Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing, and Publishing ~

Marilynne Robinson on Writing and Discipline

Alexander M Zoltai:

There are many Myths about what writers “Should” do…

Today’s re-blog begins with one of them being shattered………

Originally posted on Longreads Blog:


Do you keep to a schedule?


I really am incapable of discipline. I write when something makes a strong claim on me. When I don’t feel like writing, I absolutely don’t feel like writing. I tried that work ethic thing a couple of times—I can’t say I exhausted its possibilities—but if there’s not something on my mind that I really want to write about, I tend to write something that I hate. And that depresses me. I don’t want to look at it. I don’t want to live through the time it takes for it to go up the chimney. Maybe it’s a question of discipline, maybe temperament, who knows? I wish I could have made myself do more. I wouldn’t mind having written fifteen books.


Even if many of them were mediocre?


Well, no.

-From novelist Marilynne Robinson?s 2008 Paris Review conversation with Sarah Fay

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Top 20 Posts and Pages for Readers, Writers, and Publishers

I should modify the title of this post with the words, “during the lifetime of this blog”. Top 20 Posts and Pages

I can’t even imagine the top 20 posts and pages for the whole blogosphere

This blog I can track.

Though, the meaningfulness of my Top 20 is not easy to know

Who are the people who’ve visited this blog—are they all somewhat alike—do they all have more than one thing in common—could they be called a distinguishable group?

I may never know, though they have tended to pick certain posts and pages over others

For instance, in the list below, Alexander M Zoltai ~ The Author of This Blog, is  my “About Page” and I do know that’s one of the most visited spots on most any blog—folks want to know who’s behind the words.

So, while the other Top Posts and Pages can’t be easily attributed to some common human concern, I hope they, at least, are worth your while as spaces to explore

(The numbers are the times visited since January, 2011…)

Alexander M Zoltai ~ The Author of This Blog 5,111
Writing Challenge ~ Use The 1200 Most Common Words To Write A Story… 2,074
* The Book ~ Notes from An Alien 1,513
Free Software for Writers . . . 958
Why Do Certain People Become Writers? 855
What’s The “Best” Way To Learn “Proper” Grammar? 712
Are Fiction Writers Capable of Freelancing? 631
The Danger of A Single Story 572
Diagramming Sentences ~ A Lost Art? 549
* Behind The Scenes . . . 535
What Are Words ? {Look up, a bit, on the left sidebar for this Free Article} 461
What’s The Relationship Between A Writer & Their Characters? 450
Writing ~ Is It A Craft or An Art? 438
Do Creative Writers Have Social “Responsibilities”? 380
Are You A Fast Study or Slow Learner? ~ It Can Definitely Depend On The Subject And On Your MOOD! 360
* Our Author Interviews 356
Must Writers Suffer Melancholy, Anguish, and Depression? 352
Are Writers Doomed To Be Isolated And Lonely? 346
Free Book of Poetry 324
What About All The Authors Whose Books Don’t Sell Very Many Copies? 298

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Conserving Your Creative Energy

Alexander M Zoltai:

Most of us, too often, forget the common-sense, imperative guidelines of sane living…

Today’s Re-Blog is a special reminder for all creative folks………

Originally posted on Live to Write - Write to Live:

Time and Space Aren’t Enough. Your Creative Work Requires Energy.

Just. Can't. Move. Another. Step. Just. Can’t. Move. Another. Step.

I’m calling a time-out.

At least I wish I could, because sometimes life gets a little too crazy, and you just want to pull the emergency stop cord and bring the whole shebang to a screeching halt, even if you’re in the middle of nowhere, and getting off would leave you stranded and possibly lost. You just want to stop.

Regular readers may have noticed that there was no weekend edition last Saturday. For the first time in almost two years, I failed to publish my end-of-week ramblings. I just didn’t have it in me. There was too much happening and I was too exhausted to manage even a few words. After more than one hundred consecutive posts, I had hit the proverbial wall, and it felt awful.

··• )o( •··

Though I was disappointed in…

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Can There Be Art in a War Zone?

Writers are often challenged to not let things get in the way of their art… We Are Not Numbers - Gaza Writers

Many readers aren’t aware of the intense struggles most authors have to go through

I wonder how tough it is to write a book in a war zone?

The last Gaza War, summer 2014, killed over 2,200 Palestinians, about 550 of them children.

Yes, there are people who fire rockets at Israel from the Gaza strip

Somehow, though, the retaliation seems overbalanced

Then, there’s the fact that most Gazans can’t even leave for a safer area

Leaving aside the politics of the situation, can you imagine a writer continuing to be creative in a place like Gaza?

There’s an Initiative that can say, “…established and aspiring ‘word artists’ from around the world have joined with youth in Gaza to create ‘WE ARE NOT NUMBERS: We are individuals trying to change the world‘. Through this platform, we will share and celebrate the stories of the Palestinians of Gaza, with the more experienced authors mentoring the novices.

“At first, the writers featured on this site will be limited to residents of Gaza; however, our plan is to open the site up to fellow “rebels and poets” everywhere, each dedicated to giving the numbers behind the world’s injustices a face and to helping build readership for each other.”

The history of Gaza is fascinating but can also make your skin crawl

Here —> You can read 20 stories from Gaza writers

While continuing to be a writer in a war zone is incredible, you could imagine many of the emotions that war and captivity can induce might actually drive a person to be unable to not write

But what about the many Mentors, those who are not physically entangled in the maelstrom, those willing to nurture aspiring writers—writers that most folks may never imagine exist in a place like Gaza…?

If you go to the Mentor page I just linked to and click on “Becoming A Mentor”, you’ll see this:

“Each developing writer chosen to participate in the blogging showcase ‘We Are Not Numbers’ is assigned an experienced mentor to coach and critique his or her work, both in terms of the use of the English language to reach a Western audience and the art of storytelling/personal narrative. In addition (or instead), some mentors will be asked to speak to the entire group of developing writers by Skype on their published work, storytelling style, etc.”

And remember, the Mentors are from all over the World

This quote also appears on their site:

“There’s really no such thing as the ‘voiceless.’ There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferably unheard.” 

Arundhati Roy

Please, watch this video:

Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

The Cooperative Children’s Book Center: A Reading Haven

Alexander M Zoltai:

Do you know a librarian?

Are you interested in books for children and youth?

Maybe you’re just an all-round book-nut? :-)

Read on………

Originally posted on Nerdy Book Club:

10668653_10152732881524747_8039155661856747443_oI started my journey to become a school librarian in 2006 when I enrolled as a part-time graduate student at the University of Wisconsin. Even though I had grown up in a small city near the university, I knew more about the college hockey team than I did about what was all housed on campus. It wasn’t until library school orientation that I learned that the Cooperative Children’s Book Center even existed–a place filled with children’s and young adult literature.

The CCBC is a wonderful examination library associated with UW’s School of Education whose staff tirelessly promote children’s and young adult literature to educators and librarians of all kinds. It seems like countless new books arrive each year at the CCBC for review by its librarians: KT Horning, Megan Schliesman, Merri Lindgren and Emily Townsend. I have found their resources and expertise to be an essential part of my professional…

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