Why I do what I am doing…

Whoa – Where Did The Time Go?

It seems like yesterday that I was cringing at the thought of writing a blog. Let alone that it was part of my final assessment for my undergrad BA.

Well, it’s eight months on from that freak out, and things have changed a bit. I’m hiding from the heat of a blistering Christmas Eve, wishing that the kids would stop nagging me and that I could work up the courage to go for a run. Yeah, nope.

Since then, I’ve graduated uni, buried a dear friend, conquered the shenanigans of high school bullies from 25 years ago, and realised that I’m not such a bad chick after all. Oh, and had the right mastectomy completed! Well, from here on out, things are going to be better. I’m going to be healthier and thinner and more dedicated to life. TTFN, gotta get back into it.


50 Best Films About Writers, Ranked


Hollywood is famous for its treatment of writers. They are the low man on the totem pole, the person banned from the set, the guy who wrote the Great American novel drinking himself to death in Los Angeles, rewriting dumb scripts. It’s funny, as Hollywood — along with movies around the world — is obsessed with portraying “writers” on screen, which is a weird profession to lionize as writing is the least visually pleasing job of all.

There are a lot of bad movies about writers out there. At Flavorwire, we wanted to make the definitive list of the 50 Best Films About Writers of all time, with the requisite mix of biopics, book adaptations (what’s up Stephen King and John Irving), foreign films that actually feature female writers, po-mo meta surrealist studies of madness (very frequent), and the works of Woody Allen. (A thank you to writer Alexander Chee, whose…

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How American parenting is killing the American marriage

My Amazon bestseller made me nothing.


The Popcorn Chronicles


PATRICK WENSINK-My novel shot to the top of the site’s bestseller list last summer. You won’t believe how little I got paid!

In one more week I was going to be a millionaire.

At least, that was the rumor circulating around my wife’s family. One more week on Amazon’s best-seller list and I would have seven figures in the bank, easily. Her cousin had looked this fact up on the Internet, so it had to be true.

“Please tell them that is nowhere near true,” I said. “But don’t tell them how much money I’m actually going to make.”

“OK,” my wife said. “Can I tell them how many books you sold?”

“Absolutely not.”


I didn’t have a good answer. Secrecy seemed like the practical, professional response in times of success.

It made me wonder where this writerly knee-jerk reaction comes from. It wasn’t that people would think…

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Building a Killer Email List


David Gaughran

wanted-alt71-200x300There is a lot of upheaval in publishing today and I think that’s likely to increase rather than decrease. The best insurance policy any writer can have against the future is a targeted mailing list.

I’ve written before about how the author with the biggest mailing list wins, and I’ve invited Nick Stephenson along today because he’s got some great ideas on how to boost your list.

The cool thing about his approach is that it’s something anyone can do. And, as you will see, it really, really works. Here’s Nick with more:

Building a Killer Email List

As an author, I try to read as much as possible. I tend to get excited over 8 or 9 different authors across a few different genres, and I always buy their new releases as soon as I hear about them. Whenever I find out there’s a new book on the shelves, I go…

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Beauty and Joy Without Words

The saddest thing I see in the world around me is a lack of care and compassion for others. It is the small things we can do for others, then step out of our comfort zone to actually do, are the most powerful moments in our lives. Small acts of kindness add up to a more fulfilled “us”

Simple acts of “seeing a need and filling it” are the ones that make the world spin a little better, and it is these things that can change lives. There is no way to know what one small action might lead to, or prevent. There is plenty of reason to try. One of the most beautiful short films I have ever seen was Deep and Crisp and Even, a Ten Minute Tale, written by Maggie and Peter Souter; starring Timothy Spall and Natasha McElhone.

This film is one of my favourite things to share with other people and I am yet to meet someone who doesn’t like it. Everyone – from my family to fellow film and literary students, lecturers, friends and their friends – have all gained something, from seeing this wordless masterpiece. Deep and Crisp and Even transcends cultural boundaries, language barriers and draws you in to a world of quaintness and innocence rarely seen in contemporary media. It is a gift of nine minutes and two seconds of loveliness, hope and selflessness.

This is the type of film I would love to create, this inspires me to push beyond the boundaries of what I have done, what I know and how I move through the world.

The ability to communicate without words is a rare skill, certainly one that I aspire to. The symbolism our ancestors understood and lived with is being lost. Use of colour, shapes, texture sound and physical expression – to enrich and convey layers of complex and multi-faceted meaning, is a skill being eroded by the acceleration of the information age. The knowledge of how to artfully combine these elements is what is key for many great works to transcend time. Capturing moments of zeitgeist in art is how cultural memory is developed, obtained and retained.

Without art that escapes stereotypes, (our) culture would stagnate and eventually wither away. Films like this little beauty are sentries against this cultural atrophy while also gifting its audience of a pause in their daily works.

I hope you enjoy it, please allow yourself to fall in love with it as I have…

The Secret to Pixar’s Genius From ‘Creativity, Inc.’ Sounds Like a Writing Workshop


Most business books are, in the words of Norman Mailer, “advertisements for myself,” the story of one person’s world-beating genius and how they made an industry out of it. But Ed Catmull’s Creativity, Inc., written with the wonderful Amy Wallace (frequently at GQ writing profiles — check out her D’Angelo piece), is markedly modest in scope. The main impression that you get off Catmull, the president of Pixar Animation and Disney Animation, is that he’s a kind man and obviously a genius, with a Ph.D. in computer science and the goal of creating the first computer animated film. And he goes through the life story of Pixar, how they met Steve Jobs, how they created things in a corner until they were creating things for Disney, in simple fashion.

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Death and The Robot: Behind the Scenes

This is a very recent discovery, and a beautiful example of the work I’d like to do to counterbalance the horrors of the human rights issues I explore . This gentle, innocent type of production is more of what the world and its children need, a story communicated without words.

16 Nonfiction Forms And How To Write Them

Um, this is a bit scary!

Thought Catalog

16 Nonfiction Forms And How To Write Them

Nonfiction describes communicative work (typically written, but also including diagrams and photos) understood to be fact. Implicit in this however are the varying degrees to which the writer’s subjective interpretation of facts, and/or selective presentation (i.e. withholding, distorting) of facts end up making a “factual” work less true.

Given this, an interesting way to delineate nonfiction forms is to look at them in terms of how accurately they reflect the writer’s experience, beliefs, and emotions in real life (IRL).

The above diagram is intended to be a kind of visual take on how this applies to typical forms of nonfiction. Below are notes and further explanations on different forms listed alphabetically.

Advice Columns

Advice columns range in truthfulness from extremely close to fact (such as most sex writing, which we’ll get to later) to the kinds of financial, lifestyle, parenting, gaming, social media, and other advice articles and blogs…

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Lessons Learned on Amazon.Com

Lessons Learned on Amazon.Com.

As a wannabe writer and filmmaker, this blog was a welcome dose of reality!

Seeing as I am such a late bloomer career wise, I suck up every drop of knowledge I can cram into my days. Hopefully, posts like this one will stick somewhere in the black fog and labyrinthine maze of my brain, and I will be saved from some heartache and shame. Gotta love the capabilities of the internet, the greatest leveller of them all!