There’s little “writerly” about this video — except that filmmaker Simon Christen created this 4.5 minute gem over the span of two years spent checking weather forecasts and getting out of bed at 5 AM.
Turns out getting it done a little at a time actually works.
Keep writing, Tom Chandler
The Guardian has collected a series of short articles about the computer desktops of writers. It’s exactly the kind of diversion that ruins my productivity, yet I simply can’t look away.
(Do the contributing writers feel any guilt for distracting me, possibly even taking food from the mouths of my children?)
It’s interesting to note that many authors carry a small paper notebook with them. A majority are not very computer savvy. And that many writers maintain messy computer desktops, which somehow makes me feel just a bit better about myself (it’s not healthy, but it’s honest).
A few highlights:
Novelist Craig Taylor makes an excellent point about writing on an instrument that does so many other things:
I was speaking to a friend recently who asked: if you had to design a perfect machine for writing, what qualities would it have? Would it be stuffed with videos, MP3s, films, games, correspondence, tax returns, photos, Garage Band and Skype? Would you make sure it included a link to Twitter?
Novelist Jenn Ashworth’s slow adoption of ebook technology — forced on her by a lack of space:
I didn’t think I’d own a Kindle — I went all “threatened librarian” about it when they first came out. But a friend of mine bought me one for my birthday last year and now I am never without it. My house is stuffed full of books and we just can’t take in any more. So now, if I want to buy a new one, I choose the ebook over the paper version.
And finally, the decidedly non-technical Julie Myerson:
As far as I know, I write in Word. But I’m not totally sure. I’d have to ask Chloe (who would give me a suitably withering response). Yesterday, my son Jake called me “an untechnological old trout” which is just about right. If it is Word, I like it.
Keep writing, Tom Chandler.
In the age of (ahem) an overabundance of the written word, One way to protect your reading time is to limit yourself to reading the good stuff. The really good stuff.
I’ve got a recommendation. I first met Elizabeth Royte when we were both writing about the bottled water industry (she wrote the excellent, award-winningBottlemania).
Royte’s superpower as a writer is that she knows how weave a detailed picture from small details without ever losing sight of her subject matter — a technique fully on display in her recently published article about the impacts of the fracking boom on small towns:
An hour passed, and I went outside to pace. The sidewalk was smoky, of course, and music wafted from the two strip clubs uphill from the train station, which sat on a rotary at the dead end of Main Street. In this merry atmosphere I chatted with itinerant oilfield workers and locals, visiting grandmothers, and the loquacious stationmaster, who told me the Empire Builder’s on-time rate, the previous month, was 0 percent. There was track work, of course, and conflicts with freight trains, but also collisions with trucks carrying oil, gravel, sand, water, and chemicals. The trucks were driven by exhausted young men servicing drill sites and fracking operations. (Developing a single fracking well involves forcing millions of gallons of water, laced with chemicals and sand, down boreholes that stretch for miles. The pressure cracks the shale, releasing oil and chemically polluted water. The liquids and other equipment are hauled in and out in trucks — thousands a day for every well under development.)
A racket up the street drew my attention. The stationmaster and I watched, slightly amused, as a drunk staggered from one of the strip clubs to his jacked-up truck. Screaming obscenities at an invisible enemy, he flopped backward out his pick-up door onto the pavement, and tried again to mount his own cab. After three attempts, he achieved the driver’s seat and began furiously revving his V-8 engine.
“Watch out if he gets it in gear,” the stationmaster said. “Sometimes the drunks don’t make it around this turn” — meaning the rotary in front of her station.
Almost as if on cue, the truck lurched, its tires squealed, and the sidewalk loiterers, including me, scattered like chickens. The pickup hurtled down Main Street, gathered speed, jumped the curb, and smashed head-on into the Amtrak building. “What did I tell you?” the stationmaster said, flinging her cigarette to the street in disgust. “Now I’ve gotta fill out a police report.”
It would be easy to let the drunk driver make her point for her, but Royte wraps up the incident — and says far more about the impact of the mining boom — by finishing with the stationmaster’s disgusted, cynical response.
You can follow Elizabeth Royte’s blog here.
Keep writing (and reading the good stuff), Tom Chandler.
This one’s too good to ignore. The Writer’s Almanac notes the key differences between Father’s Day and Mother’s Day:
Mother’s Day is still the busiest day of the year for florists, restaurants, and long-distance phone companies. Father’s Day is the day on which the most collect phone calls are made.
For the record, I’m accepting no collect calls today.
Keep writing (but call on your own damned dime), Tom Chandler.
To create your own Pulp Magazine cover (or coffee mug, or t-shirt, or…), head on over to the Pulp-O-Mizer.
Suddenly I’m in geek writer heaven; I stumbled across a copy of the original Star Trek Writer’s Guide, which opens with a stern test of your science fiction writing skills and ends with the following question:
Q: Are you people on LSD?
A: We tried, but we couldn’t keep it lit.
In between, there’s plenty of interesting fodder for even today’s earthbound writers.
Keep writing (and live long and prosper), Tom Chandler.
For 27 years I've worked as a copywriter. Despite that, I retain a youthful appearance and remain mostly sane.
I'm a copywriter, but the Underground isn't focused solely on copywriting; it's a reflection of one writer's interest in other writers (and writer's tools, text editors, creativity - and everything else that bubbles up).