Charles Daly

Writer

Tag: show your work

Friday Roundup, without hope, without despair

Was reminded of some words of wisdom–I first encountered in my English major days–from Austin Kleon quoting Raymond Carver who was quoting Isak Dinesen. Carver and Kleon both put these words on a 3×5 card on the wall, and I’m doing the same.

every day without hope without despair 3x5 Isak Dinesen raymond carter austin kloean

Here’s what I’ve been up to the past 7 days:

 

What I’m Reading

Devil in a Blue Dress — Walter Mosley

 

Hard-Boiled, an anthology of American crime fiction

 

Picasso’s Picasso — David Douglas Duncan. Duncan was a photo-journalist who covered the Korean war around the time my dad was there. He went on to become Picasso’s personal photographer.

 

What I’m Listening to

Joe Rogan and Cameron Hanes talking about bow hunting. This is a MUST if you have strong opinions about hunting but haven’t spent time outdoors.

 

Gorgeous” by Taylor Swift

 

Megamix Depresivo (Depressive Megamix) From Love Lasts 3 Years By Frederic Beigbeder. Contemporary French literature’s great contribution to the heartbreak playlist genre

 

More Oasis, the Verve, and the brothers Gallagher. I made a playlist.

 

What I’m Doing

Sharing my handwriting (gasp) and pages from my notebooks.

 

Looking at a first draft of dad’s book by January, 2018.

 

Working on my iPhone dependence. I’m following three new rules:

1. I don’t check my phone when I wake up or before bed.

2. I Check in a couple times per day, not continuously. (My Tweets are queued up. I really #amwriting)

3. Notifications are turned off.

Maybe this Isn’t for You

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Charles Daly writer journal show your work maybe this isn't for you

Friday Roundup, be here now

“You can’t ask for flowers– know what I mean– you either get’m or you don’t.” 

–Liam Gallagher 

Fall is (finally) here. This is what I’ve been up to for the first week in November:

 

What I’m reading: 

The Killer Inside Me — Jim Thompson: A classic of neo-noir and American Crime with a forward by Stephen King. Thompson’s masterpiece (if you want to call it that) tells of a amiable small town Texas deputy with a homicidal streak. The influence of this disturbing little book is all over American Psycho, Silence of the Lambs, and No Country for Old Men. 

 

Show Your Work! — Austin Kleon: The book that ended my blogging dry-spell. Thank you, Austin!

 

What I’m listening to:

The story of Vice’s humble origins in Montréal on How I Built This.

 

A Killing on the Cape, ABC’s podcast series on the Christa Worthington murder.

 

Liam Gallagher’s solo album. It’s very good… Sounds more Oasis than his brother’s solo work.

 

Also,  Liam’s  Weekly Music Corner for Vice is on point.

Liam Gallagher’s Weekly Music Corner Ep. 1 (HBO)

Our new music critic, Liam Gallagher reviews new music in his debut installment of Music Critic. Today’s songs include: “Cellophane” by Metz, “Fuck Ugly God” by Ugly God, “Lady Powers” by Vera Blue and “Medication” by Damien Marley.

 

What I’m Doing:

Exploring Montréal, including the city’s celebration of Leonard Cohen, which I wrote up.

 

Showing my work

 

Working on a novel, but I can’t talk about it yet.


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5 Documentaries on Showing your Work

For inspiration on how to show your work , or to just get fired-up about the creative process in general, check out these five documentaries that take a look at the journey, the sweat, and the drama behind the finished product.

 

Oasis: Supersonic 

 

Supersonic chronicles the hard work and brilliant musicianship that would catapult Oasis to superstardom and the clash of egos and sibling rivalry that would be their undoing.

 

Depending on how you look at it, this is either a cautionary tale or a study in what you can get away with if your work is absolutely fucking brilliant.

 

For more studio craft and less tabloid buffoonery, check out the hour long Oasis: Definitely Maybe, a generic but interesting rock doc on the making of their debut album.

 

The Making of South Park: 6 Days to Air 

If there ever was a treatise on the power of deadlines to unleash creative productivity, this is it. Each episode of South Park is written, recorded, and animated in just 6 days. Far from a sweatshop, the South Park Studio is full of laughter, and the sort of goofing off that’s vital to creativity no matter how tight a deadline you’re on.

 

South Park’s co-creator, Trey Parker, relates the self-imposed crunch his team finds themselves in every week, “There’s a show on this Wednesday, and we don’t even know what it is.” They put out episodes not in spite of this ambiguity, but because of it. You get the impression that it would be a very different–and probably less special–show if they gave themselves more time. The void is part of the process. Something to keep in mind if you’ve committed to share something every day.

 

This one will make you feel lazy and, hopefully light a fire under your ass.

 

Funky Monks

 

Available in full on YouTube (below,) Funky Monks is a black-and-white fly-on-the-wall view of the making of the Red Hot Chili Pepper’s 1991 album Blood Sugar Sex Magik: the one with “Under the Bridge” and “Give it Away” on it, the one that would make the Chili Peppers a band your grandma has heard of.

 

The band was living in their producer, Rick Rubin’s, mansion/studio at the time. Things get pretty fratty, but you can see the value of living in the same space as your work in progress.

Red Hot Chili Peppers: “Funky Monks” Uncut Full Documentary (1st Edit Uncut with bonus footage)

Use of this video is for “Fair Use” for Educational purposes showing different recording techniques, the creative process and is for comments on Artistic Content. There is a bit of an issue at the beginning of the Video at 0:00:10 – 0:00:36 as it was eaten by my VCR during transfer.

Abstract: the art of design (Netflix series) 

 

Each episode features a designer talking through and demonstrating their craft. It’s filmed in a way that gets inside the voice of its subjects and feels like a creative product all its own, not just a documentary about creatives.

 

The series includes New Yorker cover artist Christopher Niemann, Nike shoe designer Tinker Hatfield, and designers of cars, sets, and buildings.

 

Hearts of Darkness: a Filmmaker’s Apocalypse

hearts of darkness filmmakers apocalypse francis ford copalla

While her husband was shooting Apocalypse Now, Eleanor Coppola kept home videos and audio recordings of his work. This started as a way to keep herself occupied while adjusting to life in the Philippine countryside, where the family had relocated for the duration of the project.

 

Everything that  can go wrong goes wrong: a hurricane wipes out the set, people get malaria, Coppola burns through all his Godfather money and everything he can borrow, Brando throws tantrums over his body image issues, and the Philippine Army Helicopters–hired for the film–fly away in the middle of a shot on orders to go fight actual rebels.

 

Copolla’s private rants, which Eleanore recorded without his knowledge, are cringeworthy yet familiar to anyone who’s ever felt over their head on a creative project.

 

Fiction Abortions

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while and you saw my recent post about starting a novel, you might be thinking: what about the one you were re-writing last year, or the one you drafted in 30 days?

The answer: those are in the bin.

I’ve written and thrown away three short novels:

 

The first was a plotless, soju-drunk travelogue set in Korea and Japan which I put out of its misery after three drafts.

 

The second was a humorless coming-of-age story that I would have called “literary” as a nice way of saying it wasn’t about anything. That one went through 11 or so drafts and some feedback from family and friends (cringe) before it slept with the fishes.

 

I even wrote a spy novel, which took about 21 days. I had just read a bunch of books on plot and screenwriting and decided it would be easy to whip together something sleek and plot-driven set in the places I had traveled. It didn’t work, but I got one scene out of it, I’m going to use elsewhere, that made the whole thing worth it.

 

I’m sharing this so I don’t have to feel doomed going into the novel I’m working on. There’s a persistent voice that tells me that I’m 0-and-4, and asks why this one should be any different. This is my way of silencing that voice.

 

Rather than crossing my fingers, hoping nobody finds my old posts about the writing and rewriting process, I want to own those false starts and abortions. I’m glad I wrote them, and I’m glad I threw them away. I’m glad I didn’t self-publish work I wasn’t proud of, and I’m glad I’m stepping up to the plate again.

 

If I finish the one I’m working on and put it out in the world, it will only be because of all the work I’ve done up to this point: the stuff I put out there and the stuff I binned.

 

*If you’re the sort of person who gets offended by abortion quips, it’s very unlikely you’ll enjoy my writing. Have a nice day. 

Show Your Work!

 Yesterday’s blog post started as a long caption on Instagram, under a photo of my writing tools. I was sharing my stoke over starting a new novel–in the only way I can since I won’t say what it’s about until I have a draft–but I was also answering a prompt from Austin Kleon’s handy little book,  Show Your Work! In this guide to putting your stuff out in the world, Kleon dispenses powerful and simple advice like “share something small every day.”

 

 

Show your Work by Austin Kleon share something small every day

 

Yesterday, I was doing just that—as I am in with this post. Both days I felt like I had nothing to say, and I’m sure I’ll have to slay that dragon again tomorrow. What got me writing was letting go of the need to create from scratch, opting instead to document what’s right in front of me.

 

In the third day of writing a novel, I don’t have any creative writing that’s ready to share. But I can talk about my process, my tools, my creeping insecurities, and the books on my nightstand—including the one that inspired me to write this post in the first place.

 

Kleon offers specific advice on how to do this:

 

“Once a day, after you’ve done your days work, go back to your documentation and find one little piece of your process that you can share. Where you are in your process will determine what the piece is. If you’re in the very early stages, share your influences and what’s inspiring you. If you’re in the middle of executing a project, write about your methods or share works in progress. If you’ve just completed a project, show the final product, share scraps from the cutting room floor, or write about what you learned. If you have lots of projects out in the world, you can report on how they’re doing—you can tell stories about how people are interacting with your work.” (Kleon, 48.)

 

He also shares a graphic outlining what to share and what not to share:

 

Austin Kleon show your work share something small every day

And that’s the problem: I sort of conflated sharing with oversharing, as if showing friends and followers where I work is the same thing as a selfie-reel or pictures of my lunch.

 

At first glance, that attitude might seem profound, like a humble stand against the self importance and the vapidity of social media. But really, it’s just control freakery in disguise. Part of sharing one’s stuff is letting it go. I don’t dictate the terms of how others experience my work. I don’t get to micro-mange their response. And that’s a good thing, because the response to my post was better than anything I could have arranged for myself:

 

I connected with some new writers, who must have found me through the hashtags.

 

A buddy of mine asked to be a character in the novel—he doesn’t know he already is.

 

One friend noticed the crime writing hashtags and asked me all about that genre—something she didn’t know I was into. And she, in turn, told me about fantasy writing and world-building, something I didn’t know she was working on.

 

Another friend, who I haven’t talked to in a while shared what he learned about long projects from his marathon training. We ended up talking about his next race. (What up, Pete!)

 

None of this would have happened if I hadn’t gotten over myself and put my scrap of the day out into the world.

 

show your work by austin kleon

 

I’m Writing a Novel, these are my tools.

It begins. I’m starting a novel. These are my tools:

Charles Daly writing desk lamy 2000

4”x6” index cards — For my notes. The plastic box is a dumping ground for scene sketches, setting and character details, and random tidbits I don’t want to lose. I started filling the box before I had time to get real about starting a draft.

I get a lot of card-worthy ideas in the shower, on walks, and when I’m driving. I jot them down as soon as I’m dry or have a place to pull over.

Lamy 2000 fountain pen — Anyone who knows me has heard me rant about this pen to all who will listen. It also happens to be Neil Gaiman’s favorite.

 

Yellow legal pads — I draft everything longhand first. Something about the flimsy yellow paper reminds me that it’s just a draft and anything I put down is subject to change and deletion.

My pace is “two crappy pages per day,” which I borrowed from a conversation between Neil Strauss and Tim Ferriss. If I want to write more, that’s cool. But by setting the bar low, it’s easy to have a “successful” writing day.

13” MacBook Air — The 2013 model. I’m not impressed with Apple’s latest offerings. From what I can tell, the touch-bar is just a better way to pause Spotify… The downside of writing longhand is the drudgery of transcription. Lately I’ve been playing with voice recognition, which is faster and also gives me a chance to hear how the page sounds. Taking words from the legal pad to the screen is like a first round of editing.

Yes, I happen to be starting in November. No, I’m not doing NaNoWriMo. The “two crappy pages per day” rule won’t get me to THE END in a month, and I’m okay with that.

 

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