Programming Note: JersNW featured on a Podcast

I got a very nice message today from Allison, who runs a podcast over at PodFeet. Tomorrow Jer’s Novel Writer will be mentioned on her show. She wrote me to say that she loved the Read Me file so much she wanted to post links to help people find my novels.

(Note to all the literary agents lurking on the blog — and I know you’re out there. Three words: Pent-up demand.)

Gah! No novels to which she can link. I did send back links to a couple of my favorites in the Piker Archives, and talked a little bit about my Read Me philosophy. It’s a good read me. It has style, passion, and useful information. It is a writer’s read me, and it is perhaps Jer’s Novel Writer’s primary asset. It says a lot of stuff, but what you hear is that “this is going to be fun!”

Really, JersNW will not make writing fun for you if it wasn’t fun already. And if you’re not having fun writing, then there is no reason to continue. You can sweat blood and curse and invent new ways to torture yourself when it’s not coming out right, but at the end of the day, when the words happen and you sit back and smile and wonder how some dork like you could make something so cool, when the crazy string of symbols you built actually means something, and it’s interesting, you gotta smile.

The words returned tonight, once I gave them the chance. Tonight’s effort was more problem-solving than rambling, but when you add a short scene that ties some of the loose bits together and establishes a core moment in the evolution of your character, then it’s time for an internal high-five. You have to celebrate that stuff, ’cause it’s all you have. Luckily, it’s all you want. You’re a writer.

This love, it feels so easy to me, that I assume it is the natural human condition. I have to wonder what we do to people to make writing a chore. Somewhere around the point we teach our kids that they can’t draw we also turn writing into a universe of artists, technicians, and other, swiftly relegate most folks (artists among them) into ‘other’, and spend the rest of their education trying to turn them into technicians. I’ve got nothing against technique (in fact, I’m probably tighter-assed than most) but I will forgive any technical transgression in the name of style. Personal style. “This is me” on the page. There is no grammatical rule that takes precedence over that.

You write to write. You publish so you can let go (doesn’t always work). You make a word processor because there’s an idea burning in your head. You publish the word processor to make money. Still trying to figure out that last bit.

2 thoughts on “Programming Note: JersNW featured on a Podcast

  1. I rarely adventure over to the software hut side of your life, and when I did, recently, man! You’ve got a legion o’ JNW fans! One forum poster specifically asked you how much money he could throw at you! You are now entering territory, where a bitchin idea needs protecting of intellectual property and a method to exact beer money.

  2. I get a lot of students who have learned to hate writing because they have had teachers who, while probably well-intentioned, have abused the students’ spirits. These teachers often emphasize grammar at the expense of content, or else they impose unnatural patterns on writing structure, and all they end up doing is reducing writing to a pseudo-logical exercise that has nothing to do with actually expressing ideas. This rigidness also fits very few students’ actual learning patterns, and when the students also have socioeconomic or second-language disadvantages, they find writing to be a chore, or worse, torture, and they give up.

    Yes, grammar is important, and so is having a logical structure, but grammar is something we can apply after we have the basic ideas down (and many of the grammar “rules” my students have been taught are actually baseless superstitions), and logic isn’t a fixed formula.

    I get a thrill when a student discovers that writing is really about making connections between ideas, not applying meaningless formulas and rules. I love it when they say, “You mean, I can actually DO that?”

    Every semester I get one or two students who actually do love writing again at the end of the term. I just wish I could save more of them. Or better yet, I wish our public school system wouldn’t destroy so many of them in the first place.

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