use my personal profile and divide my writing content out with separate boards for Writing Inspiration, Writing Humor, etc. But the boards can be related to anything connected to your genre. For example, if you’re a fantasy writer, share a board of dragon-related artwork or character cosplay. Writing a recipe book? Pin yummy recipes or cooking/baking tips and tricks.
- Use private boards for project content. Sometimes you just want to pin images or videos that inspire or inform a current project-but you don’t necessarily want the world to see what you’re doing. Pinterest provides a “secret” board option that allows you to pin on the down-low.
- Be a good social citizen. You already know not to be a bonehead on other social sites, so keep those same reader-keeping manners when you’re interacting with pinners. Don’t make comments you’d be embarrassed for mom or grandma to see.
What’s been your experience with Pinterest for writing?
**Apologies if you’re now tortured by Britney Spear’s “Hit Me, Baby, One More Time.” The antidote to that nasty earworm is Tony Lucca’s more mature version of the song. Or Megadeath.
Sometimes something so completely odd comes across the screen that we only need to sit back and gape in wonder. Such is the case with a Craigslist ad recently posted in New Orleans and shared by the folks at The Huffington Post.
A woman (at least, I’m assuming it’s a woman) advertised for a “casual encounter” with a man dressed up as Game of Thrones’ bastard heartthrob Robb Stark. In nerdy detail, she describes the entire scenario. Summed up: she’ll dress up as Daenerys Targaryen and sit on a replica of the Iron Throne to “make wild and passionate love…repeatedly” to the Stark impersonator. The poster continues:
Please only respond to this post if you look like Robb Stark! I would appreciate pictures, but please, no names. In order to stay as true to the fantasy as possible, I ONLY want you to refer to yourself as Robb Stark.
But, wait! There’s more:
You will need to provide your own clothing. Please keep in mind that you will have recently participated in a battle and been thrown in a dungeon, so you will not be wearing your nicest furs. I’m looking for a Stark in the streets but a wildling in the sheets.
As of this evening the full ad is still available on Craigslist. (I would have inserted the full image myself if I had screenshot skills. Alas, I do not.)
You don’t need to be a Game of Thrones fan to appreciate the poster’s attention or passion for detail. Or their obvious chops at cleverly transforming a crude street phrase. So, and I mean this quite seriously, my wish for myself and my fellow writers is that we may attack our own projects with such obvious knowledge and ferocity.
P.S. Be safe, Daenerys.
P.P.S. Seriously? There’s a casual encounters section on Craigslist?
At least, in a reasonable world no one ever should.
Yet according to novelist and non-fiction author James Forrester’s recent HuffPo essay some feel that historical fiction writers have a responsibility to maintain accuracy. He describes an Institute of Historical Research seminar in which popular and award-winning historical author Hilary Mantel argued that novelists should not misrepresent the past.
Like Forrester, I disagree. He lays out solid reasons—I encourage you to read the full article.
My take? Fiction is, by definition, a product of the imagination…the writer’s creative juices mixed with their experiences, interests, fears, hopes, and everything else that makes the author, well, the author. Just because he or she has chosen to place that story in a specific place and time or chosen to tell the story using people known to history doesn’t bind their soul to the facts we expect from non-fiction writers.
When I read or watch fiction, I understand I’m consuming a narrative that is invented. Abraham Lincoln was never a Vampire Hunter. Henry VIII didn’t stay an attractive hottie until his death. (Okay, I can’t be the only one who watched The Tudors solely because of Jonathan Rhys Meyers.) And just because Harry Potter takes place in modern Britain, I’m pretty sure that Platform 9 ¾ isn’t tucked away, ready to whisk a few lucky souls away to wizard school.
That’s why it’s called fiction. If I want facts I’ll go to Wikipedia. (Did you hear that sound? It was the collective sound of teachers everywhere cringing. [insert evil laugh here])
Image courtesy of thaikrit / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Over the last few days, a thank you note written by a 4th grader has been making the viral rounds. It was penned by a kid, delightfully named Flint, expressing his appreciation to meteorologist Albert Ramon, who had visited his Texas classroom. I don’t want to dilute the note by paraphrasing it, so check it out for yourself:
This note makes me realize how much I love the creativity of young boys.
This note makes me want to write about jewel-encrusted thrones and cyborg unicorns.
This note makes me want to write copy using the term “pretty dang sweet.” (But I promise to avoid that urge, dear clients.)
Yes, some have questioned whether the writing is genuine, but as mom to a 6-year-old boy with a similarly active imagination I’m ready to believe in Flint. Keep writing, buddy!
And I am so asking for a unicorn servant for Mother’s Day.
My 6-year-old son makes up words. Sometimes he makes up words when he can’t come up with the correct word to use. Other times they come about because he’s delightfully unaware of the ponderous rules of English grammar and usage. His most recent creations include poink (“My brother poinked me with his fork.”) and saucering (“Will it ever snow? I want to go saucering down the hill?”)
I don’t discourage it. In fact, I use my own nonsense words when I’m with the little humans. A few conversations have taken on a Dr. Seuss-ish quality, minus the crazy-good poetic skills, of course, because if they were that good I would publish them and bask in the literary glory that would undoubtedly follow. (Excuse the slip into fantasy land…sounds like it’s time for my afternoon dose of caffeine.)
Do you use nonsense words? (And don’t you get a little irritated when you can’t use them on Words with Friends? Okay, maybe that’s just me…)
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/FreeDigitalPhotos.net.