Tag Archives: Brain Hacks for Writers

Writing Naked: How to Profit by Embarrassing Yourself

naked Guitar HeroEver have one of those dreams where you’re naked in public? Writing fiction is a bit like having a dream, and some writing is embarrassing because it lays us bare.

I’m talking about the kind of writing where you say something to the entire world that you would prefer not to mention to anyone, just because you want to tell a meaningful story. Or you do something in the story that has very little to do with you personally, that means a lot in the piece you’re writing, but that embarrasses you because you don’t want anyone to think it’s autobiographical. Continue reading Writing Naked: How to Profit by Embarrassing Yourself

The Courage to Suck

It seems that the best thing that ever happened to Harper Lee as a writer was also the worst thing that ever happened to Harper Lee as a writer.

In 1956, Lee received a gift of a year’s wages from friends who told her to “write whatever you please.” Let’s take a moment now for intense jealousy. All done? OK, let’s see what happened next.

Sucked into a hole...

Continue reading The Courage to Suck

Writing Differently: Picking Up the Scary Tools

If all has gone well with your writing so far, by now you may have some favorite practices: maybe you always outline your pieces, or you just start writing with a vague scene in mind to get to, or you scribble a bunch of scenes on index cards and then try to figure out what order they should go in. You may have a sense of some special strengths and weaknesses: maybe people tell you you have an ear for dialog, or you have trouble with action scenes, or your settings come out convincing and vivid, or you couldn’t write romance if Jane Austen were sitting in your lap.

So, good: you have some favorite techniques to use. This now gives you an opportunity to do something very productive–specifically, to violate them. Continue reading Writing Differently: Picking Up the Scary Tools

Brain Hacks for Writers: new Futurismic column from Luc Reid coming soon

I very nearly didn’t bother emailing Luc Reid earlier this week. “C’mon, the guy’s probably waaaay too busy with other stuff to take on a monthly column for Futurismic, Paul,” I told myself… but I’m very glad I ignored that inner cynic, because he mailed me back just a few hours later, pretty much asking when he could start.

So, allow me to introduce Futurismic‘s newest columnist! Luc Reid is a short fiction author whose writing advice I’ve read (and linked to) frequently, and he also runs The Willpower Engine, a blog about self-motivation. As its title should suggest, his Brain Hacks for Writers column will cover the area where those two fields intersect. Here he is explaining it in his own words:

Unlike most writing resources […] BHfW will be solely about the practice of writing and not the craft of writing: it will cover topics like productivity, writing motivation, goals, and learning, but generally won’t touch on style, voice, point of view, characterization, or other features of actual stories. It’s not about what you write, but about how you approach the job of writing.

Speaking for myself, I think I’ve read more advice on the craft of writing than I’ve ever needed (indeed, I think I’ve read so much of it that it’s made me a worse writer rather than a better one, because I find myself trying to obey a multitude of contradictory instructions). But advice on the practical side is much harder to find. Luc’s plain talking style and deep interest in motivational psychology should make it an enjoyable and educational topic, too… and a fine addition to the Futurismic stable. I’m really chuffed to have the man on board. 🙂

The first Brain Hacks for Writers column will be published next month. In the meantime, if there are any burning writerly topics you’d like Luc to cover, why not mention them in the comments here?