vid002: From head to heart

In this video, I fixate on one particular topic: Scott’s quest to turn his second book (a novel in progress) into a deeper story. And more generally: can you turn something formulaic (and in your head) into something deeper (and in your heart)?

Not only is Scott smart, he’s also funny. So you’ll notice that I can’t help but giggle through a lot of Scott’s stories. Sorry.

Regarding the making of this video: I forced myself to create it mostly through still shots with my iPhone (while also learning how to crudely edit video in Final Cut Pro!) just to make things awkward for me (and maybe for you too). Hope you enjoy it just the same…

Thanks again to all those who submitted hug photos. I hope I did those great photos justice.

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video: Obsessing (with Elizabeth McCracken)

In this first episode, I (pretend to) talk with Elizabeth McCracken about the challenge of writing when you’re not obsessed with your project.

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I’m A Failed Writer #10: Big Projects, Small Lists

I’m a coward. When faced with a big project – something time consuming, something that will require sacrifices to be made – my instinct is to run away. Fast. No looking back. For that reason, it took me a long time to come around to the point where I (somewhat) enjoy the challenge of a big project. I’m talking about something like writing a novel or being in a long-term relationship. These are things that require work. Day after day. Month after month. Year after year.

The funny thing is that a key method I use to confront these big projects is so simple, so low-tech (so cheap in therapy costs!) that it almost seems like it’s cheating. And here it is:

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Shameful Book Update: February 28, 2012

So I’ve been deep in edits on my novel (most recently titled A BRILLIANT NOVEL IN THE WORKS) the past two months. Far bigger a task than I expected. Basically I had to rewrite the last quarter of the novel and also take into consideration hundreds of other edits and comments. Ouch. But it’s been a good (even if terrifying) challenge. I was pretty arrogant beforehand, secretly thinking that my novel was totally finished when I got the publication offer. But it had more to go, and I’m thankful that my editor pushed me to go there. I’m sure, as with any project, it could be better, bigger, larger, faster, sexier, smarter, deeper, more pantsless. But still, I feel good about these changes.

Now the manuscript is with the typesetter. If I understand anything about the publication process, this is the part where a person carves out each letter from an old growth tree and then glues the letters (with Elmer’s glue) to a piece of parchment made from papyrus…

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I’m A Failed Writer #9: Non-Crappy Writing Groups

I’ve begun dabbling in the world of stop-motion animation. What does this mean? This means that I wait for my toddler to take a nap and then I frantically begin playing with his stuffed animals.

My excuse this time for playing with his toys is that I want to talk about writing groups. I’ve been in plenty of writing groups and here is my take on what makes an (in)effective writing group:

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I’m A Failed Writer #8: Fresh Ways To Look At Your Crappy Writing

There’s a saying in the presentation world: “once you need your wife to film you naked for a presentation, you’ve gotten too desperate.” OK. That’s not really a saying… But it should be.

In any case, I hope you find some of this presentation useful. I took the tremendous risk of getting my wife to film me naked for this video (which is risky for both my presentation gig and my marriage) because I wanted to show you many of the ways I try to get a fresh look at my own writing. Let’s see if it pays off…

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