insidE the WRITERS’ ROOM: ‘Better Call Saul’: How to Cook Up the Perfect Con

For four seasons, the writers of “Saul” have slowly been transforming Jimmy McGill into the slimy Saul Goodman. In this video, they broke down a pivotal scene before the season finale.
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Stormzy to help young writers get published

Stormzy has announced a new venture to help young writers become published authors.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Simpsons writers address Apu controversy

The Simpsons writers have responded to criticism over the show’s portrayal of Indian store owner Apu.
Entertainment News – Latest Celebrity & Showbiz News | Sky News

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Die Hard 6 Script Reportedly Being Rewritten by The Conjuring Writers

20th Century Fox has reportedly hired The Conjuring writers to rewrite the script for Die Hard 6.

The Tracking Board reports Chad and Carey Hayes, who wrote both The Conjuring movies, will work on the screenplay for the next Die Hard entry. Earlier reports suggested the film will be an origin story featuring a young John McClane as a regular cop in 1970s New York.

Bruce Willis’ older version of the character reportedly still would feature somewhere as a bookend to the prequel story, with the film also moving between past and present, according to The Tracking Board’s report. No word yet on who might portray the younger John McClane or when Die Hard 6 might hit theaters.

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Women TV writers ask, where are all the women TV writers?

An open letter asks why there are so few female writers working on major TV dramas.
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Writers Guild of America West Accuses Studios of ‘Insufficient’ Response to Sexual Harassment

Leaders of the Writers Guild of America have blasted studios and agencies for “insufficient response” on the issue of sexual harassment. In a message sent to members Tuesday, the WGA West said, “We are determined that not only member rights, but also member responsibilities, be clearly defined. It is also imperative that we address what […]

Variety

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A Wave of New Fiction From Nigeria, as Young Writers Experiment With New Genres

Nigeria has become a major exporter of literary talent, and now one publisher, Cassava Republic, is expanding to the United States.
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Seth Meyers’ Female Writers Troll Absent LGBTQ Champion Ivanka Trump

They remembered THAT tweet.
Comedy
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Writers’ strike could cause Hollywood ‘blackout’

The US entertainment industry is braced for massive disruption as movie and television writers prepare to walk out on strike.
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Writers’ Strike: Are US TV shows about to fall off air?

There could be another writers’ strike, which would affect talk shows, dramas and sitcoms.
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The Essential Writer’s Guide

The Essential Writer’s Guide


The Essential Writer’s Guide: Paperback: Webster’s Digital Services: 9781278907116: 27 Mar 2012

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Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Craft & Technique

Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Craft & Technique


Introducing the big secrets of writing – in handy, accessible and inviting little books. This season, Writer’s Digest Books is proud to present the Writer’s Little Instruction Book series, each compact book providing writers with: More than 300 practical writing insights, pieces of instruction and nuggest of wisdom covering craft, inspiration and publication; A friendly format that’s excellent value, for instant application anywhere, for anyone; Expert advice from an engaging and experienced “writer’s writer” who knows the advice authors crave to hear; Aspiring and published writers alike will welcome the practical and witty lessons in these engaging new books.
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Women Writers in Renaissance England: Longman Annotated Texts

Women Writers in Renaissance England: Longman Annotated Texts


Of all the new developments in literary theory, feminism has proved to be the most widely influential, leading to an expansion of the traditional English canon in all periods of study. This book aims to make the work of Renaissance women writers in English better known to general and academic readers so as to strengthen the case for their future inclusion in the Renaissance literary canon. This lively book surveys women writers in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth centuries. Its selection is vast, historically representative, and original, taking examples from twenty different, relatively unknown authors in all genres of writing, including poetry, fiction, religious works, letters and journals, translation, and books on childcare. It establishes new contexts for the debate about women as writers within the period and suggests potential intertextual connections with works by well-known male authors of the same time. Individual authors and works are given concise introductions, with both modern and historical critical analysis, setting them in a theoretical and historicised context. All texts are made readily accessible through modern spelling and punctuation, on-the-page annotation and headnotes. The substantial, up-to-date bibliography provides a source for further study and research.
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Great African-American Writers: Seven Books (Boxed Set)

Great African-American Writers: Seven Books (Boxed Set)


From memoirs to poetry to essays, this set of seven books is a collection of some of the most well-known African American literature ever written. Here you’ll learn about the slavery experiences of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Booker T. Washington; W.E.B. Du Bois’ essays on ways that life for blacks could be improved, the problems they faced, and more; and a large selection of poetry. Included in the set are the following titles:The Souls of Black Folk (W.E.B. Du Bois)Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass (Frederick Douglass)Selected Poems (Paul Laurence Dunbar)The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man (James Weldon Johnson)Up From Slavery (Booker T. Washington)African-American Poetry: An Anthology, 1773-1927Narrative of Sojourner Truth (Sojourner Truth)Product DetailsDimensions: 5 1/4” W x 8” HISBN: 978-0-486-29995-2Published by Dover Publications
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Astream: American Writers On Fly Fishing

Astream: American Writers On Fly Fishing


Astream: American Writers On Fly FishingRobert Demott, EditorSKYHORSE, May 2012HardcoverISBN: 1-61608-215-1This marvelous collection features stories from some of America’s finest and most respected writers about one of the world’s most solitary and satisfying sports: fly fishing. For the first time, the stories of thirty-one acclaimed authors including Jim Harrison, Pam Houston, Ted Leeson, Nick Lyons, Thomas McGuane, & more share stories of fly fishing & life on the river. A delightful, handsome volume of 31 stories that captures the allure & spirit of fly fishing & those that love it. 24 B&W photos; 9×6 inches, 284 pgs.
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Writing In The Disciplines: A Reader And Rhetoric Academic Writers Plus Mywritinglab — Access Card Package

Writing In The Disciplines: A Reader And Rhetoric Academic Writers Plus Mywritinglab — Access Card Package


ALERT: Before you purchase, check with your instructor or review your course syllabus to ensure that you select the correct ISBN. Several versions of Pearson's MyLab & Mastering products exist for each title, including customized versions for individual schools, and registrations are not transferable. In addition, you may need a CourseID, provided by your instructor, to register for and use Pearson's MyLab & Mastering products. Packages Access codes for Pearson's MyLab & Mastering products may not be included when purchasing or renting from companies other than Pearson; check with the seller before completing your purchase. Used or rental books If you rent or purchase a used book with an access code, the access code may have been redeemed previously and you may have to purchase a new access code. Access codes Access codes that are purchased from sellers other than Pearson carry a higher risk of being either the wrong ISBN or a previously redeemed code. Check with the seller prior to purchase. — This rhetoric/anthology instructs college students in how to read academic texts with understanding and how to use them as sources for papers in a variety of disciplines. In Writing in the Disciplines, Mary Kennedy and William Kennedy emphasize academic writing as ongoing conversations in multiple genres, and do so in the context of WPA Outcomes. The rhetoric chapters teach critical reading, paraphrasing, summarizing, quoting, writing process, synthesizing, analyzing, researching, and developing arguments. The anthology balances journal articles with works by public intellectuals in the sciences, social sciences, and humanities.
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The Writer’s Room: A Writer’s Room: Emma Cline

The first-time novelist on the Brooklyn garden shed where she wrote her highly anticipated debut, “The Girls.”
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John Ferrone, Editor of Eclectic Stable of Writers, Dies at 91

Mr. Ferrone counted among his authors Alice Walker, Anaïs Nin and James Beard.
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This Is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories By America's Best Women Writers

This Is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories By America's Best Women Writers


New short stories from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie • Aimee Bender • Judy Budnitz • Jennifer S. Davis • Jennifer Egan • Carolyn Ferrell • Mary Gordon • Cristina Henríquez • Samantha Hunt •Binnie Kirshenbaum • Dika Lam • Caitlin Macy • Francine Prose • Holiday Reinhorn • Roxana Robinson • Curtis Sittenfeld • Lynne Tillman • Martha WittChick lit: A genre of fiction that often recycles the following plot: Girl in big city desperately searches for Mr. Right in between dieting and shopping for shoes. Girl gets dumped (sometimes repeatedly). Girl finds Prince Charming. This Is Not Chick Lit is a celebration of America’s most dynamic literary voices, as well as a much needed reminder that, for every stock protagonist with a designer handbag and three boyfriends, there is a woman writer pushing the envelope of literary fiction with imagination, humor, and depth. The original short stories in this collection touch on some of the same themes as chick lit–the search for love and identity–but they do so with extraordinary power, creativity, and range; they are also political, provocative, and, at turns, utterly surprising. Featuring marquee names as well as burgeoning talents, This Is Not Chick Lit will nourish your heart, and your mind. “This Is Not Chick Lit is important not only for its content, but for its title. I’ll know we’re getting somewhere when equally talented male writers feel they have to separate themselves from the endless stream of fiction glorifying war, hunting and sports by naming an anthology This Is Not a Guy Thing.”–Gloria Steinem“These voices, diverse and almost eerily resonant, offer us a refreshing breath of womanhood-untamed, ungroomed, and unglossed.”–ELLE
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This Is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers

This Is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America’s Best Women Writers


New short stories from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – Aimee Bender – Judy Budnitz – Jennifer S. Davis – Jennifer Egan – Carolyn Ferrell – Mary Gordon – Cristina Henriquez – Samantha Hunt -Binnie Kirshenbaum – Dika Lam – Caitlin Macy – Francine Prose – Holiday Reinhorn – Roxana Robinson – Curtis Sittenfeld – Lynne Tillman – Martha Witt " "Chick lit: A genre of fiction that often recycles the following plot: Girl in big city desperately searches for Mr. Right in between dieting and shopping for shoes. Girl gets dumped (sometimes repeatedly). Girl finds Prince Charming. "This Is Not Chick Lit "is a celebration of America’s most dynamic literary voices, as well as a much needed reminder that, for every stock protagonist with a designer handbag and three boyfriends, there is a woman writer pushing the envelope of literary fiction with imagination, humor, and depth. The original short stories in this collection touch on some of the same themes as chick lit-the search for love and identity-but they do so with extraordinary power, creativity, and range; they are also political, provocative, and, at turns, utterly surprising. Featuring marquee names as well as burgeoning talents, "This Is Not Chick Lit "will nourish your heart, and your mind. ""This Is Not Chick Lit" is important not only for its content, but for its title. I’ll know we’re getting somewhere when equally talented male writers feel they have to separate themselves from the endless stream of fiction glorifying war, hunting and sports by naming an anthology This Is Not a Guy Thing." -Gloria Steinem "These voices, diverse and almost eerily resonant, offer us a refreshing breath of womanhood-untamed, ungroomed, and unglossed."-ELLE
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Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Craft & Technique

Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Craft & Technique


Introducing the big secrets of writing-in handy, accessible, and inviting little books Aspiring and published writers alike will welcome the practical and witty lessons in these engaging new books.
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Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Getting Published

Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Getting Published


Introducing the big secrets of writing-in handy, accessible, and inviting little books Aspiring and published writers alike will welcome the practical and witty lessons in these engaging new books.
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Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Specialneeds

Love You to Pieces: Creative Writers on Raising a Child with Specialneeds


The first collection of literary writing on raising a child with special needs, Love You to Pieces features families coping with autism, deafness, muscular dystrophy, Down syndrome and more. Here, poets, memoirists, and fiction writers paint beautiful, wrenchingly honest portraits of caring for their children, laying bare the moments of rage, disappointment, and guilt that can color their relationships. Parent-child communication can be a challenge at the best of times, but in this collection we witness the struggles and triumphs of those who speak their own language–or don’t speak at all–and those who love them deeply. "Powerful, unflinching, and beautifully rendered, Love You to Pieces is not just an anthology about raising children with special needs, but true literature. Many parents will find moving depictions of a reality they know so well. Others with no knowledge of this world will find a literary experience they’ll never forget." –Rachel Simon, author of Riding the Bus with My Sister "Love You To Pieces is a unique reading experience: raw, moving, provocative and compelling. The stories are beautifully told, from many different backgrounds and perspectives, but taken together share a common and ultimately triumphant connecting thread: love conquers all." –Daniel Tammet, author of Born On A Blue Day: Inside the Extraordinary Mind of an Autistic Savant "Love You To Pieces is groundbreaking. Our public discourse about disability is dominated by the voices of medical professionals and fix-your-child tomes. These stories elevate the experience of people with disabilities to the level of literature. Love You To Pieces bears witness to cognitive and physical difference as an essential and beautiful fact of human experience. It is a must buy book for anyone who parents, educates, or supports young people with disabilities." –Jonathan Mooney, author of The Short Bus: A Journey Beyond Normal
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Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life

Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life


New – In Beg, Borrow, Steal Michael Greenberg regales us with his wry and vivid take on the life of a writer of little means trying to practise his craft or simply stay alive. He finds himself doctoring doomed movie scripts; selling cosmetics from an ironing board in front of a women’s department store; writing about golf, a game he has never played; and botching his debut as a waiter in a posh restaurant. Central characters include Michael’s father, whose prediction that Michael’s ‘scribbling’

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Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Inspiration & Motivation

Writer’s Little Instruction Book – Inspiration & Motivation


Introducing the big secrets of writing-in handy, accessible, and inviting little books Aspiring and published writers alike will welcome the practical and witty lessons in these engaging new books.
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A Writer’s Writer and Teacher Is Gone

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New York Times 5.12.2015

On May 11, 2015, at the age of 92, Bill Zinnser died in his home on the Upper East Side of Manhattan. Many will wonder, who was he? A sports star? A celebrity? An inventor? A diplomat? Well, while he was a bit of all of these he was none. He was a writer and one of the greatest teachers of non-fiction writing and memoir we have had the honor to grace the Western world.

A former WW II correspondent and journalist, whose scope ranged from combat to culture (he wrote over 600 movie and theatre reviews), it was not until he was in his 50s that he took up the cudgel of helping others write well. He remarked that he was complaining to his wife about how poorly was the writing he encountered in so many authors that she exhorted him to do something about it.

The result is a shelf full of books on writing well – as well as studies on American pop music and baseball (two of his passions); 19 books in all. Bill Zinsser’s signature book, “On Writing Well“, has become a treasure and bible for non-fiction writers, and has sold over 1.5 million copies.

I met Bill Zinsser late in his life, and not at the beginning of mine. In 2011, I joined some 20 others for an evening writing workshop he taught at The New School in NYC (Ink-Stained for Life: What Makes for a Great Teacher). I stayed in contact with him after that, as his physical life became more compromised but not his wit or wisdom. My Zinsser experience fueled my passion for writing, as well as an appreciation that writing is a craft — but one that must be infused with the writer’s authenticity and humanity.

Writing, as Zinsser liked to say, is a craft no less and no more worthy than plumbing or carpentry. All take the same determination to get the job done well: that means waking each day and getting to work. There is no mood for writing, as there is no mood for plumbing. Sit down and write, he used to proclaim. Make no bones about it, writing well must be learned, word by word, day after day. But if you do try, I can hear Zinsser’s dictums. Begin with simplicity and clarity. Achieve brevity and make clutter the enemy. Don’t weary your reader with dense language because we are rich with alternatives. A reader shouldn’t have to labor to understand; a writer owes the reader the pleasure of reading, which should not be a chore. His crowning principle, I think, is humanity. The writer must be a person, someone the reader can trust. Otherwise, it’s just words.

Eight semesters ago, with my colleague Dr. Deborah Cabaniss, I began teaching medical writing for the lay public to doctors and neuroscientists at the Columbia University Medical School Department of Psychiatry. More recently, this teaching expanded to the New York Academy of Medicine, the American Psychiatric Association’s annual meetings, and to young writers associated with Commonweal Magazine. I am amazed at the hunger so many professionals (young and older, early and advanced career) have to speak (write) their mind, outside the confines of professional journals and scientific venues. And goodness knows, we need their educated ideas to counter the avalanche of uninformed opinion written by anyone with a keyboard that appears throughout social media sites.

I owe Bill Zinsser, as do so many others, a big thank you for giving me the prescription for what it takes to be a good writer and teacher. It all may sound simple, since in fact it is when well done, but that doesn’t mean it is easy to achieve. Whenever I write, even today with this piece, I hear his slightly cranky, ever kind, Yankee voice urging me on and telling me to be sure to get it right.

======
The views expressed here are entirely my own. I take no support from any pharmaceutical, device or treatment industry company.

Dr. Sederer’s book for families who have a member with a mental illness is The Family Guide to Mental Health Care (Foreword by Glenn Close) — is now available in paperback.

Follow Lloyd I. Sederer, MD on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/askdrlloyd

Visit my website at http://www.askdrlloyd.com

— This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

The Undergraduate’s Companion to American Writers and Their Websites

The Undergraduate’s Companion to American Writers and Their Websites


This text identifies and describes selected electronic and printed resources for a selection of American writers. It covers authors whose works are featured in widely used anthologies and American authors who are the subjects of good websites.

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8 Steps to Kill Writer’s Block and Dance With the Muse

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I don’t believe in writer’s block.

There, I said it.

I do believe sometimes you write better than other times.

I was lucky. I grew up in the world of acting and had teachers who taught me that the creative process was not just about listening to your head, it was about listening from a different place, Sandy Miesner called it the impulse. So I learned you find the creative flow by opening the field of vision in order to listen with all of the senses.

After I left the world of acting and eventually learned about spirituality, it was great fun to discover the two disciplines had a lot in common: presence, listening, noticing the voice of the ego vs the voice of spirit.

It was Betty Buckley who opened my eyes to how to be a shamanic creatrix. Of course, she never would have used those words. I was lucky to work as an intern at the Williamstown Theater festival where she was performing. I will never forget sitting in her audience, feeling her song, and understanding for the first time the real power of performance. Betty anchored in the teaching that when you connect to the sacred through your creative act, when you step on to the stage with the intention to connect to the heart of your audience, you can have a profound impact.

I think of it as touching the void, that moment when you allow a universal truth to run through you. You surface something through your words/dance/acting/movement/song that your audience recognizes as true… they can feel it in a place that needs no words, and they experience the inner nod… because you are dancing with the muse.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Elizabeth Gilbert’s great TED TALK, The Elusive Creative Genius, where she discussed how the pressure of believing it is just you creating is enough to drive anyone insane.

But I digress. Lets cut to the chase and focus on the title of this post. If you are living in the illusion that you are creating all on your own and are feeling disconnected from the genius… I hope these tips help you break on through to the other side.

1. Stop Listening to Yourself

If what you are writing is crap, just stop.

Listen. The muse loves to play. All you need to do is be present enough to listen. She’ll come around often and lots when you stop pretending you are the only one creating.

Now that you stopped trying to create, go with the first thing that comes to mind. Even if it seems crazy and out of place, just go with it and see where it takes you. Trust.

2. Do Something That Scares You

I’m not saying jump off a cliff for heaven’s sake. I’m saying step out of your familiar comfort zone. Invite new experiences into your life. See what new conversations take place, what new material presents, what inspiration arises. (This is the quickest way to shake yourself out any kind of rut (right next to doing something good for someone else.)

3. Watch Robin Williams

When Robin died, I did what you did, started watching old videos of his interviews. He was out of control. Some of what he said was hilarious. Some of what he said wasn’t, but the fact that he said it was hilarious. For better or for worse, he didn’t censor what came through him. The result: We loved him for being his wild zany unpredictable self. We’ll probably love you for being your authentic self too… once you start sharing it with us.

3. Listen With Purpose

Imagine yourself surrounded by a muse/guardian angel. All she wants to do is inspire you, but the only way she can speak to you is through the physical things that surround you. NOW the annoying guy in the Starbucks line talking too loudly on his cell phone is about to say the title of your next book, the wind whispering through the pines is going to make you remember a sensation that explains your character in a way you didn’t dare to imagine. You get it. Everything is material. Everything. That little voice speaking…maybe it comes from behind you, inside of you, arrives in your mind’s eye…that is the muse my friend. Just take the first snipit and run like a banshee and don’t look back until you’re done. Edit later. It’s ok. Something will be in there.

4. Step Away

Everyone knows the most brilliant ideas arrive as soon as you get up to go to the bathroom. Why? Because when you’re going on and on for hours with your pals trying to create something epic, your line of vision can become so focused, it becomes narrow. So step away from what you are focusing on and allow your mind’s field of vision to expand again and let the muse in for another spin around the dance floor.

5. Leave No Pencil Behind

Walk with a notebook and pen everywhere you go. Write every little idea that comes to you. Put the ideas for new projects in a special place. Don’t think you will remember them. The muse can be fickle and can take what she offers right after she gives it. So write it all down. Right now. Before you forget. (You can use Evernote for this if you just. can’t. put. down. your. phone.

6. Do What You Love

If you’re still pretending you can’t get through your writer’s block or create anything of worth, then open up a new document, think about that other idea or concept or story idea that totally turns you on, and go for it. You’ll hate me in the morning. Why? Because you’ll stay up all night pacing with new ideas, high as a kite coursing with the passion for this new project, and write the first 17 chapters of your next book. Then you’ll have to decide which one you need to finish first. I apologize in advance. Meanwhile, you played in a river that was flowing and that was fun.

7. Leave Everything Behind And See What You’re Made Of

For an hour, for a day, for a month, for a year. Put the physical things that are taking up your energy aside. Clear all of your psychic debts. Deal with the people you have been avoiding. Clean up your physical space, and there will be so much more room for the muse and the genius to run though you.

8. Just Do It

I thought I had it all figured out until Paul Hawken (who has authored seven books) said something that stopped me in my tracks. He said something along the lines of how he just doesn’t buy it when people say “spirit wrote the book.” He said, YOU write the book. You are the one that sits down every day and writes.

I should add I also don’t believe in waiting for spirit to “move me.” It’s like meditating. It’s a practice, you show up every day and just do it. Some days are great. Some days aren’t as great. (And when spirit does come with a dose of inspiration, you know I right it down asap.)

Confession

Now I’m going to confess something. Last night I had a nightmare that this small being that I was caring for ran out into the street and was stabbed by a pitch fork. When I picked it up, there were holes throughout it’s body, but once it was in my hands, the holes healed. The whole day I was terrified that the dream was about the novel I just launched I kickstarter. I offered to give people one chapter at a time as I complete the final draft of the manuscript. (CRAZY.) I think my dream was pointing out my fear that people mike poke holes in this story that I was put in care of creating. I think of stories like that, as having a soul of their own that we have the good fortune of caring for.

It is inevitable, at some point, when you put yourself out there, people won’t care for your creation. But so what. Don’t let that stop you from creating. Most people don’t like the smell of your breath first thing in the morning either. Does that stop you from brushing? My point exactly.

The only reason anything happens is so the next thing can happen. So just keep on going and see what happens next.
GPS for the Soul – The Huffington Post
Special News Bulletin-http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News

Free Books: Marketing Genius or Devaluation of Writers?

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Heard at a recent garage sale: “I always take free stuff even when I’m not sure I want it. I mean, it’s FREE; I can always throw it out!

Contemporary culture seems to have a conflicted relationship with free. People will hip-check each other to get to a neighborhood “free box” first, then get suspicious when eager salesmen dangle promotional freebies to close a sale. We all love a free meal but will still wonder what’s wrong with business that the restaurant is offering it. We can rationalize downloading music without payment, yet barely blink when art is auctioned for millions on the basis of “perceived artistic value.”

Then there are books, given away by the boatload in “free book promotions” in hopes of snagging that ever-more desirable demographic: the e-book reader. As the format surpasses all others in global book sales, the seduction of this burgeoning audience has become the mission statement of all book sellers, including indie authors, making Amazon’s brainchild promotion the Holy Grail.

To the uninitiated, the “free book promotion” is a strategy whereby writers offer their e-books free-of-charge for a number of days during their Kindle Select enrollment period. The objective is to entice readers in hopes they’ll download your book, leave a review, stir up positive word-of-mouth, then come back to buy your other books that aren’t free. This presumes, of course, that you have other books; it also presumes those planned objectives are met.

Are they?

Depends who you talk to. Some authors report getting thousands of free downloads, winning higher Amazon rankings and heightened name awareness as a result. Others tout similar stats but lament the cost of sites like BookBub and others that charge $ 200+ to promote those free promotions. Still others contend that the strategy’s value has peaked, as the sheer glut of free product has lowered incentive for readers to ever pay for books (despite e-books already being cheaper than other formats). Writers themselves are conflicted.

I asked indie author, Martin Crosbie, who’s had tremendous success with his books, particularly his novel, My Temporary Life, his view of the strategy:

“If I had not had the ability to offer my book for free I would not have found the readers I have. Reduced and free pricing has been the difference for me between connecting with hundreds, and sometimes thousands, of readers each month as opposed to just a handful. Hopefully some of these tried and true methods will remain effective for a little while as we all scramble to increase our readership, because really, we’re not just selling books. We’re building our reader base; that’s where our real focus is.”

Most would agree, yet some believe the proliferation of freebies has permanently altered the landscape, both in the perceived value of writers and their work and the mindset of readers who’ve become habituated to not paying for books. Literary agent, Jill Corcoran, makes that point in her piece, “The Devaluation of Writers, By Writers“:

“I get it, we all want our books to be read… getting your foot in the door/getting your e-book on anyone and everyone’s e-reader is the first step to [hopefully] selling these buyers your second book. BUT, if your self-pubbed book is free, and, according to bookgorilla, John Green’s THE FAULT OF OUR STARS e-book is worth $ 3.99, then all of us in publishing will need to downsize our houses, our food bill, our lifestyles because unless you are selling a heck of a lot of books, at $ 3.99 or 1/8th of $ 0.99 or at the golden ‘price’ of FREE, we have all just devalued ourselves to a point of below the already pitiful American minimum wage.” [Emphasis added.]

And what about the readers? Where are they in all this? Seems they’re as conflicted as everyone else! Some readers have been quoted as saying they’re not likely to read all the free books on their Kindles, having hundreds they’ve never even opened; others admit they haven’t gone back to buy from writers from whom they’ve downloaded free books. Some say they don’t worry about the quality of what they’ve downloaded because “they were free… I can always delete them”; others say they do prefer better books but can’t rationalize paying for them when so much free product is available.

My opinion? I’ll see your contradictions and raise you some!

One can understand scrambling for readership any way possible; as an indie author marketing my own novel, I get it! But beyond the loss of income, there’s also — at least in my opinion — that issue of quality. With countless sites built on the free/bargain book paradigm, product demand has increased exponentially. Which means for every high-quality writer like Crosbie, there are scores of lesser writers flooding the marketplace with poorly written and produced books that still find ready readership more focused on cost than quality. That bodes ill.

And, frankly, the strategy is limited. If readers don’t return to pay full price for your book, you’re out (and why would they if they’ve already gotten it free?). If readers download that free book but never read it, they won’t be talking about it; hence, no word of mouth. And if you don’t yet have other books to sell during a free promotion… well, that’s as far as it all goes until, maybe, you do.

Which is why writers are endlessly admonished to not spend too much time on marketing but “write, write and WRITE MORE!!” And while it’s always important for writers to write (and when you’re self-marketing a book, balancing those two tasks can be formidable!), too often the rather vigorous push to do so suggests that cranking out book after book is the paramount goal, ratcheting pressure to the point that some writers actually question if “it’s OK to forego professional editing just so I can get this new book up before my promotion.”

NO. It’s not. Not ever. But if the strategy bullies any writer into cutting corners and delivering sub-par books to feed the beast (and we all know there are lots of those out there), it has become counter-productive.

Donna Tartt took over ten years to write her Pulitzer Prize winning novel, The Goldfinch (and it’s only her third book). The great Harper Lee, author of To Kill a Mockingbird, published only one book in her lifetime (albeit, a masterpiece). Many of our most respected authors take years to hone their finely crafted literary works before ever thinking of entering them into the marketplace. Unless one is satisfied just cranking out unspectacular books, indie writers should hold to the same literary standards. Because, ultimately, it’s the quality of what we create that endures, that makes us truly successful writers, not our ranking, not how many free downloads we get; not how many books we post on our Amazon page.

And lastly, why should writers be expected to give their work away on such an expected and persistent basis? Writing is our commodity, our trade. Many of us have spent years honing our craft and gaining the necessary experience to attract meaningful work and appropriate remuneration. Other skilled professionals aren’t expected to repetitively work for free, why should writers? Bestselling author Dean Wesley Smith takes on that question with so many common sense points in his Killing Sacred Cows series, I’ll just leave you with this link: Killing the Top Ten Sacred Cows of Indie Publishing: #9… You Must Sell Books Cheaply. Once you’re done here, go read it; it’s very illuminating!

I remain an optimist, though, hopeful that the more judicious and market-savvy amongst us will realize there’s something culturally essential in supporting quality writers and their work… and with marketing dollars! Until then, I hope readers will, both, enjoy their freebies and repay the favor by fulfilling their end of the deal: reading the book, spreading the word, leaving a thoughtful review… and paying full price for their next one!

Meme created by LDW @diylol.com
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2014-05-06-LDW_ATSP_DigiCvr_Final_sm.jpg Follow Lorraine Devon Wilke on Facebook, Twitter, and Rock+Paper+Music. Find details and links to her other work at www.lorrainedevonwilke.com, and be sure to follow the journey with her new novel @ AfterTheSuckerPunch.com.

AFTER THE SUCKER PUNCH
by Lorraine Devon Wilke
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Arts – The Huffington Post
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Wrestling With the Wrath of Writer’s Block

Staring at a blank page and not having the words flow the way they did last week, or even yesterday, is every writer’s nightmare. Writer’s block can feel paralyzing, especially with a deadline fast approaching, and it can often leave writers wondering if they should give up on their craft. Some would say it’s a rite of passage. Others would argue it just takes shaking things up.

To help out, I tracked down willing writers of various genres who have faced the plague of writer’s block, and who were willing to share their cures or tips for preventative maintenance.

Novelist: Hildie McQueen

Writer’s Block, or “Where was I going with this” syndrome affects all authors at some point. While working on my latest book The Rancher, I became so frustrated. My poor hero, Grant Gentry, sat on his horse without a clear destination and I thought, well crud, nobody wants to read this boring crap. So I did what I normally do, I walked away from the story.

That is my secret. When you hit a brick wall, turn around and walk away. For me there’s nothing like a drive down long country roads to clear the mind and get the story back on the right path. Sometimes I even invite the hero or heroine along.

It’s amazing what drives in rural Georgia does to the characters in my head. They loosen up and start talking. Maybe it’s the fresh air, or maybe they’re afraid I’m going to kill them off?

Playwright: Everett Robert

As a playwright, the most important thing for me to write is dialogue. When I’m struggling to hear a character’s voice, I’ll often stop whatever I’m doing, turn off the music or noise and go to a coffee shop, walk around a college campus, or go to a retail store. I find that writer’s block doesn’t come from a lack of “ideas,” but rather a lack of “voice.” Listening to other voices helps me tune in my muse to the character voices I’m struggling to hear.

Novelist: Julie Benson

When I wrote Bet On a Cowboy I suffered from writer’s block. The charismatic man I loved enough to give his own story clammed up on me. My heroine wouldn’t share her internal conflict with me. I feared I’d miss my deadline for my first book written under contract. At a workshop I attended with Jayne Ann Krentz and Susan Elizabeth Phillips, they said to keep writing until the story makes sense. Trusting them, that’s what I did. When I hit the major love scene on page 137, suddenly everything made sense. I knew the answer — my heroine wanted children but didn’t think she’d ever have a meaningful relationship. I added a scene at the beginning with her checking into having a child through artificial insemination. The rest of the book practically wrote itself from there. Now when writer’s block hits I know that as long as I keep writing, eventually everything will make sense.

Fiction Writer: Daniel Sherrier

Exercise is a wonderful remedy for writer’s block. Writing, obviously, is a sedentary activity, but being sedentary is how cobwebs form in your brain. That might help if you’re writing about cobwebs, but otherwise, they’ll just get you stuck. So, go out for a run, take a kickboxing class, or even just a brisk walk might do the trick. You’ll come back to your work feeling energized, and you’ll have done something your body needs anyway. Your entire self wins — and your book does, too.

Ghostwriter and Novelist: Heather Hummel

As a ghostwriter, my clients often provide me with the basic concepts for their books, sometimes even an outline and some material. However, it’s up to me to organize and write the rest of the material to complete their book for them. To do this, and to write my own novels, I’ve always had two effective muses that prevent writer’s block.

One is cycling, as I have been known to write entire chapters in my head while pedaling on long bike rides. I see my laptop as the tool for putting the words down, but much of my writing actually formulates in my head while riding. (The trick is remembering them later when I go to type the words on my laptop.) For this reason, I tend to ride alone, so I can quiet my mind with only the whirl of tires on the pavement beneath me.

My other muse is photography. Because I’m also a land and seascape photographer, I find the cross-creative roles feed on one another. If I’m feeling stuck with a chapter, I load up my car with my camera gear and my two dogs (they make great assistants) and head out to spend time photographing Mother Nature. By the time I return home, I am always refreshed and ready to write again. Having the mix of visual and written careers keeps me motivated on both fronts.

If you have a favorite muse, please share them in the comments below.
Arts – The Huffington Post
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Women Writers in Renaissance England

Women Writers in Renaissance England


Of all the new developments in literary theory, feminism has proved to be the most widely influential, leading to an expansion of the traditional English canon in all periods of study. This book aims to make the work of Renaissance women writers in English better known to general and academic readers so as to strengthen the case for their future inclusion in the Renaissance literary canon. This lively book surveys women writers in the sixteenth century and early seventeenth centuries. Its selection is vast, historically representative, and original, taking examples from twenty different, relatively unknown authors in all genres of writing, including poetry, fiction, religious works, letters and journals, translation, and books on childcare. It establishes new contexts for the debate about women as writers within the period and suggests potential intertextual connections with works by well-known male authors of the same time. Individual authors and works are given concise introductions, with both modern and historical critical analysis, setting them in a theoretical and historicised context.All texts are made readily accessible through modern spelling and punctuation, on-the-page annotation and headnotes. The substantial, up-to-date bibliography provides a source for further study and research.

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Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure

Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous and Obscure


Deceptively simple and surprisingly addictive, "Not Quite What I Was Planning" is a thousand glimpses of humanity–six words at a time. When Ernest Hemingway famously wrote, "For Sale: baby shoes, never worn," he proved that an entire story can be told using a half-dozen words. When the online storytelling magazine SMITH asked readers to submit six-word memoirs, they proved a whole, real life can be told this way, too. The results are fascinating, hilarious, shocking, and moving. From small sagas of bittersweet romance ("Found true love, married someone else") to proud achievements and stinging regrets ("After Harvard, had baby with crackhead"), these terse true tales relate the diversity of human experience in tasty bite-size pieces. The original edition of "Not Quite What I Was Planning" spent six weeks on the "New York Times" bestseller list, and thanks to massive media attention–from NPR to the "The New Yorker"–the six-word memoir concept spread to classrooms, dinner tables, churches, synagogues, and tens of thousands of blogs. This deluxe edition has been revised and expanded to include more than sixty never-before-seen memoirs. From authors Elizabeth Gilbert, Richard Ford, and Joyce Carol Oates to celebrities Stephen Colbert, Mario Batali, and Joan Rivers to ordinary folks around the world, "everyone" has a six-word story to tell.
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