Last weekend, my husband and I were in New York City for our first time since March 2020, right before lockdown, mobile morgues, and pot banging.
The experience enlivened me, causing me to think mean things about where we call home, Washington, D.C.
If we lived in New York, I told myself, my writing career would explode. I’d have artist friends and join a writing group. I’d explore new writing forms, build relationships with literary agents and publishers, and maybe even go to book launch parties.
These thoughts are, as they say, where I’m from in Missouri, hogwash. In all the writing advice I’ve read, not once do I recall seeing someone say you must live in New York City to write.
Stephen King wrote his first published novel, Carrie, while living in a trailer in Maine he shared with his wife, Tabitha, and their two small children. King’s never lived in New York. (But I imagine he’s been invited to plenty of book launch parties.)
While it may be fun for me to spend a weekend imagining living in New York, pinning my writing tail on that donkey is just making excuses.
Writing is not location-dependent. Wherever we are is where we can write.
Speaking of book launches, here's a playbook for debut self-published authors. ••• This piece highlights how self-published authors make money. ••• When marketing your book, make sure you're getting the best bang for your buck. ••• Get inspired with a Twitter thread of fantastic writing. ••• Twitter is where the story on which the film Zola, now in theaters, debuted. ••• Elle Griffin talks about why she self-published her novel on Substack. ••• Here's a tool for coming up with that perfect word. ••• And fiction writers may find this character template helpful. ••• Struggling with dialogue? Try these three fixes. ••• This writer makes a case for swearing in your writing. ••• Make your flash fiction better with these tips. ••• Is an MFA worth the trouble? A writer talks about their post-degree struggles. ••• LOL with these make-believe rejection stories. ••• This one's for you, copywriters: Making Apple's all-employee email better. ••• Passive voice, bad. Here's one reason why.
Writing winter is coming. Here's how I make the most of it. ••• Read these short pieces about writers Seamus Heaney, Nora Ephron, and June Jordan. ••• Often, while hiking in the woods, I'll stop and jot down ideas or write poems. For example, I wrote this poem while hiking a couple of years ago in Shenandoah National Park. ••• A couple of weeks ago, I met a couple who's been married for 49 years, which inspired me to write about them. ••• And I think it's time entrepreneurs peddling products to help others should talk about their privilege.
Watch Prince on the Muppets. ••• Check out how Americans celebrated Independence Day in these photos. ••• This giant, 3-D, digital cat meows at people in Tokyo. ••• DYK, robots can now feel? Have at it, SciFi writers!
Alright, that should keep you busy until next week.
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