Rereading books – the art of change

A couple of nights ago I was sitting on the porch at my friend’s place. The sun was gone, just like the wine we had been drinking. So, with that particular predisposition of the soul that most often comes when the right amount of food and booze and stimulating company all happen together, we started chatting about books and writing. My friend isn’t a writer. And he isn’t planning on becoming one any time soon. Indeed, he is perfectly content with being a voracious reader. And of having the opportunity to chat, as often as possible, about books and the inner mechanics of a story. Now, while we decided whether or not to help ourselves with a last glass of wine–it was a damn fine Rosso di Montalcino we were enjoying–we ended up chatting about books we had reread and found dramatically different from the first time around. For me,…

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Psychological resistance and creative writing

psychological resistance

The concept of psychological resistance is nothing new, but it’s extremely important to know about it and its pernicious effects, if we want to keep improving in whatever we’re doing. A classical example of such psychological resistance is when we take for granted that we already know all the really relevant and important stuff about what we’re doing. Often, in such a case we discount any new piece of information because to examine it from an unbiased perspective we would have to challenge a lot of deep rooted perceptions and beliefs. We would have to challenge them with truth and reality, a situation that invariably leads most of us to experience fear, anxiety, uncertainty. Yet, in life nothing is certain. And everything is in perennial flux. Heraclitus wrote about it something like 2,500 years ago. As a result of this perennial flux, it’s essential to understand that knowledge too undergoes a…

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Unique gifts for writers – no matter the season

Let’s be clear from the get go. The unique gifts for writers I’m speaking here are those that can really make a difference for a writer, not those ‘unique gifts’ that end up collecting dust on a shelf. Yet, such notable gifts are quite common… When it comes to creative writing, what writers everywhere need is not a new telepathic laptop, a new magic keyboard, or a speech-to-text app able to understand them even when they cough and sneeze in the clutches of a cold. Not even a new secretary, a new house, or a brand new life are required. Sure, a brand new life—maybe one in which the bank account is in black and with a pleasantly long number of zeroes after the initial non-zero figure—can be of help, but only marginally. Let’s face it. Omero, Chaucer, Shakespeare, Austen, Nabokov, the Brontës sisters, Stephen King, and Neil Gaiman—just to…

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Creative writing – Grammar resources for writers

Even if it is essential to know it quite well to express our ideas precisely, grammar can be really frustrating at times. This is why often, when people think about creative writing, they tend to focus primarily on the creative part. Besides, these days creativity is glamorous and in high demand. So much so, that a creative approach to a problem, even if fruitless, is regarded more benignly than a non creative and just as fruitless one. Of course, this makes sense. In fact, if we constantly strive to find new ideas, chances are that on the long run we’ll end up with more creative and useful ones. For example, even if during his career Picasso realized something like 13.500 paintings–not to mention his other artworks–a large number of these paintings are now, and rightly so, gathering dust in some attic or basement. However, it’s those relatively few that managed…

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How to be more creative

half an orange - how to be more creative

The best way to be more creative is quite simple. You know, just keep doing new things, keep experimenting, stay open and so on. However, to make sure such approaches are as effective as possible it’s also important that we get to know what works best for us and work hard to engineer our lives accordingly.

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How to improve vocabulary and why it is important

It’s only when a perfectly devised story is told with all the right words that it enters the realm of true greatness. This is why it is so important to improve vocabulary. Hemingway had to be acutely aware of this if he wrote as many as 47 drafts for the ending of his Farewell to Arms. Indeed, when he was asked what had been the reason for so many endings, he replied: Getting the words right. Of course, tastes can vary wildly. But in general, within any culture, I believe we can find literary masterpieces when function and form merge together seamlessly. When they both work to create a whole that is more than the mere sum of its parts. Conversely, just think of how badly a misused word can affect what we want to say. The police are not here to create disorder, they’re here to preserve disorder, Richard Daley,…

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Your dream job, how to make it happen-a review of Quitter

I’ve just finished reading Quitter by Jon Acuff. Though to me the title doesn’t seem particularly inspiring, not certainly evocative of a dream job, I must say that this is one of those few how-to books that I actually consider helpful. I mean, if you’re still at school or for whatever other reason don’t have to reconcile your dream job with your actual day job—probably because they’re the same—you could probably skip this book. However, even in such a case you could gain some damn interesting insights from it. For example about how to make sure your dream job lasts as long as possible. But a dream job is for life! you scream. Sure, it’s for life if we want it to. Yet we’d better be prepared to some aspects of our dream job that could, so to speak, throw us all out of balance and send us back to…

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