Saturday, October 29, 2011

Literature on Writing: The Bacon

Complementary to any breakfast is a side dish of bacon just as literature on the industry and craft of ones interest pairs well with an internship.
I will start this off by apologizing for the adorable pig picture, but it was 100% necessary. The blog begins:

There is a rule of thumb for selecting books on writing. Don’t choose a book entitled, “WRITE YOUR NOVEL IN 5 DAYS!!!” for the same reason you wouldn’t choose a business book entitled, “MAKE MILLIONS IN 5 DAYS!!!” Per the advice of Amanda Hocking’s blog/website I decided to check out Stephen King’s, On Writing. I picked it up on audiobook and not only was it really informative it entertained me while I folded my laundry. (Plot Spoiler: Did you know he was nearly killed in 1999 after being hit by a van?)

One great positive of books on writing is that often they reveal an author’s entire writing process and sometimes their personal struggles in the course of doing so (such as Stephen King’s, On Writing). Not only can they be informative but encouraging as well knowing that even the writers who seem to do it without struggle, don’t do it without struggle.

Don’t just stick to one book, try a couple of different ones by author’s who’s work you enjoy and use what feels natural and useful to you. Remember that the point of this ‘internship’ is to seek out a variety of methods and opinions. My creative process is a hodge-podge of the processes of other writers who have been generous enough to share their experience with the rest of us. Following one other author’s method of the writing process exactly could end up putting a damper on your creative process.

One easy way to build a varied collection of these processes is mixing books with magazines on writing because they feature multiple authors. There are some great magazines on writing out there. Writer’s Digest is the biggest, most common, and also my preference, but dig around at your local bookstore. There are many that cater to specific genres. Don’t forget to check for e-zines online as well.

Other books include grammar, punctuation, and language reference books whose infinite benefits and advisories are far too many to fit into this post but will be enumerate in a post in the near future. What I do have to say is pick up one now. (I selected Strunk & White’s, The Elements of Style.) To fit its benefits into one sentence, it will enhance your writing’s readability.

Tip: While you’re reading the books and magazines you’ve selected, have a stack of sticky notes handy. Bookmark the pages you found particularly relevant, or those that you’d like to revisit. Write a small summary of the advice on the note. It will help you remember to practice it, and it will make it easy to return to it.

Tip#2: If you find a strategy you plan to implement, write it on a sticky note and paste it on your computer for motivation. For example, when I first read that I should set a “words per day” goal, I pasted a sticky note that read, “1000 words today” at the top of my computer. It was a great reminder that I had a commitment with myself to fulfill.

Readers, please post in the comments books or magazines on writing that you have found particularly helpful.

Next post I’ll cover Networking: The Fruit Bowl

*No animals were harmed during the making of this blog.

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