Liked Wired for Story? 3 articles about brain science and creativity

I already blogged about the delightful Wired for Story. Recently, I read some other articles about what neuropsychology tells us about writing. I thought I’d share the links to 3 of them with my audience members today.

1) Why do writers while away hours in a cafe?

From Psychology Today: We’ve all heard the jokes about writers hanging out in cafes. (For the comic representation of this trope, see Bo’s Cafe Life.) Does lingering in coffee shops really promote creativity? Continue reading

When you’re sorta on vacation…and sorta not

So, I’ve got a couple kids home with me this week, and two more will be home starting next week. I’ve been spending a lot of time with them doing all sorts of fun stuff — hiking, museum-hopping, long walks — and it’s nice to be doing things other than gazing into my computer screen.

Just when I’d cut back on my writing, the war in Israel started, and my brain’s been feeling a little overloaded by all the bad news. I kept feeling horrified by all the reports, and yet unable to pull myself away from a screen.

Everything in my head feels jumbled up at the moment. Writing has gotten hard for me lately in a way I’m not used to. I’m having problems getting the words to flow. It’s like my brain needs to detox.

This week, I’ve had to leave the computer behind for long stretches, and it will remain that way until September. The only work I will be doing is the most essential, mainly writing episodes of my serial and preparing rewrites requested by editors for already accepted pieces. I’m hoping the little break will help me snap back to normal.

When school resumes in the fall, I’m expecting to work almost full-time, writing. It will be the first time I work full-time at anything other than being a wife and mom since my first child was born. I feel like I need to rest in the coming weeks before this new phase of my life starts.

I’m hoping to spend a lot of time in the great outdoors, getting exercise, absorbing smells and scenery and sounds. I’m hoping to enjoy my family, just enjoy them, their company and special-ness. It’s like my creativity needs fuel, and the tank needs to be topped off.

I wish I could stop writing altogether for the rest of the summer, but with the serial looming over me, that’s going to be impossible. So, this vacation isn’t really a vacation. But at least it’s something.

 

And in other publishing news…

I sent a post to Kveller for their Raising Kvell blog, and they published it this week. It’s totally the opposite end of the spectrum from this week’s Tablet piece:

  • non-controversial topic,
  • short,
  • I wrote it and it was published in a week, without the several months of editing required by the other piece.

It’s light and fun, but also meaningful. Check it out. You know, if you wanna…

The new Tablet story my editor is afraid I’m going to get hate mail for

My newest piece is up on Tablet. When I submitted the pitch several months ago to the Life and Religion editor, Wayne Hoffman, he cautioned me: do you really want to do this?

The topic of the essay is a controversial one in the Jewish community — women wearing Tefillin — and he was afraid I’d get a lot of trolls. And probably some genuine hate mail, to boot.

My original proposal was a much wider topic — the denigration of traditional feminine roles by many “feminists” in the Jewish community. I shot off the query letter in a fit of pique after yet another feminist looked down her nose at my lifestyle and basically told me I was so persecuted I didn’t know that I was persecuted.

The first draft was a mess: too big, too venting, too…too…everything.

I have to really give credit to the very special Mr. Hoffman, who asked the right questions and nudged me in the right direction until I could be proud of the resulting essay. We cut most of the first draft, and narrowed the topic considerably, then tried to focus on the positive aspects of the story.

Anyway, I hope you check the essay out and share and comment and all that.

Two writing-themed reads: Wired for Story and This is the Story of a Happy Marriage

Wired for Story by Lisa Cron

Neuropsychology might be a writer’s best friend.

I recently read two relatively new books about writing that I found very useful, and thought I’d share them with you.

Wired for Story

My best friend since college is, like me, a professional writer, although she specializes in a totally difference field. When she raved about the book Wired for Story, I immediately added it to my Goodreads list. It just took me a while to actually buckle down and read it. I’m glad I finally did. Continue reading

Writing conundrum: Leaving behind that outline without creating problems

So, I’m back to cranking out chapters of my serial this week, and this time, I hope to do it a little faster. The quicker I finish the serial, the easier it will be for me to focus on other projects, I think. Anyway, something is happening as I write that I think is worth mentioning, because I sincerely doubt that I’m the only writer to experience it.

In the beginning, there was an outline…

serial title imageIn order to secure my gig to write my current serial for Binah BeTween (“Glixman in a Fix”), I had to prepare an outline. Once that was approved (along with character profiles, the summary, and so on), I started writing. Generally, I write the serial episodes — I might have mentioned this before — in blocks of three, basing them on the outline. Because I’m working from an outline, with characters who are now well known to me, the writing goes relatively quickly. Then I revise the rough drafts once or twice and send them together in a batch to the editor.

Recalibrating

We’re now more than a third of the way in, and more and more often, I find that I’m diverging from the outline. Continue reading