December, 2011

letter to a young emerging creative who thinks she wants to blog (gods help her)


Anything with a low barrier of entry will let in a lot of crap. This is just the natural order of things (of social media, of blogging). But this only makes it more important – not less – to strive for excellence, relevance and meaning.


You need to have an intention. ‘Developing a readership by attracting strangers and turning them into Fans and maybe True Fans’ is a very different kind of intention from ‘making money online’ or ‘putting up a blog so my agent/editor/writing instructor will get the f*ck off my back’.

I was talking with a young writer who wanted to start building her online platform and said click for more

Dec 30, 2011 · 19 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to flunk social media + lose me as a potential True Fan (but you know I love you)

The other day I finished reading the kind of novel you develop a relationship with: the characters move off the page to take up residence in your head. Their reality runs like a shadowy river alongside your own, waiting for you to step back into it.

When it was over, I leaped online to check out the author. For the most part, at least in my experience, literary writers tend to eye the social media platforms as if they’re instruments of sexual bondage: I’m supposed to do what, exactly? Surely you’re joking. What exactly is that, anyway?

Still, I was hoping for a blog. I wanted to prolong the experience of the novel by remaining in contact with the author’s voice. At the same time, I was curious about the author. More than curious: I felt a deep respect and even an affection for her.

I had touched her mind.

I had walked through her imagination.

I wanted to show up at her virtual doorstep with the equivalent of a bouquet of flowers to say thank you and let her know how much her novel meant to me. I was ready to evangelize her to the world – or at least my small corner of it. click for more

Dec 24, 2011 · 50 Comments / ADD YOURS

7 awesome reasons to kill your inner ‘nice girl’ (or maybe just send her to Cleveland*)

“Killing the angel in the house was part of the occupation of the woman writer.” — Virginia Woolf
I give you seven awesome reasons to kill your inner nice girl.

(Or maybe just send her to Cleveland or something.) click for more


Dec 12, 2011 · 31 Comments / ADD YOURS

how the power of free can help you become a raging success (just ask the Grateful Dead)


Why should you bust your ass on your creative content and give it away, online, for free?

How is this supposed to help you?

And it can’t be mediocre stuff, either.

It has to be remarkable, engaging, useful, distinctive…or else no one will care.


Part of becoming a powerful artist is being a relevant artist.

Consistent blogging gives ideas life and energy as it tosses them to you, dear reader, and you bounce them around and back to the blogger. click for more

Dec 8, 2011 · 4 Comments / ADD YOURS

cool quotes by badass women

“I’m selfish, impatient and a little insecure. I make mistakes, I am out of control and at times hard to handle. But if you can’t handle me at my worst, then you sure as hell don’t deserve me at my best.” click for more
― Marilyn Monroe

Dec 6, 2011 · 23 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of the creative pause (+ not being Amazon’s bitch)

It’s good to disrupt yourself.

My kids went to their father and I went to Palm Springs and Joshua Tree. I’d forgotten how much I love the desert. I felt drawn to it as a kid – to the New Mexico landscapes featured in Lois Duncan’s YA novels, or Judy Blume’s book TIGER EYES – and it was good to be reminded of that.

Shift your location, shift your perspective. We get attached to certain ways of thinking. We don’t realize that we need to change the frame.

So I’m writing this novel, and one day I’ll finish, and decide what I’m going to do with it. I read this piece about reasons not to self-publish. It’s an intelligent, well-written article —

— but something keeps nagging me. Something about the old-school frame that’s shaping the writer’s question. It’s a good question. But is it the truly central question? click for more

Dec 5, 2011 · 19 Comments / ADD YOURS

beauty, sex + power?


I went to an exhibit called BEAUTY CULTURE and saw a documentary by Lauren Greenfield in which a woman said something like, “People think that we’re living in a beauty culture now…but we have always been living in a beauty culture.”

I like to look at beautiful women. I admit it.

I’m hardly alone in this; BEAUTY CULTURE is the most popular exhibit the Annenberg Space for Photography has ever shown. A slowly shuffling line of attendees snaked past the walls of photographs.

“There aren’t any pictures of men,” I pointed out to my boyfriend. Although the exhibit didn’t claim to be about women specifically, it didn’t even pretend to take an interest in beautiful males.

(And it’s interesting that male supermodels make a fraction of the money and get a fraction of the attention that female supermodels do. This can’t be just a ‘male gaze’ thing; if women wanted to look at pictures of beautiful men the way some of us want to read vampire novels, for example, I have a feeling that chiseled males in various stages of seductive undress would be selling us everything from makeup to furniture to luxury vacations to wine to footwear.) click for more

Dec 2, 2011 · 10 Comments / ADD YOURS
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