Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Good reading or advice overkill

A writer friend posted a “helpful” blog post about writing. “23 (More) Websites that Makes your Writing Stronger.” It was very nice of her to let all us other writers know about this. (Author's note - I only reference this post to give you a look at what I was talking about. I am not promoting nor did I get anything for mentioning it here.)

But here is the thing. Okay, actually its several things.

First off . . . why do we always feel obligated (and by we, I mean me) to say “first off” or “first” or "Number One” when we have a list of things to say? . . . sorry, I digress.

First off, the idea of 23 blog sites as resource material to make my writing stronger is a little daunting. To be honest, the only thing I clicked on was a reference to an old, now defunct blog. And only then because the writer of this post said “Well you've heard of the legendary Miss Snark” and I hadn't. I thought that was a bit disconcerting. I felt like someone was saying “well you've heard of McDonalds” and I was like “Mc-who?” So I had to check it out, only to find that it was some literary agency person handing out advice years ago. When I wasn't in “the biz.” And even then it only lasted two years. A mere blip in the ethereal miasma of the internet.

Talk about a tad condescending of this author to assume that “omg, like everyone has heard of this brief stint on the WORLD WIDE WEB with like KaJillions of websites on it so like why haven't you.”

Wow, again I digress. So as I was saying, here is this list of 23, TWENTY THREE, (more) websites to check out (as if the first list of 23 wasn't enough). Even when I am researching a topic for a ghostwriting assignment I don't visit 23 websites. So the idea of visiting 23 websites to make my writing stronger seems a bit much. I always thought that writing made my writing stronger. It was almost as if the author of this blog had the case of spastic “can't make up my mind” syndrome and just narrow it down or she was being paid a kickback to promote these websites and got greedy and/or carried away.

Just saying, 23 seems a bit overkill.

Secondly, or on another hand, or next – or whatever you prefer – just about any schmoo can write a blog . . . yours truly included. Doesn't make them any better a writer or better qualified to make my writing stronger. Just means they have the time to churn out a blog. (Kind of why my blogs tend to languish for a few days, or weeks or months between posts . . . time.) It makes me wonder how good they are at their job as copy editor, literary agent, self proclaimed author / expert in our business, if they have time to churn out the daily bit of advice. Which makes me think back on my ghostwriting gigs.

Hey, wait a minute, these posts probably AREN'T even written by these people of notoriety / experts in the field of what we do. These are probably churned out by ghostwriters . . . people just like me who get paid to write up snazzy little advice pieces.

Kind of leads me back to what I said about writing making my writing stronger. Maybe if we all wrote advice blogs we could make ourselves stronger writers.

Sort of connected to the previous point. Next, I have to wonder who they really are. Sure, you can say you're with a literary agency, but what do you do there? Are you the senior level “pick the next King or Hawthorne talent scout” or are you the mail clerk? I mean, a Senior Advanced Sanitation Engineer is simply the janitor, right? What is in a title? Hell, I'm the CEO of my company. Granted I am also every other title in my company because I am the only employee in my company. But does that make me any less the CEO? Although I don't think Trump, a fellow CEO, is going to take my calls any time soon, do you?

Now if you go with my favorite tome of advice / inspiration that could make your writing stronger, On Writing: A Memoir of the Craft by Stephen King, then you have something. Not only is it by a recognized “expert” in our business, but it was thought to have enough good information for a publisher to fork out the money to print it. Anyone can write a blog, but to invest cash into soemthing in the belief it will give you a return on your investment . . . well that's lending it a bit more credence.

Don't get me wrong, there's lots of tripe out there that has been published. But its not like you have to slog through the KaJillion websites that proclaim how great they are to make your writing stronger.

So here is my own bit of advice. I don't say its groundbreaking, I don't say it will help make your writing stronger or get you published. I am not even claiming to be an expert in this at all. But for me it has always been a common sense approach.

In order to make your writing stronger, you need to read and you need to write. And when I say read, I don't mean “how to” pieces. I mean read what you write. If your into horror, read King or Maberry or Strieber or Gaiman. If you write non-fiction history, then read Morris or Chernow or Pietrusza. Even in college writing courses, the only “how to” things you read are the text books (hmmmm, something someone invested money into actually printing). But when it comes to making your writing stronger, they have you actually read and write.

I know this seems a bias toward print over digital, but it really does come down to the almighty dollar – which may seem ironic coming from someone who has been mostly published online during my thirty some years writing. Digital may be the wave of the future and holding a solid book in your hand where you have to physically turn the page may be a thing of the past. But it sure does lend a great deal of credence in my mind that someone was willing to shell out hard earned cash to print a book up versus the free and easy digital publication of a website.

That's my two cents and you can certainly take it for what its worth. (Considering it is being published digitally, that may not really be worth much to anyone, but hey, what the heck.)

Have yourself a very great day.


Saturday, April 6, 2013


I love words.

I love to write.

Anything. Fiction, non-fiction, songs . . . anything.

And I love to read.

Anything else you need or want to know about me, you can find in my writing.

I have another blog, some books, online and in-print articles. But they don't matter here.

In A Less Cluttered Life I want to explore life in general, my life in specific, words, writing . . . all the things that John Lennon was talking about when he said "Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans." Well, I'm done 'making other plans.' I want to explore life. All of it. Within and without. And hopefully, I can answer Bob Marley's question of am I satisfied with a "yes." Or at least with an "I think so."

From here on out, it may be funny, sad, informative, startling . . . i don't know. And thats the fun of it.

So thank you for joining me on this journey, this forward moving exploration of life.

Have a great day.