Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Writing { and reading and publishing } ~

Tag Archives: writers

Blog Conversation about Blog Conversations . . .

It was back on February 12th of this year that I raised the idea of Blog Conversations here. Blog Conversations

At first, they were only on Mondays and Wednesdays since I hadn’t yet finished the 95 Tales in my Story Bazaar—Fridays were added in June.

And, if you’re new here, the other days of the week are reserved for re-blogs from a bevy of valuable sources…

So, here we are on one of the Friday phases of conversation and I came to the conclusion that it might be a good time to consider what we can discuss in the future…

By the way, the last conversation we were having stopped today because there were no comments on its last post—that’s the way it goes—reader comments keep the conversations going—my creativity begins new conversations…

Yet, there are times in a blogging career when my creativity seems to have gone on vacation without me, this being one of those days; so, Creativity’s cousin, Cleverness, stepped up and said, “Alex, don’t strain that brain, look back at all the conversations so far, list them, and ask the kind folks out there to suggest more topics, eh?”

And, I said, “Whoa! How clever of you...”.

So, here’s the list of titles of discussions we’ve had, so far:


Aids for Writers

How and Why Writers Write


Different Types of Readers

Traditional vs Self-Published Book Promotion

Choosing What to Read

“What Should I Write?”

Word Histories


Book Promotion


“Serious Writing”

Reading like a Writer

Truth in Fiction

Charming and Surprising Books

Traditional vs Self Publishing

Readers as Gatekeepers

Issues with Traditional Publishing


Escaping with Books ~ or ~ Escaping into Books

Now, I fully concede, any of those topics could be discussed again, and yet again; though, for now, I’m asking the Spirits of Blogging to come to my aid and inspire you to suggest other topics we might discuss here…

Are you game?

O.K.—remember, the general subjects that are allowable are Reading, Writing, and Publishing; but, any topic you can squeeze into those broad categories is just fine…

Will you help me…?

Can you spare a few minutes of your time dealing with a desperately complex world to offer your ideas?

I hope so…

But… If no one shares a comment with a topic idea (or, two…), I’ll shake my creativity awake and track one down……… :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send me a free Voice Message

Blog Conversation Concerning “What Should I Write?” . . .

Our last discussion here was on June 6th & June 11th… On Writing

It dealt with Etymologies—word histories—and explored their value for readers and writers…

Since the last part of that conversation didn’t elicit any comments, I’m moving on to a new discussion…

And, just before I do that, I must announce that, after this coming Friday (when I’ll publish the last, and 95th, short Tale in my Story Bazaar Cycle.), these blog conversations will be every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday…

So—“What should I write?”

That plea might be uttered by a well-seasoned writer or someone considering writing for the first time…

If it’s a well-seasoned writer saying, “What should I write?”, it could be a consideration about a new work or the next steps in a current work…

If you happen to be someone considering that question for the first time (or, the hundredth time before you’ve begun your first effort as a writer…), the options are just short of infinite

And, from a certain perspective, the well-seasoned writer may very well face a slightly smaller infinity of choices…

I’ve relied on what’s called a Muse to help me narrow those infinities (which can also occur just before the very next sentence…).

Over on the Lateral Action site, in the article, 5 Reasons Why You Need a Muse, it’s said:

“‘A muse?’ you ask. ‘You mean some kind of invisible spirit that dumps creative inspiration into my mind?’

“’Exactly,’ I answer. ‘A genius. A daimon. An independent force in your psyche that directs your creativity, and to which you deliberately hand over ultimate responsibility for your work.’

“’That’s nuts!’ you exclaim.'”

“All creative block is ultimately identifiable as a manifestation of performance anxiety or performance guilt. Offloading your sense of responsibility for creative work onto another self is like flipping a switch. It instantly removes that pressure and lets you breathe again. It returns you to the state of relaxed receptivity that characterized your earliest efforts, when you were just playing around in a ‘beginner’s mind’ mode. This is when the best stuff happens.”

That article also references a Brilliant TEDtalk about the psychological concept of the Muse by author Elizabeth Gilbert

However, for the sake of conversation ( conversation being the whole purpose of these posts on this blog:-), there could be other ways to become inspired about what “should” be written…



Seems we might need a word history:

“c. 1200, from Old English sceolde, past tense of sceal (see shall). Preserves the original notion of ‘obligation’ that has all but dropped from shall.”

Somewhere back in my earlier decades of life on this planet, that word “should” was something folks could use in conversation without incurring violent wrath from certain listeners…

Is it conceivable to you that writers “should” write certain things?

That a particular sentence “should” follow that one you just wrote?

That a precise gem of a word “must” precede a particularly important other word…?

I had to include a few questions to, hopefully, provoke a few folks to comment :-)

My particular brand of shoulds for my writing hover around concepts like the one expressed in New Patterns of Community Life in an Urbanizing World:

“Large-scale migration to urban centers has, in many cases, led to social fragmentation, the depletion of limited ecological resources, and profound feelings of isolation and despair.”


Things that large will henceforth be relegated to my ruminations about my second book of poetry…

Which brings me to the image up there at the beginning of this post…

It was created by my Best Friend, author Jane Watson, for what I thought was going to be a new work I’d publish every Saturday over on Wattpad—a “column” of articles on writing…

That lovely image up there was Jane’s creation for the cover of that new effort on Wattapd…

However, I got cornered by my Muse yesterday and was humiliated by her…

Naturally, I deserved it…

How could I keep up blog conversations here (along with the search for the re-blogs I share…) while reading the 21 books I need to explore, as research for that new poetry book; and, the depth of thinking that work will demand—along with my attention to my social media activities (and, to be sure, all the time this writer needs to just sit here and commune with my Muse and other, yet Higher, Entities…)…?

Plus, my Muse drummed into my skull, “Why don’t you encourage folks on Wattpad to come over here and peruse the over 2,200 posts you’ve already written?” (…nicely organized by topic in that handy Top Tags widget, in the left side-bar...)

So, has my exploration of “What Should I Write?” stirred up questions or ideas or feelings?

If only one of you shares a comment, this conversation can continue………
If you don’t see a way to comment, try the link at the upper right of this post…

For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com
OR >>> Send Me a short Voice Message

Blog Conversation ~ “Serious Writing”

Our last discussion—Continuing the Conversation ~ Reading like a Writer—ended this past Monday since no comments were made… Serious Writing


I get to start a different conversation :-)

And, you’ll notice I wrote it with quotes—“Serious Writing”…

What’s your conception of serious writing?

Writing done with focus and determination?

Writing done for reasons you deem significant or weighty?

Writing aimed toward instilling memorable ideas in your reader’s mind?

Some other type of writing…?

And, there’s the central factor of the conversation—a consideration of what you regard as “serious”…

World Peace?

Proper Governance?

Reducing Crime?

Comprehensive education?

Neighborhood cohesion?

Family unity?

What to do with your free time?

What to do to get more free time?

Other topics?

I just can’t help showing you the word history for “serious”:

mid-15c., “expressing earnest purpose or thought” (of persons), from Middle French sérieux “grave, earnest” (14c.), from Late Latin seriosus, from Latin serius “weighty, important, grave,” probably from a PIE root *sehro- “slow, heavy” (source also of Lithuanian sveriu, sverti “to weigh, lift,” svarus“heavy, weighty;” Old English swær “heavy,” German schwer “heavy,” Gothic swers “honored, esteemed,” literally “weighty”). As opposite of jesting, from 1712; as opposite of light (of music, theater, etc.), from 1762. Meaning “attended with danger” is from 1800.

Another aspect of a discussion about being serious is those folks who just can’t seem to get it together to get serious; or, the people who can get serious but for only a short time or with limited topics…

There are many writers who feel their craft should be used to help others escape from all the serious concerns of our age—there are many readers who want to find those writers…

If most of the writers wrote escapist literature and most of the readers consumed the same, what would be the chances the rest of humanity could effectively deal with or resolve all those serious concerns of our age?

You may have noticed that I’m purposely asking questions and proposing ideas to spark thought, feeling, and conversation…

If you have something you could share about this topic, do, please, leave a comment… :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~ My Bio
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For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Continuing the Conversation ~ Reading like a Writer . . .

Reading like a writer And so, we continue from last Wednesday’s post, A Conversation about Reading like a Writer . . .

You may want to see what was said in that post, since two well-seasoned writers are quoted…

But, to continue…

Here’s what a reader said in a comment to that post; and, what I responded with:

“I read anything. I always have, so I read a lot of rubbish along with good writing. It is only occasionally I stop following the story to notice the way the author uses language. That is when I learn how to improve my own writing. I review almost every book I read but I forget them almost immediately after I have read them, with the exception of works by Stephen King. Maybe I should read a book more than once?”


“Well…the books I’ve read more than once are, to me, quite like the ones I’ve read once—I remember certain scenes and the overall “feel” of the book; but, certainly not the whole thing—that would probably take me 10 readings :-)”


That reader and I are both writers…

We both stop only occasionally to notice specifically what the author’s doing…

Is that a trait of folks who read like a writer?

Do other writers stop and notice more often?

And, is forgetting most of a book something writers have in common with most readers…?

I feel I should share a bit from the post preceding this one—from the book, Reading Like a Writer: A Guide for People Who Love Books and for Those Who Want to Write Them (P.S.), by Francine Prose:

Concerning writers reading to learn how to write—“…the connection has to do with whatever mysterious promptings make you want to write. It’s like watching someone dance and then secretly, in your own room, trying out a few steps.”

“You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading.”

“The only time my passion for reading steered me in the wrong direction was when I let it persuade me to go to graduate school….I left graduate school and became a writer.”


The commenter from last Wednesday and Francine Prose say at least one thing similarly:

“…I read a lot of rubbish along with good writing.”

“You will do yourself a disservice if you confine your reading to the rising star whose six-figure, two-book contract might seem to indicate where your own work should be heading.”

Those are similar statements if you can link “rubbish”reading with “rising star six-figure, two-book contract”reading…

Yet our commenter reads a lot of it and Francine merely recommends not confining oneself to it…

Now, I’ll interject a bit more of my own feeling…

Of course, it’s feeling from a man who is officially old and who began writing seriously late in life…

And, it only relates to my current reading-like-a-writer activity…

I’m in the middle of reading at least 20 books (some re-reads, some not…) by my absolutely most-favorite fiction author, C. J. Cherryh

Ms. Cherryh happens to be a Risen Star and morethantwobookcontract author who has never written rubbish…

Plus, I’m only confining myself to her books until I read six books of poetry by various authors…

All that reading because I’m a seasoned old man who loves writing and listens, carefully, to his Muse when he must read like a writer…

Two ideas in closing:

1.) If you share a comment on this post, you’ll help this particular topic continue on Wednesday…
2.) But, you could share a comment about some other topic(s) you’d like to discuss…

Number two should be in the realms of Reading, Writing, or Publishing; or any combination of those realms :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~ My Bio
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Am I Authoring My Life or Are Others Writing It for Me?

Book Discussions There’s a conversation going on here…

It began on February 12th and continued on the 14th

So far, the conversation has been about an author’s conversation with the world and having a conversation on this blog :-)

Reader Comments on the 14th:

“I like the idea of blogs being a conversation rather than a monologue.”

I think every author stands at that window of trust and wonders if it’s possible to jump and land unhurt. In a way, we are all shouting into the emptiness of bookspace and listening with surprise to faint answers.”

A comment about, though extending, those comments, on the 14th:

“‘Am I authoring my life or are others writing it for me?’ That’s a very interesting question. I guess we would all like to be the author of our lives but……. what author can truly say when they wrote a book they knew everything that would happen in it? On the other hand a book may have an author but it is also written in the reader’s head, who shapes its story in their imagination as well. So perhaps both states of being are desirable – you author and other people read “versions” of your authored work and somehow or other we all reach the end of the book, better read, still wondering if we understood the climax and the denouement and hoping there will be a good ending :-)”

I find this comment fascinating since it starts with a question I’d asked and immediately takes it to territory dealing with an author’s conversation with their own work—writer talking to their writing…

My response to, “what author can truly say when they wrote a book they knew everything that would happen in it?”, is that we can’t be absolutely sure what happens in our lives and the author can’t be absolutely sure what will happen in their book—until it happens—until it’s written…

But… We can plan intelligently and faithfully about our lives and the author can do the same about their book…

Still… We must accept what life makes of our efforts and the author must accept the “place” the book wants to go, as well as what readers want to make of the book…

The rest of that reader’s comment is still being processed and I may have to delay fully commenting until I’ve mined it for more meaning—rather like certain situations in my life—rather like certain situations in books…

Though, I do get some tentative meaning:

Life and books are being constantly re-written and the stories can certainly seem to blend into or clash with each other—we can either accept the situation or we can go a bit mad under the relentless flow—books take us places we may not expect nor like—life certainly does the same…

Yet, a book we don’t like can be put down and a life course can be abandoned…

Perhaps, the best advice, at times, is to find a book you like better—re-write your future with fresh plans…

Have I made any sense for you?

Have something to add to the conversation?

Have a few questions you’d like to ask?

Do, please, leave a comment or two…

The conversation continues on Wednesday :-)
If you don’t see a way to comment (or, “reply”) after this post, try up there at the top right…
Visit The Story Bazaar
Best Source for “Book Promotion” Ideas
~ My Bio
Google Author Page
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com