My Friday Four

In Business of Writing, Craft, General, Musings, Publishing on July 9, 2010 at 4:58 pm

I like this whole week in review concept. I’m often late to pick up on a strategy, so no surprise here. With half  of my face numb from the dentist (Dr. Root Canal), here are my thoughts and insights about writing and reading, et al from the week:

1. I am embracing the digital reading revolution with more gusto, have reconnected with my kindle for those “gotta have ’em now” books, while at the same time I bought three print books from my local independent bookseller, two of them BIG, meaning I spent over $14 on them (Tana French’s The Likeness, Mr three-first-names’ Shantaram, and and I’ve pre-paid for French’s new hardcover Faithful Place which goes on sale next week). I want the privelege of doing both forever. If for no other reason that there is no replacement in the digital form for children’s books. Kids are tactile–want to feel, heck, even eat, the pages of good books. You just can’t chew on an ipad with the same delight. For the same reason I want my son to experience nature rather than see it on TV, I want him to hold real books in his hands. I want him to experience reality.

2. Storytelling IS the story. To ME, as both a writer and a teacher of writing, I will never be satisfied by a book that takes shortcuts to telling its story. I hold myself to the same high standard I do my students and clients, and when I read a masterful book, I thank the author for caring so much about me, the unknown reader. I do not deny anyone their entertainment–I watch trashy shows, I read People magazine, for goodness sake–but I have no shame about demanding excellence in my reading.

3. Despite all my snobbery, it occurred to me this week that the need to create exists in all of us and it is a magnificent impulse that should be foster. And for some of us that means writing a story with a lot of pimples, no matter the outcome. The need to create is beautiful, it helps us be better people and we should all tend to it in our lives no matter the form it takes. Therefore, I have greater appreciation for even the roughest of drafts that may fall upon my desk from that standpoint.

4. Finally, the most significant insight of my week is that every writer needs to find that loyal and perfect cache of readers who know how to give constructive criticism in a way that doesn’t make you want to slit your throat. I’m lucky to have a solid little core of these people. They don’t coddle me or pretend my work is perfect, but they get my work, and they help me make it better. Big smooches to you folks: you know who you are.


  1. Great insights for the week, Jordan. Each is important. My latest insight is that goal setting is not something that should be left for tomorrow.Creating a plan helps encourage, challenge and remind a writer about the options available to act in a way that is positive and beneficial to an author’s health,esteem, and career.


  2. My insight (as of last night while I was cuddling in bed with Zaviera suffering a crisis of faith and severe mental fatigue)is this: i have a deep, abiding, awe-struck respect for the intensity of mind that it takes to create a well-written novel. I was reflecting on all of the books I have fallen in love with and now that I am halfway through attempting this mad feat of writing my own – the reality of what it takes, the kind of mental focus, talent, perserverance, imagination, passion etc. that my beloved authors are endowed with in order to produce not just ONE but multiple worlds…WOW.

  3. Nice post Jordan. You know I love a numbered (or bulleted!) list. I agree with Alegra. I’m in full awestruck mode right now for all the hard writing work getting done out there, by the published and unpublished alike. Here’s to the creative process regardless of the product.

  4. Jordan, I enjoyed reading this post and feel particularly grateful for #3. Writing is such a driven sort of thing … like adolescence … so the idea that our stories come out with pimples, before they grow up and grow beards (or breasts) is delightful. Thanks for helping me to lighten up.

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