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Posts tagged writing

What’s the one thing better for your well-being than reading? Writing!
October 30, 2014 | 10:25 am

writingDevotees of the cult of literary suicide may be surprised to hear it, but writing is rated one of the best activities for mental health and overall well-being. As far back as 1986, you have clinical studies to show that ‘writing about earlier traumatic experience was associated with both short-term increases in physiological arousal and long-term decreases in health problems," with other studies highlighting the benefits of writing in dealing with grief trauma, chronic illness, and even natural disasters. But that's just on the palliative side - although pretty impressive in terms of writing's capacity to address and deal with seriously...

Does the Hemingwrite reflect the true nature of modern writing?
October 21, 2014 | 10:25 am

An interesting product came up on my radar yesterday. And I'm not one to diss genuine creativity and inventiveness gratuitously, but I do wonder. The Hemingwrite, you see, is designed as "A Distraction Free Writing Tool," offering the functionality of an old-style word processor, the ergonomics of a typewriter, and the freedom from distractions of a hermit's cave. And designed for decades of use. The Hemingwrite's features include a mechanical keyboard, an e-ink display with backlight, and Evernote cloud backup - for despite its retro styling, the Hemingwrite is a connected beast. What it is not, however, is connected to the...

Weekend Links: iBooks Author updated. Importance of Pseudonymous activity
October 19, 2014 | 11:39 am

iBooks AuthorOn the Importance of Pseudonymous Activity (Dear Author) On Saturday, author Kathleen Hale was given a platform on the Guardian, one of the most venerable book outlets in the English speaking world. Using that platform, she chronicles a months long stalking campaign to a Goodreads reviewer who Hale charactered as her number one critic. *** Kobo President Lambastes Amazon (GoodeReader) Newly appointed Kobo President and Chief Content Officer Michael Tamblyn took to Twitter today to post a rambling diatribe on why Amazon might not be the best call for indie authors to self-publish with. *** Amazon's Elite Reviewing Club Sabotaged my Book (The Passive Voice) PG...

How language maps your space
October 12, 2014 | 1:30 pm

ChineseEFPSA, the "journal of European psychological students," recently shared a paper that should make many writers sit up and take notice. Perhaps literally. Because it deals with how languages determine our perceptions of space, color, and other phenomena such as time, and how these can be changed by adopting the worldview coded into other languages. The paper, "The Influence of Our Native language on Cognitive Representations of Colour, Spatial Relations and Time," by Nicholas P. Sarantakis at Scotland's Glasgow Caledonian University, focuses chiefly on a review of available literature and experimental studies on the field. The author cites one study of relative spatial...

MFA creative writing graduates are (possibly) killing literature
October 8, 2014 | 2:25 pm

An ever-so-slightly authoritative critique of the whole system of creative writing courses and grants for writers has been handed down by Horace Engdahl, a Member of the Swedish Academy tasked with awarding the Nobel Prize for Literature. And he is, to put it mildly, not happy with the state of literature in general, and the warping effect that lavish financial support is having on it. In an interview with French publication La Croix, Engdahl condemns "a form of sclerosis in literary creation," which he attributes directly to "the perverse effects of the professionalization of the writer's vocation, linked to a system...

Inside the Swedish Writers’ Union
September 20, 2014 | 10:22 am

While at this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival, I met with the vice chair of the Swedish Writers' Union (Sveriges Författarförbund), Sweden's formal and officially sanctioned support institution for writers, in the context of discussions on official support for writers. The Swedish Writers' Union is "the central professional organisation for writers and literary translators in Sweden," as their materials state. "We safeguard the economic and moral interests of our members by defending freedom of expression and of the press, and keeping up to date with copyright stipulations and the laws regulating copyright." This is the feedback they gave me on how their body operates. "To become a...

Styluses in the cheap seats
September 17, 2014 | 10:25 am

IMG_20140916_180514As I reported a while ago, premium brand pen manufacturers are at last catching on to the message that styluses are an increasingly popular, and stylish, commodity. Luckily for those of us not in the One Percent, though, they also seem to be improving at the bottom end of the market, with increasingly cheaper and better choices available for the normal user. I'm not getting paid anything for endorsing these, because who would do that for such cheap items? Rather, they're just stylus options that I found outclassed the opposition as anything other than status symbols. One option is the Bic...

The 2014 Forbes sick list – or, why shit pays
September 15, 2014 | 4:25 pm

Let's kick this off with one comment from a writer - a fairly successful and well-respected one. As H.L. Mencken said: "No one in this world, so far as I know ... has ever lost money by underestimating the intelligence of the great masses of the plain people." And if you needed proof, here it is: The 2014 Forbes list of the World's Top-Earning Authors. "The top-earning authors list is perhaps the world’s most exclusive book club, with very few paths to entry," writes Forbes staffer Natalie Robehmed. Oops, silly me: There was I thinking the Nobel Prize in Literature was...

Pen brands starting to get their stylus act together
September 9, 2014 | 10:25 am

Remember a while ago I ranted about the premium pen brands who had so far shunned the stylus market? Well, looks like manufacturers are lining up to make me eat my words - or drink my own ink. Cross, for one, is coming out with a range of styluses, the Tech Stylus Collection, at prices from an economical $10, for the stylus-only Tech1, up to $55, for the all-in-one two-color-ink-plus-pencil-plus-stylus Tech3. But those kinds of price points are just scratching at the surface of the gold-plated aspirational bling lust that Apple learned so well to capitalize off, with its own premium...

Irvine Welsh on Scottish independence
September 7, 2014 | 2:25 pm

At this year's Edinburgh International Book Festival to speak and to promote his latest book, The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, iconic modern Scottish novelist Irvine Welsh, who has probably done more to push contemporary Scottish society into public awareness than any other writer, diverted from the American theme of his new book to address the whole Scottish independence referendum debate - in terms that cast a spotlight on the entire UK as a whole. Asked simply "Yes or No, and why?" Welsh replied: I can't vote so I'm not telling anybody how they should vote, just  giving what I believe, but...

Will you use the Evernote/Moleskine double act?
September 6, 2014 | 5:33 pm

Notebook and stationery brand Moleskine, as everybody probably now knows, has built its current rise to fashionable ubiquity on its creative and literary pedigree. "The Moleskine notebook is, in fact, the heir and successor to the legendary notebook used by artists and thinkers over the past two centuries: among them Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, and Bruce Chatwin ... produced for over a century by a small French bookbinder that supplied the stationery shops of Paris, where the artistic and literary avant-gardes of the world browsed and bought them," reads the company's introductory blurb. Since its revival in...

Eleanor Catton uses NZ Post Book Award to fund Kiwi writers reading
September 4, 2014 | 10:25 am

eleanor cattonNew Zealand author Eleanor Catton, youngest ever winner of the UK's Man Booker Prize with her novel The Luminaries, has also won two of the top prizes in the New Zealand Post Book Awards. And in her acceptance speech, Catton announced that she would be using the prize money and her other income from writing to support a new, as yet unnamed, grant to give New Zealand writers more time to read. Although denied the most prestigious prize in the Awards, the New Zealand Post Book of the Year Award, by Jill Trevelyan's Peter McLeavey: The life and times of a...