I have a few mantras about writing that I like to push out to the world through public speaking and social-media posts (you may have seen my “writing tip of the week” videos; if not, shame on you). I’m a big believer in substituting action for excuses. As such, it’s been very easy for me to get on my high horse when aspiring writers complain about their lack of productivity. WRITE EVERY DAY I command. EVEN IF IT’S JUST FIFTEEN MINUTES.
But now I have met my match. Now I get it. I totally get it. Because I just had surgery on my right hand, and I have zero use of that hand for two weeks. I have one week left, and I have to say my daily writing sessions have turned to complete shit. Simply put, WRITING WITH ONE HAND FUCKING SUCKS.
The natural move is to use dictation, because we all know how advanced speech to text has become. Well, let me tell you, that fucking sucks too. It’s taken me nearly 1/2 hour just to write these three paragraphs so far because I have to go back and change every other word even though I’m using a microphone. Or maybe I’m just now realizing I’m a mumbled-mouth idiot.
Something interesting I’ve learned is that my writing mouth and my writing fingers don’t produce the same text. I simply think differently when I’m typing, generally resulting in the prose I’m aiming for. When I speak it, that same prose comes out like a sixth-grade original play. The words just trip all over themselves.
This is all to say I should have written this newsletter the day before my surgery. Oh well, at least you’re not paying for this. Also, forgive any typo$.
The upside is I’ve been scaring kids with my mummy-paw
Making It Up
Making It Up is celebrating 100 episodes! This month I chatted with historical fiction writer Aimie K. Runyan (A Bakery in Paris), espionage storyteller M.P. Woodward (Dead Drop), Canadian thriller novelist Del Chatterson (Simply the Best), and literary juggernaut Javier Castillo, who’s been dubbed “the Spanish Stephen King” (The Snow Girl).
What’s Entertaining Me
Book: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI (David Grann, Doubleday, 2017)
If you do a web search for “killers of the flower moon,” you’re going to see a lot of buzz about the upcoming movie directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio. But this was first a #1 New York Times bestselling book published in 2017 that describes the tragic murder of two dozen members of the Osage Nation in Oklahoma back in the 1920s, and the subsequent search for justice. This is the kind of book you read and think to yourself, why the hell didn’t I know about any of this? The answer is because, like so many things, it got whitewashed before being buried entirely. Nearly as stunning as the brutality of the murders themselves is how much hands-on investigating the author had to do to uncover the facts of this case. It’s a good thing this story is getting the attention it deserves with both the book and such a high-profile movie, and I encourage you to digest both.
Small side note: this is the first nonfiction book I’ve read where photos are peppered throughout the book and not clumped together in the middle, and it’s amazing what value this adds to the read.
Movies: Revenge flicks!
Right before my son went off to college we found ourselves together and wanting to watch a movie. After a decently long scroll through all the thousand streaming services we subscribe to, we finally settled upon The Equalizer, a 2014 revenge thriller starring Denzel Washington. After watching it I came to the realization that I am a complete sucker for a revenge story, especially if it stars Denzel Washington (see also Man on Fire). The Equalizer tells the story a man who believes he has put his mysterious past behind him cannot stand idly by when… WHO CARES?? IT’S A MOVIE WITH DENZEL WASHINGTON SHOOTING PEOPLE IN THE FACE FOR TWO HOURS!
Two weeks later I watched The Equalizer 2 by myself, and left just as satisfied. And good news! The Equalizer 3 is hitting the theaters now. I think we’ve all learned that you seriously don’t wanna fuck with Denzel.
Photo of the Month
The very first Gentle Novelist coaching program and writing retreat is officially in the books! We had an amazing 2 1/2 days of writing, learning, and definitely laughing. Stay tuned for the announcement of 2024 dates. If you’re looking to step up your writing game, this program might be just the thing for you.
Update from my Kids
Because we’re an annoying dog family now, anytime my kids or I see another Golden Retriever in the wild we take a picture and share with each other. So Ili saw this dog at Michigan State, took a picture, and sent it to Sawyer and me.
Which prompted this reaction from Sawyer…
Update from my Pets
Speaking of the actual devil, guess who managed to ninja herself into my pizza box and devour three slices of pepperoni jalapeno pizza?
Humor of the Month sent to me by a friend
This applies to thriller books as well.
Other Thriller Authors You Should Be Reading
Samantha Bailey! A rock star of a writer. Hugely talented, zero ego, enjoys a good cocktail party.
That’s it for now! Until next month…