The Write Tools

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NOLA December 1, 2009

My new chap book is ready for purchase! To see a preview and place an order, click on the link below. If you purchase this chapbook, I am happy to sign and number this limited edition run. **Now through December 15th you can get FREE 2nd day air shipping on THREE books. Use the promo code BUYTHREE when checking out.

By Amie Charney

 

Write Tool of the Week #2 April 17, 2008

Butt Glue.

The secret to successful writing…the secret to actually finishing the book…the key to getting published.

Butt Glue.

I am a collector of books about…well…writing books. I have quite a little library put together, most end up saying…Thanks for putting my kid through college buying this book, now quit reading a book about how to write, and just…well, write!

Write Away,  (see below for link) one of the more recent (and in my opinion, best) books on writing Elizabeth George extols the virtue of gluing one’s bum to the chair in which one sits. Pull up in front of your writing instrument of choice…and go to it straight away. She goes on to quote another author saying, “He who possesses the best bum glue wins.”

Amie’s tips to help you STICKETH:

1. Write what you want to, not what you think will sell. Write your passion and about what interests you. If you do that, you will always have something to say.

2. Write characters that you would actually like to spend a good portion of your life with. George says that “writing requires forced introspection.” Don’t avoid your life. It will help you create believable characters, who have to feel something themselves in order to become real.

3. Commit yourself to the process…for the value of the process alone. Of course we all want to be published. We are writers, why write if no one will ever read it. Don’t put the pressure of “having to publish” on yourself. Write it, because you love the characters…because the plot intrigues you. John Dalton once said, “Don’t waste your time feeling ashamed for being an unpublished author. Each time you sit alone in a room and give your most honest and complete effort, you’ve earned the title of writer.” The pressure to publish is often the number one cause of writer’s block…with that said… When you run into a block in the process Frances Itani says “Write your way through all your problems, don’t sit around thinking about them.

4. You actually have to write the darn book if you do want to get published… Authors write every day…how they account for their productivity varies…some authors work on an hours system, some on page count, some on word count… pick a way of tracking your goals so you can see how far you have come. Remember to reward yourself…and schedule in a “day off” in order to recharge. American Artist Chuck Close put it this way: “Amateurs look for inspiration; the rest of us just get up and go to work.”

5. 15 mins a day of writing will get you closer to completion than 0 mins. When people find out that I am a writer … the conversation seems to wind to them having a book they have always wanted to write…but don’t have the time. WRONG… repeat after me… I choose to have time…I choose to have time… turn off the tv (or put headphones on), screw the laundry for one day, as much as you love to read someone else’s novel (or latest book on writing) WRITE instead. We choose to be…too busy.

6.  Write for someone. Even if it is your husband, best friend, neighbor, writing group… ME…I’ll take you on. You need someone to hold you accountable to your goals. Pin their photo up next to your desk, so you can see them staring down at you 🙂

7. Last one, for every hour you sit…glued to your chair writing… balance it with adventure, fun, new experiences, people, exercise…. go into nature, or the city…or wherever inspires you. Spend time with people who inspire you. LIVE… then go write about it

I know there are more ideas and tools out there… you may have a list of your own… why don’t you comment and leave some here…let other writer’s and aspiring writer’s out there know what works for you!

To Find My Favorite Books on Writing… Guaranteed to help or at least inspire you…click on the link below. 

http://astore.amazon.com/thewritoo02-20

Elmore Leonard's 10 Rules of WritingOne Novelist's Approach to Fiction and the Writing LifeLessons from a Writing LifeWriters Talk About Beginnings, Endings, and Everything In Between

 

 

Instant Art-ification April 9, 2008

Bolero by Maurice Ravel 

My friend David sent a great quote that got me percolating. Maurice Ravel said “I did my work slowly, drop by drop. I tore it out of me by pieces.”

Instant Art-ification, is it even a “term”? If not, let it be said that I invented it. My definition, “the satisfaction one receives from creating art instanteously.” Hmmm….or something like that. Think of it as a strawberry pop tart vs. a slow baked pie bubbling out of a homemade crust. Instant Art-ification is what artists… writers… do instead of the long term, laborious, drop by drop pies-de-resistance they should be working on.  I find if I have smaller creative outlets, they allow the juices to trickle a little so I won’t dry up…but not so much that it consumes me. 

I am afraid of consumption, of having to tear words out of myself.

I fear that I don’t have enough to accomplish the size of my work. 

I fear robbing those most near and dear of my best time and imagination. Of being there, but not quite present.

Instant Artification is margarine to the butter my hips can’t handle anymore. A slightly reminiscent substitute, not as grand as the real thing, but will do for now.

So, I should be working on my book. Actually, I should be doing housework… However, since I can’t stand housework and haven’t met my writing goals for the day… I sit writing my blog. A friend suggested a blog would be a great way to develop a daily writing habit. A brilliant thought…

This blog should excuse the piles of sneering, sandy towels from last week’s beach trip and dishes that seem to pile on their own accord around an already overflowing sink…right?

This blog counts as “real writing”…right?  

This blog could excuse the daily delinquent writing goals that have been posted on the white board above my desk for the last year….right?

Blogging is writer’s crack. There is a high to having hundreds; perhaps thousands read your words and respond (sometimes almost instantly) to them. It is a snapshot of feelings, ideas, words and thoughts.  Writing my book or painting (which I love to do), on the other hand, requires vast reserves of energy and time that I feel I do not have.  As my wise husband often points out to me, I have the time. I choose to spend it on other things. I choose the pop tart over pie. I would rather have the pie, but the pop tart is so much quicker and meets the need.

A character flaw perhaps? I do the same with money… nickel and dime myself out of the things or experiences I would really like to do. I wonder what holds me back. You see, I really would rather…in the depth of my heart, live my best life and create my best art, but I seem paralyzed by the “drop by drop” process that it requires.  Ironically, I am speaking at a women’s retreat next month on living an “Overcoming Life” — conquering the fear, stress, obstacles and past waylay us…as most things in life are…easier to preach than practice.

This is just a brief musing, probably not well thought out. There are those who will knock it…there are those that will call this entry trite…there are those that will advocate the blog as high art. There are those whom will agree, and perhaps…like me… will take instant art-ification for what it is, instant satisfaction.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mr. Piano Man March 18, 2008

Filed under: art,children,Culture,family,humor,life,shopping — writetools @ 4:07 am
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I live in a mid size, Southern California hamlet whose motto should read “Kid’s Rule.” As a parent, it is a great place to raise children…a bit intense, bordering on Stepford….but for a kid it’s one step away from nirvana. It is with this framework in mind, I ask you, what would you do?

First, a little background. To the horror of the So-Cal SMS (Suburban Mom Syndicate), I have decided to teach my children to play the piano…myself. I grew up playing, and am not without skills. However, to the Mommies support group who hold counsel at our local park, the thought of my bucking tradition (tradition is to hire a team of competent professionals to mold your progeny) is “cute”.  Their french tips tap as they seriously caucus over this break in parenting protocol.

“You know, Amber London Kate only takes lessons from Mr. Pianoman. He really gets that kids M-U-S-T must learn proper fingering.” she bends into tree pose. “If they don’t learn to hold their fingers correctly, then why bother even getting them lessons. I mean, maybe if they only want to play at Nordstroms.”

“Oh,” I ask, “do you play?”

“Well I own a Yamaha baby grand, it looks so cute in my living room. My designer Heath picked out the mahogany one, because everyone has black.”

Which tells me she can’t even play chopsticks.

“You should go to the Yamaha store and talk to Mr. Pianoman.” Can you sound reverent and superior at the same time? “He is the only one I would trust.” 

I have decided it would be cheaper to send my children to Julliard. With compound interest on what I would pay Mr. Pianoman, I can at least make it through their junior year.

My mantra, I will not cave to BMS (Burb’s Mommie Syndrom). I will not drink the kool-aid. Definition of BMS: the belief that a well rounded child must play like Mozart, translate Proust, solve quantum equations, be on the Olympic track in (pick whatever sport costs the most) and have their first gallery showing by eight.

I pile the kids into my gas efficient domestic, and drive to see Mr. Piano Man. We walk into the store and I bee-line to the piano primer books. It was like navigating Barnes and Noble. I look for help.

And there he was… the Piano Man. I was schlepping, I admit it. I had on my ball cap, rainbows, and cargos…. but hey, he has a comb over. Evidently, I didn’t deserve help from Maestro. I gather up some books and head to his desk. I wait, and wait…wishing now I had sprung for a manicure, so I could tap my french tips.  Seeing that I am not going to leave, he peers at me.

“Which book would you recommend as a basic piano primer.”

“Who teaches them?” a slight flicker of interest.

“I am going to.”

Superior sneer. “Oh…I see. Can you play?”

I blink. Really? Why would I try to teach something I can’t do. The door bell chimes from across the room. Through the windows I see a mom dragging her kids out of a black Denali. As her Manolo heels click across the marble floor, Maestro leaps like a gazelle to help her.

Suddenly, he stops mid stride and bellows. “Who is playing the piano?” I hear nothing.

Finally, I hear a quiet tinkle coming from the corner. A tinkle mind you, not a pound, not a slap….a tinkle. As he begins striding toward it, I see a shoe… dangling from a bench. I know that shoe.

“Oh. that’s my son.” I say proudly.

“Does he know how to play?”

I guess chopsticks doesn’t count. I look at the primer books in my hand. He looks at the primer books in my hand, level 1.

“That’s a 30,000 dollar piano. You need to leave and take him out of here.”

I look at the cheap Yamaha Chinese knock off. It is not 30 grand. He sneers. I raise my chin and stare him down…then snort with as much queenly air as my ball cap can muster.  “So I guess you don’t want my business then.”

“Not if it is going to ruin my piano.”

“To bad, because that is the model I was looking at buying.” I lied. I wouldn’t buy that cheap knock off.

He turned away, back to Mrs. Manolo’s.

I grab my children. Never will I darken those doors. I am calling Yamaha, I am calling the Chamber, I am calling my SMS. I hear a click on the marble and a rush of kids running past.

“But Mrs. Manolo’s, I didn’t mean YOUR children.”

“Evidently, you don’t know what kind of town you work in. We are child friendly here. You must not need the business… and it was a tinkle.”

Wow! I look at her. She blinds me her zoom whitened smile. “We moms need to stick together,” she says sliding into kid leather seats.

Evidently she must think I drank the kool-aid.

So, here is where you come in. Revenge….a dish best served cold. I am thinking of borrowing my brother-in-law’s convertible BMW, and sliding out of it in my Manolo’s and Armani. I am sure that Piano boy won’t recognize me. I am thinking of sitting at the real 30 grand piano, and playing him my first concerto. Ohhh, he will be so impressed. I will knock him over with my piano knowledge, and generally waste and hour or two of his time. Maybe I could borrow Heath for the day. I will sit in his pleather chairs, and decide to purchase it. Shocked, effusive, imaging the new car he will buy… I will start to hand over my credit card (To bad it’s not a black one…for true shock value) and then stop. I will look at him, as if trying to remember a distant memory….and as he grabs for my card…I will say. “I remember you now. Last week, you did not want my business. You wouldn’t let my son tinkle on your cheap, Chinese knock off piano and told us to leave. Then turn on heel, walk out,  and slide into my borrowed kid leather seats….

…hmmm….would it be so wrong? Accepting all comments…..

 

Never Open A Book with Weather… January 22, 2008

Filed under: art,author,book,theater,Uncategorized,writing — writetools @ 7:47 pm
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The same therefore must apply to blogs. Hello world! Welcome to the Write Tools, pun most definitely intended. I hope that other writers will stumble onto this site and find at least one thing in my ramblings helpful or at least provide an amusing moment in their day. I am also hoping others are out there that color the black and white lives around us. Please don’t expect Hemingway to surface in this blog, I am hoping these epiphanies don’t have to be well thought out or crafted carefully. Life is messy revel in it! So forgive me if what follows isn’t “writerly”, it’s just me….and that’s enough, believe me. So welcome – pour yourself a nice mug of coffee, curl up with a fuzzy blanket and lets converse. Can’t wait to hear back from you.

 

 
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