The Writerly Habit

This blog is about my struggles to get into the habit of writing regularly.

Episode 2: Jabberwocky

Here's the latest episode fromThe Writerly Habit Audiobook Podcast.

Click this link to check it out:
Episode 2: Jabberwocky

Remember, the podcasts are available for download on iTunes.

What is Creative Nonfiction?

I'm about six weeks into my creative nonfiction class and I keep getting asked "what is creative nonfiction?" I kind of felt the same way before I started the class. I figured it was all magazine articles. Not so. Creative nonfiction covers a vast amount of work. it includes biographies, memoirs, personal essays, journalism, travel writing, food criticism... You name it. Most news is creative nonfiction, some of it is pure fiction. :P

Right now I'm having a lot of fun with personal essays. They are very popular with magazines too. If you are looking for help writing one, you should pick up a copy of Courage and Craft: Writing Your Life into Story by Barbara Abercrombie. She guides you through a lot of the different types of nonfiction and supplies a lot of great writing prompts.

For years, I was writing what I thought boiled down to glorified journal entries. I love writing about my life. I have a tub full of my writing that I thought was worthless. It wasn't until I started this class that I realized I've been writing creative nonfiction all along. If I ever get to the point where I start my MFA, I think it will be in creative nonfiction. Check out the book, it'll be worth your time.

Castle on ABC

Photo courtesy of ABC.COM

I just finished watching the first episode of Castle on ABC. As you know, I love shows (and movies) about writers. Or even people in the literary field i.e. editors. Normally I'm all over them, but this one was under the radar somehow. Castle stars Nathan Fillion (Firefly and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as murder mystery writer Richard Castle. Castle is questioned in relation to a string of murders based on scenes in his novels. Ok, that's pretty cliche but there's something about the roguish way Fillion plays this character that makes him compelling. He reacts more like a writer would, with a natural fascination and curiosity. Stana Katic plays Detective Kate Beckett, the lonely good-looking female cop with a romantic side. She spends most of the episode trying to reign in Castle. Together they are able to solve the case, which otherwise would've been pinned on an innocent mentally disturbed man.

The show truly is riddled with cliche's. Fillion is really what's going to sell this show. His character is charming and funny. Another interesting part was watching Castle play poker with his writing buddies James Patterson and Stephen J. Cannell. I was a little worried about how they were going to continue the premise of the show, but they managed to explain that away easily enough.

Be sure to catch the next episode of Castle Monday 10/9c on ABC.

Episode 1: Birth of a Podcast

My First Assignment

Well, I got my first assignment recording for Librivox. I will be doing two chapters of Cecilia; Or, Memoirs of an Heiress by Fanny Burney. It's written in very formal diction so I have to be careful not to slide into a fake British accent. I have that weird habit. My dad was in the Army for over 20 years so that's how we were taught to make friends. You assimilate, you imitate. Anything that makes people more comfortable with you. It isn't really a conscious thing. It just happens from traveling around a lot and having to make new friends all the time.

I will also be releasing an audiobook podcast here in the next few days. I'd like to have one on writing, full of interviews and such, but that is a little further down the road. All of the works featured will be in the public domain, to prevent copyright infringement. This is my contribution to improving the literacy of America. You can tell from my previous posts how passionate I am about that. It's amazing how little people read for enjoyment, especially fiction. If you have a suggestion for something you want read aloud, please post it in the comments section.

Babblebooks Podcast Warning!

Hey guys. Well I was looking to add to my audiobook collection on my iPod. Since I'm cheap, I try to get podcasts instead. I ran across Babblebooks and couldn't believe the titles they had available for free! Much to my dismay, the books are read by a computer. That's right, a monotone computer voice reading me Uncle Tom's Cabin. Oy vey! I was lucky though, I read a review on iTunes and was able to cancel my downloads. Crisis averted. There it is though, you are forewarned.

In order to satisfy your curiosity, below is a video sample of Up From Slavery by Booker T. Washington.

If you are interested in free audiobooks, try Librivox. Librivox is a community project where volunteers agree to read a chapter of a book. These are available on their website or as podcasts on iTunes. I'm planning on ordering a microphone and then you'll be able to hear my lovely voice reading. I'll let you know when I'm ready to start posting. You can get volunteer information here. All of the books are in the public domain so you don't have to worry about copyright violation.

Good Reads Review

Recently a friend invited me to join GoodReads. At first I was wary but I decided to give it a try. GoodReads allows you to browse books and create your own virtual library. There are shelves for books you've read and books you want to read. You can add and read others reviews and comments. You can link with your friends and see what they are reading. It's a fun site, you should definitely check it out.

Writing on Demand

Now that I am back in college, I am realizing how much having a deadline helps me. For instance, I needed a piece for my Creative Nonfiction class today. I struggled with it all week but finally, last night, I churned out a draft. It ended up being really good too. Working under deadlines and pressure certainly helps me (I'm sure it could create a block for others). In my case, it would be a good idea for me to keep taking classes and workshops. This ensures a certain level of output. I wish I could be an every day writer but it just isn't working out for me. A career in journalism might be a good idea.

Something else I've learned this semester is that it is a lot easier for me to write away from home. I like coffee shops or going to eat at Chipotle by myself. It's quiet but I don't have things to distract me like housework or tv. You know how it is, you sit down to write and all the sudden you feel an overwhelming urge to clean the house.

I guess the writerly habit isn't about forcing yourself into a box. It's about finding what works best for you, your optimal conditions, and allowing yourself to work within them. I will be posting some information on creative nonfiction later this week. In the meantime, keep writing. You'll find yourself eventually.