Writer's block, an owner's guide: Newsletter news
So: the new newsletter is going well – number 5 (“The Not-to-do List”) goes out this weekend. Readership has risen 50% since the start. The absolute numbers are still too small to boast of, but with that kind of growth they won’t always be. There’s a sample issue online at http://www.todayiwrite.com/samplenewsletter.php or you can sign up right now in <—-that box over there. Go on, live dangerously.
Published on February 1, 2008 at 9:34 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/newsletter-news.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: Something for Twelfth Night
The title is from Shakespeare in Love and I’m happy to quote from there for four reasons. Partly, I’m celebrating having just bought the new book by its writer Marc Norman. I’m celebrating that, because What Happens Next is a substantial history of American screenwriting which looks like a great resource for the chapter I’m co-writing on screenwriters for an upcoming academic book. (Afternote: if you thought that> was a long sentence, wait till you read the book)
I also like to quote the movie because it played a part in one of the best moments of my own life. (Afternote: my wife says I should explain that. We saw it on our wedding night. Oh yes, how to show a girl a good time)
Also, hey, it is Twelfth Night tonight.
But mostly, the movie’s on my mind today because it’s part of the fabric of this website. I mentioned it in the earliest days of Today I Write, and I’ve used it again more than once over the four years since then. And now the fabric’s changing, because the site is ready for its next redesign. It’s showing its age. It’s hard to navigate, even when you know what you’re looking for. And above all, my work in creativity coaching is moving in a new direction and the web site has to change to support it.
For instance, I’m relaunching the Today I Write newsletter this week. I invite you to sign up, over there look <<<——. The purpose of the newsletter is to be of practical service to people who want to begin writing and keep writing. You won’t find a word about plot, structure or grammar. Just words about actually doing the work.
Try it. You can stop any time. No salesman will call.
Published on January 6, 2008 at 4:45 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/something-for-twelfth-night-too-late-too-late.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: NaNoWriMo: year 3
For the last two years I’ve used National Novel Writing Month as a chance to learn about how writers are motivated to be productive. 143 NaNos volunteered to answer questions during the month, and I gathered some interesting new information.
This year I’m there again. This project will be the simplest of the three. If you’re a NaNo this year, please think about being part of it. I’ll only ask you to do one thing: fill out two questionnaires in the next couple of days. At the end of November I will download your final wordcount from the NaNoWriMo server. And that’s it. Nothing is hidden from you and everyone is doing the same thing.
What I’m trying to find out is what work habits are associated with successful writing. Part of the deal is that I will let you know what I learn. I’m also taking this chance to expand my collection of reversal theory profiles.
This project is the sixth (I think) in a series of studies of the psychology of writing under the auspices of Saybrook Graduate School and Research Center, San Francisco.
If you are over 18 and you’d like to be part of this, please go here and do it right now. Thanks!
Published on November 3, 2007 at 8:56 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/nanowrimo-year-3.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: Cognitive priming
I am writing a long, long critique of someone else’s doctoral dissertation about writer’s block (it’s surprising how many of those there are). It’s a startlingly boring task but it’s also a mandatory preliminary to writing my own dissertation. And is certainly giving me some useful knowledge for that task.
I was careful to choose a dissertation that’s in my own subject area and uses an interesting research method. But the more I critique it the more I find wrong with it, and the less I believe that its research findings are of any value. So that could be kinda dispiriting if I chose.
Is there really anything wrong with it, or does being in the position of a critic make me negative-minded? There’s a whole conversation we could have here about priming and about the Zimbardo prison experiment. But shall we both leave this and get back to our writing?
Published on August 28, 2006 at 8:46 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/cognitive-priming.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: And we’re back
And we’re back. I had made a backup I didn’t even know about. And now for that writing.
Published on March 6, 2006 at 3:02 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/and-were-back.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: Please excuse my dust
As regular readers will notice, I have dragged the Emergency Look and Feel out of the closet. I broke something or other in WordPress, I didn’t really have time to fix it and in trying to BandAid it I broke something else, and… you know. And it turns out site5’s much trumpeted site recovery feature does not exist (I love their service as I said the other day, but this is rather worrying). So we will be stark and gray for a few hours. I have to go write ten pages this morning and I am not going to use you as my excuse not to. All the posts on here are perfectly readable, after all. Hmmm… looks quite nice, actually.
Published on at 2:54 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/please-excuse-my-dust-3.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: December update
Well, I don’t usually see the point of blog entries saying that the blog is still live and not saying anything else, but here it is December already and I think readers, or anyone stumbling across this site for the first time, might want to know whether they are looking at an historical document or at something that’s vibrant with un-unleashed creative force. I’ll let you answer that question for yourself, but here are some hints. Let me summarize where I was while you couldn’t see me:
1. For the first time (and it wasn’t my first try) I’m a NaNoWriMo winner!
2. More to our purpose here, I also completed the journal that I told you I planned to keep. Doing that taught me some things about my own mental process. You know. The kind of things that are not exactly unconscious or subconscious but which we do choose to keep tucked away in the back of the bottom drawer of consciousness. The things the mind does for reasons of its own which it’s not willing to look at in a grown-up rational way without the help of a therapist such as me. In my case an example is the fact, always available to me and always ignored, that whenever I get caught up and am doing what I ought to be doing, that is the very moment when I (am tempted to) give myself a break and then I (can) fall behind after being on top of things for only a few hours.
And I say all this without having even read over the journal yet. I wonder what wisdom is hidden in there among the dross of daydreaming and self-judgement.
3. Most excitingly of all, I completed the data collection phase of my study of the writing process in other writers. Of my 107 volunteers, 95 actually took part in the project. Here too, I’ve already learned some things without even having started a thorough analysis. I am very hopeful of being able to tell writers something that’ll actually be useful.
So in weeks ahead, I shall have things to report here about our subject, the psychology of writer’s block. Not today, I’m afraid. But for the best of reasons. I’ve been writing!
Published on December 5, 2005 at 9:39 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/december-update.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: Research
I’ve been away from this page for a month, for the same reason I offered you before. I really didn’t know how much work it is to set up a new psychotherapy practice. There’s very little published information about doing business in The Field, and what there is tends to be cuddly reassuring stuff about affirmations and support groups, for people who would rather not be reading business books at all. As one of the few therapists with an MBA, I’d like to write the missing book some day. But where will I find the time.
You know, it’s a long time since I’ve worked so hard. The last day job used to work me like a dog, but most days I could stop soon after quitting time and go home and do something else. Thank goodness I love doing the therapy, and I enjoy being a business owner again, and my life partner is committed to the same goals I am.
So, what am I doing in my copious free time? Two new academic projects, that’s what.
1. I’m taking part in NaNoWriMo (link opens in new window) again – yes, I’m setting out to write a novel in a month. As if that wasn’t enough, I’ve also undertaken to write a journal about the experience and to analyze it in psychological terms.
2. But that’s not all. Separately I’ve also undertaken to survey the other participants – tens of thousands of ‘em. If four per cent agree to take part in my project that’s, nobody knows yet, but maybe three thousand research participants to wrangle. Most of them will be asked to answer six easy check-box-type questions every day in November, so that would be a total of more than half a million responses to process. If you don’t hear from me for a little while, maybe I’m a tad busy, ya think? or maybe I crashed the server.
Published on October 3, 2005 at 12:38 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/research.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: Blog admin
Call this a test entry. I upgraded to Movable Type 3.2. Everyone else loved it, so why not?
Installation would probably have been as simple as promised. But I took the opportunity to install in a new sub-folder instead of going on having my MT scripts in the cgi-bin. Never make two setup changes at the same time, because you won’t know which one caused the problems. I forgot to copy mt-db-pass.cgi. With that fixed, Movable Type is running again. (Afterthought: it runs even better now that I copied my old plugins to the new location)
The fonts are very small on the new admin and authoring pages, but I’m sure there is a simple adjustment for that.
Right now, I’ve had enough of geekish hacking, and I’m going to do some yardwork before the San Fernando Valley temperature gets above 100 again.
Huh? Writer’s block? Not at all, what a productive few weeks I’ve had. Oh, you wanted me to write about block? That’ll happen, I promise. I’m trying to choose between putting on that Block Workshop that I told you about months ago, and which is more or less ready to deliver, and putting on a broader workshop about Procrastination. They’re totally different material as it turns out (although they are about kinda the same thing, one workshop comes from a creativity perspective and the other doesn’t) so maybe I’ll do both.
Published on August 27, 2005 at 10:53 am. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/blog-admin.html
Writer's block, an owner's guide: Back. And forward!
My hiatus is over. Really it was over days ago but when I tried to tell you about it, in some of my best ever prose, like many other Movable Type users I lost it all to a mysterious supposedly-temporary bug (which I still have tonight, so let’s talk fast).
My hiatus is over. In twenty days – which I claim as a possible record – I passed both of the California MFT exams and I can finally call myself a marriage and family therapist. These exams are notoriously difficult; the questions are odd and arbitrary in a way that seems designed to test your therapist instinct more than your technical knowledge. Actually, the questions just seem stupid but, now that I’m one of the people who’ve survived the ordeal, my mind keeps making up reasons why we earned recognition as talented therapists.
So that’s where I’ve been in recent weeks. As I said before, writing in the weblog would have been a form of procrastination, which is exactly what we are all here to fight against.
Well, now, moving on, and into life as a psychotherapist. My new writing project is to prepare the marketing materials for my tender fledgling practice in Sherman Oaks.
Part of that is to update my main web site which looks like what it is – a site that I stopped looking after a year ago, just when Today I Write got going and began to attract growing numbers of readers, and attracted me too with its ability to make me keep on writing. The main site needs to become a clear, professional guide to what I do as a therapist and who I can do it for.
The other piece of marketing writing I need to do is to totally rewrite my self-description for the online Therapy Directory. This is a growing young service owned by Psychology Today that is already tied in with Google, Yahoo and major mental health sites and seems to be superseding all the other directories I might have joined. But goodness me – writing a blurb for them is like taking the California license exams over again. They ask for three essays on three set topics. There is no room to write good answers; each essay has a limit of 50 or 100 words. By the time I trimmed my prose down to those lengths, I had lost sight of what I was trying to tell the reader in the first place.
And that’s just the start of the game. When you finally click to submit your answers on the three topics, they are not published as three essays. They are simply published as a single run-on article, without any subject headings. Once you realize that, you realize there was no point answering the questions at all. You could use the three boxes to type anything you actually thought was worth saying.
I guess that this system was designed by journalists at Psychology Today to help timid non-writers declare their own best qualities. That’s a worthy goal. But the result, for me, is that at a time of high excitement in my life I am not able to make the best of what’s certainly an important marketing opportunity. I need to take a few days to think about it, and then go back and rewrite the whole darn thing so that it says something interesting and useful.
Which will be fun!
It’s all fun right now. I know how self-employment can become a grind if you’re not careful; but now that I’ve learned about reversal theory I won’t make that mistake again. No, no, I’ll make fresh exciting new mistakes.
Published on July 8, 2005 at 9:02 pm. Linking to this article? Thank you! The permanent address is http://www.todayiwrite.com/journal/back-and-forward.htmlNext Page »