On virtual homework and the reading of books

Dan Blank of We Grow Media

So here we are in week two of We Grow Media’s Build Your Author Platform course.

Week one was about developing focus, and I think I did pretty well.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago in my post about Michael Hyatt’s Life Plan document, I’ve done a lot of thinking about my life and what I want out of it.  It wasn’t difficult for me to put into words my plans for my creative life.

This week, it’s going to be a little more challenging.  I have to figure out my writerly identity and brand.  I know what I’ve said about myself on this blog and elsewhere, but this week’s assignment will have me digging deeper.

I have this morbid image floating about in my head …  See, a garden spade is pretty sharp, and I can imagine that digging into my tender heart and mind being a bit painful.

One benefit is that my name is pretty unique, and since I’ve bought my domain and all my SoMe is in my name, my blog, Twitter, Facebook account, LinkedIn account, etc. appear at the top of the results in most search engines.  And if my blog isn’t up there, then one of my poetry books, NEOVerse is.  So that’s a win.

I’ll have to let you know how the branding exercises go.  I’m not a tooter of my own horn.  It makes me squirm, actually.  Hence the painfully-sharp-spade-phobia.

On introversion

I’m an introvert, though I work in an industry that has me putting myself “out there” as a trainer.  My friend, Brainy (pseudonym) had this to say about introversion on her blog this week:

Other people in my work environment likely see me as fairly extroverted because I am very outspoken and I address individuals and groups quite confidently when sharing the expertise that I have accumulated in recent years.  I do a lot of online coaching and desktop sharing with collaborative technology but it’s usually one-on-one now.  I can only sustain the energy required for the group stuff once in awhile and with considerable advance preparation.

I can relate.

She also recommends Susan Cain’s Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can’t Stop Talking.  It’s on my reading list.

What else I’ve been reading lately

Last month, I finished Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games.  I’d had the trilogy since last year when I saw the movie with a couple of friends who had both read the whole series and loved it.  More recently, I was urged to take the plunge for two more reasons: 1) my mom had just read the series and also loved it, and 2) Larry Brooks’s eleven-part analysis of the first book on his Storyfix blog (more on that in a moment).

I too, loved the book.  Having seen the movie, read Brooks’s analysis, and a few other reviews/articles on the novel, I was well aware of the plot and events of the novel.  But spoilers never spoil a book for me.  When I know the major plot points, I only enjoy the book more.  I read to improve my craft.

Collins’s prose is clean, her POV engaging, and her craft extraordinary.  Damned.  Good.  Book.

Mind you, I think I might be the last person on the face of the earth to read The Hunger Games 🙂

Brooks’s analysis of the book also lead me to read his: Story Engineering.  I did get a lot out of his book, but it was despite the author’s ethos.  Brooks comes on a little strong for my liking, and I truly resent having anyone shake a virtual finger at me.

For more of my thoughts on this writing craft book, please check out my review on Goodreads.

Ethos, for those who may not know, is the author’s personality as it comes through in print.

My undergrad was in rhetoric, so I’m pretty adept at reading past ethos.  It’s a good thing too, because Brooks does have some great information to share and I have already implemented some of his lessons.  I do get it.  I’m just not fond of how Brooks got his message out.

Currently, I’m reading Diana Gabaldon’s The Scottish Prisoner, which I’m enjoying quite a bit (though not as much as the main novels in the Outlander series), and A Medieval Miscellany.

Will let you know how all of that goes.

Right now, Writerly Goodness needs a wee bit of rest.  A new work-day awaits!  Egad …

7 thoughts on “On virtual homework and the reading of books

  1. thank you for writing this, i always learn something from your posts, i find though that i am afraid to read any help books on writing; i am afraid it would change the way or style of my writing, i am so new to this though i am probably wrong, its just i never read any help books i just sit down and type out exactly whats in my head, i am rubbish at promotion too 🙂 thank you for this post though i do appreciate your help and advice have a great evening xx


    • Thanks for stopping by Kizzy 🙂 Everyone has their own approach. I tend to think that the act of writing is the best teacher. Plus practice helps to instil confidence. Trust your process. I’m just the keener type, you know, the dreaded apple-polisher 😛 Have a great evening!


  2. Well, there is so much to be grateful for in this post. First, thank you so much for sharing your process regarding your current course, Build Your Author Platform. Since I virtually ‘know’ you through the MNINB April Platform Challenge, I know that you are no stranger to this whole SoMe world. You’ve given it some thought and practice. Your process helps me redefine my own. Mahalo.

    I too am an introvert. This is probably why I am getting so excited by the folks I am currently in company with. I believe that most of us are introverts (not talking about the world in general which is distinctly extroverted, but my current orbit of contacts…mostly introverted writerly types). Aside from sharing a need to recharge in solitude, I detect more similarities in thought patterns and world views. I’m still letting my eyes get accustom to this paradigm. So Quiet seems to be on my reading list.

    No you aren’t the last person to read Hunger Games. That would be me. I would have read it already if my girls were still young. They’ve read it. But i always wait a while before I read something wildly popular. I put it on my wish list and let it age a bit. And there it sits for now.

    I love reading craft books. But I love reading stories from a wide variety of authors even better. I like reading beginner’s works especially. I grew up on classics and the canon because my mother taught English and had a distrust for works that were less than 50 years old. Librarians slipped me a wider range of material. Librarians like many a nun I have come to know have a radical side that speaks to me…rather like Dickinson in her garden, don’t mistake them for primroses.

    I can’t wait to hear more of your author (hero)’s journey.


    • Lara! Thank you! I think I’m blushing 🙂 It’s wonderful having such a supportive group in the Wordsmith Studio crowd.
      Enjoying your journey as well. Your stories of your family and your mystery writing family make me smile, sigh, and nod with understanding. Even though your experiences are vastly different, you have a way of inviting us in and effectively conveying the heart of the matter in such a way that we feel we can so relate.
      Thank you for being so open and gracious with your experience.


      • Now it’s my turn to blush!

        The best storytellers in my life were my relations that never made it past the third grade. But it was those same folks that told me that education was the most important thing. I hope to be as entertaining, enlightening, and empowering as they were. Some goals you aim for knowing that you’ll never quite reach them. And that is okay. Just keep going. 🙂


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