Writing Advice

Gendered Pronouns & Singular “They”

20 January 2018

From OWL – Purdue Online Writing Lab:

Linguistically, pronouns are words used to refer to people by replacing proper nouns, like names. A pronoun can refer to either a person talking or a person who is being talked about. Common pronouns include they/them/theirsshe/her/hers, and he/him/his.

. . . .

The English language does not have a gender-neutral third-person singular personal pronoun, but in recent years they has gained considerable traction in this role. They has been officially recognized as correct by several key bodies such as the Associated Press and the Chicago Manual of Style.

. . . .

Historically, the OWL has had resources on gender inclusive language that mainly focus on incorporating women into general language—for instance, using “he or she” or just “she as the pronoun for a general subject, rather than always defaulting to “he. Now, the conversation on gender inclusive language has expanded further to include people whose genders are neither male nor female (e.g., gender-nonconforming, gender-neutral, genderfluid, genderqueer, or nonbinary individuals, though this list is not exhaustive). In basic terms, this means that he and she are not sufficient to describe the genders of all people, because not all people are either male or female. As such, the phrase “he or she” does not cover the full range of persons.

The alternative pronoun most commonly used is they, often referred to as singular they. Here’s an example:

Someone left his or her backpack behind. → Someone left their backpack behind.

Since we don’t know the gender of the person who left their backpack behind, we use they to include all genders as possibilities for that mystery person. In addition to being respectful of people of all genders, this makes the sentence shorter and easier to say. In fact, almost all of us use this language on a regular basis without even thinking about it.

Link to the rest at OWL – Purdue Online Writing Lab

As a reminder, PG doesn’t always agree with everything he posts on TPV. He has, however, been a regular user of the singular they and their for a long time, dating back to a simpler age when there were just two genders.

What Are You Even For?

20 January 2018

From Slate:

The question of how to make a living as a writer is at its surface very simple. The answer is, you write whenever you’re not doing your real, proper job. The proper job, where you earn your proper living. The answer is, you feel grateful to have a job at all. The answer is, you tuck your writing away, like a cyclist rolling up one trouser leg so the cuff doesn’t get caught up in the chain. The answer is, you have reasons to write other than to make any money—some of them banal and maybe even embarrassing, like wanting to be seen, wanting to be someone. Some of them grander and easier to own up to, like trying to understand what it means to be in this world when so many of us feel we are outside of it. Whatever your reasons, they push you forward.

I remember a second-year business student for whom I had just bought a large orange and vodka for $5 at the Fat Lady’s Arms one Saturday night in 2002. He wanted to know how writing would ever get me a decent job. “What are you gonna do with that?” he asked me, almost as if I’d just pulled some indescribable item out of my pocket and was demanding that he touch it.

. . . .

 I said to the business student that I didn’t know what I would do with the writing. A hot shame came over me then for not having a reasonable plan. I remember having a strong urge to join the dancers.

. . . .

 We all know that it’s out of the ordinary for writers to make much money. When you visit the government’s Careers website, there is a special page to describe Writer, and there is a sign like one of those Fire Danger Today indicators that you see on hot country roads. Only in this sign it’s an indicator for good jobs, as in, “Probability of a Good Job Today,” and the arrow is pointing decidedly to Poor. I recently won a literary prize, a truly wonderful and absurd amount of money out of the clear blue, and I was struck how the news here in New Zealand described me as “pocketing” that money. That sly verb “pocket”—because writers glide around in huge coats lined with pockets in case the opportunity should arise to pinch something to which they feel entitled, like a scented candle or another coat lined with pockets. But, mostly, writers come across as these slightly otherworldly desperate fairy creatures, and if they have any monetary success at all, it’s novel. It’s amusing. They’ve bucked the system—the status quo of writers being poor.

. . . .

To try to be a writer is to disrupt. And to write well is to keep disrupting expectation. Anne Carson says: “You can never know enough, never work enough, never use the infinitives and participles oddly enough, never impede the movement harshly enough, never leave the mind quickly enough.” Of course, Carson is speaking about writing. But I also think of the rush and the urge of society flowing over us like bad music, telling us all the time what counts as a successful career and a successful life. You have to shield yourself from it, impede the movement harshly, to keep it from submerging you.

I was lucky. I did get jobs. And even in early jobs, like working in Lotto stores selling people Instant Kiwis that very occasionally won $5, I felt a thrill at being solely at work. I might have wanted to be a writer, but I was also learning how to be a person facing out into a world. Each day I came back to my writing feeling like a slightly different person. I had listened, observed, eavesdropped, stored things away. There’s an idea I picked up somewhere that all work is the avoidance of harder work. There is some truth in that. “I’ll just remove these little balls of lint from my coat instead of doing a whole load of washing.” “I’ll just revise this paragraph for an hour instead of writing the next one.” At my job as an editor at Victoria University Press, we sometimes talk about “constructive procrastination,” which usually means playing around with typefaces and looking at cover concepts instead of writing jacket copy or ringing up a poet you’re scared of. But that avoidant work, although it must always give way to the harder work, can be rich with spontaneity—with thoughts you might not have had, conversations you might otherwise not have joined or eavesdropped. So, yes, my day job is, in a sense, the avoidance of the harder work of trying to really make it as a writer and only a writer. The harder work of pushing and pushing against a system where the arts aren’t valued as much as boats or rugby or real estate are. Selfishly, I find myself wanting to save the energy that I would spend on fighting. I save it to write work that matters to me.

For the writing that holds real value for us very seldom comes into this world in a planned, tidy, rational way, as in a business plan, without disarray and confusion along the way. I really believe that people who are writing anything truly of value will make some amount of mess as they are figuring out the necessity of their work, as they are reaching for what is most difficult to say. For a writer, working with what’s irrational is in most ways unquantifiable, even though it’s really hard work. No one sees all of the pushing and pulling, except perhaps for other writers. We carry this work around with us, and in turn it pushes and pulls on us. This is partly why it is so awkward when writers are asked, as we are always asked, to write something without being paid. We want to say, “But you don’t understand. I have to make this thing that makes sense out of all of this!” It feels like the work of writing has not been seen; it goes unacknowledged. But that work is where a writer lives.

Link to the rest at Slate

Here’s How To Not Let Your Career Resolutions Slide

19 January 2018
Comments Off on Here’s How To Not Let Your Career Resolutions Slide

From Fast Company:

The best part of the New Year? We all get a chance to have a do-over. Whatever goals and dreams you have been thinking about over the past year, now’s your chance to make those achievements possible over the next 12 months.

. . . .

Most of us who set New Year’s resolutions tend to have a few goals that are vague or a little too over the top. If you want to actually see your resolutions through, make sure you think about how realistic your goals are and how you will track the progress you make.

“For those of us with a full-time job, I love the idea of crafting some resolutions around the progress you desire to make in your career and the lifestyle you want to experience in your downtime,” says Weldy.

For those work resolutions, Weldy says it’s important to consider very measurable ones–so focus your resolutions on specific awards, titles, projects, or milestones you want to complete or work on this year.

. . . .

If you want to get ahead in your career, you can’t set resolutions that are going to make you feel bad about yourself. It’s hard to avoid this, but it comes down to spending more time thinking about the resolutions you are setting and why you are setting them.

“This is one of the downsides of the New Year’s resolution phenomenon–if you didn’t achieve your resolutions last year (or the year before that) it’s easy to get discouraged,” says Weldy. “Your resolutions or goals should never be a source of shame for you–instead, think of them as always-changing reflections of what matters to you right now.”

. . . .

Sometimes when we set our New Year’s resolutions, we set too many big goals and later find ourselves completely failing at keeping most of them. We start the year excited and make a long list of all the ideas we have and all the things we want to accomplish. Some 50 resolutions later, and we can’t even remember half the ones we set for ourselves.

. . . .

Weldy recommends keeping your resolution list short with about 3-5 resolutions in total.

Link to the rest at Fast Company

What Writers Should Learn from Wonder Woman

11 January 2018

11 Ways Emotionally Intelligent People Overcome Uncertainty

9 January 2018

From TalentSmart:

Our brains are hardwired to make much of modern life difficult. This is especially true when it comes to dealing with uncertainty. On the bright side, if you know the right tricks, you can override your brain’s irrational tendencies and handle uncertainty effectively.

Our brains give us fits when facing uncertainty because they’re wired to react to it with fear. In a recent study, a Caltech neuroeconomist imaged subjects’ brains as they were forced to make increasingly uncertain bets—the same kind of bets we’re forced to make on a regular basis in business.

The less information the subjects had to go on, the more irrational and erratic their decisions became. You might think the opposite would be true—the less information we have, the more careful and rational we are in evaluating the validity of that information. Not so. As the uncertainty of the scenarios increased, the subjects’ brains shifted control over to the limbic system, the place where emotions, such as anxiety and fear, are generated.

. . . .

This brain quirk worked great eons ago, when cavemen entered an unfamiliar area and didn’t know who or what might be lurking behind the bushes. Overwhelming caution and fear ensured survival. But that’s not the case today. This mechanism, which hasn’t evolved, is a hindrance in the world of business, where uncertainty rules and important decisions must be made every day with minimal information.

As we face uncertainty, our brains push us to overreact. Successful people are able to override this mechanism and shift their thinking in a rational direction. This requires emotional intelligence (EQ), and it’s no wonder that—among the 1 million-plus people that TalentSmart has tested—90% of top performers have high EQs. They earn an average of $28,000 more per year than their low-EQ counterparts do.

To boost your EQ, you have to get good at making sound decisions in the face of uncertainty, even when your brain fights against this.

. . . .

The limbic system responds to uncertainty with a knee-jerk fear reaction, and fear inhibits good decision-making. People who are good at dealing with uncertainty are wary of this fear and spot it as soon as it begins to surface. In this way, they can contain it before it gets out of control. Once they are aware of the fear, they label all the irrational thoughts that try to intensify it as irrational fears—not reality—and the fear subsides. Then they can focus more accurately and rationally on the information they have to go on. Throughout the process, they remind themselves that a primitive part of their brain is trying to take over and that the logical part needs to be the one in charge. In other words, they tell their limbic system to settle down and be quiet until a hungry tiger shows up.

. . . .

When uncertainty makes a decision difficult, it’s easy to feel as if everything is uncertain, but that’s hardly ever the case. People who excel at managing uncertainty start by taking stock of what they know and what they don’t know and assigning a factor of importance to each. They gather all the facts they have, and they take their best shot at compiling a list of things they don’t know, for example, what a country’s currency is going to do or what strategy a competitor will employ. They actually try to identify as many of these things as possible because this takes away their power.

. . . .

Emotionally intelligent people don’t set perfection as their target because they know there’s no such thing as a perfect decision in an uncertain situation. Think about it: human beings, by our very nature, are fallible. When perfection is your goal, you’re always left with a nagging sense of failure, and you end up spending your time lamenting what you failed to accomplish and what you should have done differently, instead of enjoying what you were able to achieve.

Link to the rest at TalentSmart

Here’s more from The Emotional Intelligence Training Company:

Writing for Emotional Intelligence

We’ve put together a curriculum designed to help you build your emotional intelligence through writing. There are two central components to the course, daily writing prompts and an online private space to share writing. The writing prompts are detailed and complex. Most include a few different writers’ perspectives on a theme as well as some questions to jump start your writing. The online shared space will use a private Facebook group.

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
– Maya Angelou

I’ve created the course, in part, because I’m interested in how so many of us live in a culture that is often uncomfortable with emotions. We’re often taught that strength means not expressing our emotions, or at least not expressing too much emotion. In this course you’ll have the space to explore those beliefs and reflect on the relationship you want to have with your own emotional expression.

This is the format. There are 30 writing prompts over 30 days. This structure allows you to reflect critically and develop emotional intelligence skills for ongoing reflection and expression. While this course does not really tackle skill development directly, we create space for you to explore the thoughts, beliefs and stories you have and these reflections are likely to open space for new actions. When we slow down and really listen to our own thoughts, we can cultivate a deeper relationship with who we are and what matters most.

Link to the rest at The Emotional Intelligence Training Company

PG chatted with Mrs. PG about authors and emotional intelligence. Her opinion was that well-developed emotional intelligence would be an important, perhaps irreplaceable ability for a fiction writer in order to create believable characters and follow them through a plot.

Finally, here’s an article that describes emotional intelligence more fully.

From Talentsmart via Linkedin:

When emotional intelligence first appeared to the masses, it served as the missing link in a peculiar finding: people with average IQs outperform those with the highest IQs 70% of the time. This anomaly threw a massive wrench into what many people had always assumed was the sole source of success—IQ. Decades of research now point to emotional intelligence as the critical factor that sets star performers apart from the rest of the pack.

Emotional intelligence is the “something” in each of us that is a bit intangible. It affects how we manage behavior, navigate social complexities, and make personal decisions that achieve positive results. Emotional intelligence is made up of four core skills that pair up under two primary competencies: personal competence and social competence.

. . . .

Personal competence comprises your self-awareness and self-management skills, which focus more on you individually than on your interactions with other people. Personal competence is your ability to stay aware of your emotions and manage your behavior and tendencies.

  • Self-Awareness is your ability to accurately perceive your emotions and stay aware of them as they happen.
  • Self-Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions to stay flexible and positively direct your behavior.

Social competence is made up of your social awareness and relationship management skills; social competence is your ability to understand other people’s moods, behavior, and motives in order to respond effectively and improve the quality of your relationships.

  • Social Awareness is your ability to accurately pick up on emotions in other people and understand what is really going on.
  • Relationship Management is your ability to use awareness of your emotions and the others’ emotions to manage interactions successfully.

Emotional Intelligence, IQ, and Personality Are Different

Emotional intelligence taps into a fundamental element of human behavior that is distinct from your intellect. There is no known connection between IQ and emotional intelligence; you simply can’t predict emotional intelligence based on how smart someone is. Intelligence is your ability to learn, and it’s the same at age 15 as it is at age 50. Emotional intelligence, on the other hand, is a flexible set of skills that can be acquired and improved with practice. Although some people are naturally more emotionally intelligent than others, you can develop high emotional intelligence even if you aren’t born with it.

. . . .

The communication between your emotional and rational “brains” is the physical source of emotional intelligence. The pathway for emotional intelligence starts in the brain, at the spinal cord. Your primary senses enter here and must travel to the front of your brain before you can think rationally about your experience. However, first they travel through the limbic system, the place where emotions are generated. So, we have an emotional reaction to events before our rational mind is able to engage. Emotional intelligence requires effective communication between the rational and emotional centers of the brain.

Link to the rest at Talentsmart via Linkedin

A neural network tries writing the first sentence of a novel

3 December 2017

From AI Weirdness:

It’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for short), which means that writers everywhere are embarking on writing projects – and when you’re faced with a blank page, sometimes it’s just hard to get started.

I wanted to see if I could train a computer program to help. I train computer programs called neural networks to imitate all kinds of human things, from paint colors to Dungeons and Dragons spells to Harry Potter fan fiction to Halloween costumes. All I have to do is give the neural network a long list of examples and it will try its best to teach itself to generate more like them.

So, I decided to give a neural network examples of first sentences of novels, to see if it could generate some that might help writers get started. The main problem turned out to be finding enough examples of first sentences – ideally, I need thousands. I could only find a couple hundred of the most famous lines, and the neural network proceeded to do what it usually does when faced with too little data, which is to give up on trying to understand what’s going on, and instead just try to read it back to me word for word. Think of it like cramming for a test by memorizing instead of learning how to apply rules to solve problems.

. . . .

Most didn’t make much sense, and/or were obvious mishmashes of famous lines. A few turned out to be maybe usable, probably by accident:

There was a man and he had seventy first sight.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of my life, fire of my loins.

4 Had come to America from Europe Privet Drive.

The snow is gone sometime, and you said, Why, and I said, To be with the darkness.

It was like the imagination.

It was a wrong number that struggled against the darkness.

It was a dark and stormy night; the swall of the gods?

The moon turned out to see me.

. . . .

Where could I get it more data? My searching sent me, unwisely, as it turned out, to the site of the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest, which has over 900 archived first sentences of hypothetical novels. The problem is that it’s a contest to write the worst first sentence.

. . . .

I added them all. It didn’t help.

Stop! I caused the Narguuse man who was new on Alabama, the screaming constipated eggs.

I am an angry grass, the symposium square, proved fatal to the throbbing, the howling wind tire…

The beans suddenly with him in the trunk of an out-of-balance has really dead, then all the time hammered his head in abject puzzlement as a bang, and a head tuxedo-failed law of ghansmothered eyes like a fine that the hell of her supposed by the rain flare of the waterhole where it is in a long was mad.

I have to stop that in the sidewalk aliens while your hands after he had to go in the top of the day a new work our eyes of the pumpkin but stands over another meaning in shortered to the sea, beautifickinary to be like that.

Link to the rest at AI Weirdness

The woman behind AI Weirdness is looking for more first lines. If you go to the end of the OP, you can enter a first line, even one from your own book, or a bunch of first lines.

How to use Authentic Historical Detail to Trigger Emotions and Memories in Your Reader

29 November 2017

From Ruth Harris on Anne R. Allen’s Blog

Writers of historical fiction, whether Regency, Middle Ages, Victorian use the markers of the era—clothes, furniture, manners, leaders, resisters, war, peace, prosperity, recession—to create character, conflict, and plot.

Writers of fiction set in more contemporary times can use these powerful assets to add depth and texture as well. Adding authentic historical detail to novels will trigger a rich web of personal memories and associations. Those will engage readers in an emotionally profound way.

From the dot-com bubble of 2000 to the housing crisis of 2007, from passing fads to mega trends, the social and cultural settings of a story give us ways to draw readers into our stories. From fidget spinners, Beanie Babies and hula hoops to Madonna, Madoff and Zuckerberg, each specific detail evokes personal memories.

. . . .

  • The buttoned-down Eisenhower Fifties, the Man In The Grey Flannel Suit and “Togetherness” evoke memories a past era
  • The stylish Kennedy Sixties was note for Twiggy, the Cuban missile crisis—and the assassination of the president
  • The gloomy Carter Seventies brought recession and the “me” decade
  • The glitzy Reagan Eighties meant a rebounding economy and “Reagan Red”

. . . .

As you invoke relevant cultural, political and social trends in your stories, you will draw your reader into recognizable and relatable settings against which your characters’ problems and pleasures can play out.

The days when Nice Girls Didn’t morphed gradually but inevitably into the present when Nice Girls Do—and sometimes even post the video.

The years when girls who got inconveniently pregnant were sent away in shame has become today’s Single Mom.

. . . .

We’re not writing non-fiction. I’m not talking about giving your reader a history lesson—that’s Doris Kearns Goodwin’s job—but you do want to give your characters a recognizable world in which to live.

But your characters can—and should be—shaped by the attitudes of whatever setting and period you choose to write about.

Link to the rest at Ruth Harris on Anne R. Allen’s Blog

Luck and Prosperity

18 November 2017

From author Joey Loi via Medium:

Finally, in the distance, lights emerge from behind the low early morning fog. Seventy four salt-skinned men and twenty eight salt-skinned women look eagerly onwards. Together they bob with the ocean, up and down, up and down, to the tune of God’s will and the mercy of men who captain Chinese fishing vessels. The boat drifts towards the lights, pushed by indifferent water, aided only by a ragged canvas sail that never wanted to carry this weight. Cruel, holy water. It holds out a ticket to those desperate enough to reach for one, but promises nothing. These drifters no longer hear the water, they hear only whatever it is that makes those lights glow.

Among the black hair and raw sour stench, Chon sits restlessly on the white-stained damp deck. His crossed legs are propped up by his arms folded elbow-in-hand over his knees, his two younger sisters flanking his sides. Kin skin sticking to kin skin. Two hours ago, they were instructed to dump anything that could suggest that their boat left from China: a radio with Chinese labels, local newspapers used to wrap three day old buns. They wouldn’t qualify for refuge if the Hong Kong government discovered they hadn’t come directly from Vietnam.

He’s exhausted and can’t sleep. Chon lifts his head and squints toward the shore, anxiously scanning for ships coming to turn them away. He’s heard it happen to his drifting countrymen before. Fortune can be taken away as arbitrarily as it is given. But his sleep-deprived concentration fails, and he succumbs to wonder — have we made it?

Link to the rest at Medium

PG stumbled across this piece and ended up reading it because he was engaged by the the opening excerpted above.

The Secrets of Resilience

11 November 2017

From The Wall Street Journal:

[R]esilient people are everywhere, not just in the ranks of celebrities. They are ordinary women and men, in every walk of life, who meet the definition of resilience set forth by American Psychological Association: “adapting well in the face of adversity, trauma, tragedy, threats or significant sources of stress.”

Across nearly two decades as a clinical psychologist and an educator, I have worked with many accomplished people who grew up in difficult circumstances. One thing I have learned from them is that the way we tend to talk about resilience is too simplistic. In everyday conversation, we say that people who are resilient “bounce back” or “rebound.” The dictionary defines resilience as elasticity, that is, the ability to recover quickly and easily—to snap into shape again, like a rubber band stretched and released.

These images are fine for describing recovery from short-term problems, like the flu or a career disappointment, but they don’t capture how resilience truly works and feels. The most common childhood adversities aren’t one-time events but chronic sources of stress: bullying, neglect, physical or sexual abuse, the death of a parent or sibling, addiction or mental illness in the home, domestic violence.

Such problems are recurring threats to a child or teen’s safety and well-being. Resilient youth do not just rebound from them. What they do is much more complicated and courageous. For them, resilience is an ongoing battle, a way of approaching life, not a restorative bounce.

. . . .

When the researchers asked these resilient adults how they understood their own success in retrospect, the majority reported that their most important asset was determination.

“I am a fighter—I am determined—I will survive,” said one woman who made her way out of an abusive childhood. “I give it 100% before I give up. I will never lose hope.”

“When things have to be done, you just do it. I am not the type of person to run away—no matter how difficult the problem,” said another subject who became a bookkeeper.

And another who became aerospace engineer put it this way: “I don’t let problems take control. I just pick myself up and start all over—you can always try again.”

Other research has suggested the importance of the fighter within. In a 2010 paper in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, Anke Ehlers of the University of Oxford reported on 81 adults who had formerly been held as political prisoners in East Germany. They had been subjected to mental and physical abuse, including beatings, threats and being kept in the dark. Decades after their release, about two-thirds of the former prisoners had, at some point, met criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), while about one-third of the prisoners had not.

What made some more likely to suffer from PTSD? Dr. Ehlers found that the extent to which prisoners had fought back in their own minds made a bigger difference than the severity of the abuse they had suffered. Those who felt mentally defeated—who felt like they were “nothing” or who quit caring what became of them—were more likely to report symptoms of PTSD later. By contrast, prisoners who had resisted from within—even if they appeared to have given up on the outside, by complying with guards or signing false confessions—fared better down the line.

This sort of inner defiance is, in part, how one man—an officer in the military who came to me for a consultation—told me he survived years of bullying as a child and teen: “I refused to accept what they said about me was true.”

Link to the rest at The Wall Street Journal

Since it is a rare author who does not experience failure, including repeated failure in addition to other life challenges, PG thinks resilience is an important character trait in addition to the other abilities a successful author has.


10 November 2017

From Medium:

Putting “passionate” on a resumé is like including Microsoft Word in the list of software you know.

In job interviews, being “passionate” distinguishes you from your peers as much as the fact that you’ve got a pulse. Sure, it checks a box, but does it make you special?

Offering passion as a professional qualification is like when reality TV contestants are asked why they should be spared elimination, and they say they want it more than other contestants. I’m sorry, I didn’t realize this was a “wanting it” competition.

. . . .

Being passionate about something—whether it’s design, drag, baking while being delightfully British—is not the same thing as being skilled at it.

. . . .

The value of a design is not in how the designer feels about it. Passion doesn’t always translate to quality.

. . . .

My problem with passion is not that people care about their work. I care about my work. But how we signal how passionate we are about design — late nights, burn out, becoming more brand than human—is toxic.

Link to the rest at Medium

From Chuck Wendig:

The act creates momentum. Writing begets writing begets writing.

The lack of act has its own momentum, too — don’t write today, and tomorrow you wonder if this is really who you are, if this is what you’re meant to do, and so the next day you think it’s just not happening, the Muse isn’t there, the inspiration hasn’t lit a fire under your ass yet, the rats don’t feel like they’re gnawing at you and oh, hey, other writers — well, they’re all talented and driven and they’d never think of sitting down and not writing and maybe that’s who you are, not a writer but rather, Not A Writer, and so the gap in your effort cracks and pops and widens like a broken jaw, a yawning mouth, and soon all you see is the broken teeth of your efforts, broken dreams there in the dark of the mind and the back of the throat, and what you Want to do is lost beneath the illusion of what you Didn’t — or what you Can’t — do.

We fight that inertia, we fight the fear and the doubt by writing.

The words you write right now are words you can fix later.

The words you don’t write today are a curse, a hex, a black hole painted white.

You think that forcing it is counterproductive, that it means nothing, that you’ll just spit mud and blood onto the paper — and you might be right, but you might be wrong. Might be gold in them thar hills, might be a cure for what ails you in those droplets of blood. You don’t know. You can’t know. You’re you — your own worst judge, your own enemy, your greatest hater.

If you’re dying in the snow, no matter how much it hurts, you’ve gotta get up and walk.

Link to the rest at Terrible Minds

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