November 21, 2018

A Note On Pleasure

All of us, even when we are doing exactly what we love, can momentarily focus too much attention on accomplishing the goal and forget to pay attention to our pleasure. 
That is the precise moment to take a break. Stress and burnout occur if you don't. Ecstasy returns to you if you do.
~Regena Thomashauer in her book 

November 17, 2018

All's Fair In Love & War...The Realities - Belgium 1914

"It is true, as Sartre once wrote, referring to French army atrocities in Algeria, that the real tragedy in our time is that any of us can be, interchangeably, victim or torturer." ~ Gore Vidal

How true those words, considering the French (and many others) had suffered terribly themselves at the hand of the enemy less than 20 years prior during WWII, and not 50 years after WWI opened the world to the extreme brutality of modern warfare.

Yet how can one be swayed to commit such terrible, inhumane acts, sometimes easily too?

It is the subject of this week's article over on The Flat Land That Is Mine: From False Accusations During WWI to Real Atrocities.

November 8, 2018

Online Dictionaries

Here's a short list of my favorite online dictionaries whenever I'm writing, which I thought could be useful resources to other writers:


I absolutely LOVE this one, as it can help me find better ways to express what I'm trying to say (using stronger verbs, or avoiding endless repetitions, for example. Also nifty, when you look up a word, there's a little box that will appear on the right-hand sign with the word's origin and history!


This one is my second favorite online dictionary. Not only does it boast a "regular" dictionary, including pronunciation help in both American and British English), but it also has a: thesaurus, medical dictionary, legal dictionary, financial dictionary, acronyms, idioms (super practical for writers too!), encyclopedia, and Wikipedia entries. All rolled into one! They also have translations at the bottom (though I like to use 2 other translation dictionaries instead--see below).


My automatic go-to dictionary whenever I get stuck on a word going from French to English, or vice versa.


Another translation dictionary, but one where they give you tons of different passages where your word or sentence is being used, so you can see how others have translated it before. This is great when you're trying to find the perfect translation (nuance included) to what you're thinking about in the language you wish to translate.

That's it! These are my four go-to online dictionaries whenever I'm working on my writing. Are there any others that you use that you think should be on this list?

November 1, 2018

10 Fun Gift Ideas For Writers

As the Holiday Season approaches, we are often faced with trying to find gift ideas for our friends and families (or even co-workers).

Here is a list of items I find that other writers like me might find fun and useful, and won't break the piggy bank!

1. Post-It Notes

I use these a lot when brainstorming ideas for my stories, or editing (which I do alternating between working on a screen and paper). This also means I like to have a variety of sticky notes--to either help me quickly find a page or passage, or to add notes/ideas to my chapters (in which case the size of the sticky notes varies).

Here are some types that I like to use:

2. Pens

I go through these really fast--not only do I have them in every bag/purse and over all flat surfaces at my place, but I also write longhand a tremendous amount. Either ideas that come to mind, or copying interesting passages/ideas I've read/heard about; editing on paper; brainstorming (I like to use notebooks for that stage).

For this reason, I like to have fun pens that are also light (especially if you end up writing a lot). So here are a few that I like, from just silly and fun, to silly but a little more refined:

3. Lined Notebooks

I use varying kinds of notebooks (but all have to be lined), depending on the purpose. For instance, I like them to be bigger when I know which story I'm going to develop next, but need to come up with the ideas for the story (brainstorming scenes, events, people, places, etc, etc).
However, I like medium-sized notebooks when I'm studying writing. By this, I mean that I read a lot, and when I find a passage or dialogue or even just a vocabulary word that I find really well written, I like to copy it down. I also like to write down interesting descriptions or thoughts that I come up with, so I don't forget them. And most items are noted depending on the type (D for dialogue, for example, and d for description, etc.).
Finally, I like the smaller notebooks for whenever I leave the house, that way if an idea strikes me, I can just pull it out along with one of my fun pens, and write down my idea before I can forget it.

4. Special Address Book

I use an address book (only 1 kind) to keep track of all my characters in alphabetical order (what they look like, key elements of their lives, when they die and of what, etc), so I can make sure to stay consistent throughout the story. This is particularly helpful when working on a long book or series with a lot of characters.
The reason I reallllllly like this particular address book is that, apart from alphabetical separations, the pages themselves are only lined. Nothing else (not even icons)! This allows me to put down as much (or as little) info as I want. Absolutely LOVE them :)

5. Inspirational Mugs

I know that every writer mentions coffee or tea, to the point that the image has become a cliché. But it's really anchored in truth. When you spend hours every day anchored to your desk working on a story, you need a little something (however trivial it may seem to others) to make yourself feel better (especially when the writing gets tough, and believe me, we all get those days).
So when I have to wake up extra early to work on my writing (which is every day before work), one of the things I love is having a series of beautiful and inspirational mugs to choose from to drink my tea with. Here are some I think others may like as well.

6. Other Miscellaneous Items

Remember that we writers spend wayyyyy too many hours sitting at a desk, which we all know to be very bad for our health...and (I admit) can get boring from time to time. Here are therefore some items that I enjoy as a writer as well, to either make myself more comfortable, help ease my back/neck/leg pains, or are simply entertaining.

There you go, I hope this list has been able to help you come up with a fun and useful present for the writer(s) in your life (or yourself--I place high value in rewarding yourself as well ^^)!

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