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Showing posts from April, 2011

3 Ways Laundry is Like Writing

One of the biggest excuses writers have for not writing as much as they would like is lack of time. Sometimes, it is not an unheard of excuse. Most of us have jobs, families, significant others, pets, television, Facebook accounts, Twitter, eating, cooking, sewing on that button that fell off that sweater last year(etc...) to attend to. There are countless tricks we can play with ourselves to sneak by these obstacles and get to the writing table (I've written about some of them before), but sometimes those obstacles become too overwhelming to ignore.
This was the case for me last weekend. I KNEW I had writing to do, but I also had laundry to do; the laundry room was becoming a physical obstacle. Thanks to modern technology, this is a good chore to do while writing. The machine does the washing while I write, the buzzer gives me a chance to stretch while I move the load into (or out of) the dryer.
And, besides, it gave me this idea for a blog post.

3 Rules of Writing You Can Ignore (sort of)

I have made three rules of writing for myself that are absolutes: Never take advice. Never show or discuss a work in progress. Never answer a critic. --Raymond Chandler
Those of you who follow Excuse Editor on Facebook or Twitter know I love writing quotes. A daily dose of inspiration, humor, or education on the writing life can be just the jolt so-so writing needs to change it into pages filled with witty dialogue, creative conflict and compelling characters. Especially if the quote feels like the Truth. But what if it doesn't?
As a writing coach, I know that each writer needs to find her own truth. A writing prompt that leads to a full-blown novel outline for one may barely be enough to squeeze out a few words from another. Whether you are a new or seasoned writer, you are bombarded with different "rules" on writing all of the time. The key is to develop your own rules to writing, and to be ready to edit them if they aren't working for you.
So, what about Chandler…

When Pen and Paper Are Not Enough

Quick-E.E. Tip:

You should always have a notebook handy for those spontaneous fits of inspiration. After all, writing is not only what we do, it's how we remember things (it wasn't always this way, check out this article about someone training for the Memory Olympics). But when we get back to our work areas, we sometimes need more than dead trees and ink to keep us creating.

These posts take you beyond Word into other applications and software (free!) that help you manage your creative day. Thanks to Tony Eldridge for the compilations!

Excel: A Writer's Best Friend (Guest Post by Sylvia Rosen)

The class I disliked the most in high school was Introduction to Computing. Learning how to make spreadsheets, charts and graphs never appealed to me. I remember sitting in my sophomore class thinking, “I will never need to know how to use Excel.” At the age of 16, I already knew I wanted to be a writer, and I didn’t think using Excel formulas would bring me closer to my dream.
How incredibly wrong I was.
I stuck to my dream of becoming a writer; however, I quickly realized that I needed a tool to keep my writing assignments on track. Ironically, the tool that I turned to was Microsoft Excel.
Excel is a great program for writers to use for three reasons: motivation, tracking and record keeping.

10 Creativity Lessons from George Carlin (Part Three, Plus a Bonus Lesson!)

Today is the last installment of my literary journey through George Carlin's "Last Words". I expected to get a bit of insight into Carlin's life (I did) and a few laughs (yep!), but I never expected to get such inspiration about writing from this comedian's life story. You never know what will rev up the creative engines!
Some Last Words About "Last Words"
The Creative Well Doesn't Go Dry "The truth is, I can't run out of ideas--not as long as I keep getting new information and I can keep processing it." --George Carlin You have no choice but to keep filling up your creative well. It may not seem like this is the case, especially when you're struggling to get the words out from the deep recesses of your well, but the ideas are there. The problem is not running out of ideas, but nurturing the ideas that you do have. Allowing yourself to worry that what you are writing now is the last great idea you will ever have will paralyze you-- an…