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Keep the Boat You Were Given

The Writer’s Resource Center has a very special guest blogger today.  Lizzie is making her “passage through life dragging a diagnosis of bipolar along.”  Her post, Writing from the Boat, is an powerful testament to her inner courage and strength.  The boat metaphor comes from a scene in Jaws (one of my favorite movies), and Lizzie encourages all of us to accept the boat we’ve been given and ride the waves.  Click here to read her post.

Sustainable Writing

Morgan O’Donnell, guest blogger at the Writer’s Resource Center, offers some great ideas for making your writing environment sustainable.  She uses the classic science fiction novel–Dune–to support her insightful ideas.  My favorite:  “All good writers recycle.”  To see what I mean, read her full post by clicking here.

Writers Can Have Lives Too

Guest blogger at the Writer’s Resource Center, Cesar Torres, argues that writers can (and should) have lives.  He presents five ways to “get your life back.”  They involve the usual (but critical) “using time effectively” to intriguing suggestions of being “present with people.”  To learn more, click here to read the full post.

When to Call Yourself a Writer

You can find a thoughtful post on when and how we call ourselves writers at the Writer’s Resource Center.  Jane is the guest blogger and, for someone who considers herself only at the early stage (the “bad writer” stage), her writing is in fact quite eloquent.  She reminds us that, “Writing is surely the least requirement of becoming a writer.”  For how long did I talk about being or becoming a writer without actually doing it?  Too often, too long, but thanks to my blog, I’m now writing on a (near) daily basis.  Click over to Jane’s post, and see how ready you are to call yourself a writer.

To overshare or not to overshare! That is the blogger’s question.

Today’s guest blogger on the Writer’s Resource Center is … moi!  Check it out by clicking here.  My topic is oversharing AKA TMI (too much information).  In my guest post, I lay out some of my precepts for sharing or not sharing.  However, as I note in a comment to my post, its the context of a blog that may drive the extent to a blogger shares or doesn’t share:

“The trigger for my post was the Emily Gould article that was printed in the Sunday New York Times some weeks ago (click here for the article). I still haven’t fully sorted out my feelings about the extent to which she overshared (and even the idea that she was paid to do so). Some of my favorite essay writers use personal disclosure as a way to draw in readers and also lay bare any biases they might have toward their subject. So part of me really doesn’t want to sanction oversharing in general. It all depends on the context.”

I think this is a topic that has a long life ahead of it.  So how much of yourself do you share in your blog or on your website?

Let a Newbie Stimulate Your Creativity

Sebastian Keller, guest blogger at the Writer’s Resource Center, has a stimulating post on using art to inspire one’s writing.  To keep inspiration alive, we must challenge the rules of our craft, which Sebastian admits is a lot easier for a newbie to do.  He encourages writers to “develop that magical perception. Everything is meaningful, everything is inspiring.”  Even a blank computer screen can be inspiring … hmmmm … I’ll have to think about that one.  But I take his point that even the most mundane circumstances, the most ordinary people can be vessels for inspiration.  So go and get inspired:  Read Sebastian’s full post by clicking here.

Writing With Statistics and Numbers

Today’s guest blogger at the Writer’s Resource Center, Andrew Dlugan, discusses how to add meaningful context when you write about numbers and statistics.  Numbers and statistics without context can confuse and even distress the average reader.  I’ve spent most of my professional life writing about statistics, trying to present important public health information in a context that can be readily understood by the general public.  It’s an incredible challenge, and Andrew provides good examples, including one from cancer research.  To simply say that over a half million people will die from cancer in 2008, without providing some underlying context, does a disservice to the average reader.  Providing the percentage of the general population that that number actually represents helps to educate the reader.  Andrew goes a bit further by drawing on examples that the average reader is assumed to readily comprehend, for example, generalizing to the “population” of visitors to the Writer’s Resource Center (although he does provide the caveat that this population may not be representative of the larger general population).  Click here to read his full post.

Elderbloggers

Here’s a new term that I came across in a Wall Street Journal essay published in the June 14-15, 2008 edition: elderbloggers. In her essay, “Put It in Writing,” Ronni Bennett writes about the growing population of elderbloggers, the thousands of bloggers who are older than 50. At the time that Ms. Bennet started blogging in 2003, when she was about 62, an internet search for older bloggers might have netted only a dozen or so. Now, like the US elder population in general, their numbers have dramatically increased. According to Ms. Bennett, “Isolation and loneliness are well known to impair health and mental fitness. Blogging is a powerful antidote.” She discusses the general differences between elderbloggers and our young counterparts (no surprise that we tend, initially anyway, to be shyer about writing about ourselves), and she offers brief intros to some of the friends that she’s made through blogging, people whose paths she would never have crossed, had she not been blogging. You can read the full text of her essay by clicking here.

For more on elderblogging or for blogs by elderbloggers, try these links:

Time Goes By — What it’s really like to get older (this is Ms. Bennett’s blog)

Our Bodies Our Blogs: Elderbloggers Shift the Universe

Blogging in Paris

Octogenarian (blog by Mort Reichek)

CJOnline Blogs

Ride ’em, Cowboy! The Nexus Between Editing and Bull Riding

You must read today’s guest blogger at the Writer’s Resource Center, Suzanne G. Fox!  Her post, “So Much in Common:  The Truth About Editing and Bull Riding,” is both entertaining and informative.  My favorite similarity of the several that she lists is that while technology helps, it’s talent and training that make the difference.  Here’s a clip from her post:

“Bull riding doesn’t require a lot of fancy equipment-a rider could probably get by with just a bull rope, a cowboy hat, and a set of spurs, and no amount of fiddling with these basics seems to make much difference in his performance. The great “Razor” Jim Sharp didn’t even wear chaps-he always rode in blue jeans. Likewise in editing-fast computers and access to the Chicago Manual of Style online may save some time, but in the end, it’s what you’ve learned and how you practice it, plus your innate command of the language, that determine your success.”

Now go and read the rest of her post by clicking here.

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