Monthly Archives: April 2010

6 Ways to Waste Your Time as A Writer

I was perusing my Twitter (procrastinating) and came across this nifty little article: 6 Ways to Waste Your Time as a Writer.

Immediately, I logged out of Twitter and finished my blog post.

Enjoy writers…and write!

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John Mayer

This past February I went to watch John Mayer perform at Madison Square Garden – after the Playboy article.

My opinion of Mr. Mayer was, “he’s not a very humble person,” due to his reputation in the media. After the article was published (tickets already bought), I thought less of him but still enjoyed his music. Although I felt dirty and ashamed for still liking his music.

The day of the concert came and I had a blast. John is a fantastic guitar player – hands down – no one can refute his talent. I danced, sang along to his songs and enjoyed every single minute.

After the concert, I became obsessed with his music!

The music spoke to me on so many levels I couldn’t explain. I tried to pin down why I listened to John Mayer daily and what his music did to me. I saw him as an artist; he crafted songs the way writers crafted their stories. He starts on one note or chorus and the rest flows from there. Writers may start with a paragraph, idea, or theme and go from there.

I know this isn’t new; artists are inspired differently and they each have their process. Listening to him talk about crafting songs during music specials like VH1’s Storytellers made me relate to him positively that all the “baggage” about him fell away like leaves off a tree, forgotten and washed away into the gutter. I respected him as a fellow artist and I saw his creativity.

Being a person that is never satisfied with a work of art just because someone says, “It’s great!” I do have some criticisms of his music. Aesthetically, I enjoy listening to all of his songs. Lyrically, some songs, specifically on Heavier Things, don’t stand out and fall flat. However, I cannot deny the appeal of hearing this album lying in bed or writing.

When I put his music on to write, I fly through my piece. There are times I get caught up in a favorite song (happens often) and then I get back on track.

His music empowers me; the creativity recorded pushes me to create and do my own thing. I have other artists I listen to when I write like The Postal Service, Radiohead, Dido, Zero 7, Bishop Allen, Bjork and anyone mellowing but John takes the cake.

I don’t know the man, follow him on Twitter, or wish to meet him; I want him to keep creating music and his mouth shut!

Online researching

I spent three hours (or more) researching the international publishers for The Secret. What was particularly frustrating was that each website link to the other country was in a different language. How am I supposed to understand what means “publisher” in Danish, French, Korean, or Japanese? And the Japanese and Korean websites have characters that someone not familiar with the language can even guess!

Oh the fun things about being an intern. I do enjoy my internship because I get to read queries, reject authors, and be utilized. I want more to do because I do more; that’s all.

Reading

Two years ago, I made the intention to read 1,000 books in less than ten years. This meant reading 100 books every year. Because life got in the way, I have only reached forty four books read this year in total. This means on average, I’ve read twenty books a year. This is a very small number and the goal is to read up to forty or more a year.

It’s not that I’m even a slow reader; I read twenty pages per half-hour. I’m sure I could finish novels in a few days if I really concentrated. Like I aforementioned, I get busy. And I’m serious about reading but I haven’t made time for it.

I’ve been reading Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon for two months now and the book is less that 400 pages! If I sat down for an hour every day, I’d be done by the end of the week, easy.

My intention is to read furiously and writing the goal down will motivate me to take it more seriously.

I have written the goal down on the website 43 things which is a life list you can print out, track, write entries on, and share with the world. I write down every book I read and review them as I have been doing on here. This website reminds me of the many things I want to accomplish before I perish or something terrible happens to me.

In sharing my goal on my blog, this will motivate me to read the books I own, review them, and learn from them. I am a writer after all.

I urge you to visit the website and create your own life list. It’s fun! You’d be surprised how fulfilling it is to complete something on your list and move on to the next. It’s a great feeling.

Latest Copyediting Class

Monday evening, we reviewed our homework assignments in which we had to create a style guide for a piece we had to edit.

A style guide is a reference guide a copyeditor creates for his or herself while editing a piece. This reference guide includes word consistency like the spelling of a name like Ashley versus Ashlee. Additionally, the guide includes whether the piece uses A.M. versus a.m. Everything that normal readers take for granted are style choices and places that copyeditors look at and have to make sure is correct. The source, as well, has to be included in the style guide. If the copyeditor uses Webster’s Dictionary, the APA or Chicago Manual style for reference, this has to be incorporated as well.

Apart from a copyeditor creating his or her style guide, every publishing company has a house style guide which the copyeditor uses during the editing process. This makes editing easier and the copyeditor is consistent with the publisher’s style. There are word spellings and sentences that may be up for debate but that is based on the writer of the content and the chief editor who have the last word.

If there’s one thing my instructor has taught me, is never to trust yourself and to look everything up. Sometimes we think the grammar, spelling, or whatever else is correct but if there is doubt, look it up. This is why style guides are so important while editing. When copyeditors are in the zone, they stop seeing mistakes and see what they think is supposed to be there.

Overall, Monday evening’s class was insightful and as always helpful. I cannot believe next week will be my last class. The neat thing about my last class is our instructor will provide us with a copyediting test to gauge our levels and provide us with a huge set of resources to seek copyediting employment opportunities. Yay for jobs!

The Library

When I walk up the concrete steps to the double doors of the Williamsburg branch library, I sigh in relief and joy. 

My affair with the library started at six years old on a school trip. I had not completely discovered the joy of reading yet but remember having a story read to us by Mr. Plaza who resembled Tim Curry. I received my first library card ever – the card was red and shiny.  I signed my name on the back and didn’t re-visit the library on my own until junior high school. I discovered R.L. Stine, Christopher Pike, and John Saul. Apart from those authors, I also read The Babysitter’s Club, Nancy Drew, Sweet Valley High and anything written by Bruce Coville (who wrote most of the My Teacher is an Alien series). From the getgo, I enjoyed supernatural and girly stories. As an adolescent, books were my friends. I didn’t have many friends and the friends I did have, didn’t like reading. I read everywhere, all the time, every day. I loved taking out a R.L. Stine book and devouring the 200 page book in one sitting, the same night. There was nothing like going to the library and leaving with at least ten or fifteen books to read over the next three weeks. I always left with a grin etched on my face; the excitement of new worlds propelled me to walk home at a fast speed to read.

There’s no other place on the planet for me that creates a sense of safety and creativity like the library. I can sit down and write for an hour or more with no distractions at the library. The only downside is I can’t munch on anything when I’m hungry. Other than that, I love going to the library, taking out books on writing, the classics, genres I don’t usually read to switch it up, and putting books on hold my branch doesn’t have.

I also enjoy perusing bookstores but because I own so many books I haven’t read, I try to stay away so I won’t buy anything. I’ve been good about not purchasing books at the moment but sometimes I have a weak spot for literature. I can’t help it! I love reading!

I don’t know many people who still visit the library, which is a shame. Apart from taking out DVDs, there are so many books to discover and explore. I urge everyone to go out there and visit your local library. You won’t regret it. 🙂

Shakespeare Garden

Saturday afternoon I visited the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to visit the cherry blossoms. Being a native Brooklynite, I wondered why it took me so long to visit this wondrous place. The flowers, the trees, and the people were lovely, vibrant, and pleasant.

I took pictures of everything I could until my camera died on me. The weather was perfect for lying under the cherry blossoms esplanade (the only area patrons were allowed to sit on the grass), surrounded by children’s laughter, adults chattering, and couples cuddling.

After I laid out on the grass for what seemed like a long time, my friend and I walked over to the Shakespeare Garden. I wish I was more familiar with his plays but this is great for admirers of the famous playwright. This themed garden had flowers and plants mentioned in his plays; the signs with the relevant quotation or passage were seated next to the plant.

Apparently, this Shakespeare Garden is not the only one that exists in the country or city. Central Park also has a Shakespeare Garden as well as Ohio, South Africa, San Francisco and many more. The plants and flowers were absolutely gorgeous; people who love flowers or gardens, should visit their nearest Botanic Garden or Shakespeare Garden. If anything, lying in the grass on a perfect spring or summer day with a good book, makes it worthwhile.