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Month: June 2014

How To Succeed As A Writer

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Remember when you wrote your very first story for someone else to read?

Somebody asked you, “May I read that?”

And you felt terrified. Would they hate it? Because if they did, your life was over.

Why?

Because you had put your life into that story. If they loathed it, they loathed you.

Flash forward a few years. You’re about to read your story to a writing group. You want their comments, but feel the same mortal terror. ‘Please go easy on my story. It’s my soul.’

Here’s an alarming truth: the fear never goes away.

I know because, for the past five years, I’ve been a coach to more than 6000 writing students. Either they enter their short stories in my fiction contest at Writers’ Village, or they join my course and follow a structured mentoring program and get my feedback on their assignments or work in progress.

And everybody tells me, in effect, ‘Please go easy on this passage. It’s not just an exercise. It’s me.’

Now for the good news. The fear is something you’ll learn to welcome. It grows your success as a story writer. Because it shows you how to write. Overcome the fear, and every rejection will teach you something valuable and new.

You also discover that while it’s fun to write a story that you love but nobody else will read,  it’s sheer joy when somebody else reads it and they love it too. Because they’ve essentially said, “I love you.”

I love you.

It’s the feedback every author craves – even when they’ve become a household name.

Why else does J. K. Rowling continue to write when, having built the Harry Potter franchise to around $15 billion, she can afford to retire to her own island, equipped with yacht and helipad?

Last year, she braved the critics to put out her first adult crime novel The Cuckoo’s Calling. She published it under a pseudonym.

Did she need the money? Of course not. She wanted validation for her craft skills, and for herself.

Had the success of Harry Potter been a fluke, she wondered? If so, she wanted to know! And no, it wasn’t a fluke. The Cuckoo’s Calling gained good reviews even under the pseudonym.

An author builds a world for the reader to live in. Then the reader builds a world for theauthor to live in.

That’s why, as serious writers, we write. (The money be darned.) But how can we build a world that many readers will love, while steeling ourselves against the pain of rejection?

Here’s how to succeed as a writer…  continue reading this article by John Yeoman here:  http://writetodone.com/succeed-writer/

Five Reasons Kids Should Still Learn Cursive Writing


Lawmakers continue to fight to keep handwriting in the classroom, despite the growing power of the keyboard

This past summer, Tennessee state Rep. Sheila Butt got a call from a mother who said she wanted to talk about her son, a junior in high school. The woman explained that her son’s history teacher was writing homework assignments on the board in cursive—and her son couldn’t read them. Butt did some digging and found similar problems across the state. “We had students not able to read, nor write their signature, in cursive writing … That was unbelievable to me,” she said in February. “To say that we’ve educated children in Tennessee and taken away this form of instruction, this link to our heritage out of classrooms, is a grave disservice.”

Butt, speaking at a committee hearing, had just introduced an amendment that would mandate cursive instruction in all public schools, a measure that was put on the books as law in mid-May. At least five other states have considered—or are still considering—similar bills this year, all attempts to defy the oft-heralded “death of handwriting” wrought by the almighty keyboard. But proponents say they aren’t just nostalgic Luddites. Here are other arguments the pro-cursive crowd uses to demand classroom time alongside QWERTY.

American institutions still require signatures for things!

Butt provided the example of needing to both sign and print one’s name to receive a registered letter at the post office, as well signing one’s name to support a candidate for public office. More generally, one’s John Hancock is a tool that can provide security; experts have said that printed letters are easier to forge.

It’s good for our minds!

Research suggests that printing letters and writing in cursive activate different parts of the brain. Learning cursive is good for children’s fine motor skills, and writing in longhand generally helps students retain more information and generate more ideas. Studies have also shown that kids who learn cursive rather than simply manuscript writing score better on reading and spelling tests, perhaps because the linked-up cursive forces writers to think of words as wholes instead of parts.

Kids can’t read the Declaration of Independence!

At least not…  Continue reading the article by Katy Steinmetz here:  http://time.com/2820780/five-reasons-kids-should-still-learn-cursive-writing/