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    New in the Nook

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    As we approach year end it's a good time to look back at some of the most useful, inspirational titles to land on library shelves in 2014.

    Beyond the First Draft: the art of fiction, by John Casey

    National Book Award winner John Casey is a masterful novelist who is also an inspiring and beloved teacher. In Beyond the First Draft he offers essential and original insights into the art of writing--and rewriting--fiction. Through anecdotes about other writers' methods and habits (as well as his own) and close readings of literature from Aristotle to Zola, the essays in this collection offer "suggestions about things to do, things to think about when your writing has got you lost in the woods." In "Dogma and Anti-dogma" Casey sets out the tried-and-true advice and then comments on when to apply it and when to ignore it. In "What's Funny" he considers the range of comedy from pratfalls to elegant wit. In "In Other Words" he discusses translations and the surprising effects that translating can have on one's native language. In "Mentors" he pays tribute to those who have guided him and other writers. Throughout the fourteen essays there are notes on voice, point of view, structure, and other crucial elements. This book is an invaluable resource for aspiring writers and a revitalizing companion for seasoned ones.

    Producing Canadian Literature: authors speak on the literary marketplace, by Kit Dobson

    Through a series of conversations with both established and younger writers from across the country, Kit Dobson and Smaro Kamboureli investigate how writers perceive their relationship to the cultural economy--and what that economy means for their creative processes. The interviews focus, in particular, on how writers interact with the cultural institutions and bodies that surround them. Conversations pursue the impacts of arts funding on writers; show how agents, editors, and publishers affect writers' works; examine the process of actually selling a book, both in Canada and abroad; and contemplate what literary awards mean to writers. Dialogues with Christian Bök, George Elliott Clarke, Daniel Heath Justice, Larissa Lai, Stephen Henighan, Roy Miki, Erín Moure, Ashok Mathur, Lee Maracle, Jane Urquhart, and Aritha van Herk testify to the broad range of experience that writers in Canada have when it comes to the conditions in which their work is produced. Original in its desire to directly explore the specific circumstances in which writers work--and how those conditions affect their writing itself-- Producing Canadian Literature will be of interest to scholars, students, aspiring writers, and readers who have followed these authors and want to know more about how their books come into being.

    Also available as OverDrive eBook

    The First 50 Pages: engage agents, editors and readers, and set up your novel for success, by Jeff Gerke

    Seeking writing success? Start at the beginning... Whether you're looking to get published or just hoping to hook your reader, first impressions are vital. Compelling opening scenes are the key to catching an agent or editor's attention, and are crucial for keeping your reader engaged. As a writer, what you do in your opening pages, and how you do it, is a matter that cannot be left to chance. The First 50 Pages is here to help you craft a strong beginning right from the start. You'll learn how to: introduce your main character, establish your story world, set up the plot's conflict, begin your hero's inner journey, write an amazing opening line and terrific first page and more. This helpful guide walks you through the tasks your first 50 pages must accomplish in order to avoid leaving readers disoriented, frustrated, or bored. Don't let your reader put your book down before ever seeing its beauty. Let The First 50 Pages show you how to begin your novel with the skill and intentionality that will land you a book deal, and keep readers' eyes glued to the page.

    Writer's Market, 2015

    The most trusted guide to getting published! Want to get published and paid for your writing? Let the 2015 Writer's Market guide you through the process with thousands of publishing opportunities for writers, including listings for book publishers, consumer and trade magazines, contests and awards, and literary agents. These listings include contact and submission information to help writers get their work published. Beyond the listings, you'll find all-new editorial material devoted to the business and promotion of writing, including advice on pitching to agents and editors, managing your freelance business, and building a readership. This edition also includes the ever popular--and updated--pay-rate chart, plus dozens of articles and essays.

    see also: Children's Writer's and Illustrators' Market, 2015

    also see: list of all 'Market' titles available in eBook format

    **Book summaries lifted from library catalogue.

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    New in the 'Nook

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    New titles land on library shelves every day. It is my mission to sort through them all and pick it out the most useful, inspirational, and interesting releases from the perspective of a writer looking for an intellectual, technical, or grammatical boost. Here's five for September:


    Bough Down, by Karen Green

    With fearlessness and grace, Bough Down reports from deep inside the maelstrom of grief. In this profoundly beautiful and intensely moving lament, artist and writer Karen Green conjures the inscrutable space of love and loss, clarity and contradiction, sense and madness. She summons memory and the machination of the interior mind with the emotional acuity of music as she charts her passage through the devastation of her husband's suicide. In crystalline fragments of text, Green's voice is paradoxically confessional and non-confessional: moments in her journey are devastating but also luminous, exacting in sensation but also ambiguous and layered in meaning. Her world is haunted by the unnameable, and yet she renders that world with poetic precision in her struggle to make sense of not only of death but of living. In counterpoint, tiny visual collages punctuate the text, each made of salvaged language and scraps of the material world-pages torn from books, bits of paper refuse, drawings and photographs, old postage stamps and the albums which classify them. Each collage--and the creative act of making it--evinces the reassembling of life. A breathtaking lyric elegy, Bough Down uses music and silence, color and its absence, authority of experience and the doubt that trembles at its center to fulfill a humane artistic vision. This is a lapidary, keenly observed work, awash with the honesty of an open heart.


    Please, No More Poetry: The Poetry of derek beaulieu

    Please, No More Poetry is the first selected works of derek beaulieu. As the publisher of first housepress and, more recently, No Press, beaulieu has continually highlighted the possibilities for experimental work in a variety of writing communities. His own work can be classified as visual poetry, as concrete poetry, as conceptual work, and beyond. His work is not to be read in any traditional sense, as it challenges the very idea of reading; rather, it may be understood as a practice that forces readers to reconsider what they think they know. As beaulieu continues to push himself in new directions, readers will appreciate the work that he has created to date, much of which has become unavailable in Canada. With an introduction by Kit Dobson and an interview with derek beaulieu by Lori Emerson as an afterword, "Please, No More Poetry" offers readers an opportunity to gain access to a complex experimental poetic practice through thirty-five selected representative works.


    Always Apprentices: The Believer Magazine Presents 22 Conversations Between Writers

    'Always Apprentices' collects five years of intimate, wide-ranging conversations with many of today's most prominent writers, taken from the pages of the 'Believer'. The participants don't limit themselves to issues of writing and craft, but instead offer unfettered exchanges on a wide range of topics-from what it means to be a consumer to whether or not to kill a deer, from how we get to know each other to walking while inebriated. The interviews feature the serious-yet-casual 'Believer' approach to the often staid interview format. For example, Sheila Heti asks Mary Gaitskill, "If you go into a room or go to a party, is there a basic disposition you have toward humans going through the world?" Elsewhere, Colum McCann begins his conversation with Aleksandar Hemon by asking, "What are we doing here? Why aren't we in a pub?" Other interviews include Don DeLillo talking with Bret Easton Ellis; Joan Didion talking with Vendela Vida; and Barry Hannah talking with Wells Tower.


    Web Designer's Guide to Wordpress: plan, theme, build, launch, by Jesse Friedman

    Legions of web designers and developers are choosing WordPress for building sites. That's because it's powerful, reliable, flexible, scalable--and more. This book is your complete guide to mastering WordPress theme development, covering everything from installation to leveraging the community and resources to improve your WordPress skills for years to come.

    With detailed explanations, real-life examples, and step-by-step tutorials, you'll find everything you need to build and deploy WordPress-powered websites with no prior server-side or WordPress development experience.


    Sin and syntax: how to craft wickedly effective prose, by Constance Hale

    Today's writers need more spunk than Strunk: whether it's the Great American e-mail, Madison Avenue advertising, or Grammy Award-winning rap lyrics, memorable writing must jump off the page. Copy veteran Constance Hale is on a mission to make creative communication, both the lyrical and the unlawful, an option for everyone. With its crisp, witty tone, Sin and Syntax covers grammar's ground rules while revealing countless unconventional syntax secrets (such as how to use--Gasp!--interjections or when to pepper your prose with slang) that make for sinfully good writing.

    A fully revised and updated edition with challenges and writing prompts in every chapter

    All book descriptions lifted from summaries in the library catalogue.
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    An Author's Authority

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    It can be a real sludgefest when it comes to finding the right book to help writers with their writing. Over the summer I've been picking away at updates to our 'Writer' book lists and the publishing niche is just so convoluted that it's nearly impossible to keep up with. There's a lot of people out there trying to get the most out of their literary ambitions and a ton of writers willing to write books to tell them how.

    It's pretty easy, right off the bat, to avoid any books with the words 'SELL', 'BESTSELLER', or 'MONEY' in the title, but that still leaves me with hundreds of books with space in my list for about twenty. After sampling dozens of titles I got a lucky break during a camping trip when I had a chance to finally start reading Tom Bissell's 2012 book of essays, Magic Hours.

    Four essays in I encountered an authoritative voice on the subject of how-to-write manuals. The essay is titled"Writing about Writing about Writing" and anyone considering consultation in the how-to section might want to get their hands on Magic Hours first. In his own insecure search for authoritative guidance Bissell seems to have familiarized himself with many of the classic staple how-to-write books and his perspective on the subject is blunt, honest, and valuable.

    After a discussion of whether writing is teachable, whether how-tos are useless, and declaring John Gardner's On Becoming A Novelist as the book that literally taught him how to write, Bissell usefully separates the different types of manuals into four categories: 1) "The User's Manual", 2) "Golden Parachute", 3) "Nuts, Bolts, Tea & Angels", and 4) "Olympus".

    I'll be going into detail for each of Bissell's categories as I compare his recommendations with our collection, hoping to create the ultimate writer's booklist, but in the meantime here are the most prominent titles from each category...

     

     

    "User's Manual" "Golden Parachute" "Nuts, Bolts, Tea & Angels" "Olympus"
    For a firm, confident grasp on the English language.

    For those focused mostly on success and popularity.

    For a peek behind the curtain of a writer's literary secrets. For opinions, philosophy, and advice from highly-esteemed writers.

    Stay tuned for the final, updated 'Nook booklists. And please leave a comment below to tell us about the books you've encountered that must make the list.

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    New in the 'Nook: Poets' Edition

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Winding down our month dedicated to the inexhaustible, indispensable art of poetry, we bring you five exciting new and upcoming releases already here or on their way to library shelves. This small sample is 100% Canadian, proving not only that the future of poetry in our country is in strong, capable hands, but also that Canada produces some of the most energetic, profound, and brilliant poets you'll find anywhere in the world.

    Unknown Actor, by Jason Christie

    When poetry meets theatre in the mind of Jason Christie, a smashing performance results! Then as the curtains close, Christie sneaks off the stage, through the scenery, and out into the wilds of the Internet — and straight into the footlights and teleprompters of human experience. Like a method actor in character long after the credits have rolled, off set, off his rocker, Christie runs wild from Goethe’s Faust to Burton’s, through 1984 and B movies from the ’80s and back again. Beneath his offerings to the actor — questionable acting lessons, dubious plot treatments — lurks a deep unease at our accepted practices of looking at each other, kid. Get out the popcorn and turn on your mobile device. This is going to get dramatic.

    - excerpt from Insomniac Press

    (Unknown Actor is On Order. Not yet available.)

    The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, by Elizabeth Bachinsky

    With her signature eye for irony and sensuality, Elizabeth Bachinsky's latest book of poetry, The Hottest Summer in Recorded History, balances a youthful playfulness with observational maturity. Bachinsky strings together seemingly non-sequitur images, capturing in these poems the commonality of raw intimacy, dark humour and a sense of immediacy. Her vision is unapologetically bold, finding the erotic in everyday moments and keenly capturing the complicated truths of life in a powerfully candid style.

    - excerpt from Nightwood Edtions

    Whirr & Click, by Micheline Maylor

    "Micheline Maylor's many-textured poems explore the liminal space where finite life and infinite time expand and contract into one another. In a duet of contrasts, memory, coming of age, danger, the erotic, and love twine into elegy and wonder. Time plays a featuring role and acts to freeze moments exactly as they arrive and simultaneously stretches experience into ungraspable infinity. Whether fierce or tender, direct or oblique, the poems in Whirr and Click are bold in their exposures and generous in their doorways. The final long poem, "Starfish," is one of the most moving and memorable elegies I have read. One finishes the poem, and the book, feeling one has come to know many people, including oneself." - Stephanie Bolster

    -Frontenac House

    Whirr & Click is On Order. Not yet available.

    The Politics of Knives, by Jonathan Ball

    ('Nook Note: Okay. So this one is not exactly hot off the press, released in September 2012, but it recently enjoyed its Calgary launch at filling Station's 20th Anniversary Collective Retrospective on April 25th, so let's call it new!...)

    If David Lynch crashed into Franz Kafka in a dark alley, the result might look like The Politics of Knives. Moving from shattered surrealism to disembowelled films, these poems land us in a limbo between the intellectual and the visceral, between speaking and screaming. Finding the language of violence and the violence in language, Jonathan Ball becomes the Stephen King of verse.

    - excerpt from Coach House Books

    Under the Keel, by Michael Crummey

    Michael Crummey’s first collection in a decade has something for everyone: Love and marriage and airport grief; how not to get laid in a Newfoundland mining town; total immersion baptism; the grand machinery of decay; migrant music and invisible crowns and mortifying engagements with babysitters; the transcendent properties of home brew. Whether charting the merciless complications of childhood, or the unpredictable consolations of middle age, these are poems of magic and ruin. Under the Keel affirms Crummey's place as one of our necessary writers.

    -excerpt from House of Anansi

    Click here to read the Quill & Quire book review.

    New in the 'Nook

    by Phil - 1 Comment(s)

    A roundup of the most useful and inspirational titles landing in the 'Nook... it's been tough keeping up with the newest of the new, so please excuse the twenty-twelvishness of the bottom two. I just had to include them in the list because 'Architectures of Possibility' is a totally unique approach to the concept of a writer's manual/handbook, and Don Fry's 'Writing Your Way' has a cute illustration of an assembly line on the cover (and it doesn't shy away from the fact that it's up to you to figure out how you write best).

    The Canadian Writer's Market (19th edition)

    The essential guide for freelance writers, now completely updated and revised. The Canadian Writer's Market is the authority on who publishes what and how best to bring your work to their attention. It offers practical advice on everything from manuscript preparation to copyright law, from information on pay rates to writers' workshops.

    This useful guide also includes comprehensive and up-to-date listings for: consumer magazines; literary and scholarly journals; trade, business, and professional publications; daily newspapers; book publishers; literary agents; awards, competitions, and grants; writers' organizations and support agencies; writers' workshops, courses, and retreats.

    Good Prose, by Tracy Kidder & Richard Todd

    Good Prose explores three major nonfiction forms: narratives, essays, and memoirs. Kidder and Todd draw candidly, sometimes comically, on their own experience--their mistakes as well as accomplishments--to demonstrate the pragmatic ways in which creative problems get solved. They also turn to the works of a wide range of writers, novelists as well as nonfiction writers, for models and instruction. They talk about narrative strategies (and about how to find a story, sometimes in surprising places), about the ethical challenges of nonfiction, and about practical aspects of making a living as a writer. They offer some tart and emphatic opinions on the current state of language. And they take a clear stand against playing loose with the facts. Their advice is always grounded in the practical world of writing and publishing.

    Architectures of Possibility: after innovative writing, by Lance Olsen

    ...theorizes and questions the often unconscious assumptions behind such traditional writing gestures as temporality, scene, and characterization; offers various suggestions for generating writing that resists, rethinks, and/or expands the very notion of narrativity; visits a number of important concerns/trends/obsessions in current writing (both on the page and off); discusses marketplace (ir)realities; hones critical reading and manuscript editing capabilities; and strengthens problem-solving muscles from brainstorming to literary activism. Exercises and supplemental reading lists challenge authors to push their work into self-aware and surprising territory.

    Writing your way: creating a writing process that works for you, by Don Fry

    Writers write the way they were taught, which may not suit them at all, making their writing slow, painful, and not what they want to say. Writing Your Way shows you how to create your own unique writing process that magnifies your strengths and avoids your weaknesses. It shows you a multitude of ways to do the five key stages: Idea, Gather, Organize, Draft, and Revise. You can then design your own collection of techniques that work for you. You'll write clearer, faster, and more powerfully, with less effort and suffering. The second half of this book shows you how to create and modify your own voice, one that sounds like the real you, that sounds the way you want agents and publishers and readers to experience you.

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    New in the Nook, September Edition

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Another interesting batch of new arrivals to report!

    The 4th floor of the Central library is keeping an eye on all the latest resources for writers and we set them aside in the "physical" version of the Writer's Nook, where you will find everything you need to get inspired and informed to keep your writing projects moving forward.

    Wired for Story: the writer's guide to using brain science to hook readers from the very first sentence by Lisa Cron

    Imagine knowing what the brain craves from every tale it encounters, what fuels the success of any great story, and what keeps readers transfixed. Wired for Story reveals these cognitive secrets-and it's a game-changer for anyone who has ever set pen to paper. (Summary)

    Science can reveal new perspectives, but just as often it shows us what we already know. The study of narrative as a powerful force that can do more than entertain is a perfect example of how neuroscience validates what writers -and readers- already sense: we are hardwired to love a story because it allows us to make sense of the world. Cron (Extension Writers' Program, UCLA) draws on her extensive experience in publishing, story consultancy, and television to elucidate not just how to write well but how to tell a story. While the brain science element can come off as a bit gimmicky as Cron shares her "secrets," it's the only flaw in a marvelous examination of key writing concepts such as plot, tone, theme, timing, conflict, subplot, and setup. Cron shows how these elements work to keep the narrative unfolding while moving it along, with patterns and parallels connecting the reader to the whole story. Practical, useful, and well organized, this enjoyable book provides a framework of questions for writers to ask themselves. This book will be well received by both aspiring and established writers. (Library Journal Review)

    The 6.5 Practices of Moderately Successful Poets by Jeffrey Skinner

    A private eye turned moderately successful poet leads readers on a satiric, hopeful tour of how to make a life in the arts, while still having a life. Revealing, hilarious, and peppered with sly takes on the ins and outs of contemporary American poetry.

    Revision is the process a poem endures to become its best self.
    Or, if you are the poet, you are the process a poem endures to become its best self. [...]

    Endures because a first draft, like all other objects in the universe, has inertia and would prefer to stay where it is. The poet must not collaborate.
    Best
    self because the poem is more like a person than a thing, and does not strenuously object to personification.
    Yo, poem.
    But let's not get carried away. It's your poem and you can treat it as you wish; sweet talk it; push it around if that's what it takes. Alfred Hitchcock notoriously said of the actors in his movies, "They are cattle."

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    New in the Nook

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    From the whimsical to the deepest critical analysis, for the highly advanced to the bright-eyed beginner, the library is constantly bringing in the newest titles aimed at guiding and helping writers. Up on the 4th floor of Central we set them aside into what must be the largest collection of writers' resources anywhere in town. Come visit the Writer's Nook in person or check out some of these new books by clicking the title or book cover...

    Several Short Sentences About Writing

    by Verlyn Klinkenborg

    "Your job as a writer is making sentences. Most of your time will be spent making sentences in your head. Did no one ever tell you this? That is the writer's life. Never imagine you've left the level of the sentence behind. Most of the sentences you make will need to be killed. The rest will need to be fixed. This will be true for a long time. The hard part now is deciding which to kill and which to fix and how to fix them. This will get much, much easier, but the decision making will never end."

    A widely admired writer and teacher of writing for more than 25 years, Klinkenborg gives a distillation of that experience in an indispensable and distinctive book that will help anyone who wants to write, write better, or have a clearer understanding of what it means to be writing.

    45 Master Characters: mythic models for creating original characters

    by Victoria Schmidt

    Want to make your characters and their stories more compelling, complex, and original than ever before? 45 Master Characters is here to help you explore the most common male and female archetypes--the mythic, cross-cultural models from which all characters originate. Explore a wide variety of character profiles including heroes, villains, and supporting characters. Learn how to use archetypes as foundations for your own unique characters Examine the mythic journeys of heroes and heroines--the progression of events upon which each archetype's character arc develops--and learn how to use them to enhance your story. Complete with examples culled from literature, television, and film, 45 Master Characters illustrates just how memorable and effective these archetypes can be--from "Gladiators" and "Kings" like Rocky Balboa and Captain Ahab to "Amazons" and "Maidens" like Wonder Woman and Guinevere. Great heroes and villains are necessary to bring any story to life; let this guide help you create characters that stand the test of time.

    Anatomy of a Short Story: Nabokov's puzzles, codes, "Signs and Symbols"

    by Yuri Leving

    Since its first publication in 1948, one of Vladimir Nabokov's shortest short stories, "Signs and Symbols," has generated perhaps more interpretations and critical appraisal than any other that he wrote. It has been called "one of the greatest short stories ever written" and "a triumph of economy and force, minute realism and shimmering mystery" (Brian Boyd, Vladimir Nabokov: The American Years). Anatomy of a Short Story contains: - the full text of "Signs and Symbols," line numbered and referenced throughout the book - correspondence about the story, most of it never before published, between Nabokov and the editor of The New Yorker, where the story was first published - 33 essays of literary criticism on the story, bringing together classic essays and new interpretations - a round-table discussion in which a screenwriter, a theater scholar, a mathematician, a psychiatrist, and a literary scholar bring their perspectives to bear on "Signs and Symbols". Anatomy of a Short Story illuminates the ways in which we interpret fiction, and the short story in particular.

    Just Write: here's how!

    by Walter Dean Myers

    What makes a writer? The desire to tell a story, a love of language, an eye for detail, practice, practice, practice. How well should you know your characters? Do you need to outline before you write? How important is length? Now Walter Dean Myers, the new National Ambassador for Young People's Literature and New York Times bestselling and award-winning author, walks you through the writing process.

    Short Films: writing the screenplay

    by Patrick Nash

    A complete guide to short film screenplays, from finding and developing that exciting idea to information on the technical revolution in digital filmmaking and distribution. Every award-winning short film begins life with a clever idea, a good story, and a screenplay. Here Patrick Nash analyzes the process of writing short film screenplays and gives advice on story and structure, plot and pace, generating ideas, screenplay format, dialogue and format, and character design. He helps readers ensure that their writing will be fresh by discussing common clichés and stereotypes; conflict, obstacles, and stakes; eliciting emotion; and how to hook the viewer. The specifics of loglines, outlines, and synopses are also covered, as well as rewriting, length, practicalities, and budgets. The book also includes a number of award-winning scripts and interviews, advice and contributions from their award-winning screenwriters and a discussion of the benefits to writers of writing short screenplays.

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    People Park is here!

    by Phil - 0 Comment(s)

    Since the 2008 award-winning short story collection The Withdrawal Method many fans of Pasha Malla have spent the last four years eagerly anticipating his first novel length work.

    The wait is over.

    Click here to place a hold on People Park.

    The official release date is July 1, Canada Day, and it sounds really good...

    It's the Silver Jubilee of People Park, an urban experiment conceived by a radical mayor and zealously policed by the testosterone-powered New Fraternal League of Men. To celebrate, the insular island city has engaged the illustrationist Raven, who promises to deliver the most astonishing spectacle its residents have ever seen. As the entire island comes together for the event, we meet an unforgettable cross-section of its inhabitants, from activists to nihilists, art stars to athletes, families to inveterate loners. Soon, however, what has promised to be a triumph of civic harmony begins to reveal its shadow side. And when Raven's illustration exceeds even the most extreme of expectations, the island is plunged into a series of unnatural disasters that force people to confront what they are really made of.

    People Park is a tour de force of eerily prescient, grotesque, and hilarious observation and a narrative of gripping, unrelenting suspense. Malla writes as if the twin demons of Stephen King and Flannery O'Connor were resting on his shoulders. You've never read anything quite like People Park.

     

     

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    Dreaded Deadlines

    by Janice - 0 Comment(s)

    “To everyone who has ever emailed to ask me for advice on writing, my answer is: get a deadline. That's all you really need. Forget about luck. Don't fret about talent. Just pay someone larger than you to kick your knees until they fold the wrong way if you don't hand in 800 words by five o'clock. You'll be amazed at what comes out.”
    Charlie Brooker The Guardian


    There was a time in my life when my best—or at least my most prolific—writing was done after nightfall. Something about the quiet and darkness, about working when most people slept, made the sometimes agonizing writing process easier and less anxiety-ridden.

    When I became pregnant with my first child, I assumed I would easily continue to find time to write. Surely I would maintain my nighttime writing routine, I thought, and there would also be time when the baby slept during the day, right?

    "A deadline is negative inspiration. Still, it's better than no inspiration at all." Rita Mae Brown

    As it turns out, I was so preoccupied with parenthood (and sleep deprived) most days I could barely even think, let alone write. Any writing I did during that first year or so was paid writer-for-hire freelance writing. I was under contract and had no choice but to complete my work, whether or not I felt inspired, interested or well-rested. Was it my best writing? No. But I had signed a contract and made a commitment and I absolutely surpassed the NaNoWriMo 50,000 words in one month goal more than a few times.

    Even now, several years later, I am most productive when I am under pressure to finish by a certain date.

    Deadlines.

    The word strikes fear into the hearts of many new and established writers. For many, though, deadlines are at best welcome and at worst a necessary evil. If you find the pressure created by deadlines too oppressive, there are many books and articles on how to cope with that stress.

    If you work better under pressure but do not have an external publisher or editor or contract placing you under a deadline, there are ways to create it for yourself. Work with an editor (better yet, hire an editor) who'll give you a deadline. Commit to entering writing contests. Find a writing partner or group (online or in person) to put pressure on you to produce. Participate in events like the National Novel Writing Month or the upcoming Script Frenzy.

    And remember you're not alone.

    "If I waited for perfection, I would never write a word." Margaret Atwood



    Forget those creative writing workshops. If you want to write, get threatened. Charlie Brooker The Guardian

    Deadlines can give life to creative writing. Robert McCrum The Guardian

    Unstuck: a supportive and practical guide to working through writer's block
    by Jane Anne Staw

    Writing tools: 50 essential strategies for every writer
    by Roy Peter Clark

    "Deadlines just aren't real to me until I'm staring one in the face." Rick Riordan