What is writing?

 

J.P. Donleavy, an early literary hero of mine, was quoted in Playboy (May, 1979) as saying, “Writing is turning one’s worst moments into money.”

Would that this were so. Meanwhile, another spin on the essence of writing is going the rounds on Facebook:

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In other quarters, writers instead turn whiskey into piss and engage in binge writing in the intervals between their alchemical endeavors. (I encountered the expression “binge writing” listening to a Letterman interview Read more

The Muse wears black leather

Back before New Year’s, I posted a couple of blogs that meant to ease writers into the process of writing, rather than only talking about writing. I was subsequently sidetracked by the need to outline some flaws in the Scheme of Things, but now I’m back into this solipsistic writing workshop. But all we’ve discussed so far is only part of the story. Now I’m going to talk about The Muse Effect.

“Wherever do you find the discipline?” they ask. … Read more

Writerly occupational hazard: Premature thought

Today I present two gnomic items of writerly advice. Subsequent posts will expand upon them.

These are aimed first of all at myself, who knows better but, it seems, keeps forgetting. In fact, in drafting this second of a series of futuristic novels, the sequel to Syn, I’ve been committing these most basic of errors.

 

1. Don’t think. Write.

2. Don’t wait till you know what your story is before you start writing it.

3. Try to be … Read more

New you’s: Modular commodification

 

I am Nikon. I am my iPhone. I am a chimera, a mongrel composite of my Levis, my Dockers, my Tilly hat, my Bush Country SUV.

I am whoever I choose to be. I am whatever. I am a staunch iconic mashup doing my part to keep the wheels of industry turning. I am my modular personality du jour compliments of the advertising industry and my own f***wittedness. Cool.

 

But it gets weirder than that. And maybe more … Read more

Occupational hazards: Add to the collection

I’ve suggested some typical hazards that writers face, aside from the traditional death from starvation, and more lurk here in my files. But the following wheeze is easier than writing one of these up just now.

I’m supplying links to those that have gone before, and invite ideas from you—“you” being that mythical creature, the real, live visitor to Collin’s blogsite—for other occupational hazards that afflict writers. Contributions from writers, writers-to-be, readers and the general public welcome.

1. Godwotterous writerly Read more

1) Godwotterous writerly brain syndrome 2) Blaming your tools, looking for magic programs

More writerly occupational hazards

Adopt a new writing program? Sure. Classic avoidance behavior, combined with the “let’s buy a new guitar because the old one doesn’t work” syndrome. Or was Scrivener something my writing project direly needed? Could this be the Rx for godwotterous writerly brain syndrome?

I’ve been thinking about the plasticity of the brain, and the notion that everyone from musicians to London taxi drivers grow relevant volumes of brain—in some cases, I’m going to imagine, … Read more

Some good things to do with an Internet addiction

The Joy of Quiet,” a story by Pico Iyer in the NY Times (29 Dec. 2011) resonates with something I proposed a week ago at a Christmas party.

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I’d been talking about plans to go away for a few weeks to finish a novel in draft. As usual, when such an idea is broached, people were quick to say things such as, “Hey, I know a great place on the coast down south” or “My uncle has … Read more

Writerly occupational hazards: Emotional opportunism & spiritual callousing

Two years after his death, Michael Jackson is back in the news, with his former doctor defending himself against charges of involuntary manslaughter. I’m not sure what emotions this case is arousing in the general public, but it has caused me to revisit my first reaction to the so-called King of Pop’s untimely passing.

“A long time after painting [his first wife] Camille on her deathbed, Monet confessed to his friend Georges Clemenceau about the pain or shock he felt

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Can the novel survive the demise of novelists?

The demise of the novel? This has been predicted again and again over the decades, if not the centuries, yet people keep reading novels. Here’s a recent vote of confidence in their persistence:

“The book-length text is coded in our DNA and will never go away; it is the written version of the oral myths and histories told on consecutive nights around campfires for 80,000 years. In each new generation, roughly the same percentage of people is born with

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Writerly occupational hazards: Plagiarism

Plagiarism has become more tempting and easier, perhaps, in this digital age. The danger of being found out may also be greater.

Here’s a copy of the letter I e-mailed a week ago to The Tribune, New Delhi (I’ve yet to hear from either the newspaper or the writer):

Dear Editors,

I must inform you that more than half of Uma Vasudeva’s review of C.Y. Gopinath’s The Books of Answers (The Tribune, New Delhi, 7 August 2011) 

Read more