The idea of taking a risk has been on my mind lately. In particular, I’ve been thinking about those risks people take that don’t necessarily end with a fabulous success story. So here’s a video about it.
In this video, I get to focus on Kate’s perspective on the index card treatment, which is how she lays out index cards to outline her novel. It not only can help with plotting a story, but with detecting patterns in your book. Kate also came up with a fabulous metaphor about a risk with the index card treatment — a metaphor that required all of my bad animation skills. She says many more things that I didn’t get a chance to animate, so check out the full one-hour audio conversation for more of her insights. Enjoy!
- Complete audio conversation
- Kate Maruyama’s website
- Kate’s debut novel, Harrowgate
- Scrivener, the writing application for Mac & Windows
For more information about this half-baked series (and how to subscribe to it), check out The Creative Turn.
In this podcast episode, I talk with Scott Sparling about the challenges of writing the second book. We talk about bringing a work-in-progress into your heart when it wasn't born in the heart. We talk about the egomaniacalness of comparing your work to the Beatles. We discuss the pros and cons of having a deadline for your writing project. We discuss bad book sales, writing in tree houses, stones on the beach, delusions of grandeur, depression, tenacity, stubbornness, and masturbating while writing. Enjoy!
- Scott Sparling's website
- Wire to Wire by Scott Sparling
- An article that Scott referenced before the conversation about Reynolds Price's take on publishing a first novel: “…you publish the damn thing and nothing happens. You’re the same social misfit and compulsive masturbator you always were.”
- Sgt. Pepper's and Jimi Hendrix on iTunes
- A Brilliant Novel in the Works by Yuvi Zalkow
- My Failed Writer video called “Failing as a Failed Failure” relates to what we discuss at 42m:53s of the podcast where Scott gives me a quick therapy session on how my dysfunctional world view might help the writing.
The week that John Gruber and Merlin Mann linked to my video tribute of their SXSW conversation, I started getting (temporarily) 8,000 hits a day on my website. As opposed to the previous 50 hits a day. I don’t count these things too closely, but it was a shocking change. I’ve had a few other notable spikes in attention. Once for writing about my Twitter code of conduct, once for talking about my failures with the New Yorker magazine, and once for talking about my failure to read Malcolm Gladwell’s book that discusses 10,000 hours.
Why am I telling you this? Well, because numbers are tricky. [Read more...]
This video is based on my interview for The Rumpus with the fabulous Thaisa Frank. She said a lot of incredible things about the writing process during our conversation, but there was one particular thing about the “failure of the intended story” that really knocked me out. Let me know what you think…
In this first episode, I (pretend to) talk with Elizabeth McCracken about the challenge of writing when you’re not obsessed with your project.
- Elizabeth McCracken’s website.
- Conversation between Elizabeth McCraken and Ann Patchett (from where I swiped all her dialogue).
- My original Obsession x Voice video.
- John Gruber & Merlin Mann’s Obsession x Voice conversation.
To view all my videos, go to my main video page.
It’s been a tough month. A tough month with very little writing. A month of reading at bookstores around the west coast and doing interviews and doing a not-so-great job at publicizing the release of my novel. It is amazing how consuming even doing a bad job of publicizing a book can be. I can tell you that I’m not a natural at publicity. Follow my lame Facebook author page to get an idea. (I’m admittedly better at Twitter, but if you follow me on Twitter, you’ll learn more about my drinking and parenting problems than any book news.) Even though there have been plenty of moments this month when I want to hide in my attic and never confront humanity again, there have been some fabulous moments too, like when someone grabs me after a reading and says, “I made my husband read your book. He never reads fiction. But he loved this book… even the weird parts.” Those moments are worth a hundred hide-from-humanity moments (which gives you an idea of how many hide-from-humanity moments I’ve had lately)……
While I get my head on straight with how to proceed after this book tour, I wanted to share the video I used while on my book tour. I billed it as a “MAKING OF… VIDEO” for my book. It was my experiment at finding a fresh way to talk about a book while still keeping the audience entertained. It attempts to address one of the biggest questions I get about my book: What the hell is true and what is fiction? It also addresses another question I get a lot: How the hell did you piece this thing together? (I guess a lot of my questions have the word “hell” in them…)
This round I have a short video with a bit of an update related to what’s been going on with me as my novel approaches the official August 14 launch date (along with, of course, the emotional baggage that goes along with any of my stories). I’ll let you watch the experience for yourself… A crying, drinking anteater can more effectively express the experience than any of my words.
West coasters: check out my event schedule to find out if I’ll be fumbling my way through a presentation at a bookstore near you. (ALSO! Note a few recent time changes on the calendar…)
And don’t forget my passive-aggressive method to get other bloggers to blog about fear and failure the week of August 14th.
And in other news: As former president George W. Bush once said, “Fool Yuvi into being a guest on your podcast once, shame on Yuvi; fool Yuvi onto the podcast twice, shame on you; three times and everyone should be ashamed about being a fool.” In other words, I had a great time on the “Mikes on Mics” podcast talking about the many layers to being “done” with a book. Check it out: Are We Done Yet? with Yuvi Zalkow.
And finally, a moment of respect for the great David Rakoff who died at the young age of 47 today.
I’ve said before that I’m terrified about reading in public… especially this upcoming weekend in San Francisco where I’m reading with Cheryl Strayed to celebrate the release of her enormously beautiful new book TINY BEAUTIFUL THINGS. I’ve also admitted to being scared of how people will review my book once it comes out on August 14. Even more than these two fears is my fear that I can’t tackle my next novel. Or that I won’t be able to figure out where to take my failed writer video series. I’m scared of failing on all these fronts. I’m not talking about one of those fakey failures where everything comes out just fine a week later and I’m better for it. I mean one of those big messy failures where I’m crushed by the disappointment of book #1 and I grow too disheartened to write book #2 or make any more videos. Or where I start drinking heavily instead of writing or my marriage gets really rocky due to my paralyzing self-loathing. Or something like that.