Michaeline: The Value of Surfing Writing Blogs

two girls surfing on a fair day pure happiness

Sometimes on the internet, you catch the most exhilarating wave. Image via Wikimedia Commons

I’m sure many of you know what I’m talking about when I moan, “Internet Guilt.” Imagine that in a creepy font dripping with icicles and/or blood. Sometimes when I fire up the computer, it’s really, really hard to stay off the internet. I wonder if old-fashioned writers ever had that problem – they sharpened their favorite pen and set up their ink and paper with the best of intentions, and wound up writing to their aunt. Or their sister staying with their aunt. Or their sister’s dog who was staying with their aunt’s children.

I’m not going to argue for either side of the teeter-totter. All play and no writing is obviously not good for a writer. Nothing gets written. But on the other hand, all work and no internet is boring. And I would argue that it is bad for the writing – we need outside input in order to create texture in our writing, and the internet is one of the easiest ways to get input of all sorts.

The trick is to find the work/play balance somewhere in the middle of the teeter-totter.

Yesterday was a case for judicious internet for me. Continue reading

Michaeline: Time Crunch

A hot air balloon with a clock face over Paris.

As Groucho Marx never said, “Time flies like a balloon . . . and fruit flies like a banana.” (Why yes, time is kicking my ass. That’s why I’m indulging in really torturous humor. Distracting myself from the pain, so to speak, or inflicting it on the unsuspecting blog-reader.) (Image via Wikimedia Commons)

I was driving to Sapporo a couple of weeks ago and listened to the SF Squeecast Episode 37 for I think the third time. The Squeecast is a great series of podcasts where SF professionals talk about what’s making them happy in the world of SF, and also about general writing. I particularly recommend this episode for the time-crunched. Maybe you can listen to it while clearing a space for writing in your office (-:.

Elizabeth Bear, Paul Cornell, Lynne M. Thomas, Catherynne M. Valente and guest Amal El-Mohtar talk about the importance of routines, and about juggling not only the different roles we play as writing human beings, but also juggling different writing tasks. There’s a wonderful metaphor Continue reading

Michaeline: The Lure of the Shiny, the Featherbed of Familiarity


A backless, cushioned writing desk

There are many ways to combine the cozy familiar with the shiny new. Some ways work better for most readers than others. But there’s always going to be someone who says, “Oh! THIS is what I was looking for!” (Wikimedia Commons)

I was catching up on some podcasts and the fun folks at SF Squeecast were talking about shiny vs. familiar. It got me to thinking. Some readers say they like the shiny – the new concepts and the things they’ve never thought about before, while others think that one of the great points of reading in genre is that you get more of the same – if you read space operas, you know you are going to get adventure and space ships and if you read Harlequins, you know you are going to get happy endings after some obstacles.

The problem is that most “shiny” people want new things, but not too new and weird, thank you. And “cozy” people can get bored if something is too familiar.

The shiny/cozy problem shows up in all the arts, and two of this year’s Christmas songs illustrate the spectrum. Continue reading