Motherfuckitude, speed reading, and writing top 10s

Happy Sunday, world! It’s been 10 days since I last spoke with you. Absolutely scandalous. In these last two weeks I’ve been busy wrapping up my projects at work because my co-op term is ending—also working on my own final project for the semester. Busy, busy, busy, with scraps of socializing here and there and racing to finish library books by the due date. You know how thrilling life can be.

So today I’ll just do a simple Weekend Wrap-up. Have a lovely Sunday! The weather’s getting warmer and the skies are getting drier, so go out there and kick a goddamn ball. Or just read a book.

I’ll have a real, original post coming up this week on Sucking Less And Winning More. It’s, y’know, unconventional life advice and shit.

Lists of writing things

  1. Top 10 quotes on first drafts. “I hate first drafts, and it never gets easier. People always wonder what kind of superhero power they’d like to have. I want the ability for someone to just open up my brain and take out the entire first draft and lay it down in front of me, so I can just focus on the second, third and fourth drafts.” —Judy Blume
  2. 6 John Green quotes in nice pretty gifs. Because we all need a pick-me-up from good ol’ Mr. Green on a Sunday afternoon.
  3. 11 writing tips to remind us that, for example, “[p]ublication is not the only definition of success. Count the small victories, too: solving a difficult plot, writing daily for a month, completing your first novel, entering that contest.”

List of literature things

  1. Why copyright extremism will kill creativity as we know it. Something I’d like the music, TV, film, and publishing industry to read.
  2. Modern literature’s greatest anti-heroes and unreliable narrators. We all love the bad boys and the badass bitches.
  3. Writing advice: The Art of Motherfuckitude. Title says all.

Because it’s exam season

  1. How to speed read, and
  2. Why you shouldn’t speed read literature. Sorry English students.
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Weekend Wrap-up: write short stories, don’t be a book snob, and more

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Had a “Hipster Creativity Day Off” retreat on Saturday and…yes! Wrote in a cafe! I actually rarely do this and I felt more like a method actor anything but the coffee tasted nice at least. Plus they were playing non-stop Led Zep which is always a plus.

Hoping everyone has had a pleasant week! I’ve realized I haven’t done a Weekend Wrap-up in a while, so I hurriedly dug stuff out of the Internet on a Friday lunch break…and it’s actually some of the most interesting links I’ve found. Huh.

Here are my findings for the week.

On writing

  • A tongue-in-cheek little fiction piece on the absurdity of BEING POSITIVE! 😀 (I find it funny I got linked to this on International Happiness Day.)
  • I Have A Tote Bag About How Much I Love Books. Because “food co-ops,” “public radio,” and “theater repertory companies” aren’t good enough. Another gem from the McSweeney’s machine. (And yes, it’s satire).
  • What does it mean to write what you know? No, it doesn’t mean fighter pilots can only write about fighter piloting and you – dear imaginative but liver-of-a-not-as-epic-world writer – can’t. “Writing what you know on the inside is another story,” says Pam.
  • Face it, we all hate short stories. And I was adamant on only writing them for the sake of passing a class, with grimace in my teeth, before reading this article (and the Bradbury quote it opens with). It brings up some very strong points. Maybe it is worth getting off your ass to write a short story, as painful as the little devils are.

On other stuff that happens on Earth

Weekend Wrap-up: finding Jesus in coffee, social media tips, and really awesome archery

How was your week? Mine was tiring, for some odd reason. Lots of sleep but still feel sleepy kind of tired. However, I finally got around to paying my library fines and actually got handed a few lucky creativity splurges. I think the splurges happened because I’ve been hanging around people who talk about writing, which motivates me to do what they’re doing. Because I’m human and humans are stupid herd animals…

So that’s my writing tip of the week, I guess: surround yourself with people who live, breathe, and talk writing.

Cool things I’d like to share this week:

1. For coffee lovers: the theology of coffee. How you can find God (or whatever deeper spiritual thing you’re looking for) through the warmth and scent of coffee. Because coffee is awesome and makes us feel awesome, of course!

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By Coffeegeek at en.wikipedia [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons

2. To the writers and poets of modern society, Thomas Merton on being an intellectual in a world of technology and an sort of “bystander” contemplative artist. A great introduction to the work and style of Thomas Merton by Jeremy D. Johnson of Reality Sandwich.

3. Christian Mihai on why social media isn’t just a magic marketing tool. How you have to offer people quality entertainment and information in exchange for their time. It’s all about giving! (And then you get to receive).

4. Quoth the Wordsmith on the ethics of writing promotional blog posts for others. When to do a review, when to refuse one, and how to navigate the greyish world of promotional posts.

5. Can you be pro-life and feminist? Chapter TK’s eye-opening post on how the pro-life movement, instead of shaming women for seeking abortions, can spin their approach to a pro-woman one.

6. This really cool post by The Real Zordan on “mind cameras”writing from a cinematic perspective. Writing from your own perspective, you and the reader might imagine your protagonist in slightly different ways. But if you write from a film perspective, and both of you kind of see your protagonist from the side, you and the reader may see something slightly more similar.

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By Holger.Ellgaard 14:19, 17 October 2007 (UTC) (egen bild) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

7. Jess at Gideon Press asks, “Does talking about it really help?” On controversial and difficult issues used as themes in young adult literature. Is it helpful to express these heavy subjects, even when it comes from a biased, unprofessional view?

8. For those of you who watch The 100: why sexuality matters and why it doesn’t (on how the show introduced its first queer character). For those of you who don’t watch the 100, boy have you been missing a lot. Not only is it an extreme nail-biter and candyland for teen dystopian fans, it portrays a futuristic, what I would call “perfect society” where racism, homophobia, and sexism (especially sexism) don’t exist because everyone’s too damn busy trying to survive. It’s a good feminism case study…and I’ll write a bigger post about this show’s phenomenon later.

9. And this amazing archer who uses ancient archery techniques that have long been forgotten. Because archery is cool.

Weekend Wrap-up: The Interview, blogging tips, creative habits and more

Lots of videos in this one. I wasn’t sure if I was going to get around to writing a Weekend Wrap-up this weekend, but hey, it’s Sunday morning and I got a happy cup of coffee. I’m happy enough to write one!

1. I watched The Interview. It’s now on Netflix! Of course, it’s not a particularly fine-tasting film, and being Seth Rogan piece, there’s a crude word in every phrase and sexual innuendos that aren’t really sexual innuendos. But it was worth the watch to see how it could have ticked off North Korea. And it wasn’t completely brainless. There’s a little bit of soul in it; just a little journalistic integrity.

2. What are your creative habits(Thanks to my friend Emily that showed me this one). Buzzfeed shares the creative habits of the most creative people in history. What are yours? I think it’s a good thing to think about, since our brain loves to build associations. If your brain associates, say, tortilla chips with salsa and guac with Writing Time, I think Writing Time may be a little more enjoyable. Try it.


3. Is TV writing the best job ever? A writer for Once Upon A Time says it is. Great read for aspiring TV writers (like myself!)

4. 19 ridiculously useful tips every blogger should know. Another tight little gem from Buzzfeed.

5. Neil Gaiman shares the easiest (and funniest) way to become a successful writer. “At midnight on the seventh day you must go to the highest place in your town (it is common to climb on roofs for this step) and, with the berry safely beneath your tongue, recite the whole of Fox in Socks.”

Weekend Wrap-up: Geysers of talent, Charlie Hebdo, and more

I hope everyone has had both a productive and recreational week, polishing off your newly-renewed optimism for the new year! I started the year off right, completely missing out on exercising and eating way too much ice cream. Well, at least I got started on turning my NaNoWriMo project into a screenplay. If you want proof I’m not a complete lazy ass, here’s proof!

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Turning prose into screenplay has been exciting and challenging. I have to admit – the particular way a screenplay looks makes me feel like a particularly cool brand of writer 8-| (no offense to all you wonderful prose writers, haha). But it’s not easy. There were many instances where I’ve had to scratch my head and think hmmm, how can I turn the gist of this character’s thought process into something the audience can actually see? More on screenwriting later…for now, it’s Weekend Wrap-up time!

I haven’t done one of these wrap-ups in a while, so I’ll be breaking the backlog of websites on my reading list over several weekends…please don’t mind me.

1. Get a kick out of authors criticizing each other. “No more Keats, I entreat: flay him alive; if some of you don’t I must skin him myself: there is no bearing the drivelling idiotism of the Mankin.” So said Lord Byron about John Keats. Read 34 more author-on-author hilarious (and ego-boosting…?) put-downs.

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Iceland: a land of geysers erupting with literary talent? Photo by Dieter Schweizer (Obersulm, Germany) (taken by author) CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

2. Why in Iceland, 1/10 people publish a book. Everyone loves reading and writing here, apparently, and “some even get a salary”!

3. English majors: hear, hear! Author Warren Adler militantly defends his choice to pursue a humanities degree in English. Some of us were meant to pursue our passions, even at the cost of a “pragmatic” career.

4. Giving New Years “intentions” a go instead of New Years “resolutions.” Why changing perspective on your goals just a little can help get things done.

5. What do strangers (really) think of you? I’ve always believed we judge ourselves more than other people judge us. This video (above) supports my claim. People stand in front of what they think is a mirror, describing how they feel about how they look, when little do they know strangers are on the other side of the mirror, making observations they wouldn’t expect.

6. Post-Charlie Hebdo, this writer condemns both the murderers and the xenophobic journalism of the victims. A compelling article with a catchy tl;dr: “Nobody should have been killed over those cartoons. Fuck those cartoons.”

7. Lastly, a big congratulations to my talented friend and fellow Creative Writing major Emily on her publication with Lemon Hound. Read her hilarious and adorable poem “How to fart in front of your boyfriend” – do it, do it!

10 ways you arrange your room to make yourself look interesting when you’re expecting company

Do you do weird, narcissistic things when you’re expecting people over, like organizing your room so that the person who lives in it (you) looks cooler? I know I do, and I’m sure you’re guilty of at least some of these things:

1. Arranging your bookshelf so that the “intellectual” books are the most visible.

2. Putting books everywhere, especially cool, eclectic, indie, pseudo-intellectual things like literary magazines (that you haven’t even read) so it looks like you read, like, a lot, and it’s all intellectual crap.

3. Putting up cool posters, showing your fashionable and tasteful musical alliances.

4. Putting up your own artwork, artwork you usually kick to the corner. But tonight’s the night you debut it. (Subtly, of course!)

5. Leaving your guitars in full view. Because guitars-in-the-room = cool person lives here. Duh.

6. Cameras, MacBook, tripods, cool stereo system, and all sorts of cool tech. To show you’re not just a book-reading nerd.

7. Arranging your vinyl collection so that the album you’re most proud of and know the most about is first, so people see it first, and ask you about it, and you can rant about the whole history of the album and why it’s amazing.

8. Leaving just a few select articles of clothing hanging in plain sight: your most expensive and fashionable threads.

9. Weird sculptures. Avant-garde little pieces of art. Vintage photographs. To further ram into the point that you are an interesting person who likes interesting things.

10. Pictures of your friends on the wall. So, you know, they feel loved as well. 🙂

What do you do to make your room reflect you (or a cooler version of you)?

Weekend Wrap-up: food, lots of poem stuff, and other stuff in between

Hope everyone has been enjoying a lovely weekend! I returned just a few hours before writing this post from a food crawl in the foodie side of town. In addition to choking on an impossibly spicy nitbit of some kind of freak pepper, in which half my face got numb as a result, I ate amazing stuff like this:

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I came home and promptly fell asleep for 3 hours on account of food coma. Now for this week’s cool Internet schtuff…

On writing

  • Liz Peterson shares her love of villanelles (and other poetry forms) in this refreshing post about old-fashioned, old-school poetic structures. Made me inspired to write villanelles again, which I haven’t done since high school English assignments!
  • A thoughtful essay on grief and reason. This is a longer read, and I haven’t finished my exploration of it either, but as someone who’s lost important people in my life as well, it’s an interesting take.
  • Continuing on the theme of death, a short but powerful poem on the subject. This one caught my eye because I, too, have written a poem titled “Open Casket.” Maybe I’ll share that someday. Maybe not.
  • Departing from morbidity…a post on who we are when we write. I think I’m a different person when I write for sure: more eloquent, more thoughtful, less goofy, more mature. (Whether or not that makes me more boring…is debatable). Perhaps I’ll write a response to the topic of this post at a later date.
  • What do you do in your spare time? A very good question posed by this post. And one that forces one to face the facts, especially if you’re a sitcom-addicted professional procrastinator like myself who theoretically has the time to do interesting stuff but opts for TV marathons instead. More (possibly relatable?) roadblocks here.
  • I’d also like to share work from my schoolmates. This is the literary journal of my university’s English department, and clearly it’s filled with very talented, creative, and artistic people! This story in particular was an enjoyable read.

On other stuff

  • On managing first impressions. This was a post that caught my eye because I do this too. Consciously and subconsciously, I alter the first impression I make on people. Like the author of this post, this is not an attempt to be fake, but it can lead to isolation. I’m a very private person, and I’m also very self-conscious. I like people to think I’m cooler than I really am. Until they find out I’m just as dorky as them.

Some photographs courtesy of the lovely members of UBC Food Society

Find inspiration by reading what you love

The past few days, I’ve been at a loss for inspiration. Internet distraction and my sudden resolution to watch Friends front to back kept robbing me of time to write, time to reflect, and time to play music. Thus, I’ve fallen into the trap of what I like to call “having no time to write,” which is really “procrastinating for ideas.”

When I finally turn every electrical light off and sit down to write, nothing comes to mind. I forcibly try to word-vomit myself, but it feels just like that – vomiting. You know that nauseating feeling when you’re not nauseated enough to vomit but you try to make yourself gag and vomit because getting the poison out seems to be the only way to feel better? Yeah, that’s what writing these days has felt like.

Last night, I finally got so sick vomiting wasn’t solving anything. So I slammed my notebook, put down my pen, and picked up some T.S. Eliot.

Kids, when in doubt: look to the masters. I love T.S. Eliot, but until last night, I’d forgotten why I love T.S. Eliot and why I love poetry. Now, in no way can I form coherent phrasing to adequately express what T.S. Eliot is trying to say; I just get him. The simplicity and musicality of his voice, in all its “divisions and precisions,” transport me to a world where I can taste and see and hear and get things. And get inspired.

Writing is a car and reading is the fuel. When your tank is low, consider stopping by a bookshelf for a quick refuel.

My inspiration tank is still low, but since reading a writer I admire, its condition has drastically improved.

More posts about creative writing >>>

Weekend Wrap-up: Writer Potential, F-words, Ebola scares, and the One Lovely Blog Award

Hoping everyone’s weekends are going swimmingly! Vancouver is literally going swimmingly…swimming in perpetual rainwater and eternal downpour, that is.

Now for cool stuff in and around the bowels of the Net this week:

On Writing

Jess at Gideon Press divulges the dangers of being a writer with big potential. A highly insightful post about going way over the top. “[G]ifted students will mull for hours and hours and use as many big words and describing words, and the like as they possibly can and convert it into a biiiiiiiiiiiig mush of really, really boring writing.”

Meinrhyme‘s three golden tips for writing in this clever (and reassuring) little poem.

Notmylastwords talks about the F-word and how to use is wisely and well in all our creative writing endeavors.

Although Leroy Milton’s topic of focus is fitness, his 1% Rule is very applicable to us writers, I believe. If you want to accomplish a huge project in a small amount of time, you’ll probably be disappointed very soon and your project may never get finished. Instead, aim for slow and steady (ie. get better by just 1% each week).

A cool look at successful writers and the sheds they sat in as they partook in their writerly ways. Photos of places Dylan Thomas, Philip Pullman, Roald Dahl, and others wrote in.

On Everything Else

This story about an incredibly brave fifteen year-old Yazidi girl who escaped slavery by Islamic State fighters.

Is anyone else now deathly pessimistic (and terrified) of Ebola? I know I am. However, perhaps even more depressing is the politics surrounding it. This “one powerful illustration shows exactly what’s wrong with how the West talks about Ebolawhile this story of the life of an Ebola survivor shows the struggle doesn’t end after recovery.

One Lovely Blog Award

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Thank you, WebbZephyr, for nominating me to receive the One Lovely Blog Award! The award has its own rules, but you can follow or read about Webb’s alternate terms here. Personally, I’d like to nominate all the bloggers I’ve already mentioned above, and add in Guisers, Far From Graded Work, Eclectic Alli, BumbleBooks, Seeds and Scribbles, and Creative Writing for Me. Congrats!

As per one of the rules of the award (list 7 things about yourself), here are 7 really boring, why-would-anyone-want-to-know things about myself:

1. My left pinky is longer than my right pinky. I like to attribute this to playing guitar, but since I didn’t start playing guitar until after I stopped growing, I highly doubt hours of devotional guitar practice (air-quotes) is the case…

2. I have an addiction. And when I don’t get my daily dose, I will succumb to debilitating migraines. What is this addiction, you ask? Well, I prefer it brewed in a dark roast with lots of cream and sugar 😉

3. I drink copious amounts of water. Consequently, I pee a lot.

4. Ringo Starr is my favourite Beatle.

5. Rubber Soul is my favourite Beatles album.

6. “Norwegian Wood” is my favourite song from Rubber Soul.

7. Yes, I am listening to Rubber Soul while writing this and decided to just list Rubber Soul facts because I’m seriously out of ideas.

Take care this week, everyone!

via breakfast with words | wake. eat. write. repeat..

Weekend Wrap-up: Waffles, Sexist YA Criticism, and Read Speed

Hey guys, hope you all had a wonderful week! For me, this week flew by a lot faster than the last one. I’m settling into my new job and the hours are going by faster. I also joined a gazillion school clubs and am looking forward to a whirlwind of social activities come Monday!

You’ve probably had a full week too. So sit back, prop up those aching feet, cuddle your latte, and let me share some of the reading I’ve done for this week’s weekend wrap-up.

Check out this restaurant review I did this week for my school club, Food Society. If you’re a Thunderbird, especially a hungry Thunderbird, you should DEFINITELY join our club! We’re a chill group of peeps with plenty of events and miniclubs. Go ahead: make friends in university! And we don’t discriminate. You just need a stomach!

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Find out why bubble waffles are the ultimate street food!

Ever looked at a book and wondered how much time you should budget for it? Well, some awesome genius has done the work for you! Here’s a breakdown of the world’s most beloved books and the time it takes for someone with average reading speed to finish them. Note: does not take into account the density of the novel.

Christian Mihai writes for the ideal reader. “Art requires a response. Any work of art can be synthesized as a question.” As writers we often forget that our words are meant to be read.

Find out why criticizing young adult fiction is actually sexism against young women. A well-written, erudite, but easily understandable article written by a grad student whose thesis was on the presence of tTrinitarian thought in the Harry Potter series.

#OITNB Writer Divorcing Husband, Says Show Made Her Realize She’s a Lesbian, is Dating Poussey. This has to be the craziest headline I’ve popped my eyes on in a long time! Oh, if you haven’t watched Orange Is The New Black (#OITNB)…wow, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN LIVING?! No. Like. Seriously. Best damn show this year.

Finally, a simple observation about humanity.