June 30, 2014

When Instant Gratification Isn't Instant Enough

Patience is a virtue, one I never had. I used to be better. When I had to wait for the dial to rewind after each number on my rotary phone, I was more patient. Oh my god. That took forever but I didn't know it. It's just how it was.
When I had to go to the library, find the research section and go through the Encylopedia Brittanica to find out what year the Battle of Hastings was fought, I was more patient. (1066. It's a fact that will never leave my brain, and I don't even know where that battle took place).
How many tomatoes does it take to make a pint? Years ago you'd have to just guess, chop up those tomatoes and put them in a measuring cup until you had enough, and you probably bought too many, or worse...not enough. Now, you just Google it.
And getting around? Remember all those maps? Unfolding them on your lap and following along with your finger. Now you just use Google Maps and Siri will tell you when to turn and when you've messed up.
It's not going to get any better. We are a society that wants everything now. I want everything now. Sooner than now. I admit it. Patience is a word of the past.
Molly Campbell says it best. Read her very funny post:

By Molly Campbell
I hate my laptop. It is a relic, really. I got it a year ago. It is so slow! My God, when I want to watch a video, it takes what seems like YEARS to download! I mean, really—if  I have to wait sixty seconds for something to watch, it is absolutely not worth watching, you know what I mean?
I used to read newspapers. I remember back in the day. I would have to make a cup of coffee, sit down for an entire Sunday morning and leaf through the New York Times. Now I have it on a compilation website. I love it. The site is customized to my interests. I stuffed it full of my faves:  The NY Times, Salon, Slate, Mashable, CuteOverload, The Atlantic, Time, CNN, The New Yorker, Thought Catalog, BlogHer, and Huffington Post. I think I have some recipe sites in there somewhere, as well.And guess what? I can pound all of that down in the time that it takes me to yawn. Well, slight exaggeration. I use my iPhone for this activity (reading while yawning). Yes, the print is tiny, but the darn phone is so fast. It downloads videos almost instantly. Google something? You find it before you finish typing in what you want. YouTube? I could spendminutes on this site!But here is the thing: my actual life is so draggy. I timed it this morning: it took four freaking minutes for my toast to pop up! And good Lord—what is with microwaves? They are as slow as molasses! It takes a full two minutes and forty seconds for me to heat up my cold brewed coffee. I use cold brew, because you do it the night before. So you don’t have to wait for perking or dripping, which is like eternity first thing in the morning.

June 21, 2014

Writing Tip: Write the Way You Speak

Don't over-think your writing. And don't overwrite. Writers, especially new ones, think they must sound smart, literary and professional. Well, that's a goal for us all but if you try too hard it'll be obvious to your reader and your writing will sound stilted and pretentious.
Do what comes naturally; use your own voice, be authentic. That's what will draw people in. If your writing is real, people will feel at home reading your work. Make it natural and casual, particularly when writing dialogue.
A tip: read your dialogue out loud. If it doesn't sound like you and your friends talking, re-write it until it does.

Here's an article from Writer Unboxed about underwriting versus overwriting: Check it out.
Bottom line is there's no right or wrong way to do this writing stuff. Do it however feels best to you - just do it. Get it all down on paper. Write, write, write, and don't worry about the process. There are no absolutes about how it's done. Complete your first draft but remember, that's just the beginning. Whatever mistakes you've made (and there will be many) can be fixed. You have to start somewhere.