For all our readers waiting to learn the winner of the Diagram Prize for Oddest Book Title of the Year, the suspense is over.
The 2012 winner is Goblinproofing One’s Chicken Coop: And Other Practical Advice In Our Campaign Against The Fairy Kingdom by Reginald Bakeley. This winning book is your go-to guide to banishing pesky dark fairy creatures who threaten to thwart every last pleasure, be it gardening, country hikes, or even getting a good night’s sleep. It beat out, “God’s Doodle: The Life and Times of the Penis,” and “How to Sharpen Pencils,” among others.
Back in March, I announced the contest in this post, Is your book title odd? Check these out and vote for the weirdest one. (You’ll also find links to two posts about writing book and screenplay titles.)
The prize for oddest book title is named after the Diagram Group, an information and graphics company based in London, and The Bookseller, a British trade magazine for the publishing industry. The contest was started in 1978 at the Frankfurt Book Fair, and the first winner was “Proceedings of the Second International Workshop on Nude Mice.”
For more information about how the prize started and past winners, check out the Wikipedia page, Bookseller/Diagram Prize for Oddest Title of the Year.
In her wonderful book, Saved by a Poem: The Transformative Power of Words,poet Kim Rosen writes about the different ways in which we can experience poetry–intellectually, emotionally, and even physiologically.
In a section of her book called “The Yoga of Poetry” she explains that the word yoga means, “to bind, join, attach and yoke, to direct and concentrate one’s attention on, to use and apply. It also means union or communion. It is the true union of our will with the will of God.”
Rosen, also a spoken-word artist, explains that memorizing a poem can also be a yoking or union of ourselves with the larger meaning of the poem. She says that if we choose a poem we know will take us beyond our comfort zone, the yoga of joining our consciousness to the consciousness inherent in the words of the poem will stretch us from the inside out.
The words of the poem enter our body as well as our mind. She says, “It affects your lungs, your pulse, and the tones and textures of your voice.” Read more
Have you ever had a story or scene to write but struggled with finding a way into it?
I have a friend who’s known for the stories she tells. She’s a keen observer of people and life and has a way of making scenes come alive. By observing her oral storytelling technique, I’ve learned how to find my way into writing scenes and stories.
Storytelling has been used since the beginning of time as a way to process life. Before paper or printing presses existed, stories were told verbally. My friend instinctively adopts the techniques of natural storytelling by creating foreshadowing, suspense, strong images, and closure. When she tells a story, I can tell she feeds off her audience, whether it’s one or several, for cues that her story resonates.
If you’re struggling with how to get into a scene or story, you might try telling it to a friend or two.
While some people say you don’t want to “talk your story out” for fear of losing the energy of it, you might find it could actually be a useful tool if you do it with purpose. Read more
Deadlines. We all have them, whether it’s personal or for work, self-imposed or not. Everyone’s situation is different, but when I was balancing a full-time job with school, I had several strategies to stay focused and keep my energy up.
I limited the amount of sugar I’d eat and tried my best to balance out the caffeine to avoid the jitters. If I was preparing for a long writing session, I’d cook extra food ahead of time and buy healthy snacks, so I wouldn’t have to spend much time in the kitchen. I’d try to find blocks of time to work without interruption, even if I had to get up extra early.
If you have a looming deadline, you might want to try some of these tips courtesy of a nifty graphic from MBAonline.com.
Set up your writing space. My blogging partner Carol and I like to do timed writes together. We set deadlines to motivate ourselves to reach writing milestones. Before we “go in,” we like to set up our space a certain way. We set out our favorite pens, clear the clutter off our desks, and secure our beverage of choice: water, coffee, or my personal favorite — tea, which contains an amino acid called L-theanine that helps with relaxation and focus. Read more
In today’s age of smartphones and the internet, it seems that we actually work more hours than we used to. Ironic, isn’t it?
I know in my busy world it’s a constant battle to find time and quiet to write. Sometimes, one day of interruptions can lead to several days in a row of the same. So, what do we do? Give up? Give in? Watch others achieve their dreams while we sit and spin and wonder what happened?
Instead, take pianist James Rhodes’ advice in his post, “Find what you love and let it kill you,” and satisfy your hunger for what you love. You don’t have to go to his extremes—unemployment, divorce, nine months in a mental institution, and weight loss—to live your dream. But if you DON’T live your dream, you might as well dig a hole and jump in now.
You can still live your dream by setting aside time each week or each day to pursue your art or passion. If you have a job that you don’t love so much, then beginning to live your dream may just save your life or your sanity.
Read Rhodes’ post and please share it with those you care about.
Some of the most productive people I know get up early. I know that when I get up early, I get more done and feel happier because of it. When I was in graduate school and working full-time, I knew I had to get up extra early if I was going to meet my deadlines. I also wanted to write in my dream state.
So I started getting up between 5 and 5:30 a.m. It was hard at first but I was motivated, and I found that after a few days, I’d automatically wake up.
Writing early in the morning doesn’t work for everyone. Some people are most productive in the evening after their children go to sleep or even in the middle of the night. But if you’re thinking of getting up earlier, here’s what I’ve learned, including several tips that might help you.
1. Think about what you’ll work on first thing in the morning. Each night, I write down two or three topics for free writing exercises or questions that I want to answer in my writing. Regardless of what you work on, having a plan sets the stage and alerts your inner artist to be ready. Read more
One good way to inject some energy into your writing is by entering contests. Sending out your work helps create focus and momentum and if you win, cash and publishing credits aren’t bad either.
Here are four contests that came across my e-mail this week. For more, check out Poets & Writers Writing Contests, Grants & Awards page.
The New Letters Literary Awards
Prize: $1,500 each for poetry, fiction and essay
Entry fee: $15
Deadline: May 18, 2013
Contest details Read more