What Twitter Has Taught Me About Writing

A few years ago, I decided to start building an online environment where I’m surrounded by writers who are living the life I want: stories, blogs, conventions, live tweeting, book signing, all that magic. I also wanted book agents who could potentially benefit from my manuscripts (if I ever get to sending them out again). The best place for that, I decided, was Twitter. While I have very few followers (@CAHeisserer), I’ve mostly fulfilled my intent, adding new writers and agents when they pop up.

The depressive nature of politics and political tweets aside, it’s quite fulfilling to have a broadcast community where I feel supported by proxy. A great byproduct of having all these writerly types is I get free advice about query letter construction, story hooks, first chapters, pages, sentences, strong characterization, what to avoid, how to avoid it, and due to the fact I’m following a handful of awesome lady writers, I also get a healthy dose of the up-and-coming perspectives of traditionally marginalized voices, intersectionality, inclusivity, and shifted power dynamics in writing (and, unfortunately, a lot of mansplaining).

Here are a few things I’ve learned from my Twitter environment: Continue reading

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A New Linguistic Environment

Note: This blog post is my effort to incorporate the “Discourse Analysis” (by James Paul Gee) into a real life encounter. Be forewarned: this might be boring.

I recently had the good fortune to sit in on a “Healthy Self Reset” Facebook page, where a pair of healthy eaters (and knowledgable people; from here on out referenced as “teachers”) gave information on how to eat and be properly active over a month, and was intended for poor eaters who needed a healthy reset after the holidays/help with resolutions, etc. It was cool. The teachers emailed those on the list with a recipe setup for the week, complete with meals, snacks, etc, and ways to improve on life.

I’m not the best eater. I have diabetes from poor choices (and ignorance) from earlier in life. I eat WAY better than a lot of people in this country (America), but I definitely don’t eat as well as some.

Continue reading

Writing, Like Reading, is a Solo Endeavor.

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I mean, it is. I know lots of people with day jobs as picture framers and teachers and professors at universities who go home, write about their experiences, and only write in that bubble. Separate from the writing world at large. People do that. Lots of people do that.

The act of touching keyboard or pen is definitely a solo endeavor. And if that’s all you want out of it, that’s all you need.

But even Malcolm X, in prison, didn’t write alone. He wrote in a group. The idea of an incarcerated man, sitting in a cell with a pencil and legal pad and a few books, plugging away at some idea, lost in a vacuum of solitary, and not solidarity, probably sits in a lot of people’s heads. There’s a stigma attached to writing. Google “writer,” look at the images. It’ll show you this stigma. One person. Alone in a room. With birds or some sparkly pixie dust floating out of his hipster typewriter. Usually male. Usually white. Usually synonymous with the idea of reading; casual, inspired, brilliant, freeing.

All the way bs.

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Focusing Through Distraction

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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

So I Finished Editing my Final Draft. Now What?

Me, circa 2012

Me, circa 2012

On this blog, I try to mark out my journey to adulthood publication. Each milestone, while important (I had a glass of wine to celebrate two days ago), isn’t the end result. It is the next step conquered. If I were to stop here, I’d be woefully failing the process. What is The Process, and where am I in said process?

DETAILS TO FOLLOW! Continue reading

Seasonal Writing

I use seasons to plan how people act/interact/react, from a business standpoint. It may not be as strong as using a “quarterly projection,” but it uses the same idea, and I’m not a businessman. And I don’t run a company.

Nature has four seasons where I live. Naturally, most growth happens in spring, most decline in autumn, with relative dormancy/stagnation in winter/summer.

People have seasons, too. Our bodies act/interact/react with the environment much as plants do, physically and mentally. This might sound vague, but it’s true: in the spring, toenails/hair grow faster, we wake from a kind of “hibernation” after winter, we are much more productive, and have a stronger interest in buying “NEW!” things. This goes for the onset of winter, too: hair growth slows, tans fade, and we’re looking to the right seasonal clothes to keep us warm/healthy.

I try to buy offseason, because everything’s cheaper. But that’s beside the point.

When Is The Best Time to Release a Book? From personal experience, the easy answer for me is Spring. The complicated answer concerns markets, the status of your book, etc. From a basic “rhythm method” of publication/release, if you can, go Spring. If it’s a warm, subtle book, perhaps Christmastime, but I can’t imagine a release working better then than Spring. It is this time when I want to buy books, I want to delve and spend days outside and tan while perusing prose. I want to eat and chew and swallow and gestate and grow.

Writing, also, has seasons.

I write most in Winter because there’s nothing active to do outside (I usually hike/walk/bike, but outdoor Winter enjoyment just doesn’t happen for me), and the computer makes my work room warm and toasty—much warmer than the rest of the house.

Winter is for Writing. (Meaning, simply, writing books)

I can’t help constantly wanting to get outside when the weather warms, so I spend a lot of my time outside, being active, or reading (I must admit: I don’t read very much. I’m one of those strange writers that get more enjoyment out of his own process than reading about others’.).

Spring is for Ingesting. (Expanding my creative knowledge-base, reading what I like, etc)

With the long stretch of late-June to early-October warmth, I bust tail getting my work revised and reworked. Although I’m still active, the sweltering part of the day simply isn’t for me. So, I stay out of the heat by sipping cold, cold drinks and expending my otherwise physical energy on hard, nose-grinding revision.

Summer is for Working. (Editing/revising/querying)

With my “storage” complete, autumn is a place of wonder for me. It’s my favorite season, the weather turns chilly, and I love the visual changes. It’s also a time for activity and work, but it takes a different turn with my writing. I am much more interested in developing style, expanding my thought, and working outside my comfort zone. I usually begin new projects in Autumn. It’s the introverted season, and it’s the season of returning to self and doing internal housekeeping.

Autumn is for Exploring. (Simply, expanding prose style)

Research/non-writing related research should continue throughout the year, whether it’s snowing outside or blistering hot. In fact, a passionate hobby takes a person places when it comes to writing about information/believability. It is, in my opinion, absolutely necessary.

 

~x