Charles Daly


Category: Blog the Block (page 13 of 14)

“Wear a Jacket at all Times”

In an interview with Bomb Magazine, director Rob Weiss (Entourage, Amongst Friends, How to Make it in America) shares some practical advice for filmmakers working long hours on set. 

“Wear a jacket at all times so you can wrap it under your head when you pass out.”

Image: LA TImes

Sit, Stay

Click the doggy for more comprehensive instructions.

Wear Headphones (at all times)

Show them you’re busy. Find a pair that’s cumbersome to take off–or better yet, the noise canceling type that actually block out the world. Refer to the following script for maximum effect:

           EXT. BUSY STREET, DAY 
           INTERRUPTER–needy and extroverted (master of the ‘real job’)–sees a learned DALY PROSE READER walking down the street, she seems animated by her music and very much 
in her own world. He walks over to say hello anyway.

Bobs head to music. 

 Greetings. So I was just wondering…

Points at ear, mouths ‘I can’t hear you’
like Tom Cruise in Top Gun. Removes bulky headphones.
Sorry, What’s up?

Confidence rattled. Well, um, no, nothing. 
It’s just, I was just… But I can see your busy. 

Smiles and puts headphones back on 

The two part ways, interruption averted. 
               FADE TO BLACK 


“Cut out all these exclamation points,” said F. Scott Fitzgerald, “an exclamation point is like laughing at your own joke.”

Author Peter Shankman tweeted: “Multiple exclamation points are the written equivalent to jazz hands.”

Elmore Leonard, in his 10 Rules of Writingsuggests rationing them–one exclamation point per hundred thousand words of prose. Leonard cautions against the word ‘suddenly’ for the same reason–these are crutches for feeble prose. 

Image: Brain Pickings

Chop Wood, Carry Water

“Before enlightenment, chop wood and carry water. After enlightenment, chop wood and carry water.”                              –Zen proverb.

zen garden winter buddha Wisconsin zen
Image: Zen Dojo of Wisconsin

“Safe Return Doubtful” — Shackleton’s Call for Submissions

Image: John Hyatt

This is the original advert with which Ernest Shackleton recruited men for his ill-fated Antarctic expedition. Besides being considered one of the finest examples of copywriting in the 20th century* the ad attracted a first rate crew who’s safe return from an icebound shipwreck became legend. 
Those were the days before liability laws and wrongful death suits. Shackleton wasn’t posting a disclaimer or release of liability but rather an invitation to the few who would sign on for the right reasons. 
It wouldn’t take much to rewrite this as a call to the writing trade: 


for absurdly competitive work with little compensation or recognition, constant rejection and disapointment, bitterness and failed relationships likely, indifference of peers certain, immense personal satisfaction and a remote chance of immortality if done right.    

So who’s in?
*The 100 Greatest Advertisements 1852-1958: Who Wrote Them and What They Did by Julian Lewis Watkins (Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 1949) p. 1.

Tough Love from ‘Cool Runnings’

In Bird by Bird: some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott quotes Disney’s Cool Runnings as advice on publication:

A gold medal is a wonderful thing, but if you’re not enough without it, you’ll never be enough with it.” 

Go for a Walk

Go for a 15 minute walk, whether that’s around the neighborhood, down the beach or through the woods. If that doesn’t bring you back to center, come back here for more procrastination hacks. I doubt you’ll need to. 


T.K is journalism speak  for ‘to come.’* 

Next time you’re stuck just insert this handy abbreviation and move on. In nonfiction it can stand in for facts and stats you can look up later, thus avoiding the ‘black hole’ of internet research. For fiction writers, TK relieves the burden of having to find the mot juste

He had this TK tendency of laboring over a single word he would end up deleting later anyway. 

As with the entire first draft , TK is just for you. 

*‘K’ is for ‘come’ because ‘TK’ doesn’t appear anywhere in the English language (besides the Atkins Diet) so it won’t cause confusion and is easily searchable.

Writing with Dysentery

What’s the one aspect of your craft you know you could do no matter what? Forget about your muse and your flow and consider the nitty gritty. What’s something you know you could get done even if you were soiling your trousers with a fever of 103°? 

Figure this out when youre in good shape (you won’t be able to when you’re not,) put it on a 3×5, and get some work out of your sick days and your lost weekends. 

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