Angelo Bell: The biz is flighty, you don’t have to be

Do you know Angelo Bell? We think you should.

So, by way of introduction:

angelobell

Stories abound in the entertainment industry (Hollywood) about two-timing, back-stabbing, fair-weather friends, fast-talking schemers with dazzling breath and even more dazzling lies, ineptness, incompetence, pretenders, wannabes, poo-puts, fakers, posers, frauds and scoundrels. Yes, these people exist in abundance, but they have not taken over Hollywood by any means.

There’s still an abundance of decent, hardworking, honest people who fly under the radar because they’re doing it right.

There remains people who see no harm in lending a hand, sharing information, or reaching back to help an aspiring colleague. The business can be flighty, ugly, selfish and dog-eat-dog, but that doesn’t mean you have to be. You have to be aware, yes. You should protect yourself at all times.  You should keep  the information, tools and people you need to protect your intellectual property — but your keen awareness should not transmogrify into snide, snark, malicious omission or spite.

We’re in an Internet information age, and knowledge is  freely available. You are not the only one with information. If you decide to hoard it, it shall be kept from you as well. At one time, you did not know a thing. Have respect for others on the journey to come to know a thing.

It’s a small town. Word travels fast. Bad words travel even faster. Whenever you see and experience something that angers you,  decide not to replicate that experience for someone else.

From Angelo’s very cool blog, WorldsWithWords

Fear of Writing

Oh, we feel it. Man, do we feel it. I’m sweating just looking at this page:

the scream image yet again

by Charlotte Rains Dixon (WordStrumpet.Com)

When I was invited to speak to the Living Writer’s Collective in Tennessee a couple of weeks ago, my topic was the Fear of Writing.   The subject was enthusiastically received, with several writers sheepishly admitting to me that they suffered from it (and Lord knows I’ve dealt with it off and on throughout my career), so I thought I’d adapt part of my talk here.

I’ve identified two broad arenas that your fears of writing might fall within:

Process

This is when you fear sitting down and putting words on the page.  You might not think that you actually have this fear, because fear is a sneaky beast that masquerades as all kinds of other things.  Like suddenly needing, desperatelyneeding, to do laundry.  Or mop the kitchen floor.  Or go grocery shopping.  Or do just about anything but get to the page in the time you’ve allotted to write.

The fear of the writing process can also pop up once you’ve actually gotten to the computer.  There you sit, facing that wonderful blank screen.  When you get tired of looking at the screen, you gaze out the window.  And then maybe you go grab yourself a cup of coffee and stare out the kitchen window for awhile.  I’ve got news for you–all this staring is not writing.

Or, has this ever happened to you?  You are writing along, lost in the process and suddenly your fingers come to a halt.  You’ve written something that’s threatening to the old ego.  And now you’re terrified.  All was fine one minute and then next, well, it’s not.

Product

Product fears gather around putting your work out in the world.  What if you’re rejected?  What if people don’t like your book when it’s published?  What if you get a bad book review or your mother reads it and is shocked?  What if you wrote a thriller about a murdered and people think you have first-hand experience with crime?  The what ifs go on and on and on, and many of them are as silly as the last one I listed.  But here’s the deal: fears are often silly.  But they take on enormous power despite this.

So what’s a person to do?

Antidotes

Here’s the bad news: the only way out is through.  Well, it may not be the only way out, but it’s the best way out.  Yup, to get over your fear of writing, you must write.  And then put it out in the world, even when you don’t want to.  In so many ways this is counter-intuitive and probably not at all what you want to hear.  Wouldn’t it be just so much easier if there were an actual program you could take that conquered your fear of writing without you having to do any writing?  Well, that program is, you guessed it, writing.

Here are a couple ways to approach it that might help:

–Try freewriting.  This old favorite really does work.  If you do it correctly, it bypasses the conscious mind and taps you into something deeper, beyond fear.  The way to do it is this: pick a prompt (any prompt, it doesn’t matter), set a timer for 20 minutes, and then write.  Write without stopping, even if you are writing the same word over and over again.  Keep the flow going–it is this that subverts the fear.  And don’t worry about staying on topic, you probably won’t.  When you’re done, underline or highlight anything that you might find useful and use this as a starting point for another writing session.

–Chunk it down.  Many of us writers are big-picture people.  We look at a project and see the whole thing all at once.  This has many advantages, but a big disadvantage is that it can be overwhelming.   Remind yourself that you only need to look at your project in little bits.  Make a loose outline and take one line of it at a time and write to that.  Then take the next line, and then the next, until you have a rough draft for each item on the list.

–Take time for process time.  In a book called Around the Writer’s Block, author Roseanne Bane talks about how important process time is to writers.  By this she means things like journaling, or morning pages.  It can be a conundrum: take precious writing time to journal or get right to the project at hand?  But studies have shown that taking time for process writing helps you beat writing resistance on a consistent basis.

–Approach it playfully.  Try some fun writing exercises every once in awhile.  Open a dictionary at random and fun your finger down the page.  Use the word you land on as a prompt.  Combine it with anothe word and make the start of a sentence and then use that.  Cut up old manuscripts into long strips, one line to a strip and put them in a box. Choose one and use as a prompt.

–Write something different.  I know I get stuck on thinking that I must work on my novel and only my novel.  But last fall at a workshop I tried my hand at Flash Fiction and loved it.  Writing that could be a quick warm-up to displace your fears.  So could writing Haiku.

–Remember to write and let everything else fall into place.  Because it will.  Your job is to put words on the page.  This is the best thing to remember when you feel that fear of putting your work out in the world, or of submitting it to editors or agents.  Your job is to write.  It’s not to worry about what people are going to think of the final product.  At the heart of it all, you just need to write.

Sage words. Except that our fear is primarily of the very need to write. We’re terrified of this addiction. What can we do? Anybody?

In Their Own Writ Dept – Writers on Writing 2/12/13

The only reason to write is because you honor humanity and believe it can be enriched by your words, thoughts and ideas. No one can properly communicate with an audience he or she doesn’t believe in.

Larry Brody

munchman: Why We Write

why we write Capture

We – okay, make that I, your friendly neilghborhood munchman – write because it’s my way of righting all the injustices of the world. Me doing my bit for truth and freedom and justice. The same reason the U.S. fought WWII.

Delusions of glory? You betcha. I got ’em in spades.

In her new book, Why We Write, subtitled 20 Acclaimed Authors on How and Why They Do What They Do, Meredith Maran asks the most successful writers she can get to talk to her about their careers and, not surprisingly, not one of them seems to have asked her, “Why did you name your book after a U.S. Army propaganda film?” (Um, that would be WHY WE FIGHT in case you’re not as film-obsessed as moi.

Ms. Maran’s august assemblage does, however, come up with some interesting stuff. Jodi Picoult talks about the anguish she feels while writing. Susan Orlean exprresses her self doubt. David Baldacci tells us that writing is quite simply his addiction. (“If writing were illegal, I’d be in prison.”) We also hear about such fun writerly ailments as writer’s block:

“It’s like swallowing sand,” says Isabel Allende.

See? An insight. Right there. Cool, huh?

Confession: My problem with this book is that I’m a Philistine. I must be. I’ve only heard of 2 of the writers in it, James Frey and Walter Mosley, and one of them is a discredited liar while the other is, eww…a genre kinda guy.

OTOH, I absolutely loved reading Ms. Maran’s review of her own book on Amazon.Com. And I love her as well, just for having whatever it is it took to write it:

The inside story of this book. February 2, 2013

Format:Kindle Edition

Hi. I’m Meredith Maran, editor of WHY WE WRITE. If you’re interested in why and how this book came together, read on.In 2010, there was a debate in the book world about whether “chick lit” was “real literature” and whether the same book, written by a man, would be considered “literary” and not “dick lit.” At the time I was about to publish my first novel, and I couldn’t figure out what to hope for: that it would be labeled “chick lit” and not taken seriously, but reach large numbers of readers? Or that it would be labeled “literary fiction” and be reviewed widely, but not read by many people?I thought the whole conundrum was ridiculous, and not at all helpful to the biggest struggle facing writers and readers, which is–not to put too fine a point on it–keeping books and writers alive. I had a feeling that the motivations of writers across genres had more in common than the style of work they produced, and that putting them between the covers of a single book might start a conversation among them, and among their readers. So I decided to ask a bunch of them the same ten questions about their relationship to their writing. Sure enough! I got fascinating answers from each of the 20 writers I interviewed, but when it came to their essential motivation for writing, they were more similar than different. Point proven–and secrets revealed.

Oh–also, I needed the money to fund the writing of my second novel. And 826 National needed the money I’ll donate to them from sales of the book.

I’d love to hear anything you’d like to share about how you find the book useful. And thanks for reading!

Yours, Meredith Maran

FTR, Ms. Maran gives her book 5 stars. I give her 5 stars too – for showmanship and marketing skill. But I have no idea if I’d consider her a, you know, writer and I probably won’t read either her first or second novel.

Why We Totally Hate HBO’s GIRLS

RobotGirlsCapture
Click the pic & see what happens (it’s so incredible the way clicking just kinda takes you somewhere…)

Yes, it’s true, everybody here at TVWriter™ despises the series GIRLS. We think it’s puerile, stereotypical, and, as Gwen the Beautiful, totally sweet, calm, and secure wife of Our Feckless Leader, LB, puts it:

Nope, sorry, but I can’t watch another episode. The first two have already made me hate myself for being the parent of a 20-something daughter and at the same time totally mistrust her. Is that what television shows are supposed to do?

It’s with that mindset that we went crusing around FUNNY OR DIE.COM and found its GIRLS soulmate – ROBOTS. Many, many thanks, FODC, for making it possible for us to totally hate bots now too!