Ira Glass on Storytelling

Fans of This American Life know that it’s a bastion of fantastic storytelling. But what makes its stories so good? Host Ira Glass explains in this series of clips from YouTube:

These are lessons that can be applied to many forms of storytelling, not just the radio show. In fact, I hope to apply some of them to my blogging style.

Writing Tip: Ignore Expectations

Amy at The Writer’s Group declares, “Enough!” She gives a few anecdotes of writers who have achieved some measure of success, but for whom this is not enough.

Lately I’ve fallen victim to creeping expectations. Others’ expectations, yes, but more than that, my own expectations. I let past success intimidate me so that I’m afraid to continue trying. This is dangerous ground.

Amy concludes by writing:

Relax. Write the very best you can with each book. Take your time and avoid anyone else’s expectations. Have goals, but make sure they’re your own. Stay true to your story and to your self. Write for the pure joy it gives you. Let that be enough — at least for today.

Replace “blog” for “book” and all I can say is: Amen.

Writing for Money: The New Way and the Old

It was late last year that I realized I could potentially make a living writing for the web. It was today that I knew that this was true. I make a modest (but decent) income at the box factory. But for the last week, my web income has equaled my income from my real job. Scary, huh?

Now this is just one week. Though I’m making good money from my writing, there are many ups and downs. But even the lows are higher than I could have imagined. On November 25th, I made $29.29 in web income. That is the last day my earnings dipped below $30. My best day was last Tuesday: I made $169.90.

Over at 2blowhards (still one of my favorite blogs), Michael writes:

Planning on getting rich writing sci-fi or fantasy novels? Think again. Tobias Buckell writes that the average advance for a first sci-fi or fantasy novel is $5000. Five years and five novels later, the average author is pulling in around $13,000 per novel.

I used to want to get rich off writing sci-fi or fantasy. Then I decided I just wanted to get rich off writing books — I didn’t care what kind. More and more, it’s clear that I may never publish a book (at least not in the traditional sense)! I’m already making twice what a sci-fi novelist makes, and I have complete control of my content. There’s little motivation for me to change directions at the moment.

Some people — and perhaps you’re one of them — look disdainfully upon web income. “You’re not making money from writing,” is a common observation. “You’re making money from advertising.” I can understand this delineation, but it’s not one that I make.

I am writing, and publishing that writing, and it’s making me money. I don’t feel guilty about it. I don’t feel as if I’m compromising anything. Did I ever dream I’d make a living writing about personal finance? Nope. But now I can’t imagine anything else I’d rather be doing.

The Ultimate Guide to Conquering Writer’s Block

I have several Bibliophilic articles in production, but meanwhile here’s the ultimate guide to conquering writer’s clock, which is a collection of inspirational links.

The good news is every author in the world deals with it, and the web is full of useful tips for beating it. I’ve collected the best of them for you here, to help you whenever you’re battling the blank screen.

This is an excellent resource, one I’m sure to use once or twice a month.

[Bestseller Interviews: The ultimate guide to conquering writer's clock]