2K to 10K 31 Plays in 31 Days 750 Words A Newbie's Guide to Publishing a room of one's own Aaron Sorkin Adam Lauver Aimee Mann Alden Jones Alexander Masters All Things Considered alphabetical order amazing Amazon Ang Lee Angels in America animation Ann Patchett Ann Voss Peterson Anne Lamott Anne R. Allen AOL Instant Messenger Apartment Therapy audio drama Austin Kleon author pages avalanche thinking baby bump Barnes & Noble basement cat Belgariad benonsensical Big Fish Bill Watterson Bird by Bird Blake Snyder blogging book porn books Books-a-Million Boston Boston Playwrights' Theatre Boston Theater Marathon Brain Pickings brainstorming Brandon Sanderson brevity Bridge Rep of Boston Buffy the Vampire Slayer BuzzFeed C.J. Redwine C.S. Lewis caffeine Calvin and Hobbes Carlo Gébler cat Catherine Lacey cats Charlie Jane Anders Cheryl Strayed Chris Baty Chuck Wendig clichés coffee collaborative writing Colson Whitehead comedy conflict copyeditor Corpse Bride Cracked.com Craig Fehrman Craig Mazin creative autobiography creative nonfiction creativity Curious George Cynthia Herron Daily Kick in the Pants Dante Alighieri David Daniel David Eddings David Farland David McRaney David Ogilvy David Rakoff day jobs Dean Wesley Smith Dear Sugar Deborah Martin delayed gratification depression description dialogue discipline divorce Dogma Dragon Age: Origins Dragonlance dreams Dungeons & Dragons East of Eden Eat Pray Love Edward Kelsey Moore Elise Capron Elmore Leonard Emerson College Emily Kaye Lazzaro endings epic Ernest Hemingway escalation ESP Esquire magazine extroverts F. Scott Fitzgerald Facebook fanfic Fangs and Clause fantasy Father's Day fear fear of the basement fellowships fiction authors Fiction500 first lines first novel flash fiction formal writing Freedom freewriting full-length plays fun. Game of Thrones Gandalf genre fiction GIgantic Sequins Go God Going Viral Google graffiti Grant Snider greeting cards Half Empty Hallmark Harper Voyager HarperCollins Harry Potter homeless people Hovey Players Hovey Summer Shorts Festival Howard Gardner Hugh Howey Hurricane Island ICanLegoThat ice cream trucks IFTTT iice cream trucks imposter syndrome Incidental Comics Independent Clause internal conflicts interviews introverts io9 Ira Glass Irish Famine italics J.A. Konrath J.K. Rowling J.R.R. Tolkien James H. Duncan James Thurber Jan Reymond Jane Vandenburgh Janice Hardy jeffjlin.com Jen Doll Joanna Penn John August John Coffee John Scalzi John Steinbeck Joss Whedon jury duty Kamala Nair Karen Russell Kevin J. Anderson Kevin Smith keyhole effect kids Kimberly Ann Southwick Kindle Singles Kristine Kathryn Rusch Kurt Vonnegut L. Ron Hubbard Lake Superior State University Le Morte d'Arthur Legos Letters of Note Letters to a Young Poet LIC One Act Festival Lifehacker.com Lilo and Stitch List of Banished Words Lists of Note literary fiction literature Llyod Alexander Lord of the Rings Luke Skywalker magical fantasy world Maine man cave manuscript factory Marc Maron Margaret Weis Mark Twain Mass Effect mass effect 3 Massacre Lane Massacre Pond Maurice Sendak Megan Stielstra microfiction Microsoft Word middle school momentum Mona Simpson money Monica Byrne monologues music musical NaNoWriMo Nathan Bransford National Novel Writing Month Native Americans Neil Gaiman Never Check E-Mail in the Morning New York Times No Plot? No Problem! nonfiction Nora Roberts note to self NPR Old Testament Olivia D'Ambrosio On Writing online resources Open Culture Oprah organization outlines outlining Outward Bound overused phrases pacing page turners pantser paper routes paradigm paradigm shift parapsychology parenthood parenting passion perfectionism Pete Docter Peter Corea picture books Piers Anthony Pixar planning playwrighting playwriting plot plotter podcast poetry pomodoro technique premonitions procrastination productivity prolific prose poem psychology publishing myths race Rachel Aaron Rachel Scheller Rainer Maria Rilke Ray Bradbury real estate rejection relationships Republic of Brown research revision reward systems Richard Feynman Robert Heinlein Romainmôtier Roni Loren rough drafts running Ryan Casey Samuel Park Save the Cat! Scarborough scheduling schizophrenia science fiction Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America Scientology scrivener self-doubt self-publishing sequence Shadowrun Shakespeare shared sacrifice Sherwood Anderson shitty first drafts short films short plays short stories short-short stories singing single parent Sir Thomas Malory sketches smart phones smartphones Songs of Innocence and Experience soundtrack South Portland Spider-Man SPIN Magazine Starbucks steal like a writer Stephen King Stephen Marche stories submitting success! suicide Susan Sontag Tad Williams Tasslehoff Burrfoot teaching technology telekinesis ten-minute plays terribleminds thank you in advance The Atlantic Wire The Berenstain Bears The Boston Globe The Business Rusch The Chronicles of Narnia The Chronicles of Prydain The Creative Habit The Creative Penn The Divine Comedy The Formative Years The Game The Getaway Car The Girl in the Garden The Grinder The Interview The LIfe of Pi The Lighthouse The Manuscript Factory the new normal The New York Times The Old Reader The Other Side of the Story The Passive Voice The Rumpus Thelonious Monk thinking patterns This American Life Three-Minute Fiction time travel timed writing Tony Kushner Torch transcript Trinity College Tuesdays with Morrie Twitter Twyla Tharp undefined Vericon vignettes Virginia Woolf Voltron Wall Street Journal Whatever Where the WIld Things Are Wikipedia Wild William Blake William Shakespeare Winesburg Ohio Wool workaholic workflowy Working Writers world building Write or Die Writer... 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Week Twenty Two: Classed!

I briefly considered getting creative with the word "class" (flying first class? the upper class? having no class?), but ultimately went with this.

It's pretty much autobiographical. However, the pronoun is "he," so technically it's fiction.

Post a link to (or the full text of) yours in a comment here! Let's get classy.


Revise less?

An interesting article about our writerly obsession with revision and how it's actually a new trend:

“The ideal environment for revision is one where you can preserve several different versions of a text,” Sullivan says. With only one in-progress draft on a computer, we lose the cues that led the Modernists to step back from their work and to revise it. “It’s that moment of typing things up that led to the really surprising and inventive changes,” Sullivan says. “The authors came back to their text, but it seemed estranged.”

So why do we continue to champion revision? Sullivan suggests it’s partly due to the literary ideals and habits we’ve inherited from the Modernists. She also mentions the professionalization of creative writing, which pushed authors like Carver and Oates to teach at universities. “Writers need to look more like professors and to discuss their laborious processes,” Sullivan says. “‘We can’t teach you how to write, but we can teach you how to revise.’ And it’s a big business.”

Read the rest here!

My writing classes at Emerson and Trinity were absolutely all about revision. If I ever get to teach creative writing at the college level, I'm going to insist on creating a Writer's Bootcamp course that will stress output over perfection. It's tough to shut off the critical mind, especially when you've honed it to the point that it has something to say the second your creative mind opens its mouth.


"Without risking failure nothing important can be written"

From Jane Vandenburgh, some paraphrased advice on writing from one of the most gifted memiorists out there, Cheryl Strayed:

To write any book that matters you'll need to own both your own most ridiculously lofty ambitions together with the sobering notion that you're likely doomed to failure. You will fail, she says, because each of us is a broken and leaking all-too-human vessel, too weak and insignificant to be carrying such an important story.

Why? because each of us is profoundly, even fundamentally mediocre -- this is Strayed's perfect word -- so it's only by asking ourselves to do what we actually cannot yet do that we step up to take on the critical challenges that will be necessary.

Without risking failure nothing important can we written so we must settle down to the fact that we're sure to fail, then fail, and then fail again. If there is one true task of a writer, she says, it is to take up a story that is too heavy, one too difficult to bear, shoulder it, then walk a thousand miles.

Read the rest here!

If you've read and enjoyed any of The Rumpus's Dear Sugar columns (this one is my favorite), you owe it to yourself to pick up a copy of Tiny Beautiful Things. Pick up two, because you're going to want to give the second copy to someone who needs to read it.


Week Twenty Two: "I want to like this class, I really do..."

I wrote this in boredom (clearly) during one of John Coffee's classes: either History of the Bible or History of the U.S. Constitution. I thought he was great ("The word of the day is fustigate! F-U-S-T-I-G-A-T-E. To beat with a stick."), but I had trouble focusing during the parts of his classes that were not him telling us awesome stories.


"I want to like this class, I really do..."

Unlike Weeks Twenty and Twenty One, this was not intended to be a first line... but it could be!

Freshman-Me put it in quotation marks because he thought it had some kind of story potential, but what that might have been is beyond me now. Guess we'll just have to make something up!

Sunday, midnight, 300 words!


Week Twenty One: Pushed!

It's SundaySundaySunday!

Do you know what that means?


It could mean a lot of things. But one of those things is this: It's time to share the results of this week's writing challenge!

This one's mine.

Give 'em here!


Being and remaining a working author

Happy Friday!

From David Farland, a short post about finding and keeping the writerly work ethic:

Many writers [...] keep planning to write something, to become manuscript factories, but end up producing nothing at all. They dream of writing screenplays and novels, but never even write a chapter.

Obviously, I don’t want to be the kind of person who only dreams of producing manuscripts.

Between the extremes of the has-beens and the wannabes is where I hope to be. I want to be the kind of author who steadily produces something every day. I want to be a working author. I want to be bustling and busy, and keep producing.

Read the rest here!

...and speaking of, what a great time to remind you about Week Twenty One! Be the manuscript factory. And, really, a manuscript factory could put out 400 words before the workers even arrive. For this one, you only need to be a manuscript hobbiest, at best.


It's a poll!

The Unwritten Word has been gaining a lot of new readers, and I'd like to get a better idea of what you find useful here.

Please take a moment to fill it out:

Which posts do you most enjoy reading? (check all that apply)
pollcode.com free polls 

Feel free to comment if the poll is missing something!

I thank you. I do.


Timed writing

From Ryan Casey, a productivity tip that just might make you an author: 

Basically, the Pomodoro Technique is this: you set a timer for twenty-five minutes and you do whatever task it is you want to do (in our case, writing). You work solidly on that task for twenty-five minutes, and then when the time is up, you take a five minute break, no matter what. Nip to the loo, refill your glass of water — Pomo’ don’t discriminate.

Then, you repeat the cycle again. After four full cycles, you take a longer break.

Can you see how beneficial this is to writing? I usually start writing somewhere around ten-thirty in the morning. I complete four cycles and then take a lunch break. On a typical day, I’ll have four-thousand words written by the time I take lunch. On a good day, I’ll have hit 5k already.

The best thing about it is, because it breaks your work up into smaller chunks, you don’t feel as drained as you would do if you’d spent several solid hours. My productivity method used to be this: wait for the clock to hit the hour and then write until that hour is up. But it was a poor method, in hindsight — I regularly got distracted and my words per hour were nowhere near as high as I know they can be.

Another bonus? Maybe you do only have twenty-five minutes per day, but with the Pomodoro Technique, you can turn those twenty-five minutes into a goldmine of productivity. Do you have twenty-five minutes per day? Then you can finish a novel in eighty days. How’s that sound?

Read the rest here!

A novel in eighty days sounds pretty damn great to me. I've been using this technique at my day job and I've got to tell youit works. Not only does it work, but you will end your day feeling very accomplished.

I can't wait to apply to it my morning writing ritual.


Week Twenty One: The second time she pushed me under...

Goodness, such violence.

Like Week Twenty, this one was also intended to be a first line. And so, similarly, feel free to use it as a first line, second line, last line, or even as a thematic springboard for something else entirely.

The prompt, in case you can't read my doctor's scrawl:

The second time she pushed me under, I knew she wasn't kidding.

Let's move backwards on the word count in order to lure more writerlies to the cause: 400 words, Sunday, midnight!

Tell your friends. All of your friends.


Week Twenty: Floored!

Show and tell begins... now.

Here's mine.

Where be yours?

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