Wednesday, March 25, 2015

How To Write Well And Write Often (Part 2)

A few weeks back, I set out to create a blog post filled with some of my favorite pieces of writing advice, things I've learned from experts and through my own process working as a writer. I quickly realized, however, that I had far too much to say for one post, so I ominously titled it "How to Write Well And Write Often: PART ONE." If you have been holding your breath waiting for Part II, you are most certainly dead because I wrote that post three weeks ago. Whoops. 

But for those of my readers who are still alive and kicking, please enjoy these leftover bits of writing wisdom:

Take yourself on "artist dates"

This little nugget comes from Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, the same book that introduced me to the concept of morning pages (I wrote about those in Part One). While morning pages should be written every single day, artist dates should occur at least once weekly. Artist dates are outings that you take in order to engage your inner child. These should be solitary activities, i.e. don't bring your hubs or your kids or your fun coworker. Just spend time feeding your own artistic brain. This can be as involved as going to a museum across town or as simple as taking a walk in your neighborhood. Just commit to getting out there and having a new experience. It will refresh your mind and consistently provide new material for your writing. Plus, you can casually brag about all the hot dates you've been going on, and it will leave everyone intrigued and possibly concerned. 

Create short assignments*

This is a do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do sort of situation. I'm straight up terrible at creating short assignments, but I want to get better. What I often do instead is I sit down at my desk with lofty dreams about the wonderful things I am going to write, and then when I inevitably do not succeed in completing the next great American novel, I sulk. I feel defeated, I pout, and I refuse to let myself enjoy anything for the rest of the day. This is the outcome of having unrealistic expectations, and if you're anything like me, then you know that this is a pretty discouraging feeling. Here's what you should do instead: expect less of yourself. Yeah, there, I said it. Ask yourself, "Self, what do I want to accomplish today?" and whatever your immediate answer is, cut it in half. Say you want to get two pages done. Screw that, change it to one page. Then write that one page, and then eat a cookie. Seriously, actually eat a cookie. Reward yourself and rejoice in the fact that you are in control of this process, that is, as long as you don't have an editor breathing down your neck (a terrifying feeling, by the way). Plus, think about it: if you stick to all of your short assignments, you are going to get a lot more done than if you waste time beating yourself up over the impossible goals you set. 

*This lesson, by the way, comes from Anne Lammott's Bird By Bird, which I already mentioned in Part One, and you know what, what the hell, just buy the damn book already. It really is worth it. 

If you think you can get rid of it, you probably can.

Maybe you've heard the expression, "Kill your darlings," which has been attributed to tons of famous authors, so I'm not even going to go down that rabbit hole. But anyway, "kill your darlings" means that all of those self-indulgent, mushy paragraphs with which you have fallen in love have got to go. For the good of your writing, you've got to get rid of stuff you adore. My rule for editing is that any word or sentence that has the faintest scent of "I could do without this" -- get rid of it. It hurts. It feels like a swift punch to the gut, but it makes a world of difference.

Write sober, edit sober.

Ernest Hemingway is quoted as saying "Write drunk; edit sober," but once again, tons of people believe this to be a misattribution, so whatever. Regardless, even though this wisdom is full of wit and spirit, in practice, I think it's pretty crappy advice. I've tried to write drunk before, and it usually results in Word Documents filled with gems like: "Night donuts are good. Donuts are good at nighttime." That, or I fall asleep before I can write a thing. In my opinion, write sober. Be present for the writing process. And if anything, edit drunk so that you'll be more likely to make rash decisions about what to get rid of.

"Write it down"

It sounds simple, but it's some of the best advice I've ever received. These three words are frequently spoken to me by my dear friend, Patrick. Any time I say something funny or share a somewhat interesting thought, he laughs and says, "Write it down." His reason for doing so is because, well, he knows me. He knows that my memory is basically a drunk toddler. I can't depend on it for anything. So often in life, I'll have a thought that I want to remember, then I will turn to look at a bird eating a cigarette, and by the time I collect myself, I've already forgotten what I wanted to store in my brain. That's why it is essential for me to write things down. Everything. Every tiny, seemingly insignificant glimmer of an idea goes into a notebook or the notes app on my phone or onto the sweaty palm of my hand. For me, most of the writing process happens when I'm not even writing at all, but rather when I'm out experiencing the world (on the train, in conversations, on my artist dates, etc.) That's why I dedicate myself to being a compulsive collector of every bizarre thing the world throws at me. Otherwise, I assure you, I would have legitimately nothing to write about. 

What is your best piece of writing advice?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Another year older...

On Sunday, it was my birthday, and if you know me well, you might know that I'm weird about birthdays. I always have been. To be clear, I have no qualms with celebrating other people's special days, throwing confetti at them, writing them cards, and eating their cake. But my own DOB always seems to be accompanied by a slight hint of dread. When people wish me a happy birthday, I tend to respond with morose comments about aging and crawling closer and closer to the grave. Yeah, I'm that guy. And given the fact that I'm still relatively young, it's especially crazy. I am sure my eighty-something self will want to give my twenty-something self a swift kick in the ass for all of my premature existential crises. 

But the fact that I know they are irrational so far has not stopped me from having these mini-birthday-freakouts, and this year was no exception. In the days leading up to my twenty-sixth birthday, I felt queasy with anti-anticipation. 26? Who turns 26? Am I officially in my late twenties? What have I done with my life? What is happening to my metabolism? Am I dying?!

(Does this happen to anyone else, by the way? Just me? Cool.)

Come the day of my birthday, I fully expected to be my jaded old self but alas, my plans were thwarted. The thing is, you guys, I know some amazing people. And even with my propensity for birthday misery, their kindness totally outweighed any of my angst. All weekend long, I had cards and gifts pouring in from so many different people. I don't expect every year to be like this, but man, I kind of felt like a kid again. Positively, spoiled rotten. Armed with an email inbox full of sweet words of affirmation, it turned out it was pretty much impossible to think about the inevitability of death. 

Oh, and also, I had some sangria. So that helped too.

So thanks to everyone who helped get me through my birthday! I felt positively rich with love and friendship. A special thanks to Daniel, my hunky as all hell husband, who would give his right arm to make me happy (but babe, I would never ask that of you. Don't give anyone your right arm, no matter how much they offer to pay you. You need that thing!).

Case in point, even though he swore he wouldn't get me anything, he and my parents teamed up to get me a DSLR camera! I could not believe it. This thing is going to be an absolute game changer for me. I mean it. Thanks to Camilla (that's what I've named my camera, by the way), you can expect to see this ol' blog become a photographer's dream. Here's the first picture I snapped:

I swear I'll get better.

How do YOU feel about this whole getting older thing? 
Are you a fan of your birthday?

OH! And before I go, this has nothing to do with my birthday, but my friend Clinton Washington performed on The Voice last night and pretty much changed the world forever with his rendition of "Stay," which he performed alongside India Carney. If you haven't watched it, I'll just leave it right here for you because dammit, I'm pretty proud of that kid.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Let's talk about weight

Today, we're going to talk about weight. Human body weight, that is. And let me start off by saying that I am only an expert in this subject insomuch as I have some weight, and I am a person, which is why I'm really only going to talk about my own human body weight. This might get weirdly personal real quick, y'all, but whatever, let's dive right in.

Like you, my body weight has reflected several different numbers over the course of my life. When I was born, I weighed a little over seven pounds, which I’ve heard is normal for a newborn. At that time, my weight wasn’t of major concern to me. I had more pressing issues such as, you know, being born and things like communicating my need for sustenance.

As I grew older, I became increasingly more aware of my body. In eighth grade, I have a distinct memory of stepping on the scale in my parents’ bathroom about ten times in a row one afternoon. Each time I did, the digital screen read “136.” Back then, I remember those three numbers feeling like a kick in the stomach. Forget the fact that I was a growing, healthy kid. In my thirteen-year-old brain, I genuinely believed that my body was expanding at an alarming rate. I felt a lot like this, actually:

As an adult, my weight has fluctuated within a range of about thirty pounds. At my lowest, I weighed 145, but I have to confess that I only existed at such a weight under the most extreme conditions of my life. As a college student, I worked at a camp every summer, which doesn't sound like Crossfit, I know, but believe me, it was truly physically demanding. In the grueling 100-plus-degree heat, I pushed my body up and down hills while carrying giant water jugs, a massive backpack, and sometimes an eight-year-old or two. I basically never stopped moving or sweating or pushing my body to its limits. I ate seconds every day at breakfast along with chicken fried steak and a side of cake at dinner, and still, I lost weight. Lots of weight. I would leave each summer flat-chested and incapable of regulating my body heat in air-conditioned buildings.

Me doing the camp thing. Note my sweat lines.
Also, feel free to check out my boobs. Psych! They aren't there.
But then I would go back to school, and I would either eat healthy or I wouldn't, and I would soon be back to weighing within 155 and 170 pounds. College was a time where I was rarely happy with the way I looked. While I wasn't a fan of how my summers seemed to rob me of my natural feminine features, I still just wanted so badly to resemble the other girls at my school. Skinny, athletic, bright-eyed with thighs that never touched and chins that never doubled. The more I weighed, the further I felt from the physical ideal I had invented in my mind.

Like most women (and most men, I would assume), I've lived a large part of my life wishing the number on my scale could be different. Over the years, I've obsessed over it, cried over it, and spent a good deal of energy trying to change it.

But now, suddenly and without warning, I've kind of reached this new step in my relationship with my weight, and it's a bit surprising to me, actually. This morning, I stepped on the scale and it reflected back to me what I already knew: I weigh 174 pounds. That's roughly twenty-five times my birth weight, almost forty pounds more than what I weighed in middle school when I thought I looked like a blob. And it is literally one pound more than the weight of the heaviest pit bull in the world.

And you know what, honestly, I feel pretty good. Maybe the best I've ever felt.

Meet Hulk. He weighs 173 pounds. We should swap clothes. (via Bored Panda)

Whenever I share that number (174 pounds), friends often respond by saying, "No! No way. That can't be right." And I'm never really sure how to react to that. Thank you? I guess?

So maybe you think that's a high number. Maybe you think it's low. Maybe you think it's normal. Perhaps you weigh more and perhaps you weigh less. Whatever, I'm not here to make any decisions on whether 174 pounds is a lot.

Because regardless of what my number sounds like to anyone else, the fact is I'm relatively good with it. My entire adult life, even during those summers of poke-able ribs and cheekbones, I have always technically been overweight, at least according to my Body Mass Index. You know about that whole thing, right? BMI: a measurement of relative size which indicates that Brad Pitt is technically obese. Yeah...

So needless to say, this is no different from any other time in my life. But the thing that is different is that lately, for the most part, when I look in the mirror, I like what I see. I enjoy dressing up my body, making my hair big, and putting on a pair of fringed boots and walking out the door. I love my full face, my strong legs, my general appearance. Overall, I just feel like myself.

And I'm not really sure what caused this shift in my perception of my body. Maybe it's the fact that I'm a bit older, a bit wiser, a bit further removed from the dorms at Baylor University. Regardless, I've become a lot less fixated on my numbers. I care about different things now: feeling good, making positive choices -- all that good stuff. I've simply lost interest in pushing against my natural shape.

And by the way, I'm not 100% certain why I decided to write this post today. Perhaps I'll wake up tomorrow wishing I hadn't shared my exact weight with all of my readers. I suppose I just feel like there's still junk to sort out in the larger body image conversation. When we talk about weight, culturally, we tend do it in this vague, roundabout way. We don't mention a lot of specifics, and we certainly never mention numbers. We talk about health, beauty, and we make a hundred different contradictory statements about what it means to have either. And despite everyone's best efforts, many women are still left feeling like crap about themselves.

I guess by putting my number out there today, I mostly just want to take some power away from it. Weight is not this big secret that we need to hide, something that we should only talk about in hushed tones. It's a stat. It's trivia. It's information as scandalous as eye color, blood type, or favorite movie. It is just a thing you've got, and for the most part, it's not even a good indicator of wellness.

So yeah, I weigh 174 pounds, and I look fantastic in a wrap dress. I'd be lying if I said that I didn't wish my number was marginally less, but that honestly doesn't stop me from feeling good about my body. And knowing that has made a big difference for me, and I don't know, maybe it could make a big difference for you too. 

Anyway, how much do YOU weigh?
Haha, jkjkjkjkjk (unless you feel like sharing, I guess)
Got anything to add to this conversation?
Comment below!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

5 Things I'm Pumped About This Week

Someone recently asked me what my favorite word was. At the time I didn’t have an immediate answer, but I’ve given it some thought, and now I’ve got one: FRAZZLED. I’ll admit that it may not be the most positive word choice, but I just love the sound of it. To me, it is the most apt word in the English language. The very sound of it seems to imply its ridiculous meaning.

When I think of the word “frazzle,” I think of getting off of the subway on a damp day at the wrong stop. I think of slightly shifty eyes, flushed cheeks, and frizzled hair (probably because “frizzle” is so similar in form to “frazzle”). Sometimes being frazzled can imply a negative state of emotion, but not necessarily. It simply means a lot of things are happening at once, whether those occurrences are absolutely dreadful or positively awesome.

And as you might have guessed, I’m a bit frazzled this week. My mind has been moving at lightning speed, and I show up everywhere slightly out of breath. It’s the good kind of frazzled, by the way. It’s the THINGS-ARE-HAPPENING kind of frazzled.

But even in the midst of a good-frazzly week, being frazzled can easily turn into stress. So to combat that, I’m going to spend today’s post reminding myself of all of the things I am pumped about right now. Gotta keep that frazzle in check, y'all. Frazzle frazzle frazzle.

Anyway, here goes:

1. Clinton Washington on The Voice


My megatalented superfriend, Clinton (I call him Clint, but you probably shouldn’t) is a contestant on The Voice! I’ve known this man ever since our freshman year of college when I gave him a haircut using a pair of kitchen scissors. He’s just a blast and a half as a human being, but he’s also an unbelievably talented singer. You may have caught a piece of his blind audition Monday night, and even though he was only on there for like seven seconds, admit it: it was the best seven seconds of your life. If you missed it, you can check it out here, and also download his track from iTunes because it’s golden. He was on last night in a preview for his battle round, and some guy named Pharrell said that it was "technically the best battle" he's seen this season. So yeah, you should probably watch that.

2. This weather forecast:

Oh hey there, next Wednesday and Thursday! You’re looking mighty sunny. I’m not going to be deceived into believing that these snowy hell days are done with, but I think this is at least a good sign. This winter has been pure evil for my psyche, and I’m not going to be sorry to see it go. 

3. TV

TV is a comforting, dear friend, and lately it’s just been really kind to me. A few weeks ago, I caught the premiere of Better Call Saul, the highly anticipated spinoff of Breaking Bad. Something you should know about me: even though I’m hip and I wear glasses and I’m up on all of my cultural references, I have not really watched Breaking Bad. I know, I know – best show in history, such gripping performances, Bryan Cranston is a genius, yadda yadda yadda – I’ve heard it all. I saw the first two episodes, and I was riveted, but I was also immediately disturbed by how dark it was. I gave up on it pretty early, but after the joy that is Better Call Saul, I decided to give it another try. Now I’m binge-watching Breaking Bad and catching up with the rest of the world. NO SPOILERS! I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH! But for lovers of the show, just know this: I made it through the ATM episode without barfing.

4. A meetup with some ridiculously creative humans

Tonight marks the start of something I have been excited about for a good long while. I’m partnering with my dear friend Alex Shellhammer (the woman I'm hugging in the above picture and the lovely voice behind The Shellhammer) to create a collective of bloggers, makers, and entrepreneurs here in New York City. We’ve been talking about it for months, and it’s finally coming to fruition. Tonight’s gathering is going to be very simple, but the people who are coming – OH MY GORSH – they are just brimming with talent and creativity and inspiration. I can’t wait to hear their stories and continue growing this unique community. Stay tuned, folks. This is going to be good.

5. Kindness

The folks from OSNY serving with City Meals

Lately I have been struck by just how many lovely people I encounter in this city. Sure, there are some frustrating individuals out there who throw garbage at moving trains and manspread to their hearts content, but for the most part, I find that everyone is really just doing their best. Even if we don’t have at length conversations or always smile at each other, the people of New York by-and-large have big, generous hearts. I’ve noticed it a lot in prepping for this meetup. Everyone is so willing to lend a hand and contribute (“How can I help?” is the most common response I received). But I’ve also noticed it in little things like interactions with strangers. This last weekend, I volunteered with a group from OSNY at City Meals to deliver food to elderly New Yorkers. It was such a great refresher in basic human decency. Everyone we interacted with was so sweet and full of gratitude, and the entire experience was such a powerful reminder of how far our small gestures of kindness can really go towards impacting someone's life positively. When in doubt, just be kind, you guys.

What are you pumped about this week?

Friday, February 27, 2015

What we can all learn from The Dress

I was in my bedroom last night, minding my own business, when my husband walked in with something he seemed desperate to show me. He pulled out a picture on his phone of a dress, an ugly two-toned, lace-detailed dress which was covered by what looked like a pleather mini jacket. He said, "What color is this?" and at first, I didn't know what he meant. This dress was so unmistakably blue and black to me that his question seemed like a trick. Maybe you could call the blue "indigo" if you wanted to get specific about it, but I just didn't know what he was getting at.

I answered him. "Blue and black. Blue with black lace."
"Oh my god," he said. "I thought it was just a joke."
"What? Why, what do you see?" I said.
"White and gold. And 75% of the Internet agrees with me."

By now, you've all seen this dress. Unless you have been asleep or on some really long international flight, this image has come across your eyeballs at some point. You have formed really strong opinions about it, polled all of your friends, and now you are questioning everything you thought you knew about color.

For those who don't know (i.e. no one), this picture was posted to Tumblr, and it quickly spread across the Internet as people began arguing about what colors they were seeing. Most were seeing white and gold. A smaller minority saw blue and black. It escalated very quickly. Here are the survey results from Buzzfeed:

The numbers were stacked against me, BUT HOW?!

When Daniel told me that he saw this dress as gold and white, I was so taken aback. Gold and white? Where? What? You mean that the background is white, right? No, but like the reflection of the light is gold, but it's actually black, right? No. Wait. WAIT. WHAT!

While I wouldn't necessarily call myself stoic, I will say that I'm not always the easiest person to impress. However, once I saw this image, I was positively dazzled. For me, even from the very start, it was never about finding out what color the actual dress was, but rather, understanding why this phenomenon was occurring in the first place (WHICH BY THE WAY, WE STILL DON'T REALLY KNOW). 

But what quickly became even more fascinating to me was how this all played out socially. Buzzfeed quickly released a hilarious post about friendships being ruined by The Dress. People started organizing teams (#WhiteAndGold #BlackAndBlue), busting out their photoshop skills, creating memes. I posted about it on my personal Facebook account and I was so blown away by the variety of responses. There were those who believed it was a GIF (sorry folks, it was a JPG). There were those who posted four paragraph descriptions of how cones work in our eyes. There were others still who began posting vehemently about the actual retail dress (which was indeed unmistakably blue). Regardless of whatever new information emerged, people were indignant about the superiority of their color opinion.

For the most part, the larger conversation essentially looked like this: "You are crazy, it's white and gold." "YOU are crazy, it's blue and black."

It seemed that each side became so singularly focused on invalidating the other side's experience that we neglected the fact that something AMAZING was happening. The whole phenomenon was a unique human event. Just ask color vision researcher Dr. Jay Nietz who, according to his interview in Vice, still has no explanation for it. He hilariously remarked, "I thought I was going to cure blindness, but now I guess I'll do this." 

Yet as the Internet so often does, we turned it into a polarizing argument of who was actually "right," and this is where things went from being super fun to being kind of a bummer. Because the truth is, no one is right. And also everyone is right. We each have had a different experience with this image, and maybe we should just celebrate that. On some level, it's actually kind of beautiful. 

And I don't know, I probably shouldn't take this metaphor too far, but meh, what the hell? I, for one, think the dress served to teach us a lesson that we so often neglect to remember: we are people who see the world differently. It's not just this dumb dress. Every aspect of our worldview has been colored with our own experiences. And perhaps instead of admonishing each other for seeing the world a different way, we should seek to understand each other better. We should ask questions, tune into our differences, and get excited about the fact that they exist. Without foregoing our beliefs, we can still keep ourselves from crapping on everyone else's.

At one point last night, suddenly and without warning, I saw The Dress as gold and white. From what I understand, this happened to a lot of people. For me, it was kind of a nauseating feeling to suddenly see this image so differently, but it was also really thrilling. It went back to black and blue almost immediately, but I'll never forget what it was like to actually see what my friends were seeing.

Soooo...let's see the dress from both sides, folks. The metaphorical dress, that is. See whatever you want to see in that dumb picture.

Yours in Black and Blue,

Friday, February 20, 2015

How To Write Well And Write Often (Part 1)

Writing has always been my go-to activity. For instance, when my husband first laid eyes on me, I was sitting in a corner, feverishly scribbling notes into a journal. We were both fifteen-years-old, surrounded by socializing teenagers, and yet there I sat, writing like my life depended on it.

While this image slightly embarrasses me, for the record, not much has changed. I write every single day. I just do. It would feel weird not to. Also, it's my profession, so there's that.

And in writing as often as I do, I've discovered some techniques along the way that have really helped my process. These are ideas that I've either come across from other writers or just by pure accident in my own experimentation. Hopefully you will find value in them, and if you don't, uh, I guess just keep that noise to yourself.

Write morning pages.

This concept comes from The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron, and it's been somewhat of a game changer for me this year. Morning pages are comprised of three HANDWRITTEN pages of stream-of-consciousness writing first thing in the morning. And by stream-of-consciousness, I mean that these pages should look like the ramblings of a crazy person. By spewing thoughts all over three pages, it's far simpler to battle those voices in your head that say, "Are you kidding me? Do you really think you're going to write something worthwhile today? Pssh." Writing my morning pages gets my juices flowing, and believe it or not, some of my favorite ideas have come from this process. Whatever comes to mind, write it down, and make a daily habit of it.

Recognize your creativity spikes.

If you put a pen in my hand and tell me to write something at six o'clock in the morning, I might be able to scrawl my own name, but that's about it. By 9 AM, I've got some proper nouns flowing, and by 3 PM, I've got some verbs, but my brain really kicks into gear between 4:30 PM and 1 AM. I'll be the first to admit that this isn't the most practical time to be creative, and believe me, I've tried to switch up my schedule, but it seems this is just how my brain works. Still, because I can recognize this daily spike in my creativity levels, I try to get as much out of this time as I can. I get tedious things like emails and phone calls out of the way in the morning so that come 4:30, I'm ready to bust it, writing style. Think about when you feel most inspired in your day (maybe you're one of those early morning freaks). Are you really using that time to your advantage?

Write shitty first drafts.

I've already written about this idea in a previous post, and I probably will do so about a hundred times after this because it's seriously that important. "Shitty first drafts" comes from the book Bird By Bird by Anne Lammott, which as far as I'm concerned is the best book on writing that exists. Basically, once you've written your morning pages and you've picked a stellar time in your day to work, Lammott argues that you should simply start your project and let it be awful. Use words that aren't glamorous, let your characters say stupid things, make a whole mess of everything. Then go back and pick out the one or two things that you actually like. I think bloggers especially have lost the art of drafting, and it's so very important. Write like crazy, then refine.

Write about your lunch.

Also from Bird By Bird. Folks, when you are struggling for material, write about lunch. Seriously. In particular, write about the lunch that was served in your school cafeteria as a kid. Trust me. Lunch is a goldmine for ideas, and it never gets old no matter how many times you write about it. Never.

Read your writing out loud.

Every post you've read on this blog, I've read out loud to myself. If that sounds excessive, I don't really care. Even if I'm sitting in a coffee shop writing, I'll quietly mutter my words under my breath like a madwoman because that's how important I think this practice is. Reading your writing aloud is the best way to make sure everything sounds like an actual human wrote it. It forces you to think about the way you would communicate your message to a friend, and I'm a firm believer in making friends of your readers. Rule of thumb: If you feel like a robot while reading your stuff out loud, it's time to add some of your own flavor.

Remember that humor is in the details.

Remember how me and Anne Lammott told you to write about lunch? Really think about your childhood cafeteria. Who served your food? What shape was your pizza? Where did you sit? Was there anything that made your lunchroom special? These details are everything. They take a sentence from, "I asked for some milk," to "I sheepishly asked Roberta, the head lunch lady and the star of all of my nightmares, for some milk." Details are glitter. They make your writing sparkle and create a more authentic picture for your readers.

(By the by, in my school cafeteria our milk came in bags. Plastic, beanbag shaped bags that we would have to spear with a pointed straw. They nearly always exploded, and thinking about them still fills me with an inexplicable rage.)

Write for yourself.

If you are a blogger, you probably spend a lot of time thinking about who your audience is and what they might like to read. That's fine, but it's also sort of limiting. My belief is this: if you build it, they will come. Your readers want you, the real you, not some reduced-fat version of you. It can be tempting while writing to think, "Oh GOD, what if my mom reads this?" or "Yikes, this is making me sound like a terrible person." If a thought like that creeps into your mind, shut it down. You can edit out all of your weirdness later, but while you're writing, write only what is true. 

Frickin' LIVE.

You can't write if you don't experience the world around you. Plain and simple. Go live, girl.

Frickin' READ.

You can't write if you don't read. Plain and simple. Go read, girl.

Lookout for the second part of this series next week, but in the meantime...

What is your best piece of writing advice?


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