Reading Into The Final Haul of a Writer’s Journey

Now Brewing: Green Mountain Coffee‘s Holiday Peppermint: this seasonal blend is not currently for sale, but should be available soon. I decided to brew my last K-Cup from last year’s variety in honor of November and with its arrival, acceptable celebration of the Christmas season. November 1st has long been the marker that starts my holiday season, complete with the Christmas playlist queued up on my new iPhone 4s, and dreams of sugarplums dancing in my head until late December; this minty blend completes my holiday spirit with a dollop of whipped cream and little chunks of candy cane on top. 

 I mentioned up there that I now am the proud owner of the iPhone 4s. I have to say, it’s everything the commercials sell it to be. I have found myself spending too much time playing with Siri, my mysterious computer robot from within the phone; and even embarrassingly tried some of the prompts to find out who Siri really is, as mentioned in the “Who Are You, Siri? We Ask One of Her Dads” article on Mashable this weekend. I have always used my cell phone a lot and one of the main reasons I upgraded from my BlackBerry to iPhone was getting better battery life. I love my new phone, I even carved the Apple symbol into my Jack-O-Lantern this year. However, the iPhone 4s has been having many complaints on low battery life. Today an article on USAToday shows that Apple may be ready to react to the complaints. I can only cross my fingers and hope. With my new phone, I’ve also taken to using the notepad app to jot down quick ideas I have for Second Shots while I’m on the go. It’s become kind of a daily thing. I wouldn’t want poor battery life keeping me from my writing; there’s already many other factors that slow my progress as it is. 

I’ve been keeping on track with my writing goal over the weekend, while still managing to have a fun Halloween in Milwaukee. I talked to my uncle, David Weast, a fellow creative writer, who just finished a short story of his own.

He warned me of something I’ve been hearing in my Creative Writing class and also reading about on the writer’s blogs I follow, the dangers of writing dialogue. He told me that writing 

“dialogue is good for when there’s a conflict that can be resolved by putting two people in a room and watching the conflict unfold and resolve itself”

but warned that it’s deterimental when there are pages and pages of dialogue, which could be written into one simple paragraph, and are basically fillers. These types of dialogue are where the writing becomes less stylistic, harder to read, and most importantly when readers loose interest. 

He also encouraged me to keep writing, which I’ll need to do if I want to get published. Which brings me to Jennifer Weiner‘s 7th tip, Get Published. Weiner used the metaphor of the tree falling in the woods and no one hearing and asks if it has really fallen. She relates it to a writer writing, but never getting published. She wrote that to be a real writer one must 

“bear the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune (not to mention evil reader reviews on amazon.com).”

She puts the jokes aside in the next sentence and adds,

“You’ve got to put your stuff out there for the world to see, and fall in love with, or revile. In short, you’ve got to get published.”

But, I want to protest through my computer, I don’t have an agent! Luckily, Weiner writes that I shouldn’t start looking for one until I finish Second Shots anyway, so I’ll tackle that mountain when it comes along in May. Her ninth tip, “Be A Smart Consumer” also won’t be of matter to me until I do start the daunting search for an agent, so that only leaves me with “Read”, the final tip. 

Weiner’s thoughts on reading are much like the thoughts of teachers I’ve had thus far and even echo the words of my interviewee from my podcast, Christopher Miller, who’s final advice for aspiring writers was to never stop reading. Weiner wrote, 

“Get the rhythm of good writing in your ears. Cram your head with characters and stories. Abuse your library privileges.”

Reading has always been one of my other passions and luckily once I start reading something, my mind won’t let me stop in the middle. I’ve finished nearly every book I’ve started, with the exception of Jane Eyre, which haunts me to this day. I read short stories and poems, longer novels, short novels, collections, and series. I read the newspaper and blogs and sometimes I even read street signs just to get new names in my head for future characters. Reading goes hand in hand with my writing and I’m always working on building my vocabulary through reading. 

I hope you all enjoyed READING this post and don’t forget to READ my sneak peaks into Second Shots!

See You All Soon,

Kathryn E. Weast

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