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But then again, sometimes you do just need keyboard time…

After proudly announcing yesterday that time spent conceptualizing was just as important as time spent typing, I sat down today–after a full week of thinking–and found myself unable to write the stuff I thought I was going to write. It just didn’t work. Every word of it felt wrong. The keyboard is great at detecting […]

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The goal is to write good books, not rack up a certain number of hours behind the keyboard

Every year, in December, I usually have a blog post where I share a number of my productivity stats for the year: hours spent writing; days where I wrote; number of words I wrote; etc etc. (Here’s an example, if you want one). Last year I did not do this, and I had a very good […]

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Work on the thing you actually want to work on

So I sent in my novel to my agent yesterday, and I thought I’d spend a few weeks working on short stories. The thing about short stories is that they provide a lot of immediate satisfaction. You can write them, revise them, send them out, and see them accepted in a matter of months. Novels, […]

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I read a book about the Russian Revolution!

The only history class I took in college (aside from economic history classes, which don’t count) was one in “Early Modern Russian History,” which ended with Catherine the Great’s reign in 1796. Other than that, all my knowledge of Russia comes from reading fiction: Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Gogol, Chekhov, all the way up to Solzhenitsyn and […]

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Have finished the ‘rewrite’ part of the revision pass, am now in the ‘hoping it hangs together’ part

Well this morning I finished rewriting the ending to the book. It wasn’t a major rewrite, but it was certainly something I needed to do. I’m very pleased with it. Now comes the annoying part where I go back to the beginning and mess around with all the words and stuff. Also finished reading Jeff […]

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Secondhand Time is an amazing listening experience

I’m listening to Svetlana Alexievich’s Secondhand Time, which is a collection of oral histories from people who lived through the fall of the Soviet Union. There are a few interviews here from Soviet dissidents and pro-capitalist folks, but mostly the reactions are from people whose feelings are a lot more mixed. Most of them feel […]

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If your revised manuscript still has the same events in the same order, then what was the point?

Okay, I think line-editing is great. Lines should be as information-dense, melodic, and insightful as possible, and you can’t get there without a lot of work. However, I don’t think a line edit is rarely the difference between selling and not selling, or pleasing and not pleasing your writer. Too often I see people get […]

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Sober for seven years now!!!

I forget what was the first sobriety anniversary I marked on this blog, but I’ve been doing it at least two or three years now. This time it passed almost without me noticing it. I didn’t even have the alcohol dreams that commonly manifest themselves around this time (dreams where I drink alcohol–it’s a sober […]

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I’ve given so much money to Amazon, it’s awful

When it comes to e-book version of the classics, libraries mostly seem to have cheaped out and gone for very inexpensive versions that’re usually based on Project Gutenberg texts. This means that the translations are often old and the quality is bad. Which means until now I’ve largely, particularly for English language classics, relied on […]

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Nothing ever happens in my life, aside from all the things I don’t talk about

Recently in the course of one day, my mom and a good friend and my fiance all asked me, “What’s going on with you?” And for each person I genuinely searched my memory, trying to think of anything, and all I could come up with was, “Nothing.” My life is not very eventful. During the […]

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