Monday, February 4, 2013

Writer's Digest Sept 2011



The September 2011 issue is my first assignment of Homework for Writers.

  • The issue opens with a good interview on using a psychotherapist approach when interviewing. I do a lot of interviews for PopCity and Kidsburgh, so these tips were useful. I found I employ some of them already, like sharing something about myself when trying to encourage others to share, and using humor to build comfort. A good tip for all interviewers to remember is not to judge. You're trying to get the interview subject to tell you what they thought, not tell what you think. 
  • Next I scanned a review of favorite literature that included a mention of Up the Down Staircase.  I encountered that book as a child and remember a snippet about an eraser going out a window.  I admit I had no idea back then it would be on anyone's top ten list. I should probably go read it as an adult.
  • The legendary tweets bit turned out to be funny.
  • Another thought provoking article covered the perils of quitting my day job to be a writer. Some great writers had varied and challenging day jobs that probably inspired them, provided great source material. I argue that a little suffering never hurt anyone and probably helped. I remember one job I had that required driving everywhere, to some remote and rather poor towns all over PA, OH and WV. i used to make up stories about the people that lived there, how they could stand it, what they did with their time, what was going on behind the doors of their tiny, rundown paint peeling little homes. You need a job where you can turn your mind off a little and still keep working, let your imagination run free a little, like a creek, and the events of the day can drop in like stones and make some ripples in your story. Too many stones can really clog up the flow.
  • Lessons from a comedy writer offered great advice but covered things I already know and should use more! Playing with kids means laughing more and being more creative. It takes about ten times to get the funniest punchline. Expose yourself (to good material) and push yourself past comfort zone limits.
  • An article on choosing memoir v fiction spoke to an internal debate I had about my NaNo project.
  • Linda Formacelli, who I know from the Freelance Writer's Den curated excellent tips for attending a writer’s conference. Getting to one of those this year is definitely on my bucket list, and this issue also offered a decent bucket list for writers, several items on there I’ve already completed and that made me feel great. 
  • The workbook section was thorough (10 tips on saving a novel) but sadly I started reading that article a bit later in the evening and was tired. 
It took me about 40 minutes to peruse this issue and take notes (with interruptions). I want to keep the bucket list and the books to read before visiting cities articles, loved those. This issue also reminded me that a bad day job can lead to darn interesting writing.