Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, April 12-18, 2020

I hope everyone is staying safe and keeping well. Here’s your weekly dose of informal writerly learnings to help fill some of your time (I know you’re all doing what you can to keep yourselves occupied).

Helen J. Darling says that if you’re finding it hard to write, try keeping a pandemic journal. Sara Farmer considers fiction from Daphne du Maurier to Megan Abbott: the gothic horror of womanhood. Later in the week, Gabriela Pereira interviews Jeff Garvin about dismantling the stigma of mental illness. DIY MFA

Lori Freeland helps you understand point of view: P-O-What? Writers in the Storm

K.M. Weiland explains how to get some writing done: discipline vs. enthusiasm. Helping Writers Become Authors

Jim Dempsey offers a simple guide to symbolism in stories. Kathleen McCleary wants you to fuel your writing with feeling. Barbara Linn Probst shares five ways to light the spark of a novel. Writer Unboxed

Sacha Black wants you to breathe life into your prose with the sense of touch. Writers Helping Writers

Specificity and concrete language. Shaelin Writes

Susan DeFreitas shares part three of her developing a writing practice series: important.  Then, Mathina Calliope reveals the easy-to-fix tense problem that might be tripping up your readers. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold explains the difference between passive and active voice: was and not was. Later in the week, she wonders if pandemic anxiety is forcing everyone to count their spoons.

Chris Winkle breaks down act 3 of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Then, Oren Ashkenazi looks at six magic systems that need stricter limits. Mythcreants

Writing fight scenes. Hello, Future Me

Chuck Wendig writes about being broken in half but wanting to be whole. Terribleminds

Steve Toase confronts the default: portraying homelessness in fantasy and science fiction. Tor.com

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you take away something that will support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, stay safe and well, my writerly friends.

Tipsday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, March 29-April 4, 2020

As we all adjust to the new normal, some things offer continuity. Here are you informal writerly learnings for the week.

K.M. Weiland presents eight challenges (and solutions) to writing at home. Helping Writers Become Authors

Shaelin also offers her advice on how to balance writing and a remote job. Reedsy

Joanna Penn interviews Mark Leslie Lefebvre about getting your book into libraries and bookstores. The Creative Penn

Janice Hardy lists the pros and cons of studying writing craft. Later in the week, she poses five questions that will make your scenes stronger. Fiction University

Gabriela Pereira exposes an internet abomination. How the Internet Archive’s Open Library hurts readers, writers, and the whole publishing industry. Then, Abigail K. Perry wants you to use the Story Grid scene analysis template to read with purpose. DIY MFA

Matthew Norman shares confessions of a former anti-outliner. Donald Maass: the upside of anxiety. Cathy Yardley explains how to strike a balance between productivity and chaos. Writer Unboxed

Susan DeFreitas shows you how to develop a writing practice, part one: stepladders. Then, Lisa Cooper Ellison is writing from the bottom rung. Jane Friedman

Jami Gold considers whether to italicize character internalization. Then, she considers tenses: what is literary past tense?

Tim Hickson explores (and he really does) writing mental illness in video games. Hello, Future Me

Chris Winkle breaks down act one of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. It’s a fun web movie. Ideal for these times. Then, Oren Ashkenazi analyzes five contrived legal conflicts in speculative fiction. Mythcreants

Jonathan Bailey recounts the bizarre history of the copyright symbol. Plagiarism Today

Thank you for visiting. I hope you took away something to support your current work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well and stay safe, my friends!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Feb 2-8, 2020

Happy Friday eve! It’s time to get your mental corn popping to see you through to the weekend.

Philip Moscovitch believes that people with mental illness don’t need more talk. While this is a year old, the message bears repeating. Bell Let’s Talk days is great, but what about the other 364 days of the year? And what about actual change? The Globe and Mail

Jorge Barrera reports that the Robinson-Huron Treaty First Nations demand that Ottawa and Ontario cease land claim talks that affect their rights. CBC

Māori water rights case aims to stop water bottling. RNZ

Zöe Ettinger introduces us to 20 inspiring black women making history in 2020. Insider

Max Read presents five theories about conspiracy theories. Intelligencer

Why did the Vikings have “Allah” embroidered into their clothes? BBC

James Urquhart reveals how yarn made from human skin can be knit into your body. New Scientist

Mary Robinette Kowal: Christina Koch lands on Earth and crosses a threshold for women in space. The New York Times

Rebecca Hill introduces us to the outer space sailing captain. Ozy

Nadia Drake says, the sun is still a burning mystery, but that may be about to change. National Geographic

Are there infinite versions of you? (Mind bendy stuff) PBS Space time

Kristine Mitchell presents the Golden Ratio Colouring Book. My Modern Met

Mayukh Saha: photographer captures the beauty of looking up at trees. Truth Theory

Nina Pullano: first squid MRI study shows brain complexity similar to dogs. Inverse

Truly Mind visits Nepal, where an annual festival thanking dogs for being our friends takes place.

True facts about the skeleton shrimp. Ze Frank

Thank you for visiting, and I hope you’re taking away something to inspire your next creative project.

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

ThoughtyThursday2019

Tipsday: Writerly Goodness found on the interwebz, Oct 13-19, 2019

Another week, another batch of informal writerly learnings. Enjoy!

K.M. Weiland: this is how to transform infodumps into exciting plot reveals. Helping Writers Become Authors

Roz Morris considers what your readers will never notice (and what they will) … a brief point about reader belief and story logic. Nail Your Novel

Dave King talks gatekeepers. Kathleen McCleary: the books that get people talking. Tiffany Yates Martin explains how to train your editor brain. Writer Unboxed

Shaelin Bishop shares seven of her favourite writing tools.

Ethan Ellenberg gives authors the big picture on intellectual property. Jane Friedman

Angela Ackerman lays out the free and paid story feedback options for authors. Later in the week, Savannah Cordova from Reedsy visits: what can the best metaphors in literature teach us about writing? Writers Helping Writers

Abigail K. Perry looks at James Scott Bell’s signpost scene 12: the Q factor. Brenda Joyce Patterson takes a deep dive into novellas and novelettes. DIY MFA

Julie Glover give us more on plotting, pantsing, and personality type. Writers in the Storm

Jami Gold warns you to watch for redundancy in your story.

Jane Friedman reports on current trends in traditional book publishing.

Chris Winkle shares 18 ways for protagonists to contribute. Mythcreants

The complex problems with mental illness in fiction. *Please be aware that this video essay discusses suicide, self-harm, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and other mental health issues. While it’s very well done (in my opinion), the video offers no solutions. If you prefer not to watch, do not click through on this one.* Hello Future Me

Nina Munteanu considers science fiction on water justice and climate change.

Thanks for visiting! I hope you found something to help you progress with your work in progress.

Until Thursday, be well, my writerly friends!

Tipsday2019

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Oct 7-13, 2018

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

Steve LeVine shows us the state of current space exploration efforts worldwide: the new global race to space. Axios

SciShow Space News covers the potential discovery of the first exomoon and ice blades on Europa.

 

Diane Selkirk encounters North America’s nearly forgotten language. BBC

John Paul Brammer profiles eight LGBTQ+ and two-spirit Native Americans changing the world. them

Neri Oxman, working in MIT’s material ecology lab, has intrigued the likes of Björk and Brad Pitt. Penelope Green for The New York Times.

Samantha Nutt proposes the lessons women are asking men to learn. The Globe and Mail

SciShow takes a close, terrifying look at toxic shock syndrome.

 

I am mine. This is what Alzheimer’s looks like at 41. Shannon Proudfoot for McLean’s.

Jim C. Hines shares his thoughts on mental health awareness day (another post about depression).

Jenna Moreci does a special YouTube episode on mental illness, too (with bonus Cliff notes!)

 

Thanks for stopping by. I hope you found something you can use in your current creative project.

Until next Tipsday, be well, be kind, and stay strong. The world needs your stories!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, July 16-22, 2017

At this moment, I’m somewhere over the Atlantic (I hope) on my way to Hamburg via Reykjavik. And so , yes, this will be your last dose of thoughty for a few weeks.

The CBC takes a look at how the Phoenix debacle has affected Sudbury’s public servants.

Melanie Lefebvre: it’s not my job to teach you about Indigenous people. The Walrus

Yvette Brend explains how Indigenous fire wisdom is the key to megafire prevention. CBC

Willie Drye reports that Blackbeard’s ship is now confirmed to be off North Carolina’s coast. National Geographic

Tom Spender: teleportation of photons today, humans tomorrow? BBC

SciShow: CERN’s new particle and the oldest form of (animal) life.

 

Brenda Knowles offers some tips for coping with social anxiety and how to build resilience. Space2Live

Mark Brown: report reveals that the arts help in recovery from mental illness. The Guardian

Peter Dinklage – light up the night

 

Emily Reynolds reports on ravens and their theory of mind. Wired

Bored Panda lists 50 of the happiest dog memes ever.

I hope to be back on the blogging horse on the weekend of August 19 with a post about the Writing Excuses cruise.

Be well until my return.

thoughtythursday2016

Muse-Inks: Weird mood stuff

So here’s the (first) thing: I’m freaking out inside (about my upcoming trip), but I’m trying not to freak out. I’m so excited I can barely stand it, but … if I let either of those two particular cats out of their respective bags, I won’t be able to function.

And I have to function. I have to be able to work. I have to be able to write. I have to be able to do normal, day to day stuff like laundry. And I have to be able to organize my shit and pack for the trip. Which, of course, loops me back around to freaking out.

Can I tell you that all this restraint is exhausting (and not have y’all think that I’m a whiny baby)?

Anxiety is real.

I may appear calm. I may speak quietly. I may smile.

Meanwhile, my heart’s beating a hundred miles an hour, I feel like I’m having hot flashes (and I’m of the age when some of them may be legitimate), I’m dizzy and feel like I might faint, and sometimes my extremities go numb. All of these reactions are the result of adrenalin release. Though I’m not actually experiencing anything that justifies fight or flight, my anxiety triggers the hormone cascade.

It also messes up healthy sleep, which means I’m perpetually tired.

Most of my effort centres on remaining clam. If I can prevent the cascade from happening in the first place, I’m good. So at the day job, I’m laser-focused until breaks and lunch and then I dive into one of the several novels I have on the go and I immerse myself in words.

I avoid talking about the trip, because that, in itself, can be a trigger. I can’t be rude, though, and once the topic comes up, I try to focus on the practical, the logical, the real. I’m not always successful. And once my anxiety kicks up, I can only ride it out, go for a walk to burn off some of the nervous energy, or focus on my breathing until my hands stop shaking.

An anxiety attack passes. That doesn’t mean it’s not hell while it lasts.

So, yeah. That’s the first weird mood thing going on.

The second is introspective weirdness.

I’ve written before that I used to dream vividly when I was young. I had nightmares and night terrors, somnambulism, and somniloquy (talking in your sleep). I’ve had out of body experiences, near death experiences, and other experiences of the universe that would be considered uncanny.

I’ve delved into meditation of various stripes, wicca, and European shamanism.

From my mid-twenties into my mid-thirties, I was what I would call a seeker.

After all the reading and the research and the exploration, I ended up settling on the uncertain ground of the agnostic. My experience of the universe defied definition. I didn’t want to force-fit it into a category. I let it be what it is, tell me what it wanted to, and I’d respond accordingly.

The problem is, as I get older, I’ve heard, or felt, those universal nudges less and less. And I don’t know what the cause is.

Have I, like Susan Pevensie, outgrown my sense of wonder? Recent events have led me to believe that this is not the case. Am I close enough to where I need to be that I don’t need those universal nudges anymore? Possibly, but why do I feel so … lost, then? Have I shut down my intuitive side? Again, it’s possible, but how can I tell?

I’ve been working on the assumption that all of the uncanny stuff has channelled itself into my creativity. This part of my life continues to blossom, but it’s a flower in a private conservatory. What’s the point if no one gets to see it?

I guess that’s what everything comes down to. I know what it is I need to do, and I do it. I write. I study craft and literature and story of all kinds. My life revolves around that central principle, sometimes to an unhealthy extent.

To date, however, I haven’t been able to produce a lot of objective evidence of the work that I’ve done.

I know that the writing is its own intrinsic reward. I will still be writing for the rest of my life, regardless of what does, or does not happen. I just keep missing, or messing up, opportunities to get my words out there, or my efforts proceed without significant results.

They say that when the student is ready, the teacher will appear. The universe seems to be out of lessons. I need to find another way forward.

Maybe my big Baltic adventure will provide some answers.

In the meantime, I’m going to make the effort to remain open, to recognize a universal nudge if I get one, and to act on it accordingly.

There you have it: I suffer from mental illness (depression and anxiety), and I have an unorthodox view of the universe. Maybe one leads to the other? Or coaxes it along? Who’s to know? Unless the universe is interested in sharing … ?

I shall leave you on that ambiguous note.

This is my last weekend post until after Helsinki WorldCon.

I don’t know how active I’ll be on social media, though I’m sure I’ll be posting a scad of photos 🙂

As ever, 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, March 19-25, 2017

I hope something in this mess gets your mental corn popping 🙂

Pete Mohrbacher has been painting surrealist angels since 2004. I would plaster the house with his work if I could. Angelarium.

Lori Dorn shares a documentary about M.C. Escher. Laughing Squid

Joel Levy shares some vintage photographs of the Toronto Islands. Toronto Guardian

Teodora Zareva: Disney is fulfilling on of Nicola Tesla’s dreams. Big Think

Matt Simon covers the revelation of the crazy-tough water bear’s secret. Wired

Phil Plait reacquaints himself with an old friend that has a new mystery. Is it a planet, or a star? Blastr

Then, a three billion solar mass black hole rockets out of a galaxy at eight billion kilometres and hour. Blastr

Umir Abrar: the big bang isn’t the beginning of our universe—it’s the ending of something else. Physics-Astronomy

Gobblynne provides a great reminder and lovely interpretation of the two wolves mindfulness parable. Vimeo

Tom Jacobs thinks America needs a crash course in critical thinking. I think everyone, everywhere, could use a primer. Pacific Standard

Ever twist yourself into philosophical knots wondering about the nature of reality? That’s okay, Professor Donald H. Hoffman says it probably doesn’t matter because living in a constructed fantasy world is the thing that allows us to survive. Robby Berman for Big Think.

Tori Rodriguez reveals that negative emotions are key to your wellbeing. Scientific American

Lee Suckling lists twelve signs that you may be an extroverted introvert. Stuff

Vicki Hall reports on Clara Hughes’ continuing struggle with mental illness. The National Post

Brian Resnick: if you’re not a morning person, science says you never will be. Vox

Mayim Bialik: girl vs. woman and why language matters.

 

Jim Moodie covers how Shannon Agowissa and Lisa Osawamick are helping to keep Sudbury’s indigenous girls and women safe. The Sudbury Star

Jimmy Thomson reports on the development of new maps that will depict the pre-colonial “Turtle Island” Canada. I’m eager to see these. CBC

Gregory D. Smithers examines the enduring legacy of the Pocahontas myth. The Atlantic

A Medieval abbey trapped by tides and time. Great Big Story

 

I love dance. So you think you can dance is the only reality television I watch. So this hip hop routine by Kyle Hanagami for Ed Sheeran’s “The Shape of You” kind of blew me away.

 

And that was your thoughty for the week.

See you on the weekend for my next chapter update.

Be well until then.

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Dec 4-10, 2016

Time to get that mental corn a-poppin’!

Viola Desmond is chosen as the first Canadian woman on the ten dollar bill. CBC

Rossalyn Warren lists seventeen badass women that made a difference in 2016. Buzzfeed

Brene Brown on the importance of boundaries:

 

Recent grads share their college experiences on NPR.

David Amsden tells the tale of the gridiron gangster: how a vigilante gambler took down an alleged crime boss. Rolling Stone

Prince EA: Everybody dies, but not everybody lives.

 

David Szondy reports on how diamonds can turn nuclear waste into nuclear batteries. New Atlas

Nicola Davis reports on the feathered dinosaur tail preserved in amber and what it’s taught us about evolution. The Guardian

Erin Ross: pets help people manage the pain of serious mental illness. NPR

With that in mind, here are some lazy cats:

 

Meet Radamenes, the caretaker cat:

 

Juniper Foxx befriends Moose, the dog:

 

And that’s your edutainment for the week 😉

See you Saturday!

thoughtythursday2016

Thoughty Thursday: Things that made me go hmmmm on the interwebz, Sept 25-Oct 1, 2016

I’m taking it easy on your mental popcorn, this week 🙂

Katie Hafner reports on the epidemic of loneliness among the elderly. The New York Times

Human trafficking is a hidden problem in north-eastern Ontario (and everywhere, unfortunately). CBC

Nora Caplan-Bricker reveals the risks of sexual assault on long haul flights. Slate

Marissa Fessenden shares how women in the early 1900s dealt with harassment. The Smithsonian

Library worker defends free speech and is arrested for it. The Bill of Right Defense Committee

Ronald W. Pies discusses the astonishing non-epidemic of mental illness. Psychiatric Times

Ivan Dikov reports on a shrine to Demeter and Persephone discovered in Bulgaria. Brewminate

Ria Misra reports on SpaceX’s major milestone en route to Mars. Gizmodo

Phil Plait shares Judy Schmidt’s astrophotography. Slate. Later in the week Phil shares the first photograph ever taken of the sun.

Maddie Stone shares the last image Rosetta captured before it crashed. Gizmodo

Fiona MacDonald reports on a 25 year old PhD student, Shu Lam’s, solution to antibiotic-resistant infections. Science Alert

Julien d’Hoy reports on how scientists have traced society’s myths to their primordial origins. Scientific American

The Vintage News shares the discovery of Britain’s Atlantis.

Medievalists.net lists the top ten scandals of the Middle Ages. Story fodder, anyone? 😉

Uninhabitable 1887 Queen Anne house is restored to its former glory. Laura Caseley for Little things.

Here’s a lovely local piece on NISA’s annual art show. South Side Story

Sad and Useless shares a Twitter stream on how God created some animals. Lolz aplenty.

Two guinea pigs discuss everything pumpkin spice.

 

Teddy Bear the porcupine’s Hallowe’en feast. He sounds like Woodstock from the Peanuts 🙂

 

Sheila Carabine releases her solo album 🙂 Here’s one of her songs: The Oak and the Maple.

 

Hope you enjoyed this week’s offerings.

See you on Saturday!

Thoughty Thursday