Focusing Through Distraction


Missing it.

I’ve definitely written about this before. Yet I’ve seen Denzel Washington talk about the exact same discussion points on technology that’re being discussed in my classes, and I find solace in knowing this isn’t some College-level talking point. He says, on at least two interviews, what do you do with too much information?

I am a writer. I write. This semester has been intense and leaves me little time to breathe deep, so as per how I live my life, my writing priority is fourth under schoolwork, making food, and staving off insanity by staring at political insanity. Apologies for not being around much. I’m learning about rhetoric, learning about sociolinguistics, and online publishing. Continue reading


Recap: Writing Environment Woes

I spent an inordinate amount of time this past week staring at a computer screen, being distracted, and ultimately failing as a writer in a perfectly idyllic writing environment. Now that I’ve returned to the “real world,” I’m trying to avoid the old cycle of “I’ll write when I get time.” And then I never “get” time. As if I’m looking for a gift from heaven, or a lucky break.

I get lots of lucky breaks. And I take them to study up on camping, think about writing, NOT read a book, and rot my brain on another dozen or so political “news” blogs about what some someone said about someone else.

I’m not married. I have no kids. I am the owner of my space. Yet I can’t figure out how to write in the time I have. Continue reading

Writing Retreat: or, How to Avoid Writing

This week marks the first time I actively took a break from my 8-630 job to pursue writing. And, as expected, I spent most of that time putzing around, re-reading old works to get caught up to where I COULD write, and essentially removing myself from the world to continue doing what I do worst. Continue reading

Ain’t No Southern Twang

I await with bated breath. Or is it waiting baited? Or with breath abated? Turns-of-phrase easily drive me nuts. In fact, a friend I’ve known all the way through gradeschool writes (and speaks), “sorta speak” instead of “so to speak,” and I’ve never had the heart to correct her.

Personally, I feel it gives her character. On the other hand, the writing Nazi in me screams for reparations. Given my gutteral response, she is now the framework for a character in my latest work.

Should you use turns-of-phrase while writing? The simple answer is yes, sometimes, depending on the situation. Should the whole book be entirely in a conglomeration of phrases? No. Never. Just like some neurobiologist writing latinate in some science periodical should use it sparingly—even for the experts in his field—or a drummer that only hits the drums hard and fast with no rhythm to speak of, one should always avoid drowning the reader in slog.

I also prefer turns-of-phrases remain in dialogue (unless you’re going first person: different animal altogether). Again, there are always exceptions, but they’re like pieces of flair: too many of them and you’re in danger of glaaamorizing to the detriment and, sometimes, death of the book. A fabulous character and a fabulous style are two very different things. If you can keep them separated, more power to you. If you can bring them together to work well? Even more power.

But, power corrupts. Remember. The fool leads the king, doncha know.

Of course a writer can follow the phrase turning to the basic structure of the sentence: it worms its way into everything. By the time a writer gets there, he’s given up on writing a book and decided to do A Study… of a Sentence: Diagramming a voice. Or simply being anal. I’m not talking about the roots of the matter (heh), I’m talking about the stumbling blocks. The “Hell yeah! Pardon my French.” Topped with “In my humble opinion.” Stephen King did a lot of this–A tisket a tasket–to develop the mood and environment. It helped to put a creepy song in the reader’s head, and overall, it worked: he’s wildly successful. And I like him, to boot (there’s another one).

Turn-of-phrase can be a garnish, or it can be a plate full of gristly filler. Divide and conquer, cut the fat, and dodge the bullet, sorta speak.