Great Stuff for Writers, April 15, 2013

It’s Tax Day in America, which is anything but a holiday, with millions of people frantically trying to do what they could have done any time in the last 10 weeks, but then, who LIKES paying taxes? So this week we have one post on that very subject, plus pieces on blogging, storytelling, characterization, publishing, “tweetables,” and making time for writing. Enjoy!

CRAFT

I know for some people there never seems to be enough time to write, so adding one more writing task seems counterproductive if not impossible. But Dan Blank (@danblank) makes the case for 4 Ways Blogging Will Make You a Better Writer on DIY MFA. He argues that blogging (1) makes you publish, (2) focuses you on writing and getting read, (3) adds new ways to connect to readers, and (4) builds the habit of writing (I’d put that at #1, actually). Nothing really new here, but good reinforcement.

Lisa Cron (@lisacron) doesn’t have to ask, What is a Natural Storyteller? because she already knows. You do too. But she uses that question to make the distinction between what we do when we tell a story—verbally—and what we do when we write a story and why we too often let that distinction block us. Check out the four things we can learn from natural storytelling and the 12 questions you can ask yourself to become better at it.

Yes, David Corbett (@DavidCorbett_CA) does list what he considers to be The Five Cornerstones of Dramatic Characterization in his guest post on The Creative Penn—several times, in fact, and they’re good ones—but the part that jumped out at me was this statement: “Characterization requires a constant back-and-forth between the exterior events of the story and the inner life of the character.” It’s that back-and-forth that develops the character’s depth.

BUSINESS

Some of us (increasingly more, it seems) who have been fortunate enough to have been traditionally published are suddenly finding ourselves shut out. What to do? In Help! I’m Published and I Can’t Get Up!, James Scott Bell (@jamesscottbell) advises taking a step back and doing some self assessing: what kind of writer/publisher are you—he suggests four types, from “hands off” to “arms around”—and then that thing we’ve all heard before, but based on step 1: never give up.

Today being Tax Day in the U.S., it’s a bit of a surprise to see only one post on taxes. But Rachelle Gardner (@RachelleGardner) does provide some practical advice for writers in Taxes and Writers, with the important caveat that she’s not a CPA or a tax attorney. It can be hard to remember but having to pay taxes on your writing income is a good thing: it means you’re making money from your writing!

SOCIAL MEDIA

You may have noticed items popping up in blogs labeled “Tweetable” or “Click to tweet.” Wonder what that’s about? They’re called Tweetables and they’re a new way to get the best pieces of your latest post out into the Twitterverse right away. Jordyn Redwood (@JordynRedwood) provides a quick how-to and the link to clicktotweet.com to make it happen.

THE WRITING LIFE

It seems to me I’ve written about excerpts from Sage Cohen’s (@sagecohen) book The Productive Writer before, even on this topic: Make More Time for Your Writing. Nonetheless, this post from the Writer’s Digest There Are No Rules blog had one little piece that really jumped out at me. By way of several references, Cohen notes that the Chinese ideogram for “busy” is composed of two others: the one for heart and the one for killing. Hmmm.

If today’s tax day for you, how are you dealing with it?

Thanks for leaving a reply