Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 15-21, 2018

Here are a few items to get your mental corn popping.

Cara Giaimo shares everything we know about birds that glow. Atlas Obscura

The Los Angeles Times editorial board says it’s time to phase out all single-use plastics.

David Costanza begs, can we please stop talking about generations as if they’re a thing? Slate

I didn’t know where to put this, really. Megan Senseney reviews the history of the spite house. Seems like an expensive way to get revenge to me. Urbo

Steven Silver offers an Apple crime roundup. Find out, among other things, how an Apple watch helped solve a murder. Writer fuel? You betcha! Apple Insider

Clive Irving lauds how veteran fighter pilot Tammy Jo Shults saved crippled Southwest flight 1380. The Daily Beast

Kyra Gaunt: how the jump rope got its rhythm. TED Talks

Artful science: Imogen Heap sings salt shapes.

 

And check out this beautiful moon Saturn occultation.

 

Inverse: Your Brain on Social Media. It’s not all bad …

 

Watch out, Grumpy Cat. Loki’s here to steal your throne. Vaiva Vareikaite for Bored Panda.

I hope you got some great ideas from this week’s batch of thought 🙂

Be well until next Tipsday!

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Join me at DIY MFA for my latest column

This time around, I’m delving into the possibilities for future space travel.

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While you’re there, check out Gabriela’s resources and courses, and the work of my fellow awesome columnists!

Until tomorrow, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 15-21, 2018

Looking for your informal writerly learnings? Why, they’re right here!

K.M. Weiland continues her ultimate first chapter checklist with part 2: writing the opening scene. Helping Writers Become Authors

Colleen M. Story wonders, is it unhealthy to be a workaholic writer? Writers in the Storm

Margie Lawson works her deep edit analysis magic on a bunch of descriptive passages. Not your mama’s character descriptions. Writers in the Storm

Laurie Schnebly Campbell helps you use the Myers-Brigg Type Indicator to create characters who drive each other crazy. Writers in the Storm

Lisa Cron explains how you keep writing when that critical, inner voice won’t shut up. Writers Helping Writers

Christina Delay dives deep with emotion on Writers Helping Writers.

Nathan Bransford wants you to know your rights as an author. Later in the week, he helps you find good comps for your novel.

Callie Oettinger reveals the secrets of the creative brain on Steve Pressfield’s blog.

Jami Gold takes a long, hard look at reader connections, fake personas, and catfishing. Oh, my! I mean, yikes! Later in the week, Becca Puglisi stops by to explain how to create a redeemable villain.

Following up on last week’s post, Chris Winkle helps you recognize bad and good storytelling advice. Then, Oren Ashkenazi explores six novels that struggle with multiple POVs. Mythcreants

Porter Anderson offers this provocation in publishing: attention spans are shorter and word counts are trending down. My favourite quote is from Tom Goodwin: “Book publishing is not in the ‘text industry.’ It’s not in the ‘reading industry.’ It’s in the ‘what do people want to spend their time doing? industry.’” Writer Unboxed

The Unbound Book fest is ripped for lack of inclusiveness and silencing a panelist last year. Olivia Garrett for the Missourian.

This oughta be fun: The Incredibles 2 trailer 🙂

 

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday!

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Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 8-14, 2018

Here are a few links to get your mental corn popping!

Alana Ketler: doctors explain how hiking changes our brains. Collective Evolution

Krista Langlois: why scientists are starting to care about cultures that talk to whales. Smithsonian Magazine

Patricia Emonds: these twins, one black and one white, will make you rethink race. I know NG has received a lot of “too little, too late” criticism about this issue, but the article is interesting. National Geographic

Watch NASA’s 4K tour of the moon. Goddard Observatory

 

And, because Jupiter, an infrared fly by of Jupiter’s north Pole. NASA

 

Florence + The Machine – Sky full of song.

 

I hope you have a grand Friday and a fabulous weekend.

Be well until next Tipsday!

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 8-14, 2018

You may notice that your informal writerly learnings are on the small side this week. The vagaries of the interwebz 🙂

K.M. Weiland begins a new series! Your ultimate first chapter checklist, part 1: hooking readers. Helping Writers Become Authors

Joanna Penn interviews Jane Friedman: the business of being a writer. Later in the week, Joanna shares three techniques to write better settings. The Creative Penn

Then, over on Jane’s blog, Jane Anne Staw explains how to make your writing anxiety disappear by thinking small.

Sacha Black tells you how not to mess up your book series. Writers Helping Writers

A.K. Perry delves into another of James Scott Bell’s story signposts—the care package. DIY MFA

Elisabeth Kauffman continues her ask the editor series: how do you end a book? DIY MFA

Kim Bullock offers a mental health checkup for writers: when you’re not okay. Writer Unboxed

Robin LaFevers mines her characters’ wounds. Writer Unboxed

Chris Winkle explains why storytelling advice is such a mess. Mythcreants

Philip Horne: Paul Theroux, Susie Boyt, and Amit Chaudhuri let us look inside their writers’ notebooks. The Guardian

And that was Tipsday for this week.

Be well until Thursday!

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Muse-inks: A decision and why I’m making it

I hinted on Thursday that I’ve made a decision about the blog, and if you’ve been reading, you might be able to predict what that decision is going to be.

*pauses for dramatic effect*

This will be my last Muse-inks/This writer’s life post for the foreseeable. I’m going to continue with my weekly curation posts and my monthly Next chapter updates, but otherwise, I’m only going to post if something of note is happening, like a DIY MFA column, reading, workshop, or other writerly event.

I’ll roll up the information I’ve been sharing on a weekly basis into my monthly updates.

I’m streamlining. I’m only going to post when I have something to say.

It’ll free up a little more time on the weekends and a few more words for my work-in-progress. It’s a first step in reclaiming my creative life.

Here’s the latest news in this writer’s life until my next monthly update.

In the last week, I’ve been able to write between 300 and 470 words a day. It feels good. I’m almost back to my 500-word-a-day goal.

Unfortunately, the weather up here in northeastern Ontario hasn’t been quite as cooperative. I’d mentioned, in posting a memory on Facebook, that the snow had almost melted. We could see grass! But, last Sunday afternoon, the latest storm blew through and we ended up with this:

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It basically looked like the memory, from four years ago, of a very snowy April day. This week, the grass is exposed in spots again, but, you guessed it, another storm is blowing up. We’re supposed to get between 30 and 50 cm of snow/ice over the next 48 hours. It’s sunny, at the moment, but the precipitation is supposed to start tonight.

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My other orchid has officially joined the bloom party 🙂

A Torvi tale: last week, I told you about the butt hackles 🙂 It turns out that laundry hanging on a line freaks Torvi out. Yes, the butt hackles rise, and she barks. Torvi, like her predecessor, Nuala, is not a barker. It’s so funny to see her out there, barking at the neighbour’s laundry, like, “That’s not supposed to be there! Hey! It’s moving! Did you see that? Look! Look!

We’ve reached the half-way point in our obedience class and, in the last couple of weeks, Torvi has been a star. In class. At home, things have improved, but she’s still having her hell-dog moments. Our house is a more pleasant place, these days.

We’ve been introduced to heeling with the meaty Rollover treat. I pinch a chunk between my left thumb and forefinger, keep my hand open, but slightly curved, and lead Torvi around, allowing her to nip at the treat. When we stop, the hand and treat are raised, and Torvi sits. She’s supposed to follow my pace and direction. We’re working on it.

We’re to practice off-leash in the house and switch to kibbles rather than treats for the basics (sit, down, sit up, stand, sit/stay, down/stay, stand/stay).

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Here’s Torvi in her Halti. She’s still getting used to it and tries to get out of it at every opportunity, but I will say again, the Halti transforms the walking experience. She doesn’t pull. She doesn’t lunge for people or dogs. I’d recommend it, or a Gentle Leader (a similar head collar) for everyone.

Between the Thunder Shirt and the anti-emetic, Torvi hasn’t vomited once. This past week, she basically laid down in the back seat and was quiet the whole way.

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Crash puppy dog on the yoga mat 🙂

Fare thee well! Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

Muse-inks

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, April 1-7, 2018

Another smallish Thoughty Thursday here to get your mental corn popping.

Jenna Birch uses the Myers-Briggs type inventory to examine what kind of friend you are. Man Repeller

Rebecca Beris reveals that silence is much more important to our brains than we think. Lifehack

Alex Beard: how babies learn and why robots can’t compete. The Guardian

Puffin beaks are fluorescent, and we had no idea (nor do we know why, really). Sarah Smellie for the CBC.

Ryan F. Mandelbaum breaks wind, er, news for Gizmodo: finally, there’s a book that can tell us which animals fart.

If you’re stressed at work … everyone needs a puppy in a drawer!

 

Guess what? Tomorrow’s Friday! Time to get your happy on 🙂

Be well until the weekend, when I have a blog-related decision to announce.

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Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 1-7, 2018

Were you looking for these? Your informal writerly learnings are here!

K.M. Weiland helps you decide between plain prose and beautiful prose. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jane Friedman returns to Writer Unboxed: a smarter author platform for the digital era of publishing.

Nathan Bransford offers a guide to social media for authors. Later in the week he offers tips on how to regain your concentration.

Emily Wenstrom explains how to use Twitter hashtags for writers. DIY MFA

Porter Anderson delves into author pay and publishing profits. And then, he looks at the success of Canada Reads as PBS announces a similar competition.

Valerie Francis joins Joanna Penn on The Creative Penn to discuss how to write a scene the Story Grid way.

Donald Maass takes a non-linear approach to middle scenes. Writer Unboxed

Sonja Yeorg is resurrecting a shelved manuscript. Writer Unboxed

Jo Eberhardt talks art and social change. It’s a ripping awesome post. Writer Unboxed

Tamar Sloan is deepening character complexity with the help of psychology. Writers Helping Writers

Angela Ackerman examines the destructive power of the lie your character believes. Writers Helping Writers

Jami Gold offers some suggestions to help you create a compelling, but quiet, black moment.

Heather Webb shares a writer’s lessons in failure. Writers in the Storm

Do the thing? Chuck Wendig offers a helpful (and hilarious) FAQ. Terribleminds

Kristen Lamb brings the LOLZ with her post on diagnosing the real writer.

Dheolos and Worldbuilding Magazine are creating a mountain setting. Mythcreants

Nina Munteanu explores how the women of The Expanse are changing our worldview.

Dan Koboldt is putting the science in your fiction. Writer’s Digest

And some writerly news from the north:

My friend and vice-president of the Sudbury Writers’ Guild Vera Constantineau is interviewed for The Northern Life about her new short story collection Daisy Chained.

Another friend and SWG member Rosanna Micelotta Battigelli announces pre-orders for her first novel, La Brigantessa, forthcoming from Inanna Publications this September.

And that was Tipsday.

Be well until Thoughty Thursday comes around to herald the weekend 🙂

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The next chapter: March 2018 update

Hey there, writerly peoples!

March appears to be the month when I got back on track with my writing. I didn’t write more days than I wrote at the beginning of the month, but that eventually changed. Toward the end of the month I wrote more days than I didn’t, but the days I didn’t write were the result of other commitments, namely Torvi’s obedience classes, the newsletter due date, and the necessary days juggling priorities before I could get back to the page.

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I adjusted my goals, given my limited progress in the first couple of months of this year. Still, with respect to my work on Playing with Fire, I fell short. Of my 5,000-word goal, I wrote 3,989 words, or 80% of my goal. Still, it’s close to four thousand words I didn’t have before. I’m pleased.

March was a long month and I estimated 7,400 words written on the blog … of which I only wrote 4,954, or 67%. As I’ve mentioned in the past, I’m okay with blogging less. It’s been a rough period for me, writing wise, and I’m happy that I can keep it up. Some of my friends have advised me to cut back on the blogging and it’s something I’m considering, but I haven’t committed to it yet, and I don’t know how it might look moving forward.

Once again, the newsletter was my overachiever. I wrote 5,113 words of my 4,000-word goal, or 128%. As I’ve mentioned in past posts, I want to move this commitment off my plate as well.

I anticipate that April will be another rough month. My most recent column for DIY MFA was unusually problematic and ended up being a little late. While I wrestled with that, PwF languished again.

I’m trying to get our tax information assembled, but Phil’s employer has announced a third T4 will be issued to correct errors in the other two. So that’s going to take some time away from the writing, too.

I have to compile all my writerly expenses and, this year, for the first time in a number of years, I have absolutely no income. In the past, even if I didn’t have any sales of short stories to declare, I had workshop or panel honoraria that filled in the gap. I’m almost ashamed to send in 2017’s information showing no income at all.

Things in other aspects of my life are sorting themselves out and this helps. Torvi is maturing and with the obedience classes, she’s showing progress. We have a way to go. She’s just six months old and experience tells me that it’ll be a year or two before she settles into the dog she’s destined to be.

Between the Thunder Shirt and the anti-emetic medication, car rides aren’t quite as fraught as they once were. I really hope she grows out of the car sickness. Because we live in an urban area, we have to drive just to give her a good, long walk at the conservation area or go to a dog park.

Funny Torvi fact: she has butt-hackles. It may be because she still wears a harness most of the time, but where most dogs would have hackles rise the length of their spines, Torvi’s hair only lifts on her butt. It’s adorable.

Phil’s work situation is slowly resolving itself and my day job is levelling out, so the household is happier in general, these days.

Finally, my health situation is also settling. My menstrual difficulties have decreased to the point that, if this is as good as it gets, I’m satisfied. The procedure was worth it and if I have to do it again, I will. Yay, ablation.

And that’s about it for this update.

Until the next time I blog, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories.

The Next Chapter

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, March 25-31, 2018

It’s time to get your mental corn popping 🙂

Ari Berman: Emma Gonzales is responsible for the loudest silence in the history of US social protest. Mother Jones

Zoë Beery hopes we all say goodbye to our happy plantation narrative. The Outline

Showwei Chu reports on how every bit of exercise counts in reducing the risk of early death. CBC

Colin Lecher explains what happens when an algorithm cuts your care. Automation is not always a good thing, especially when users don’t understand how it’s intended to work and don’t bother to check. The Verge

Samantha Paige on firsts. Shondaland

Karin Brulliard asks, are service dogs good therapy for military veterans suffering from PTSD? The Washington Post

Six signs of high-functioning depression (dysthymia) – Kati Morton

 

Your Brain on Sleep Deprivation – Inverse

 

I hope you found something inspiring or pertinent to a current project.

Be well until the weekend and my next chapter update for March.

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