How to take an edit

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Something I’ve found interesting, the more I work in the writing space, is how surprised people tend to be when I am open to and eager for edits and critiques. I’m not sure how I got this way. Maybe my skin was a bit thick to begin with (B reminds self to make an appointment with dermatologist), but regardless, it seems to me the most powerful motivation for anyone- even those afraid of critique- to just brace themselves and ask for feedback is the proof: my work is almost always better after having considered the edits, whether they’re from an agent, an editor or even just my mum. And I’m guessing other peeps’ work is too.

Sure, it stings the pride to sit through something you’ve toiled away on being picked apart but, in the end, why wouldn’t I want my writing to be the best it can be? And so, if you too are ready to get real with your writing and make it as excellent as possible, the following are a few tips on how to gracefully, efficiently, creatively accept an edit.

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Jupiter structural layer cake

(via ilovecharts)


Live-Tumbling (without content spoiler alerts) my introduction to Story Is A State of Mind online writing course from Sarah Selecky

Not to be a braggy jerk about it, but I’ve been really feeling good about my writing recently— or, rather, not the writing itself but the fact that there are so many ideas being like, “Hello, please write me down!” As I’ve mentioned before, I’m coming off a period of pretty intense planning/execution for some projects that distracted me from the fact that I’m a writer and so now all the concepts I’ve been tamping down for so long are fighting to bust out.

This is great(!) but I also feel like they are so strong and unruly that I could use a helping hand in developing them in a useful way rather than just idea spewing. At the same time, I’m not at a stage where I would benefit from weekly deadlines or a regular class setting, so I checked into an online course from a respected writer I’ve been following for some time — one of our EAT IT contributors, and former Giller nominee (Yay!), Sarah Selecky.

The course is called Story Is a State of Mind. I know a few people who have gone through it and loved it, and found that it benefited their writing immensely. So, blammo, I invested a little bit and this is a live-Tumble of my first experience with the introduction to Story Is A State of Mind.

I LIKE THAT SHE REFERS TO ME AND MY WRITING AS DISCRETE THINGS!

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lareviewofbooks:

"If much else is murky, one thing is clear: you cannot understand #Ferguson without hitting the books. Though the continued relevance of many of our best nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers on race and social justice may be somewhat, well, dispiriting here in 2014— one wishes that we were living in a somewhat less nineteenth-century world — Avidly insists that we keep digging deep, going back to the well, drawing from those who have written before. Here we offer a literary history of sorts, a collection of words that we hope galvanize us all to action.”
LARB Channel Avidly offers a reading guide to Ferguson’s literary history.

lareviewofbooks:

"If much else is murky, one thing is clear: you cannot understand #Ferguson without hitting the books. Though the continued relevance of many of our best nineteenth- and twentieth-century writers on race and social justice may be somewhat, well, dispiriting here in 2014— one wishes that we were living in a somewhat less nineteenth-century world — Avidly insists that we keep digging deep, going back to the well, drawing from those who have written before. Here we offer a literary history of sorts, a collection of words that we hope galvanize us all to action.”

LARB Channel Avidly offers a reading guide to Ferguson’s literary history.


How to finish reading that big book you’re dragging yourself through

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I really despise the idea of smugness but there is one very particular event in my life that I have no qualms at all being smug about: I finished reading War & Peace. That’s right, people. The whole thing. It took me probably about two years and I brought it with me through five different cities and three different countries, ripping away chunks of the pages as I finished reading them so as to lighten the load of carrying it (yes, there are bits of my copy of War & Peace rotting in dumps literally from here to Mexico).

While I like to be very pleased with myself for having finished that giant mama of a book, I also have to say that I completed adored every damn page of it. (One of the most celebrated books in the literary canon— It’s pretty good. Who knew?)

I read it was because of my book club. We were flailing a bit with a particularly lame run of selections and decided, what the hell, let’s quit screwing around and do the big granddaddy of literature. It took many months and several installments of the book club and not everybody blasted through the final leg of the marathon. In fact, hardly anyone did. And a few are still, to this day, stuck at page 25.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately because I’ve noticed a few posts on social media about people steeling themselves to finish a book they’ve been slogging through. Oh, and also, my book club has been waffling for the past four sessions over whether or not to select one particular recent Canadian novel they don’t particularly want to read, but feel like they should.

It makes me think back to those unfortunate souls still stuck at page 25 of War & Peace. Because, while I think they’re missing out on something that was (for me, anyway) a freaking amazing and life-changing storytelling experience—they are also god damn heroes in my view.

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newyorker:

In an age when we endlessly post and read about marriage, divorce, and illness on social media, what does it mean to write a memoir? Dani Shapiro reflects on her own experience:

“I’m grateful that I wasn’t a young writer with a blog or a massive following on social media. The years of silence were deepening ones. My story burrowed its way deeper and deeper into my being until it became a story I could turn inside out, hold to the light like a prism, craft into a story that was bigger than its small, sorry details.”

Illustration by Sophia Foster-Dimino

newyorker:

In an age when we endlessly post and read about marriage, divorce, and illness on social media, what does it mean to write a memoir? Dani Shapiro reflects on her own experience:

“I’m grateful that I wasn’t a young writer with a blog or a massive following on social media. The years of silence were deepening ones. My story burrowed its way deeper and deeper into my being until it became a story I could turn inside out, hold to the light like a prism, craft into a story that was bigger than its small, sorry details.”

Illustration by Sophia Foster-Dimino



Dreaming of roasts.
Me, right now.

staff:

harperperennial:

Now that I can breathe again, I’m so excited to announce that Bad Feminist will debut on next Sunday’s New York Times bestseller list at #13!

Gigantic thanks to all of you readers, booksellers, librarians, and BAD FEMINISTS for supporting roxanegay and this book. We couldn’t have done it without you!

Roxane Gay can’t possibly get congratulated enough. This is huge. 


newyorker:

Is creativity something that you’re born with, or something that anyone, with practice and dedication, can acquire? Maria Konnikova examines a series of studies.
Illustration by Rachel Levit

newyorker:

Is creativity something that you’re born with, or something that anyone, with practice and dedication, can acquire? Maria Konnikova examines a series of studies.

Illustration by Rachel Levit