My Five Worst Writing Habits (And How You Can Avoid Them)

[This post was originally published a few months ago but I wanted to resurrect it because (if you couldn’t tell) I’ve been in a bit of a writing slump and thought it best to revisit my bad habits in order to create some good ones.] 

There’s a troubling dichotomy that exists in the mind of a writer between thinking what you’ve just crafted is the most brilliant prose to brush against the blank page and wanting to run so far away from your own writing you reach a distant land where words don’t exist and people communicate using only their left eyebrow.

But while lauding your cleverness is a worthy exercise in confidence and self-affirmation—and why shouldn’t you be proud of your work?—it’s the writer-on-the-run who really produces the most scintillating stuff. Think about it: If you’re so incredible at writing, improvement becomes irrelevant. Why get better when you’re already the best?

The problem is, writing tends to be a craft predicated on the concept of evolution; each word you set down should be even more precise and well-placed than the last.   Continue reading “My Five Worst Writing Habits (And How You Can Avoid Them)”

They Call Me a Narcissist

I almost didn’t write this post. I almost didn’t hit the “publish” button and almost let these words disappear into lost-prose obscurity.

Then I thought, “no.” I told myself to do it.

Others out there might be having these same doubts, my inner monologue said. Others may too be dealing with a stranger who comments in cruel form on a blog post of theirs and for these people suffering in the dubious ether of my mind, the crippling blow dealt to their self-confidence might persuade them to never write again. Continue reading “They Call Me a Narcissist”

His Muse

There’s a road in Costa Rica that is watched by snakes and stones. The stones don’t make the best sentinels (stony-faced as they may be), mostly because they have no eyes and can only roll loosely in one direction or the next to warn of trouble ahead. The snakes, by comparison, fare a little better. Though their legless-ness proves a real crutch, they can still slide across the dirt and hiss whenever evil turns the bend.

But even snakes and stones almost missed the arrival of the Trumpet Player and his Muse. Continue reading “His Muse”

In Which I Interview Myself

Hello. My apologies for the hiatus, I haven’t forgotten about you, life has been busy and honestly, little word studio has always been this place of uber-creativity for me and I haven’t felt all that inspired to write something worthy of this blog.

The plan for little word studio in 2018, just so you know, is to get really weird, posting only fiction pieces, much like I did when this whole site began.

Anyway, in between my last post and this, WordPress gave me a third (!!) feature, which brought hundreds more followers to my little site. And, as Spiderman so aptly explained, with great power comes great responsibility and I didn’t want to let everyone down with boring shlock posted just because. Continue reading “In Which I Interview Myself”

Night Flight of the Sheep

“ … and, should the symptoms of sleeplessness persist, a patient may attempt any number of psychologically soothing exercises … lulling the mind to a more restful state of being … the most popular and effective of these called ‘counting sheep,’ wherein the patient, with eyes closed, begins enumerating sheep as if the beasts were standing there in the wooly flesh … one … two … three …”

His name was Spaxtle, hers Yarpzeit, at least that’s the closest any language not woven from the sounds of light mixed with spit might come to a correct pronunciation. They’d just departed Barnard’s Galaxy after three space-time cubules – warped, of course – spent on the farthest ring of Zoupitess, (again, name simplified for the sake of primitive tongues). Though the trip had been everything you’d expect from a sunbath beneath distant stars, Spaxtle and Yarpzeit had failed to find the one thing promised to be lurking in the Zoupitess quiet: sleep. Continue reading “Night Flight of the Sheep”

Whale-Talk

Yosemite

My name is Yosemite. I’m five feet, six inches tall with a reddish tint to my hair, a long beard that I never comb and green-blue eyes that are noticeably two different sizes. I only shower on Thursdays, smoke at least five cigarettes a day and eat my cereal each morning with cinnamon whiskey instead of milk. I don’t own a computer, I’ve never read a single book or newspaper in my 33-year-long life and I listen to Frank Zappa music late at night when my world turns quiet and I can sing along uninterrupted (and off-key). I’m not exactly any kind of man you’d expect to be someone else’s hero, or someone else’s anything, but to Heraldine, I’m the greatest man in the world. 

We met six months ago on the water. I run the whale watching tours in a small town whose name nobody outside of it can pronounce, which bumbles across sixteen acres of craggy land somewhere on the southern coast of Norway. On a whim, Heraldine signed up for one of my tours. (She later told me, “I thought, ‘I’ve never seen a real, live whale in the flesh before!’”) Continue reading “Whale-Talk”

Isabel Allende Is a Creative Storytelling Master

If Isabel Allende was applying for the job of world’s most popular Spanish-language author, she’d totally crush it. Because let’s be real … she probably is. The Chilean-American writer, best known for penning The House of Spirits (La Casa de los Espíritus) and City of the Beasts (La Ciudad de las Bestias), among countless other mega-bestsellers, has a literary resume to end all resumes. Career highlights include: being inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters, winning Chile’s National Literature Prize and receiving the 2014 Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

The renowned novelist sat down with Harvard Business Review to talk about her life’s work and the interview was bursting with so much wisdom, it could probably inspire an entire book. Or twenty. But I know you’ve got places to be and creativity to unleash, so here are a few Allende gems to get you started: Continue reading “Isabel Allende Is a Creative Storytelling Master”

Colorado Man Says He Is ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Recent Facebook Post

By Marsha Sendar, Contributing Staff Reporter, The Colorado Bugler

On Tuesday evening around nine, Marshall Fillchardo, owner of Kipp, CO-based bakery, Bread A Leg, took out his phone, looked up into the starry sky and snapped a photo of the full moon. Though the photo was partly out of focus, it was still decent enough by Fillchardo’s non-exacting standards and without hesitation, he posted it to his Facebook profile then awaited the usual—and ardent—response. 

“My friends pretty much like whatever I post within minutes,” he said adding that between check-ins, Star Wars memes and Peloton ride screenshots, he updates his Facebook page about twelve to thirteen times each week. “I expected at least three comments and four likes by midnight, especially when I got 26 likes on my check-in at Taco Bell last Thursday.”

But in the space separating Fillchardo’s sanguine social media expectations and what came to pass grew a dark abyss of like-less nothing. Continue reading “Colorado Man Says He Is ‘Deeply Troubled’ by Recent Facebook Post”

A Date Near Downing Street

The taxi door fluttered open, a bright flap of yellow against the sluggish August wind.

One last look to the driver with graying teeth and gangly, corn-husk hair and Simon Plinkers peeled himself out of the car. (This after sitting for twenty seven minutes in downtown traffic as the taxi meter skipped along and his elbow ached from not one but two earlier brushes with bicyclists. “Screw you, mister!” Ah, home.)

He would’ve written something down about the driver—his ramshackle appearance fit exactly with that of the anti-hero protagonist from Simon’s soon-to-be-drafted historical fantasy novel, The Secret Shoemaker—but there was no time. He was late. She was waiting. Continue reading “A Date Near Downing Street”

The Figaro

Of all the details to remember, her hands were still the clearest in his mind.

Unpolished nails of otherworldly innocence, intoxication by way of ten fingers and smooth skin and a wrist circled with Rolex Sky-Dweller gold, limited edition. Back to her hands. What did he later call them, windows to her soul? They appeared in stark, shimmering contradiction to that glassy skeleton known as the Makuhari Messe, an oversized structure built on the edge of Chuba City, where the 28th Tokyo Motor show was housed.

If such a thing as young love existed, it was born for her from the 1989 air-conditioned air of the Makuhari Messe and there grew to become a nervous child of mumbled ‘hello’s and ‘what is your name’s.

“Duke Raskipper.” (Perhaps.)

“Mirabelle Quick.” Continue reading “The Figaro”