Monday, December 31, 2012

A Few More Favorites in 2012

It's always hard for me to determine which article is my favorite in an issue of CJR, and this time it took longer than usual. Drum roll, please... it was this one. Most of the Nov/Dec issue focused on celebrity coverage and publicity - a faction of the trade that's not often esteemed by the newsier types. But CJR, not surprisingly, managed to address the bias, admit it, explain it, and go beyond it.

Which is why I love CJR.

And yet I'm not ready to call it my favorite magazine. It has some pretty tough competition for my reading attention as it sits next to National Geographic on my nightstand, on the car seat, and bleachers throughout the year. We're also known to pick up an issue of Scientific American or something (just a little) lighter so there's some darned fine writing at my fingertips wherever I am.

What about you? If you had to, could you pick ONE favorite thing, or o ne favorite writer, to read?  I doubt it. Look, it's practically 2013 - so how 'bout for the new year, you pick 3 (if you want to show off) or 13, and share them here. Tell me why you love them, and why the writing lands on your favorites list and your reading table.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Writing off Facebook

Ever hit enter and say, "whoops?" Or felt hoodwinked by one of Facebook's oft-changing rules?

Yeh, me either.

But seriously, folks, there's a stunningly simple way to avoid those online blunders. Pick up a pen and put it to paper. Good old-fashioned journals are cheap and far more private. 

Here's something else to think about: you might have to learn to live without Facebook as your emotional outlet in 2013. At least one industry pundit says it's toast

Look, you can do whatever you want - but journals are cheap and I could use some practice in the handwriting department.

More reasons to revive old-fashioned journals in 2013

Ever been tempted to lie on Facebook? 
When you twist the truth in your journal, we call it "creative writing."

Embarrassing misspellings won't be shared with the world.

If you want to share, you can. This falls under the purview of the 24-hour rule, one of my favorite aunt's best pieces of advice. As in, if you still want to post it on your Facebook wall 24 hours after you've written it in your journal, you can.

Feel like you just have to share? Then by all means, do. Please, start with a link to this blog ;D

 Peter Walsh you.organized College-Ruled Leather Journal, Gray w/Gray (Google Affiliate Ad)

 Geek journal (Google Affiliate Ad)

Friday, December 21, 2012

The Words Are About to End (on 2012)

Uh-uh. The world didn't end but this is bad. Really bad. I have a new favorite blog and it's not mine. Oh well. Fellow word-lovers, you're gonna love this.

There are a lot of retrospectives and last-words-on-2o12 articles out there, so if you've still got time to procrastinate when you're done with the Worldnik blog, I highly recommend today's Onion, which is packed with them. If anyone accuses you of wasting time at the site, just tell 'em you read it for the news.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

If You Write it, it's Right Enough

I have some very unprofessional advice for you. (My friend Sherry's gonna love it.)
Write something to someone for Christmas. Don't wait for inspiration to strike, and don't sit on it until it's perfect. Just write it. 
This year has been too full of reminders that we’re all going to die someday. I have a strong suspicion that most people leave things unsaid. Undone. Unwritten.
Don’t be that guy.
I don’t mean to suggest that you hide behind your keyboard for the next three years typing the next great American novel. This "assignment" is different. If you’ve ever thought about writing something nice to a child, spouse, parent, teacher, dear friend, or cousin, but stopped because you weren’t exactly sure what to say or how to say it, just say (or write) it. Now. 
Perfect - even if it isn't perfect. 
I know it sounds really simple, but you can’t do it until you get out of your way. Here’s how: Give yourself permission to do it less than perfectly.
When you’re gone, and – let’s not be morose! – long before that, the recipient of your words will appreciate your thoughts and that you cared enough to write them down. And while I can’t offer a money-back guarantee on this, I’m pretty sure they won’t even think about correcting your grammar or punctuation.
See, sometimes it really is the thought that counts. Sherry Richert Belul, my aforementioned friend and the author of Simply Celebrate, encourages her clients to create Love Lists for all occasions. Sure, Christmastime seems like a good one; but in fact Tuesday is good enough, too. Any occasion is a good time to make a Love List, or just write a few nice words to someone you love. 

Photos courtesy of
For several years, I let nearly a ton of pictures gather dust in the “craft room,” all the while promising myself I was going to make Beautiful Keepsake Scrapbooks for my daughter. I’m not crafty, though, and I’m reallllly good at procrastinating, so a few more years went by before I finally gave myself permission to make Just OK scrapbooks. Being a writer, I added a few notes along the way. Being a writer, I should've done a better job on those notes. I could've crafted them into a story format, or at least made them neater, nicer, and more organized. 
But when I gave the books to my daughter, she didn’t say, “Wow mom, you could use some practice on scrapbooking, huh?” 
Instead she cried and hugged me. She said she loved the scrapbooks - and I’m not even dead yet. They might mean more then. But I digress. The point is, it’s easy to use “I’m not sure what… or how…” as an excuse.
Look, this time, you’re not preparing a manuscript for publication. You’re not sending a report to the boss. You’re writing a few loving words to another person. Your words don’t have to be perfect, but they do have to be written (or at least spoken) to be given away.
If you die with the words inside you, don’t blame me. 
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have some very mediocre scrapbooks to finish for my son.