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Category Archive: writing

Aug 09 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: The Pleasures of Longhand

I’ve just spent the past two nights taking notes longhand from various books and websites. I’ve got notebooks full of such scribblings, deep black ink on white paper, handwriting that changes according to mood, caffeine levels, and whether or not the cat wanted attention. It’s a dramatically inefficient way to take notes: using a pen …

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Aug 02 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: Taking Stock, Going With the Flow

Here’s a post I think all writers should read. It’s got important concepts and questions we need to keep in mind if we wish to succeed. It takes the economic concept of stock and flow and turns it into a metaphor for writing: But I actually think stock and flow is the master metaphor for …

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Jul 31 2011

Maligned Minerals and Serpentinite in Sun

Sunlight in Seattle has been hard to come by, and my poor beautiful chunk of serpentinite has been languishing in the house, unable to show off its colors. But the clouds cleared this afternoon, so I schlepped her out to the porch poste haste. Just look at her: Hard to believe California tried to dethrone …

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Jul 19 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: What To Do When the Muse Is On Vacation

I think my Muse has headed south for the summer.  The wretched dominatrix has this infuriating habit of vanishing about the time I need her most, and I get the impression she’s in one of those Mexican hotels that’s got a bar in its pool and a nice view of the Sea of Cortez, drunk …

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Jul 12 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: Freedom to Explore

Some of you in the audience are probably quite a bit like me: mildly OCD.  We build up habits and concepts that are terribly difficult to change. Here’s how bad I am: I cannot use any other program than Microsoft Works to write books.  I know there are people out there who use and love …

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Jul 05 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: An Imaginary Reply to Tim Minchin

During Neil Gaiman’s appearance at Seattle Town Hall, Neil mentioned a discussion he’d had with Tim Minchin the night before.  Tim wanted to know why, since Neil was a rational sort of person, everything he wrote was fantasy. Neil made a suitably witty reply, which I shall not attempt to transcribe as the audio was …

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Jun 28 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: Neil Gaiman’s Sage Advice

A brief intro for those who have been a) living under a rock, b) out pounding on rocks (hey, most of my friends are geologists, so it’s distinctly possible) or c) brand new to the cantina: Neil Gaiman is the writer I place at the head of my personal pantheon of writers.  He gives outstanding …

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Jun 27 2011

Neil Gaiman in Seattle FTW

ZOMG, my darlings, Neil was here.  I last saw him ten years ago, and I’ll tell you something – aside from the beard, he hasn’t changed.  He’s still the warm, wonderful, blisteringly funny and deeply profound writer he was then.  He still has humility without humiliation.  And my god, does he know how to work …

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Jun 21 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: Giving Yourself Permission to Suck

I’ve probably gone on about this subject before, but it bears repeating: with a few incredibly rare exceptions, a written work does not emerge whole and complete and beautiful on the first go.  We writers are not Zeus, and our stories are not Athena, sprung fully-formed from our foreheads. This can be hard to remember …

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Jun 14 2011

Dojo Summer Sessions: Morality and Writing

Fair warning: there are no “answers” in this session, just some pondering and a lot of questions.  Of course, every Dojo session is mostly that: nothing should ever be taken for Writing Law.  As Captain Barbossa so famously said, what’s said here is “more what you’d call ‘guidelines’ than actual rules.” With that caveat emptor …

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