With the ever-growing world of eBooks, the lifespan of printed books are dwindling. As a frequent bookstore visitor, I loathe the day printed books die out. I think it’s still a long time coming, but it stills gives me panic attacks whenever I think about it. (And then I proceed to run to the nearest Barnes & Noble and breathe in the soothing smell of freshly printed books – seriously, that needs to be a body spray or something.) But in the meantime, we need to focus on the benefits of physical books versus the cheap imitations of the real book-reading experience. Nothing beats the feel of quickly fanning the pages of a new book or hearing the spine crinkle when you open it or perusing the aisles of an entire building dedicated to only books. And then there’s the satisfying feeling you get when you close a book after you’re finished reading. EBooks just don’t quite live up to the experience that is reading a physical book. Read the complete list of reasons at Thought Catalog.
As a writer, your job seems to be simple: write stuff and people read it. But it’s the constant, daily struggle that’s difficult – figuring out the sweet spot between writing what you want to write and writing what actually sells. Sometimes, those are the same thing, other times, not so much. A lot of times, it depends on the market that year: what genres and topics are popular right now and what people are talking about. But most importantly, you need to know what you want out of writing. If you’re in it for the money, then all the power to you, the answers are on the bestseller list. If you’re writing because you love the craft but you also want to be able to eat, then either make a compromise or try to find the happy medium. More than likely, there will be a group of readers out there that will want to read your writing. The catch is do you care about how big that group is or is the fact that they exist at all enough for you? Check out what novelist Chuck Wendig says about this on his blog, Terribleminds.
Envy. It’s one of the seven deadly sins. It’s said to turn us into “green monsters”. There are thousands of articles online and in self help books telling us how to let go of it, get rid of it, or rise above it.
To be concise: It’s got a bad reputation.
But, as always, it comes with a silver lining. Envy can be a strong motivating force, for both good and bad. And, as Pahrul Sehgal points out in her TED talk, it can be a force of innovation. Getting from point A (what someone else has) to point B (having it) can take some creativity, and envy is just the motivation for that creative thinking.
Envy is also an act of storytelling. We tell ourselves all about what someone else has, why they have it, and what it all means to us. This, the creativity and the narrative, may be why literature is obsessed with envy. Sehgal even argues that without envy, we might lose literature all together: “No faithless Helen, no Odyssey; no jealous king, no Arabian Nights. No Shakespeare. There goes high school reading lists because we’re losing the Sound and the Fury, we’re losing Gatsby, The Sun Also Rises, we’re losing Madame Bovary, Anna K. No jealousy, no Proust.”
So while envy may bring out the worst in us (as Sehgal acknowledges) maybe there is something to learn from it. Instead of trying to beat the envy out of ourselves, maybe we can leverage it into something more.
“We all have 10,000 bad drawings in us. The sooner we get them out the better.”
“In fact, researchers have settled on what they believe is the magic number for true expertise: ten thousand hours.”
Whether you believe in 10,000 bad drawings, 11 lifetimes, or 10,000 hours, it’s commonly agreed: Practice makes perfect.
750words.com seeks to make practice even better. The premise is simply. You go online, write 750 words, and the website keeps track of whether you do it or not. It keeps track of your running streak, and it assigns points.
Simple. But apparently very effective, according to the Wall of Awesomeness on 750words’ website. The Wall of Awesomeness keeps track of the people who take and successfully complete the 1 month challenge. The 1 month challenge is exactly what you’d imagine, of course – write 750 words every day for a month. If you’re struggling to stay motivated, or if you’re planning on a “write every day” style New Years resolution, 750words.com might be worth a shot.