All posts filed under: On Writing

One of two flatbreads

Writing Wednesday: The Pancake Accountability Club

One of the things I struggle with the most as a writer is accountability. Sure, I have goals, and I try to be organized about them, but ultimately I only have to answer to myself, and it’s easy to skive off work early when you’re your own boss. It’s even easier to tell yourself, “A novel? What novel? I never said anything about writing a novel.” (This way, if your first or second or even third attempt doesn’t get published it doesn’t matter. Because you never told anyone about it in the first place, so there’s no one to answer to.) (I’m not at that point yet, by the way. I’m just saying. Hypothetically.) Talking things over with PIC has been helpful. He even took me to dinner at a very fancy, very expensive restaurant in Old City (Amada) to celebrate the fact that I finally finished the edits to my first draft and actually sent the manuscript to my agent. Here are some photos for you to drool over. But nothing compares to talking …

TopSecret

Writing Wednesday: How to Date a Blogger

If you write a blog about dating, should you tell the man you’re dating? I get this question a lot actually (especially after last Monday’s post), and my answer is always the same: YES! During my Manthropology days, I let all prospective suitors know up front, from the get go. I felt it was important, especially because in those days a lot of different men took me out to dinner and if a man takes you out to dinner, the least you can do is let him know said dinner might show up on the internet in the morning. (How’s that for a little nugget of wisdom in this here digital age?) Now though, the blog is different. And now I’m not just dating any Tom, Dick or Harry. Now I know what I want; now I want to build a life with someone. And so the blog comes up again. I told PIC on our first date. I told him I write a blog, I told him the name of it and I told …

07h_OurTown

Writing Wednesday: The Non-Social Butterfly

It’s time for a little confession.  I know my blog makes it seem like I lead a very glamorous life but the truth is, I’m not very good at socializing.  Neither is my brother and it’s weird because our parents are essentially the Homecoming King and Queen of the entire neighborhood.  Everybody loves them, everybody wants to come to their parties, and they go out drinking more often than I do (which is pretty sad, considering that I’m the one still in my twenties). I used to blame my ex-boyfriend for this.  He was perfectly content to sit home and watch videos or play board games, plus I was always visiting him in New Jersey instead of spending time in Philadelphia.  Most of time, he was willing to go out but I always knew when he wasn’t enjoying himself.  He’d go out because it made me happy, not because it made him happy, and we started going on fewer and fewer dates.  I told myself I was okay with this because we were saving for …

BIG-LITTLE-LIES-jacket_thumb

Writing Wednesday: How to Ask for Help

Here is how it goes down. This time is was not Jeffrey Euginides but rather Liane Moriarty, an Australian NY Times-bestselling author and in this particular case, a hardback copy of her newest title “Big Little Lies.” It was not the sort of book I would have selected for myself. But my new boyfriend’s mom had given it to me for Christmas (she gives each of her children and their significant others books for Christmas). In truth, I started it just to be polite and because my new Euginides books hadn’t arrived at the library yet. But then, it caught me; it dragged me in and I realized that it wasn’t just your usual murder mystery (which was, I’m ashamed to say my initial assessment). It was so much more, and so expertly crafted. You didn’t even know who was dead until the final pages, let alone who to blame. I kept thinking, “This was so well done. So smart. Why can’t I write like this???” My recent trip to Planned Parenthood came to mind. …

middlesex

Writing Wednesday: Middlesex after Midnight

I did not mean to suggest in Monday’s post the Middlesex is melodramatic. It is, but not in a bad way. It is a book that I both love and hate—love because it is so good and hate because it is so good, in the same way that I both loved and hated The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood. I read the latter several summers ago, aboard the something-of-the-Seas cruise ship. I’d pick up a collection of Atwood’s short stories several summers before that, thinking she was the sort of author I ought to read, and had been unimpressed (then again, I am unimpressed with short stories in general, which is a bit of a problem for an aspiring novelist who has published plenty of non-fiction but not an ounce of made-up prose in her life); The Handmaid’s Tale, however, was something all together different. I wept, right there in the windowless cabin that was all we could afford. “The ending…” I sobbed to my boyfriend-at-the-time. “It was… s-s-s-sooo brilliant. What if I’m never able …

anonymous_blogger

Writing Wednesday: To Blog Anonymously or Under Your Real Name?

Last week, I received an email from one of my “longtime readers.” I know this not because I have some sort of sophisticated tracking device set up through my blog but because she described herself as such and was asking for advice on an issue that many personal bloggers face: to use one’s real name or to go anonymous? “I’ve been writing a blog on and off for 2-3 years,” she explained. “My issue is that I used to try to write safe content for the general public instead of revealing anything too personal but I’m thinking about starting to write a personal blog because there is more freedom. My concern is that I have a full-time job (also in a university) and I’m worried about my conservative older colleagues finding/reading it because I use my real name.” Well, here are my two cents on the pros and cons of writing a blog anonymously vs. using your real name. The first question you have to ask yourself is why do you want to write a …

handmade business cards

It’s Passport Time

Several years ago, back when I was taking my work as a writer a bit more seriously, I went to a conference for travel bloggers in Denver. It was my first time ever attending anything of the sort. I didn’t know back then that if the PR folks from an expensive hotel invite you to dinner at an equally expensive restaurant, they’re going to pick up the tab so you don’t have to sit there like an idiot wondering, “Why aren’t there prices on this menu?” and “Will I look cheap if I just order soup?” Because of the altitude, I kept getting nose bleeds at the worst possible times was also woefully underprepared in the business card department (I ran out within a few hours of arriving and had to make more business cards using hotel stationary, a pink highlighter and some yellow thread which I used to tie them up into little scrolls.  It was not my proudest moment.) But I did do one slightly brilliant thing while I was there. During the …

cheese

The Indoor Picnic (And Why I’ve Stopped Hating My Life)

The day after I close on my house, I invite some of my closest girlfriends over for an indoor picnic. (From a marketing standpoint, “indoor picnic” sounds much better than “sit on the floor and drink cheap wine” right?) “I have no furniture and no food,” I tell them. “But we’ll sit on a blanket and it will be very quaint and very Bohemian and I have an entire case of Three Buck Chuck from Trader Joes.” (If you’re one of my Philadelphia friends reading this and did not get an invite to the indoor picnic, don’t be offended. It just means that you are someone I actually want to impress, as opposed to someone who I can subject to sitting on the floor and eating cheese sliced with a paint scraper. I will have a proper housewarming as soon as possible and you will definitely be invited.) The European joins us later in the evening and after my other friends leave, he and I bring our wine glasses out to my back deck. (Yes, …