Posts Tagged ‘postaweek’

Feed your head.

Follow the breadcrumb trail left for you by other writers.

Write down their names — who led you to who.

Kafka > Carver > Murakami > Mitchell etc.

Trace as far back and forwards as you can.

Read your way from one writer to another.

Branch out in any direction.

How far down the rabbit hole can you go?


Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingQuiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking by Susan Cain

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For a book that’s about introverts, by an introvert and for introverts, it sure does go on about extroverts.

As an introvert, I wanted to read a book about how introverts can survive in an extrovert world. But more than half the book is given over to explaining why extroverts are favoured in school, business, sport, mating, society and the world at large.

The scientific research is interesting but intermixed with the most baffling claptrap that seems to be symptomatic of ‘turns out’ journalism. The book opens with Rosa Parks and closes with Charlie Brown.

Much of it read like it had come from the same cookie-cutter mould as any number of American self-help books. I even started to check off the usual suspects in my head.

For example let’s:

  • Address the audience as America, talk about America as if it’s the world and America is the sole subject of the book. Because we Americans as Americans must America, America, America.

  • Cite Rosa Parks’ refusal to give up her seat on a bus as the bravery of one person acting alone (Rosa Parks was a remarkable woman but this version of events is wildly historically inaccurate)

  • Quip that the apple wouldn’t have fallen on Isaac Newton’s head, if he wasn’t an introvert, as he wouldn’t have been sitting under the tree (this story is apocryphal and the apple incident never happened)

  • Talk about characters from the bible as though they’re actual historical figures

  • Use unscientific case studies and composite examples of ‘real people’ as universal proof

  • Throw in anecdotes about American presidents, business men and celebrities

  • Use the phrase ‘It turns out’ repeatedly to introduce whatever whacky notions we’ve decided to assert

Maybe I’m just sick to the back-teeth of reading American self-help books. But the further into the book I got the more my heart sank as I realised it contained little of practical use to introverts.

There’s a chapter on how to raise introverted kids, and a lot of lip-service paid to the unique qualities of introverts, but very few survival strategies and almost no advice on how to make the best use of your introverted nature.

There’s nothing wrong with being an introvert and introverts shouldn’t have to pretend to be more like extroverts to get on in the world.

This book is important insofar as it gets people talking about introversion at all. But if you’re an introvert it’s probably of more use to the extrovert in your life than to you — unless you beat them over the head with it to get them to be quiet whilst you read.

View all my reviews

If you don’t know what to write, think about what you love and hate in fiction. Be honest, what you really love – then that is a rough guide to what you veer towards. Also look at your morning pages, what form they take, what you are naturally inclined towards. You will be naturally inclined towards certain things, attracted by certain types of stories. That doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t experiment and try other things, do so by all means, but come back to what you are naturally inclined to write and try that whenever you get stuck or lose your way.

Think about it. We are always told that time is money. But time is the only thing that once you have spent it, you can’t make more of. So be conscious of how you spend time, and check that you are spending as much as you can on your writing.

Write down everything that you do that doesn’t involve writing. Discard everything that’s irrelevant. Sometimes it means making tough decisions, ones you don’t want to make. But you have to. Too many writers complain that they don’t have time to write, but spend hours every day watching television.

On the other hand, most things will be indifferent. Things you cannot change, but that neither move you towards or away from your goal. Change that – align them so that they move you towards your goal. Or at the very least exploit the opportunities that they offer you for your writing.

You might not be able to change jobs or stop going to school, but you can at least write about all the horrible people there and use them as the basis for characters in your stories. You might have a headache or be really ill. Take notes.

Whatever your experience in life, it is your life. Things happen in your life that you won’t find reported on the news. “If a tree falls over in the woods and no-one was there to write a press release about it: it didn’t happen!” So what about you, who writes from your perspective? Who tells your stories? You do. You’re the only one who can, and you’re the only one who will.

Here is the Triangle of Manifestation:

  1. What do you want?
  2. What is the opposite of what you want?
  3. When does what you want APPEAR to be its opposite?

Ask yourself Question 1 and then Question 2. Then ask as a riddle when does Answer 1 appear to be Answer 2.

Creation is the third point of the triangle. The answer sigilises and charges the desire and manifests it.

Finding the contradiction in the desire keeps focus on the desire tempered by reality.

The magickal objective can now manifest.

You can use this for magick, new year’s resolutions or to create plot-twists for stories.

Via Laurence Galian