Posted by Erin on 04.11.2012 at 8:29 am
I’m deep into a manuscript that’s due this summer, and in some ways my writing routine is the same as ever, but in other ways, this time around I’m learning some new tricks to get me through. Here are a few thoughts that are helping me get the writing done these days.
1. Read great writing, as much as you can, in as many genres as you can. I skip around a lot, but my current booklist is inspiring to me in all sorts of ways:
Anne Lamott’s Some Assembly Required
Brene Brown’s I Thought It was Just Me
Stephen King’s 11/22/63
Eugene Peterson’s The Pastor
Lauren Winner’s Still: Notes on A Mid-Faith Crisis
Nicholas Carr’s The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains
2. Listen to something you know well enough to sing along to without stopping your brain or fingers—for me, this always means a complete album, as opposed to a playlist. When I’m running, the “surprise” of a new artist is great, and the variety keeps me moving, but when I’m writing, I need a consistent set of sounds, and I want it to feel analog, like it was made by someone’s hands, as opposed to by a machine—earnest, handmade, human.
My current rotation:
Mumford & Sons/The Cave
Civil Wars/Barton Hollow
Brandi Carlile/The Story
3. Trick yourself into just playing around with an idea, in advance of really and officially writing it. Say I have half an hour before the baby needs to eat. That doesn’t strike me as enough time to really dig into something, so I’m always tempted to just fold laundry or return emails. But on my way to the inbox these days, sometimes I just very causally stop by a Word document and begin typing, again, ever so casually. The stakes are low, and the inner-editor hasn’t caught on to the fact that I’m writing, so she leaves me alone for a minute.
Those little bits and stolen moments sometimes yield the freshest writing, because you haven’t yet had a chance to take yourself too seriously, and to lay all that terrible pressure down on your shoulders, making you hunch over and stare blankly at the screen. I have a five year old, and the only way we really get anything done is by making a game of it, and I’m finding that my writing self responds well to the same tactic. Perhaps my writing self is five years old. I’m fine with that.
Shauna Niequist is the author of “Cold Tangerines” and “Bittersweet“, and is working on her third book, Bread & Wine, a collection of essays about the sacred moments we share when we gather around the table. (www.shaunaniequist.com)
*Note* The above guest post is from one of my personal favorite authors, Shauna Niequist. This content does not necessarily reflect the views of Better World Books (as our lawyers make sure we say). We love having guest bloggers and invite you to email email@example.com if you are interested in covering a book or topic on the BWB Blog. Thank you, Shauna, we feel honored to have your thoughts on our blog and can’t wait to read Bread & Wine!
What do you do to overcome writers block? We’d love for you to share your ideas below.
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Posted by Erin on 04.09.2012 at 8:42 am
As most of you wonderful, regular, BWB blog readers know – I went to the University of Virginia and loved it. One of the things I loved most was the fact that student activists could use the beautiful Lawn that Thomas Jefferson designed to share our passion and ideas with fellow students.
One week each year dozens of students would spend hours each day riding sedentary exercise bikes on the green grass surrounded by red brick and white columned buildings. They rode these bikes enough miles to figuratively reach all the way to Uganda, where the pledge money raised was helping fund schools through a non-profit called Building Tomorrow.
Now, as the Community Manager at Better World Books, I have the honor of chatting with amazing people on Twitter – such as the Founder and Director of Building Tomorrow, George Srour. The following is a guest blog from George…
A couple times each week, I field a phone call from our Country Director in Uganda, Joseph Kaliisa. He updates the construction progress at a number of our sites and fills us in on what’s taking place at our Building Tomorrow academies. During our last call, he was beaming.
“The parents and the students have started a pay-it-forward fund. This must be a first here.”
1 Comment » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.05.2012 at 8:33 am
Guest post by Earl Martin Phalen, CEO, Reach Out and Read www.reachoutandread.org
Since 1989, Reach Out and Read pediatricians nationwide have been doling out new books to children and advice to parents about the importance of reading aloud.
Twenty-three years later, the emphasis on early literacy remains important as ever. However, the book is changing.
For the first time in Reach Out and Read’s history, we find ourselves faced with a new kind of children’s book, one that is displayed on the screen of a tablet. Devices such as the NOOK, the Kindle, the iPad, and the Fable are leading us to a new frontier of literacy — whether we like it or not.
1 Comment » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 04.04.2012 at 7:36 am
A new book, “On The Up” is being sold exclusively through Better World Books and we have a feeling you are going to love it! The following is a guest post from the authors…
With financial support from Winston Churchill Memorial Trust and in-kind support from Vodafone Foundation, we embarked on a journey from Cape Town to Cairo. We made it our personal mission to find exceptional changemakers who exemplify the truth that, despite its challenges, Africa is on the up. Across eight countries, we uncovered incredible individuals who are using entrepreneurial solutions to drive social and environmental change.
This collection of short stories brings to life the journey of each ‘social entrepreneur’, plotting out their achievements, challenges and talents. From a Zen Buddhist who is training rats to sniff out landmines, to an ex-playboy millionaire who is using his fortune to tackle multinational mining firms, the people profiled are not your archetypal charity workers. Their bottom-up approaches to development issues are thought provoking, inspiring and often quite hilarious!
This book will fire you up about Africa and make you think differently about the role of social entrepreneurs in Africa. It will encourage you to think about how content you are with your own career choices and encourage you to see that anything is possible.
To learn more about the book and the adventures of the Wilson’s check them out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ontheupcapetocairo
Buy On The Up today!
Have you ever been to Africa? What are your stories of hope from the great continent?
Posted by Erin on 03.30.2012 at 9:51 am
Guest post by Australian actress Katherine Wallace
I was a rebellious child. When politely asked to stop reading and put away my book for such trifles as going to bed, I would stoutly refuse. This initially resulted in forcible removal of the book and prompt lights out.
Fortunately, I have never been one for giving up. I decided the fittest course of action was to surreptitiously sneak it under my pillow with the handy addition of a flashlight. I made sure to do so well before bedtime then bade a sweetly innocent good night. Nobody suspected a thing. With a small thrill of breaking the rules pulsing in my veins, I silently whipped out both book and flashlight. I carefully lifted the pages open with one finger and flicked my little light toward the words.
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Posted by Erin on 03.28.2012 at 9:20 am
Can you imagine in everyone in your town read the same book, the same month, and got together to discuss and enjoy it? Sounds like a Utopian feat – but that does not stop One Book, One Michiana (Indiana) from trying to bring their community together through literature.
Every year for the past three years, Better World Books has donated 100 copies of their featured book to the program. Those books get handed out to local organizations such as the Center for the Homeless, Robinson Community Learning Center (our first non-profit partner), St. Margaret’s House, and the Kroc center.
The following is a guest blog from the organizers of One Book, One Michiana:
“Yes, Watson! You have deduced correctly, my friend! It is indeed time to put in an appearance for One Book, One Michiana!”
“But Holmes,” sputtered the usually cheerful Watson, “What if that utterly dreadful Moriarty is there?”
“Calm yourself, dear boy….Moriarty may be the Napoleon of Crime, but he has excellent taste. We are talking One Book, man! I’m sure we all can be cordial for once! By the way, grab my pipe!”
Posted by Erin on 03.26.2012 at 9:00 am
Guest post from our Twitter friend Penelope Thompson, (@ClaroHealth)
Seems simple enough, or is it? How much is a teaspoon? How about a tablespoon? Missed my morning dose, can I take two now? Didn’t take yesterday’s, can I double up today to catch up? My brother has the same condition, can we split my medicine?
These questions are quite common. According to the National Assessment of Adult Literacy, just over 1 out of 10 adults in the U.S. are proficient in health literacy. Health literacy is the ability to get, process, and understand basic health information and services in order to make the right health decisions. It is not necessarily a measure of someone’s years of education or even their reading level. Health literacy can be influenced by many different factors, including: culture, disabilities, and knowledge or familiarity with the health topic. Furthermore, the degree of health literacy can change depending on the situation and setting.
On the surface, the doctor’s instructions may seem obvious. However, after arriving at home, the directions are often not carried out as intended. Generally, 3 teaspoons equals 1 tablespoon. Someone not familiar with the difference and skips a dose, and then doubles up on the medicine, may be taking 5-6 times the recommended dosage. This misunderstanding can be especially dangerous to toddlers because of their small size.
1 Comment » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 03.19.2012 at 9:27 am
She walked up to the TED Bookstore with a trail of children dressed in rainbow colors frolicking behind her.
No, not actually, but that’s what it felt like.
Amy Krouse Rosenthal is an award-winning author of both children and adult fiction and non-fiction. She is also a contributor to TED and NPR. The New York Times says Amy’s children’s books: “Radiate fun the way tulips radiate spring: they are elegant and spirit-lifting.”
But that’s enough from us. Hear from Amy herself:
Posted by Erin on 03.12.2012 at 9:18 am
6 Comments » | Tagged From our Friends
Posted by Erin on 03.10.2012 at 9:18 am
We all love a good deal. And this deal-site-gone-creative-community-activism was born and is being raised in the same city as Better World Books’ HQ, Atlanta. I think they’re making this a better world through supporting and empowering local entrepreneurs. These small business find-and-sharers make our cities richer places to live, work and play. Plus, I dig ScoutMob’s quirky and intelligent vocabulary to describe the greatest grub in town so I asked my counterpart there, Allie, to partake in a little Q&A.
What is Scoutmob?
Scoutmob is a mobile app guiding you to our favorite local businesses with sweet deals along with awesome curated content. Scoutmob’s mission is to help you be a better local. We’re taking advantage of all Atlanta has to offer — and bring you daily incentives to get out and do the same. Think of us as that gentle nudge you need to get you out the door and do your local thing.
What cities have Scoutmob?
We publish daily in Atlanta, San Francisco, New York and DC. We are “lite” (one deal per week) in Chicago, Austin, Dallas, Boston, Philadelphia, Denver, Nashville, Seattle, and Portland.
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