On Fridays, Evan Peterson offers five stories from across the Web that scribes of all stripes should check out. It’s the Week in Writing:
Writers are inspired by all kinds of things, but music tends to be a universal muse. This week, 10 writers provide playlists and artists that inspire them, or accompany them while they work on assignments.
Also, the end of "P.S.," why drawing might be better than writing, knowing when to quit a project, and more.
Music to write by:
One of the best things about this piece from the PLOS NeuroTribes
blog is the job description of the writer: "Sometimes, being a writer feels like getting paid to pull a rabbit out of a hat over and over again—but each time it has to be a new breed of rabbit, ‘miraculously’ emerging from a different style of hat." In addition, there's some good discussion about the value that the right music provides when writing. Steve Silberman interviews 10 authors of all kinds to get their writing playlists. From Bob Dylan and Miles Davis to Bach and Interpol, the selection is all over the place. What music do you listen to when you write?
RELATED: Harmonizing your audio with your workflow
Is P.S. done?:
Or to phrase it another way, when was the last time you saw a P.S. in anything? This Wall Street Journal
story examines the near extinction of a postscript to correspondence due to—you guessed it—a wider use of email and mobile devices. Supplanting the centuries-old practice might be writing a follow up email.
Stop writing down your ideas:
In an interview this week from Business Insider
, designer and business consultant Dan Roam explains why pictures work better than words for communicating ideas. He explains it in a way bloggers understand well. "When you add pictures, you add layers and dimensions of thought that are almost impossible to achieve with words alone. Words can limit our ideas, confine them. Sketches don’t do that so much." Maybe, but what about professional writers? This interview was intended for a general audience. If writers moved to visual mediums, it's hard to imagine the results being any clearer.
Knowing when to give up:
Alex Balk writes in The Aw
l about a novel he started 15 years ago, and has now decided to put away for good. Balk says the world wouldn't have missed anything if he'd finished it, but what is the value in giving up a project, especially one that you thrust upon yourself? When is it OK to quit writing?
Words of the year:
The GIF file made a big comeback this year. The format is 25 years old, but was named this week as Oxford American Dictionary's word of the year due to its sudden omnipresence on blogs and news sites. It's a now widely accepted storytelling device that bloggers should think about adopting if they haven't already. The UK's Guardian
, which has used GIFs more widely
than just about anyone, writes about a much better word named Word of the Year by Oxford University Press: omnishambles. Check out the article here
Evan Peterson is a writer based in Chicago, and the editor of OpenMarkets magazine at CME Group. He's on Twitter at @evanmpeterson.