Follow your own curiosity and say the most interesting stuff first. There is this weird idea of a “general reader,” who reads the New York Times and is equally interested in about 200 things (politics, peace in the middle east, pie, &c). I don’t think such people exist. And if they do, they are too busy reading the New York Times to read whatever you’re writing.
So forget that hypothetical reader and write about the things that are most interesting to you. Then, make it your mission to explain to readers why they should care about this thing you find interesting.
At the base of it, I guess I don’t believe in other people’s hierarchies about what’s important in the world. … And — this is one reason I love the web — all the analytics I’ve ever seen on my stories indicate that my own interest level and effort dictate what does well, *not* the subject matter. —
“Forget your generalized audience,” John Steinbeck advised in his six timeless tips on writing, and The Atlantic’s Alexis Madrigal echoes him with even more depth and dimension in his own advice on writing.
Pair with famous writers’ collected wisdom on the craft.
(Source: , via explore-blog)
Star Trek Into Darkness: how it was made, by the people who made it
What you read is important, but not all important. How you read is the main consideration. For if you know how to read, there’s a world of education even in the newspapers, the magazines, on a single billboard or a stray advertising dodger.
Th secret of good reading is this: read critically! — Timeless wisdom from 75+ years ago: How to acquire knowledge. (via explore-blog)
(Source: , via explore-blog)
Rivista Ufficiale NBA (Italy)
Ace stuff, the making off; from sketch to final…
Russell Westbrook stars new cover Rivista Ufficiale NBA, this is the official NBA Magazine in Italy
Art director Francesco Poroli
Media people who feel smug because they have a Twitter handle, an about.me page, and 500 friends on Facebook often seem to think there is something magical about their ability to navigate social media. There’s not. Social media is easy to use, the barrier to entry is almost zero, and it’s not at all impressive in the larger realm of what constitutes “new journalism,” or whatever it is we’re supposed to call journalism that involves the use of Big Data and interactive infographics.
Journalism skills, however – those antiquated intangibles that fusty old out-of-touch Columbia tries to teach – are non-trivial. Journalists have to be able to not only write, but to also process and synthesize complicated ideas in a short time, structure narratives, master the art of interviewing, take notes really fast, self edit, research in places where others don’t think to look, speak truth to power, ask ballsy questions that might otherwise get their teeth smacked in, construct arguments, dismantle other arguments, see through bullshit, and think on their feet. You can learn those things by yourself through hard work and experience, but it’ll take more than 40 seconds. —
Hamish McKenzie, PandoDaily, So Columbia Journalism School’s new dean doesn’t Tweet. So what?
FJP: We’d argue that Twitter and this overall social media thing takes more than 40 seconds to learn but Hamish’s argument against Michael Wolff’s criticism of the Columbia J-School — and its appointment of Steve Coll as its dean — is well worth the read.
Bonus: Jihii Jolly’s Why I’m Paying for J-School.
Stephen King on writing
it’s international women’s day. so to celebrate, here are my top ten favourite feminist books.
1. stiffed by susan faludi. it’s such a beautifully written book. shipyards, baseball, john wayne, rambo, the promise keepers, waco. this is in my top ten favourite books of all time. when we were writing the first album i took more ideas for lyrics from this book than anywhere else. i’d love to read it again.
2. heartbreak: the political memoir of a militant feminist by andrea dworkin. i remember i bought this in a second hand book store in lawrence, kansas, while we were on tour with james blunt. then i ended up reading this while we were writing the second album. i think a lot more of it influenced the words than i realised at the time.
“i have a heart easily hurt. i believed that cruelty was most often caused by ignorance. i thought that if everybody knew, everything would be different. i was a silly child who believed in the revolution. i was torn to pieces by segregation and vietnam. apartheid broke my heart… i can’t be bought or intimidated because i’m already cut down the middle. i walk with women whispering in my ears. every time i cry there’s a name attached to each tear.”
it’s inspiring and heartbreaking. read it if you haven’t.
3. the beauty myth by naomi wolf. this was a difficult one, i could have chosen misconceptions or promiscuities. both are amazing books. and i could have gone for the treehouse, because that’s often the one that i seem to come back to. but instead i’ve gone for the beauty myth. because i have.
4. living dolls: the return of sexism by natasha walter. along with ‘female chauvinist pigs’ by ariel levy, this has been one of the best books i’ve read in the last couple of years. when there’s a nail bar in a toy shop, what’s the best that anyone thinks will happen.
5. the bitch rules by elizabeth wurtzel. with chapter titles like ‘always keep your mind on how you feel, not on how he feels’, ‘be gorgeous’ and ‘don’t clear the table at a dinner party unless the men get up to help too’, i’m not sure if the advice in this pocket sized book was ever really aimed at me, but i’ve taken it to heart anyway at various points in my life. it’s a very peaceful and thoughtful book. kind of comforting and hopeful. she quotes ted hughes and bruce springsteen, and there is a chapter dedicated entirely to eating dessert. thinking about it, maybe this book was aimed at me.
6. riot grrrl: revolution girl style now! it’s sort of like a bible, but where calvin johnson is god and kathleen hanna is jesus. the greatest story ever told.
7. outrageous acts and everyday rebellions by gloria steinem. not so much a book, more a collection of articles and writing from the seventies and eighties. worth it if only for the chapter ‘i was a playboy bunny’. i remember a few years ago our manager emailed us saying we’d been asked to design a t shirt for playboy, something to do with a ‘rock the rabbit’ issue. i emailed back saying we would as long as we could work this andrea dworkin quote into the design, “politically, culturally, socially, sexually, and economically, rape and prostitution generated pornography; and pornography depends for its continued existence on the rape and prostitution of women.” we didn’t hear back.
8. backlash by susan faludi. it’s over twenty years old and it’s still completely relevant today. i hope she writes another book soon.
9. the scum manifesto by valerie solanas. i remember photocopying this book in it’s entirety after reading the quote on the sleeve to ‘stay beautiful’. it’s a brilliant, angry, often funny attack on men. it almost feels like a pastiche of a manifesto and all the more powerful for it.
“the male has a negative midas touch - everything he touches turns to shit.”
10. the female eunuch. i read it when i was about seventeen and i never saw the world the same way again.
“i’m sick of the masquerade. i’m sick of pretending eternal youth. i’m sick of belying my own intelligence, my own will, my own sex. i’m sick of peering at the world through false eyelashes, so everything i see is mixed with a shadow of bought hairs; i’m sick of weighting my head with a dead mane, unable to move my neck freely, terrified of rain, of wind, of dancing too vigorously in case i sweat into my lacquered curls. i’m sick of the powder room. i’m sick of pretending some fatuous male’s self important pronouncements are the objects of my undivided attention, i’m sick of going to films and plays when someone else wants to, and sick of having no opinions of my own about either. i’m sick of being a transvestite. i refuse to be a female impersonator.”
happy international women’s day
Common Writing Mistakes -
Benjamin Dreyer is the VP Executive Managing Editor & Copy Chief of Random House Publishing Group. Below is his list of the common stumbling blocks for authors, from A to X.
- One buys antiques in an antiques store from an antiques dealer; an antique store is a very old store.
- He stayed awhile; he stayed for a while.
- Besides is other than; beside is next to.
- The singular of biceps is biceps; the singular of triceps is triceps. There’s no such thing as a bicep; there’s no such thing as a tricep.
- A blond man, a blond woman; he’s a blond, she’s a blonde.
- A capital is a city (or a letter, or part of a column); a capitol is a building.
- Something centres on something else, not around it.
- If you’re talking about a thrilling plot point, the word is climactic; if you’re discussing the weather, the word is climatic.
- A cornet is an instrument; a coronet is a crown.
- One emigrates from a place; one immigrates to a place.
- The word is enmity, not emnity.
- One goes to work every day, or nearly, but eating lunch is an everyday occurrence.
- A flair is a talent; a flare is an emergency signal.
- A flier is someone who flies planes; a flyer is a piece of paper.
- Flower bed, not flowerbed.
- Free rein, not free reign.
- To garner is to accumulate, as a waiter garners tips; to garnish (in the non-parsley meaning) is to take away, as the government garnishes one’s wages; a garnishee is a person served with a garnishment; to garnishee is also to serve with a garnishment (that is, it’s a synonym for “to garnish”).
- A gel is a jelly; it’s also a transparent sheet used in stage lighting. When Jell-O sets, or when one’s master plan takes final form, it either jells or gels (though I think the former is preferable).
- Bears are grizzly; crimes are grisly. Cheap meat, of course, is gristly.
- Coats go on hangers; planes go in hangars.
- One’s sweetheart is “hon,” not “hun,” unless one’s sweetheart is Attila (not, by the way, Atilla) or perhaps Winnie-the-Pooh (note hyphens).
- One insures cars; one ensures success; one assures people.
- Lawn mower, not lawnmower.
- The past tense of lead is led, not lead.
- One loathes someone else but is loath to admit one’s distaste.
- If you’re leeching, you’re either bleeding a patient with a leech or otherwise sucking someone’s or something’s lifeblood. If you’re leaching, you’re removing one substance from another by means of a percolating liquid (I have virtually no idea what that means; I trust that you do).
- You wear a mantle; your fireplace has a mantel.
- Masseurs are men; masseuses are women. Many otherwise extremely well educated people don’t seem to know this; I have no idea why. (These days they’re all called massage therapists anyway.)
- The short version of microphone is still, so far as RH is concerned, mike. Not, ick, “mic.” [2009 update: I seem to be losing this battle. Badly. 2010 update: I’ve lost. Follow the author’s lead.]
- There’s no such word as moreso.
- Mucus is a noun; mucous is an adjective.
- Nerve-racking, not -wracking; racked with guilt, not wracked with guilt.
- One buys a newspaper at a newsstand, not a newstand.
- An ordinance is a law; ordnance is ammo.
- Palette has to do with colour; palate has to do with taste; a pallet is, among other things, something you sleep on. Eugene Pallette was a character actor; he’s particularly good in the 1943 film Heaven Can Wait.
- Noun wise, a premier is a diplomat; a premiere is something one attends. “Premier” is also, of course, an adjective denoting quality.
- That which the English call paraffin (as in “paraffin stove”), we Americans call kerosene. Copy editors should keep an eye open for this in mss. by British authors and query it. The term paraffin should generally be reserved for the waxy, oily stuff we associate with candles.
- Prophecy is a noun; prophesy is a verb.
- Per Web 11, it’s restroom.
- The Sibyl is a seeress; Sybil is Basil Fawlty’s wife.
- Please don’t mix somewhat and something into one murky modifier. A thing is somewhat rare, or it’s something of a rarity.
- A tick bites; a tic is a twitch.
- Tortuous is twisty, circuitous, or tricky; torturous is painful, or painfully slow.
- Transsexual, not transexual.
- Troops are military; troupes are theatrical.
- A vice is depraved; a vise squeezes.
- Vocal cords; strikes a chord.
- A smart aleck is a wise guy; a mobster is a wiseguy.
- X ray is a noun; X-ray is a verb or adjective.
3 Paths Toward A More Creative Life
In an era of volatility, uncertainty, chaos, and ambiguity, being creative is perhaps the best way to navigate your career and succeed.
Here are three specific ways that can help you lead a creative life from innovation and design expert Bruce Nussbaum.
1. BE MINDFUL—DISCONNECT
We are all so connected these days and distracted by constant interactions. Our time is spent responding, reacting to others or absorbing, taking in new information. But we often lack the space, the time, the moment to integrate that knowledge, connect those dots, generate that creativity. Slowing down and disconnecting provides that space.
You need to allow your creativity to flow without interruption and to let your mind to fill up.
2. TO CREATE MEANINGFUL THINGS, DELVE INTO THE PAST
You need to allow your creativity to flow without interruption and to let your mind to fill up.
3. BE MASTERFUL
To be very creative, however, requires a deep mastering of both knowledge and skills.
Read the full story here.
[Images: Heads via Shutterstock]