“Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a Frighteningly Good Writer”

Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Becoming a
Frighteningly Good Writer

This is an interesting post from Boost Blog Traffic. In a sort, it is a book review of Stephen King’s On Writing. The author of the post, Jon Morrow, takes King’s advice and spins it into advice to specifically target blog writing. The post and On Writing are both a great read for any and all types of writers.

 

Photo taken from Amazon.com

Photo taken from Amazon.com

“You can approach the act of writing with nervousness, excitement, hopefulness, or even despair–the sense that you can never completely put on the page what’s in your mind and heart. You can come to the act with your fists clenched and your eyes narrowed, ready to kick ass and take down names. You can come to it because you want a girl to marry you or because you want to change the world. Come to it any way but lightly. Let me say it again: you must not come lightly to the blank page.” -Stephen King in On Writing

Cameron Diaz’s The Body Book is a book every woman should embrace

The Body Book: The Law of Hunger, the Science of Strength, and Other Ways to Love Your Amazing Body by Cameron Diaz is a book everyone, women especially as the book targets them, should not only read but embrace.

Before The Body Book, I had read a “self-help” book of any kind since assigned The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens in high school, but even I can tell this book is completely unique. It doesn’t lay out rules or diets or exercise plans. It informs the reader of the miraculous ways the body works, and how what we eat (as well as what we think and our activity level) affects how we feel mentally and physically. It explains the biological process of digestion in a way the average jane can easily understand.

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The book is split into three sections; Nutrition, Fitness and Mental Health. Personally, I found the Nutrition section the most interesting because there is so much we don’t know about the foods we eat and the ways it affect our daily lives that I wanted to absorb every bit of it! All three sections were filled with well-researched information and intertwined with Diaz’s own healthy habits and suggestions that really make the ultimate goal seem reachable.

Going into this book with a neutral opinion about Cameron Diaz, I’ve come away with loads of respect for her. Her writing was unexpectedly smooth, informational and entertaining all at the same time. Her friendly, enthusiastic attitude is contagious throughout the entire book. It’s conversational and accepting, never making the reader feel inferior, a difficult thing to do when telling people how to improve themselves.

I read The Body Book in April of this year and I continue to think about the things it taught me on a regular basis. I have adapted some of Cameron’s healthy habits as my own and have a greater respect for my body and the miracle that it is. I am by no means the healthiest eater out there but I am much more aware of how individual foods affect my body and I strive to make healthy choice every day and there’s no doubt that I’ve improved. I have already recommended this book to a handful of friends and although the book clearly targets women, I encouraged my boyfriend to read it (but skip the part about the women’s reproduction system) and he loved it and learned a lot from it as well! Now I’m recommending it to YOU! This could be the first step in a healthier you!

Self-Reflection

The City by Dean Koontz

I am currently reading Dean Koontz’s latest novel, The City, and am absolutely loving it. I do not want it to end. The writing, the story, the characters, the magically dangerous mood, I love it all. If you’re looking for a great read, pick up The City.

Being able to put life’s undeniable, yet simple truths into a novel in a way that it does not sound like pretentious rambling is one of my ultimate goals as a writer. Here are a few quotes from The City that I feel do just that.

Photo taken from DeanKoontz.com

Photo taken from DeanKoontz.com

“After you have suffered great losses and known much pain, it is not cowardice to wish to live henceforth with minimum of suffering. And one form of heroism, about which few if any films will be made, is having the courage to live without bitterness when bitterness is justified, having the strength to persevere even when perseverance seems unlikely to be rewarded, having the resolution to find profound meaning in life when it seems the most meaningless.” pg. 134

“When you keep a secret from those closest to you, even with the best of motives, there is danger that you will create a smaller life within you main life. The first secret will spin off other secrets that also must be kept, complicated webs of evasion that grow into elaborate architectures of repressed truths and subterfuge, until you discover that you must live two narratives at once. Because deception requires both bold lies of omission, it stains the soul, muddies the conscience, blurs the vision, and puts you at risk of headlong descent into greater darkness.” pg. 141

“After all these years, I occasionally wonder how my life would have been different if in that fateful moment I had followed my first impulse and had run. But I suppose that what we call intuition is just one of the may ways that the still small voice in our souls speaks to us, if we will listen, and that inner companion wants only what is best for us. If I had run, no doubt what might have happened to me would have been far worse than what did happen,  my losses even greater than they had been, my story darker than the one I’ve lived. And yet I wonder.” pg. 175

Quotes About Reading from Writers

Searching for a semi-forgotten quote is one of the most tedious tasks I have encountered. Thankfully I’m not easily frustrated today. But while I was searching for that semi-forgotten reading quote, I stumbled upon many new, powerful quotes that I am happy to share with you, so I suppose something even more inspiring came out of that lingering quote (that I still haven’t been able to find so please read my ** at the end and help me out if you can!). Most of these quotes came from 40 Inspiring Quotes About Reading from Writers and a few stranglers from other places. Enjoy! 

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“Reading is the sole means by which we slip, involuntarily, often helplessly, into another’s skin, another’s voice, another’s soul.” — Joyce Carol Oates

“You should never read just for “enjoyment.” Read to make yourself smarter! Less judgmental. More apt to understand your friends’ insane behavior, or better yet, your own. Pick “hard books.” Ones you have to concentrate on while reading. And for god’s sake, don’t let me ever hear you say, “I can’t read fiction. I only have time for the truth.” Fiction is the truth, fool! Ever hear of “literature”? That means fiction, too, stupid.” — John Waters

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” — Lemony Snicket (aka Daniel Handler) I certainly don’t hold true to this quote but I find it intriguing because I really do carry my book (almost) everywhere I go and I feel that is a true rarity today. books

“Reading is everything. Reading makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something, learned something, become a better person. Reading makes me smarter. Reading gives me something to talk about later on. Reading is the unbelievably healthy way my attention deficit disorder medicates itself. Reading is escape, and the opposite of escape; it’s a way to make contact with reality after a day of making things up, and it’s a way of making contact with someone else’s imagination after a day that’s all too real. Reading is grist. Reading is bliss.” — Nora Ephron

“I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson  This is true for me and is one of the reasons I enjoy my blog so much. Even though I have only been writing book reviews since January, I already enjoy rifling through my archives and remembering what books I’ve already forgotten. 

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, or who had ever been alive.” — James Baldwin

“Many people, myself among them, feel better at the mere sight of a book.” ― Jane Smiley  As I am also one of these people, I always leave my book on top of my desk where I can easily look over at it and feel at home no matter where I may be.

“You don’t have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them.” ― Ray Bradbury

A good book has no ending. ― R.D. Cumming

 

**The quote I am searching for is along the lines of… “Some books are meant to be read, enjoyed and tossed aside without thinking too deeply about theme/writing ect.”   Please help me out if you have any ideas!! 

The Hunger Games Book Review

Hunger_gamesThis was my second time reading The Hunger Games. I normally don’t reread books because I enjoy having the fresh anticipation of new stories and new writing but The Hunger Games drew me in for a second time. I was surprised by how much I had forgotten about the book and the writing itself.

 

 

Things I Rediscovered about The Hunger Games book:

  1. Its written in present tense, a unique style in today’s literature. Before this, I don’t remember the last time I read a novel in present tense yet after only a few pages I failed to even notice it. It lends well to the quick, suspenseful plot. Like Katniss, the reader is living from moment to moment, without even a hint of what lies ahead.
  2. The flood of Young Adult themes in the book. Katniss is exploring love and sexuality for the first time. She is trying to figure out who she is compared to her family and dealing with the loss of a parent. She is having new experiences (though most are not the typical…) and she is starting to question authority. Bullying and “clicks” are even portrayed through the careers. These are all typical YA themes. I think the popularity of the series as well as the darkness of the movies made me forget that the story originally targeted youth. Katniss’s internal dialogue really exemplifies the confusion of a teenage girl, no matter what kind of world she’s living in.
  3. How oblivious Katniss is to Peeta’s and Gale’s love for her. The movie certainly doesn’t portray this as well as the book. The movie makes her seem more unconcerned with the boys’ love for her where the books really capture her confusion. 
  4. How fast-paced the novel is. The reader never has time to take a breath. From the first page to the last, we are hooked. New secrets are always being revealed, new dangers crop up as soon as old ones pass, and new mysteries always keep us wanting more. hunger games1
  5. Excellent cliff hangers at the end of every single chapter. I don’t think its possible for anyone to get bored while reading The Hunger GamesIts unbelievable writing and unbelievable editing. There is not a wasted line in the entire story. And the popularity of the book can attest to that. Tell me you haven’t heard someone say something along the lines of, “Oh yeah, I read The Hunger Games in a weekend/day.” That’s because there is never a good stopping point, especially at the chapter breaks! This is a lesson all writers, young and old, can learn from.

I think its pretty common to rediscover new things when re-reading books and because of that, I don’t think it’s a waste of time at all. There is a certain comfort about re-reading your favorite books or re-watching your favorite movies but that doesn’t mean that we can’t take something new away from an old story.

Have you re-read any of your old favorites lately? What did you rediscover? 

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The land of 10,000 lakes now has a floating library

You heard me right… its a floating library that drifts around one of Minnesota’s 10,000+ lakes. The librarian and creator of the Floating Library sits at the center, surrounded by unique art books for rent or purchase.

Thank you to the Star Tribune for sharing this story! Check out The land of 10,000 lakes now has a floating library here. 

All photo rights go to the Star Tribune.

All photo rights go to the Star Tribune.

My Writing Room Redesigned!

In my previous post 5 Things Every Writing Room Should Have, I promised I would share my redecorated writing room. I really wish I had taken “before” pictures so you can all see the total transformation but you’ll just have to take my word for it. Previously, the room had pale, faded yellow paint and hideous red carpet. It was outdated, claustrophobic and boring. Now it looks like this…

My Writing Room 1

I painted the walls with a two-tone roller with a dark green and light green paint. The two colors mix when placed on the wall, creating a wide variety of tones. The roller also has a unique texture that when used with the greens gives quite the leafy forest feel. I was pleased to find this beautiful wood floor under the red carpet. Together, the walls and floor create the perfect nature feel that I’m crazy about! 

I’m lucky enough to have room for this large bookshelf and a reading chair.

My Writing Room 4

One more bookshelf because you can never have enough…

My Writing Room 2

I purchased this quill sticker to place above my desk to add a little flair. (I love the entire room but this just might be my favorite part!) I’ve also started collecting books that are either really old or have unique spines/titles to place on an independent shelf next to this sticker. Although the collection is pretty minimal so far, you get the idea.

My Writing Room 3My Writing Room 5

 

So that’s my new writing room! I feel very lucky to have such an amazing space to chase my dreams and I think I truly captured all 5 of my requirements for a great writing room:

1. A Sense of Comfort

2. An Abundance of Writing Tools

3. Lots and lots of Books!

4. Resources and…

5. Something that Reminds me Why I Write

Check out the full list here!! 

 

Shake yourself out of a creative brain freeze by taking a walk

Sarah JS:

An excellent post! Sometimes we all just need a little fresh air!

Originally posted on onewildword:

I have a love/hate relationship with my computer. I love it for the way it connects me with people and makes it easier to do research and write. I hate it for how fried I am after sitting in front of it for hours at a time. And as much as I can accomplish with a computer, I find that sitting in front of it isn’t the best place to find those epiphanies that can change everything.

Some of my best ideas come when I’m taking a shower, going for a swim, driving my car,  and going for a walk. As it turns out, scientists have proven that people generate more creative ideas when they walk than when they sit.

Santa Clara professor of psychology Marily Oppezzo was the lead author on a study that measured creativity among participants based on if they were walking or sitting. Oppezzo and professor…

View original 212 more words

Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower; Book Review

Book Review: The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky. Published in 1999 by MTV Books/Pocket Books.

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One of my favorite book covers ever!

I’m varying from my typical structure for this book review because every time I think about or begin to write about The Perks of Being a Wallflower, there is one central point that I cannot get away from, Charlie. Charlie is the 15-year-old narrator of the story. The book is written in the form of letters, from Charlie to an unnamed “friend.” They are very casual and journal-like. The letters balance between accounting Charlie’s day-to-day life and mining the diamond-like thoughts he unearths before us.

Charlie writes his first letter the day before his first day of high school. He is a loner, a listener, an observer, a wallflower. His only friend committed suicide the year before and his brother, whom he was very close with, left home to attend college. He reads an obsessive amount of books, enjoys walking around his neighborhood alone, and cannot seem to stop the tornado of thoughts from swirling 24/7 inside his head.

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There are parts of Charlie that we all wish we could be
and parts that we all fear we are.

But through all that, I think the most important part about Charlie is this: there are parts of Charlie that we all wish we could be and parts that we all fear we are. He’s a thinker. He thinks about why he thinks things. He does not tunnel his thoughts; he lets them lead him. Because he thinks so much but rarely speaks, he uses writing to get the thoughts out of his head. That is where we, the readers, come in. 

The quote on the back of the book says Charlie is “caught between trying to live his life and trying to run from it” and I surrender to the fact that I could not have said it better myself. The books he obsessively read is a way for his to escape, especially from his own thoughts. Its not a mistake that Charlie doesn’t think deeply about the books because if he did, it wouldn’t be much of a mistake.

We don’t worry about Charlie being a reliable narrator
because his thoughts, his interpretations
are all we grow to care about.

This next quote from the book struck me so true, it still puts a smile on my face months after I’ve read the book. “I almost didn’t get an A in math, but then Mr. Calo told me to stop asking “why?” all the time and just follow the formulas. So, I did. I get perfect scores on all my tests. I just wish I knew what the formulas did. I honestly have no idea.” Being able to plug Charlie’s personality into something as boring and irrelative as math class proves how well Chbosky was in-tuned with his character. It’s brilliant. 

I connected with Charlie (as so many people have). I felt bad for him and I felt sad with him. Written in any other point of view, this book would not be so successful. We don’t worry about Charlie being a reliable narrator because his thoughts, his interpretations are all we grow to care about.

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“It’s a true fact!!! People who edit things no longer neeeded”

This article was passed around my Editing Team at work and we got two things out of it:

1) echoing laughter

2) a stronger sense of job security

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did! Here is the link! 

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