July 22, 23

Birthdays: Emma Lazarus (1849), David Shields (1956), Margery Williams Bianco (1881), Akhil Sharma (1971), Bryan Forbes (1926), Jeremy Lloyd (1930), S.E. Hinton (1948), Tom Robbins (1936)

Tip: As a writer, you need to develop a writing process that is flexible yet provides structure. How can you arrange your schedule to provide both?

Thought for the day: “Writing is one of the loneliest of the arts; unlike the actor we have no immediate audience and must wait many long months, even years on occasion, for the splatter of applause to reach our ears, if indeed we are not damned by total neglect.” – Bryan Forbes

Jumpstart: If your character was awakened out of a sound sleep and asked to describe himself in generalities (Midwesterner, engineer) what words would he blurt out?

July 23:

Birthdays: Raymond Chandler (1888), John Nichols (1940), Elspeth Huxley (1907), Lauren Groff (1978), Lisa Alther (1944), Mohsin Hamid (1971), Vikram Chandra (1961)

Tip: Edit your short story as if every word costs you ten dollars. How much fluff do you have?

Thought for the day: “I wrote for fourteen years and couldn’t get published. So I got used to the idea of not having an audience. I knew that if I were going to continue writing, I had to find other reasons than fame and riches and reactions from readers. I decided that I love to write, that it’s the most fun I have, so that makes it worth doing; and I use writing to figure out things about my life and the world, so that makes it worth doing; and it’s a craft and I can feel that I’m getting better at it and thus may hope eventually to get published, and that makes it worth doing.” – Lisa Alther

Jumpstart: How would your main character tell a good friend about his/her current circumstances? What about after a few drinks? Describe the conversation and where it takes place.