In the spirit of author-asking question, seeing as how we’re all writer-ly types around here, I’m going to pose to you Deb’s author question:

What is the best/worst writing advice you’ve ever received?

Contest, Alexie, and Others

First off, a big ole congrats to Julia — the Boudreau Birthday Bash Contest winner. It’s kind of crushing to know that I was so close to her word count and bathroom construction took over that last day. (I’m sorry, I love writing, but I love my bathroom too…and you don’t know what you have until you can’t use it anymore, right?)

Next off, I went to hear Sherman Alexie speak as part of the All Pueblo Reads program. And I have a huge author crush on the Mentor. I’m going to go see him again, because he’s making one last presentation at the college before heading off to home (or where ever else he may be needed), and I’ll give you the overall impression in a little while.

But, before I go off to presentation-land, the question of questions came up as I was hanging out with John, Ali, and Ali’s +1 after the Alexie reading. Namely: if you could ask your favorite author one question, what would it be? And, conversely, as an author, what quesiton would you most like to be asked?

The Typing vs Handwriting Thingy

Normally, I’m a handwriter. But, after my last word count contest bobber where John kicked my tail, I figured something out: For writing contests, one should not handwrite everything and then try to type it in. Turns out, when you try to do that, you just wind up writing twice the words — but the words are the same because you’re writing them twice. Yes, this seems an obvious thing, but like so many other obvious things, I’m learning on the job.

For this go-round of Boudreau’s I determined that I would write via typing. I haven’t done a first draft like this in a long time. But you know what? I’m enjoying it. I’ve found that I can type four pages worth of words (read: 1000) in about 45 minutes on the computer vs. handwriting.

This seemed an odd thing to me, because I handwrite a lot faster than I type. But when I write by hand I was only hitting about three pages an hour, and handwritten pages just don’t have as many words when they’re typed up.

Then I came across an old Prevention article about overeating. There was an experiment conducted where one group was given a tube of Pringles. There was a second group who was also given a tube of Pringles — only this tube had every 7th Pringle colored red. Turns out, the group with the red Pringles stopped eating much, much earlier than the group with regular Pringles.


The researchers decided that the colored Pringles caught the eater’s attention and therefore drew said attention to the fact that they were eating. Every time a red chip popped up and interrupted their thought process (even subconciously) it made them aware that they were eating.

What does this have to do with handwriting actually being slower in my case?

The page turning.

I was handwriting in a notebook. Notebooks have pages that you have to stop and turn, unlike computers where you can just keep going and going and going without thinking about it. Each time I stopped to turn the page I became aware that I was writing. And I thought I was doing a lot of it…until I flipped back a page or two and realized that I’d only done a couple pages (maybe 400 words). It felt like I was going soooo slow, because the pages distracted me and made me think I was doing enough, when in fact I was doing too little.

Maybe colored Pringles and page turning are good for weightloss, but I don’t my book to be lightweight. I want some heft to that sucker. I can trim it down later if I need to.

I’ve decided for the next few months to do only writing on the computer (hee hee, it helps that I have a new one too) and I’ll just see how much paperweight I can gain.

Here’s to overeating!

Words, Words, Words

It’s such a shame that the word count contest only counts for one project — since the profs seemed to have teamed up and assigned terms papers all in this last week.


Countdown to Alexie

Oh yeah. The Man-His-Own-Self will be in Pueblo, Colorado, this next weekend. This means nothing to those of you who are not in or around Pueblo, Colorado, but for those of us who are….YIPPEE!

I’m very excited. So far Alexie has been my reading list for the last couple months. Partly because I’m in a class dedicated to contemporary Native American writers–and I have to say that I’ve never, ever enjoyed the reading for any class as much as I have for this one. Perhaps Native Americans are considered expert oral storytellers…but they sure know how to write one down too.

I know there is something to that. If you are raised with wonderful stories and legends, if you are inundated with tales from a young age, then there is no possible way that you can be a lousy writer if you choose to go that way. Thank heaven Alexie did.

I just finished reading The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and it was fantastic. I also just finished reading/watching Smoke Signals and The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven. Plus a load of short stories and poems. All amazing.

Yep. This post is just to gush. And to let you know that you’ll know more once I’ve seen the man in person…Soon!

New Contest Stuff!

Foolishly I have decided to participate in another one of Boudreau’s hairbrained schemes: namely a word count contest. I haven’t done as amazing in the past as the Big B, but I’m totally planning on busting his record (41K+).

You may notice to your right the addition of several blogs. These new guys are my fellow competitors. Feel free to visit their blogs and tell them how badly they will lose to me. Feel free to brag about how badass I am. And how good looking. =)