Dear son, don’t let Robin Thicke be a lesson to you

What he said.

The Matt Walsh Blog

***Update, August 1: In response to the thousands of people who, after reading this entire post, decided to harp on one single phrase (“I’m no feminist”), I wrote this. If you want to know how I can say all the things I say here, yet still reject “feminism,” click the link and I’ll explain. Otherwise, carry on. Thanks for stopping by.

Our country dangles on the precipice of starting a third World War. We are on the verge of a completely unnecessary conflict where the United States will fight along side Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood. This, in another day and age, might earn the crown as the Most Controversial Story of the Week. But we’re in the year 2013, and this is America, so a young pop star’s dance moves on an MTV awards show have predictably overshadowed the prospect of global chaos and bloodshed. I wrote…

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Slow Writing – Or, When Did Writing Stop Being About Writing?

just-printed-1408010-mI couldn’t help but notice Terri Ponce’s blog today. Terri is burnt out and has decided to take an extended break from writing. I say good for her. As many of you know, I’ve been struggling with the latest “chick noir” novel. I definitely have a big problem with “been there, done that” thinking and this would be my third contemporary women’s fiction with romantic elements, so no wonder it’s seeming unexciting to me. But there’s more going on with the slow progress on The Monaco Mission.

Like Terri, I’m burnt out too. But not so much on writing. I thought I was burnt out on writing up until a couple of weeks ago, when I was reading an extended discussion on one of my online critique groups about pricing strategies for selling the most books at the iBookstore. That’s when I realized what’s really got me burnt out.

I’m not burnt out on writing, I’m burnt out on all the peripheral pressures – the well-meaning writing friends who post daily word counts and page counts on FB & Twitter; the constant discussion of sales figures; all the posts about pricing, advertising, and marketing strategies on various writing loops. I remember when most of the discussion on those loops was about plotting, dialogue, and comparisons of favorite writers and their styles. These days, it seems like hardly anyone in the writing world talks about actual writing anymore. Writing is just “content” to be generated as rapidly as possible, posted for quick consumption, and then instantly forgotten.

Add to that the new paradigm that says we have to churn out two or three or more books per year in order to get any significant income at all from all these $1.99 books we’re producing. Hence the increasing pressure to produce so many words or pages a day, and the suggestion that you’re a slacker if you don’t.  All this can really kill your enthusiasm for writing.

But I think it’s the brave new world of publishing that’s the real issue, not the actual writing. After about a year of feeling too burnt out to write, I’m just now learning to separate what I now call “Publishing Burn Out” from my feelings about actual writing. And what I’ve remembered is that before I was published, I wasn’t thinking at all about daily word or page counts – I was just thinking about a story I wanted to tell. Sometimes I didn’t write A WORD all day, sometimes I would spend the day cutting pictures out of a magazine to represent characters or story settings. But that was part of telling the story too. Unfortunately, creative exercises like that tend to go by the wayside if all you’re thinking about is speed. And along with them goes all the fun, too.

I applaud Terri’s decision to take an extended break and slow down. I think creative writing should be just that — creative. And if that means slowing down in order to actually think about what you’re writing, so be it.

Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing

So I was going to write a blog about writing today, but I was busy writing. And then when I checked Pinterest this evening, I found that a friend had posted a link to this. Perfect.

English writer Neil Gaiman. Taken at the 2007 ...

Breathing Fiction

Neil Gaiman is without a doubt one of the most imaginative writers on the market today, so when he comes out with writing rules, you want to do exactly as he says.  I love that his suggestions are not really “secrets”, but rather no-nonsense approaches to writing, with the first rule being to sit down and do it.

Check out all of Neil Gaiman’s Eight Rules for Writing below, then tell us your favorite one:

Neil Gaiman 8 Rules for Writing

And to make it easy, the rules in text format:

  1. Write
  2. Put one word after another. Find the right word, put it down.
  3. Finish what you’re writing. Whatever you have to do to finish it, finish it.
  4. Put it aside. Read it pretending you’ve never read it before. Show it to friends whose opinion you respect and who like the kind of thing that this is.
  5. Remember: when people tell you something’s wrong or…

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Book in a Minute: Amy Falls Down

Amy Falls Down: A NovelAmy Falls Down: A Novel by Jincy Willett

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Curmudgeonly heroine Amy Gallup returns in Amy Falls Down , the delightful new book from her real-life alter ego, Jincy Willett.

Amy was a literary sensation in her youth, and now gets along by teaching writing classes at the local community college and online. In a previous book, Amy and her class dealt with a murderer in their midst. There’s no mystery in the new book, but in its place, there’s some brilliant, biting insight into the “instant celebrity” phenomenon of modern society.

After a bad fall in her garden, a mildly concussed Amy gives an interview to a worshipful admirer who works for the local newspaper. The barely coherent article gets circulated around the Internet and voila! Amy, who hasn’t written a book in decades, is suddenly hailed as a contemporary philosopher and becomes a literary sensation again. She becomes a regular on NPR, speaks at assorted writers’ conferences, and even makes a triumphant appearance on a Rush Limbaugh-like talk radio show. Along the way, Amy rediscovers her love for the written word, works through the lingering grief over the death of her first husband, and ultimately winds up playing second fiddle to an adorable and heroic basset hound named Alphonse.

Amy Falls Down is uproariously funny in places and it moved me to tears in others. Jincy Willett uses an ostensibly funny, lightweight story to sneak in some major truths about pop culture, the writing business, and life as a woman of a “certain age.”

I loved it. Go read it now.

View all my reviews