Conquering Your Fears So You Can Write

…because writing’s all that counts in this life anyway…um, if you’re a writer.

Now this is a hell of a pic

Fear and Focus – by Charlotte Rains Dixon

We don’t always think of fear and focus at the same time, but there’s very good reason to pair them.

Focus.  It’s what we all desire, what gets the writing done.  Because the words don’t go on the page without it. read article

We Never Said Being a Writer Would Be Good for You

…And that turns out to have been a smart thing because guys like this prove it isn’t:

Po’, sad li’l James Joyce

10 Writers’ Mental And Physical Maladies – by John J. Ross, M.D.

The honors list of English literature is a roll call of dysfunction. Coleridge was a dope fiend, Joyce and Faulkner were high-functioning drunks, Sylvia Plath a hot bipolar mess. The epic social ineptitude of Swift, Milton, and Emily Brontë is suspicious for what we would now call Asperger’s syndrome. Herman Melville was mired for decades in black depression. The Bard of Avon contracted his terminal illness in the wake of a marathon drinking bout. Why is literary achievement associated with so much gormless and self-destructive behavior? The answer may lie in the fact that the personalities of great writers are formed from a volatile mixture of the elements, a witches’ brew of emotional nitroglycerin.

Those who claim that Shakespeare did not write his plays posit that only some rich, privileged, and highly educated person could have written them. This premise is fundamentally mistaken. Literary genius is more likely to arise from disappointment and chagrin than comfort and complacency; the wealthy and content have no need of imagination. Most great writers experienced emotional or financial turbulence in childhood. Swift, Defoe, Byron, Keats, Coleridge, Hawthorne, Melville, Thackeray, the Brontës, Virginia Woolf, and Sylvia Plath all lost a parent in childhood. Poe, Tolstoy, and Conrad were orphans. Byron, Melville, Dickens, Joyce, Yeats, and Shakespeare had debt-ridden fathers and sharp brushes with poverty. Shelley and Orwell spent desolate years in brutal boarding schools. Jack London was forced to work in a cannery at age 12. read article

Using Your Failures to Become Even Better at What You Do

Recently, a commenter on another article suggested we read this post. So we have. And we’re proud to reveal our take-away: “Be proud of your failure because it will help you succeed.” (Yeah, tell that to the mortgage company. Right.)

Saddest pic we ever saw; we think it’s the white socks

Paula Scher on Failure – by Jay Dixit (Psychology Today)

Paula Scher is one of the world’s most famous graphic designers, known for creating Citibank’s umbrella logo as well as for design work for The Public Theater, The New York Times Magazine, the American Museum of Natural History, The New York City Ballet, and Herman Miller. She believes failure is the secret to artistic success. “You have to fail in order to make the next discovery,” says Scher. “It’s through mistakes that you actually can grow.”

You have a whole philosophy about recovering from failure—how you can learn from failure and how it can actually help you. You’ve spoken about how failures and mistakes in your own work led to your current level of success and allowed you to be creative. read article

Peggy Bechko on Enhancing Your Writing

From Peggy’s blog:

Three Observations On How to Add Punch In Your Writing – by Peggy Bechko

Okay, first, as writers, we (at least most of us) know we need to flavor our writing with sensations that go beyond sight and sound. We add things like the aroma of chicken grilling, the smell of tangy perfume, the feel of a too-heavy gold chain dragging against the back of a neck, the feel of a chilled breeze ticking up one’s back beneath a jacket or the really sour taste of overdone lemonade to add life to our writing. You know, stuff everyone experiences, maybe notices. read article

Having Trouble Finishing Your Spec? Maybe It’s Your Diet

Old School Truism: Nothing keeps a real writer from writing.

New School Fact: Millennials will always find a way.

(To keep from writing? Or to make sure we write. Waitaminnit! Hey–!) read article