It’s the holidays, and that means we’re in the spirit of giving. For some, that means gifts for family members. For others, the holidays inspires them to serve their communities. Either way, giving is a great way to raise not just the receiver’s spirits, but your own (check out the documentary Happy). And as a writer, you have the skills to give writer gifts that will be uniquely special to the receivers.
Whether you’re caught up in the holiday spirit or in a writing slump, using your unique skills to offer writer gifts that benefit others is just what you need.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) ends on Thursday. That means you have to figure out how to finish a novel . . . in three days.
Let’s get the bad news out of the way first—you might not make it.
The good news is that it’s not impossible. With the right strategy and enough determination, you can finish writing your book and win NaNoWriMo.
You’ve heard of stories in 140 characters. But now that Twitter has increased their character limit, we’re faced with a new challenge: stories in 280 characters.
What concise tales will you tell in this newly expanded space?
Currently I’m reading a collection of essays by the National Book Award winner and genius grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates. Many people view Coates, a writer for The Atlantic, as political, but I’ve heard him speak, and he repeatedly emphasizes that he is a writer above all else. He is an observer and he shares his observations with the world, and we can draw valuable writing tips from his work.
Coates’s book We Were Eight Years in Power consists of articles he wrote during the Obama years, each of which are preceded by Coates’s retrospective reflections on those essays. As a fellow writer, I was enthralled by those reflections. Here was an anointed “genius” expressing his doubts and self-critiques. There’s something fascinating about watching a successful writer still cringe at the very works that gave him that success.
Given all that, I had to share some of my takeaways, writing tips drawn from Coates’s self-reflections.
A couple weeks ago, I attended an author talk with Colson Whitehead at Politics & Prose in D.C.
The author has been writing novels for 18 years, but recently he’s been getting a lot of attention because his new book, The Underground Railroad, was inducted into Oprah’s coveted Book Club. The book is about the escape from slavery to freedom in the antebellum south, but it also has fantastical elements—a literal underground railroad that exposes the protagonist to different worlds at each station.
Here are five tips I gleaned from his talk.