Posts Tagged B.K. Winstead
My writing friend B.K. responded to my last post with a post of his own about his writing space. He called his the geekosphere and posted a picture of his desk with all its Disney paraphernalia. A commenter on his post, Marianne Knowles, referred to her own column on writing areas and included a before an after picture of her desk. In her post she referenced a third blogger, Wendy Van Camp, who has a running section in No Wasted Ink on writing spaces.
The many clean and orderly rooms and desks featured in the No Wasted Ink blog were interesting, but few made me jealous. In some of them no desktop computer or a laptop was in evidence. Other of the spaces made my neck hurt just looking at them, because they looked so un-ergonomic. Although I have my keyboard in a less than ideal spot, I do have a shelf I can pull out that is at the correct height, or used to be when I had a larger keyboard and a different, less adjustable and comfortable chair. This column is a good reminder for me to reevaluate my workstation and keyboard placement. (Please see the wiki article on proper workstation design.)
My husband made my desk out of reclaimed Ponderosa pine beams from the 1800s Manitou Springs Hotel. I wanted a large desk so I could spread out research materials. There is a pullout shelf on one side that holds my laser printer with space under it. Currently that space holds old copies of manuscripts I probably should go through and recycle. The right hand side of the desk is completely open and held the CPU back when I had a Gateway computer. Now I have the boxes my computer components came in stored there.
Since I also have an ink jet, I have a printer stand next to the main desk. There are cubby holes under it for various grades of paper and an old phone book. (I have to admit that at this very moment, I can’t get either printer to print. Router problem?) The original purpose of the two-tiered catch-all was a place to keep scrap paper for printing, but I don’t generate much of that anymore. It has become the place to stash papers I don’t know what to do with. My bookshelf holds reference books I might use in writing.
The small calendar on top of the bookshelf is from 2011, but it is so lovely I can’t bare to part with it. Also on the shelf is Blue Lloyd, a replacement Steiff bear a friend sent me a year or two ago and some other small figures. I don’t remember where the pigs came from, but I’ve always been partial to pigs. My best friend in high school gave me the pink rock. I also have a collection of post-it notes which I’d love to add to even though I don’t often use them. I plan to buy Scrivener and forget printing manuscripts and marking them up, especially in light of the fact that I CAN’T PRINT. I guess I’ll have to break down and call technical support one of these days, but really, who has the time?
I painted my room a yellowy gold but the writing corner is raspberry. I like how the paint job sets the writing area off as a separate part of the room. Some may object to the desk being situated so that I look at a wall instead of out a window. Other than the glare from the window behind me, I don’t mind this at all, especially since I have another desk that looks out said window. Unfortunately, its surface is so covered with junk I moved off this desk or piled on it from other tidying tasks, that it is unusable. Also in this room I have two small bookcases and two matching cupboards with drawers and shelves in which I store scrap paper I no longer use, books that are too large for the shelves I have as well as books I plan to donate, and assorted other stuff, like letters decades and my spring clothes.
Really, this is a lovely writing space, or would be if it didn’t also become the room to store all the stuff no one knows where to put.
How does your writing space impact your ability to get work done?
Recently a friend wrote a blog about plotting vs. pantsing; it appears there is a new “danger” and meaning related to pantsing.
For some time people at my place of employment have been talking about the need to not sit for extended periods of time. I’ve heard hints of this in the popular press, too, and I am a participant in a long-term, nationwide study that asks a question about how many hours a day you SIT. If this anti-sitting research pans out, it appears writers are at risk for ailments not associated with writing in the past. Diabetes. Heart disease. Obesity and probably other ailments as well. Much of the research appears to have come from Australia, with interest shown by many other health care professionals.
Probably most of us think, “Oh, I walk for a half hour a day, or ride my bike for two hours, or exercise on the weekend,” but what this research is saying is that that is not enough and what we need to do is stop sitting for extended periods of time. Exactly what constitutes an “extended” period of time I do not currently know, nor do I know how much time you have to stand up and move around to counteract the effects. Does standing and walking down the stairs to pour coffee provide enough of a break when you’ve been sitting for three hours editing a manuscript? Probably not.
2/20/12 UPDATE: It looks like this could be even more of a concern for older writers. Younger writers turn into older writers on a daily basis, so it most likely is best to establish new habits NOW.
The best advice at the moment might be to set a timer and get up and stretch every hour or so. Dance. If you’re at home, vacuum, run down to the basement to fold the wash, walk to the store. If you can find a place to use your laptop while standing, do that for part of the day. If you’re at writing group, stand up and discuss the writing for at least five minutes of every hour. Just don’t sit in your seat staring at the screen for hours at a time.
This cutting edge research gives new meaning to the word pantser, but unfortunately, it applies to plotters, too!!
Here is the Abstract for one of the original articles from European Endocrinology:
‘Too Much Sitting’ and Metabolic Risk – Has Modern Technology Caught Up with Us?
David W Dunstan,1–5 Genevieve N Healy,1,3 Takemi Sugiyama3 and Neville Owen3
Recent epidemiological evidence suggests that prolonged sitting (sedentary behaviour: time spent in behaviours that have very low energy expenditure, such as television viewing and desk-bound work) has deleterious cardiovascular and metabolic correlates, which are present even among adults who meet physical activity and health guidelines. Further advances in communication technology and other labour-saving innovations make it likely that the ubiquitous opportunities for sedentary behaviour that currently exist will become even more prevalent in the future. We present evidence that sedentary behaviour (too much sitting) is an important stand-alone component of the physical activity and health equation, particularly in relation to cardio-metabolic risk, and discuss whether it is now time to consider public health and clinical guidelines on reducing prolonged sitting time that are in addition to those promoting regular participation in physical activity.
For the beginning of the year the WordPress.com blog posted a blog about blog names. Both of the examples they used were cute and catchy. Possibly people wonder why I named my blog Cuisine of Loneliness.
My initial reason was that it was the first thing that came to mind. I wanted something that was general and not necessarily related to writing, and when I was attempting to set this up, that’s what I thought of. I didn’t want to use my name since I seem to have a problem settling on a variation to use. I like c2 but it is usually too short or taken.
Cuisine of Loneliness seemed like a decent name because it is the current title of a manuscript I’m about ready to circulate. One of the themes in the book is friendship, so I thought I could use the blog to write on that topic. One of my failed blogs (4 entries) was called Reunion Troubles, so I thought I could incorporate an old blog post or two–obviously not more than four–about reunions, and reunions are related to friendships, so I included that as part of my subtitle. And since I’m a writer trying to get more widely published, and since I do have many ideas related to writing, I included writing as another topic. Unfortunately, I’m often better at generating ideas than remembering what they are and expanding on them.
The downside of using Cuisine of Loneliness, especially if the manuscript is never accepted for publication, is that I do have other manuscripts/novels either written or in the works, and how smart is it to link a different title to that of an unpublished novel?
So just as I changed the template that I’m using for my blog as I search for the perfect look, I may at some point change the name of the blog as I again search for the perfect title. I guess I don’t believe in waiting until every word is perfect or every idea is fully developed before plunging in. If I did that, I’d never have anything to show for my efforts.
Another writer friend uses Cryptic Town:Dedicated to Paranormal Fiction for her blog title. Although she may have a novel with that name, it may also be a unifying concept for a series. Other friends use some variation of their names. the Weird World of B.K. Winstead just sounds good. Caroline Marwitz, Writer seems a little boring to me, but her full title Caroline Marwitz Writes the World is intriguing. Not sure why it shows up as the first on my list of blogs I follow. Other blogs with the author’s name in the title: Aimie K. Runyon: Historical Fiction…One day at a Time. I’d say what most of these posts have in common are good subtitles, or in the case of Caroline, a good full title.
This morning as I was finishing this, I stumbled on another writer friend’s vlog. He used to write a blog called One Word, One Rung, One Day but now that he’s published, he’s changed the title to Bacon,Beer&Books, which fits him.
What makes a blog title enticing to you?
I’m not sure I’m ever going to get around to writing the post I was thinking about all week, so I’m taking the easy way out and discussing resolutions.
I haven’t often made those lose weight/exercise more resolutions that are easy to make and easy to discontinue when February rolls around. In the past, I’ve attempted to resolve to do something I’d want to continue for many years. One year my goal was to entertain in some capacity at least monthly. Another year I planned to do something cultural on a monthly basis. That kind of goal prompted me to do something that I enjoyed and probably wanted to do but had been finding excuses not to do. Even though I don’t set either of these as current goals, the fact that I did them for a full year helps me stay in the groove. For various reasons, entertaining has morphed into a goal of twice a year–once outside in the summer and once at the holidays, but the mere fact that I once did this more often encourages me to exceed my goals.
I started implementing my resolution for 2014 more than a month ago. This year I am putting things where they belong in the first place. No more jackets thrown on chairs or mail shoved to the side. This should help me be both neater, making it easier to clean the house, as well as accomplish more since I won’t have to be looking for missing items. If I open the mail and pay the bill, throw away the donation request right away, etc. I won’t have missing bills or other mail avalanching off my desk. This resolution is a direct result of B.K. Winstead’s post Mindful Writing, Mindful LIfe.
The advantage of making a resolution and sticking with it for a year may be that remnants of it continue to influence in later years. I might not entertain monthly these days, but I do still think to ask people over; I look at occasions as a possible time to entertain and I am more willing to take the time to attend a concert or visit an art museum. In the back of my mind, I’m still counting how well I’m doing with both those goals. They are now part of how I operate. My writing goal for this year is to post a blog a week. I believe I posted my first blog on Sept. 27 and although all my posts have not been scintillating, I have already posted often enough to average once a week. This is, then, both the last entry for the past year and the first of the new one.
Since for me writing is all about interaction, I’d love to hear what your writing goals are for the year and how you plan to implement them. At the end of the year we can all see how we did! Happy 2014.
This morning on Weekend Sunday Edition, Rachel Martin interviewed Daniel Menaker, writer and past fiction editor of The New Yorker and Editor in Chief at Random House, about his new memoir, My Mistake. Although I have since read the transcript of the interview, I originally missed the middle of it and returned to hear him say, “Yeah, I think we write for attention.” My immediate thought was, “That’s odd. I don’t think my main motive for writing is attention.”
Maybe “real” writers do want attention, but I want the story to get attention, not me. Sure, I wouldn’t mind answering some questions about the story or the writing of the story, but that doesn’t mean I want to do it face to face. For me one of the allures of writing is that I can do it behind the scenes and not have to be front and center. Yes, writers who are gracious and entertaining and informative the way Mary Doria Russell was at the recent Readcon event in Greeley are a delight, but it’s hard for me to believe that most writers want to be on the hot seat, being questioned and photographed. Most of the writers I know want to write and publish. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard one of them talk about how they’re writing so they can go on tour or be featured on Oprah or interviewed on NPR. I don’t think one of us in any of the writing groups I’ve been part of have expressed a desire for fame. Publication, yes. The allure of money, occasionally, but most of us who have been in a group long enough seem to give up on the big bucks and just aim and wish for publication.
My next thought was, maybe that’s what I’m doing wrong; I don’t want attention enough. Possibly that thought is related to another blog a writer-friend reposted the other day, The One Thing You Are Doing to Block Your Writing Success. In this blog the author talks about not calling yourself a writer and how that might be harmful to your career. In other posts on her blog she talks about Myers-Briggs type and relates that to writing and writers. I wonder if, in part, my response to her post and my not usually telling people I’m a writer is related to type? Or, in general, not liking attention being called to myself?
Of course, at some level I do desire attention, the attention of an agent, then an editor which will lead to the attention of readers. There is, also, the matter of the blog. Of course I want people to read my blog and comment and respond. I see that more as interaction than as attention-gathering, though. And yes, in the back of my mind I often have a specific person I want to read a particular work, but again, it’s mostly for the work that I desire attention, not me.
I’m wondering if others who write feel this way or if their primary motivation in writing so to gain attention to themselves?
Last year two writer friends suggested a short story writing month during which we wrote daily to see how many drafts we could produce to work on throughout the year. The first month I generated a number of flash and one long story that I still need to complete and edit. The second challenge, which was the brainchild of an Internet writing friend, was less successful.
This year my writing group has the collective goal of writing four short pieces during October, starting today. This should provide material to workshop throughout the year. All of us are also writing, rewriting, or editing longer works. Each of us is to take a turn with prompts.
To start, Brian posted a motivational piece on FB–An Invocation for Beginnings. I don’t think he’s shared this on his blog, (The Weird World of B.K. Winstead,) so I’m sharing it here. It has great advice about getting started, about critiquing, and creativity, with only a few odd statements and a sprinkling of four letter words. And an advertisement, unfortunately. The Weird Worldhas lots of interesting posts on writing, too.