If you’re going to write or communicate, it’s really cool to know what you’re writing or talking about.
What? I know, right? Mind blown.
It should be self-evident, but sadly it seems that this is not self evident.
Here’s the thing. You think that you know everything until you realize that you don’t half as much as you thought you did. We live in a time period where everyone is yelling, ‘fake facts,’ and ‘false news’ and ‘liar.’ We live in a time period that’s amazing because so many of us have things like indoor plumbing, internet access, prescriptions, food. But we also live in a time where people think they are omniscient.
None of us are omniscient. We all see things from our own perspectives built upon by our culture and our experiences. Yet, some people think that they know everything and lay down these edicts about what the right way to vote, to write, to think, to create, to live is.
But these same people don’t know the difference between unfazed and unphased. Don’t be one of those people.
When you write, when you live, when you troll people on social media? Check your words and your facts. It makes your argument and your story and your opinion so much stronger when you can spell things correctly or when you have stats to back up your arguments.
And there is nothing bad about realizing that you’re wrong, about growing as a human in your thoughts. Evolving is a good thing. We promise.
It’s okay to break the rules, but know the rules you’re breaking. Study your craft before you start telling people there is only one right way to do things.
Know what you’re barking at, man. Don’t call a blowing bag a squirrel.
Write about a character who thinks that he/she/they know everything about something but they are terribly wrong.
The music we’ve clipped and shortened in this podcast is awesome and is made available through the Creative Commons License. Here’s a link to that and the artist’s website. Who is this artist and what is this song? It’s “Night Owl” by Broke For Free.
Note: We hunt for ghosts and talk about douchebags in our random thoughts, which are not transcribed here.
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I have a new book out!!!!!! It's an adult mystery set in the town where we live, which is Bar Harbor, Maine. You can order it here. And you totally should.
Rosie Jones, small town reporter and single mom, is looking forward to her first quiet Maine winter with her young daughter, Lily. After a disastrous first marriage, she’s made a whole new life and new identities for her and her little girl. Rosie is more than ready for a winter of cookies, sledding, stories about planning board meetings, and trying not to fall in like with the local police sergeant, Seamus Kelley.
But after her car is tampered with and crashes into Sgt. Kelley’s cruiser during a blizzard, her quiet new world spirals out of control and back into the danger she thought she’d left behind. One of her new friends is murdered. She herself has been poisoned and she finds a list of anagrams on her dead friend’s floor.
As the killer strikes again, it’s obvious that the women of Bar Harbor aren’t safe. Despite the blizzard and her struggle to keep her new identity a secret, Rosie sets out to make sure no more women die. With the help of the handsome but injured Sgt. Kelley and the town’s firefighters, it’s up to Rosie to stop the murderer before he strikes again.
You can order it here.
My new book, IN THE WOODS, is out!
It’s with Steve Wedel. It’s scary and one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Buzz Books for Summer 2019. There’s an excerpt of it there and everything! But even cooler (for me) they’ve deemed it buzz worthy! Buzz worthy seems like an awesome thing to be deemed!
Order this bad boy, which might make it have a sequel. The sequel would be amazing. Believe me, I know. It features caves and monsters and love. Because doesn’t every story?
Buy limited-edition prints and learn more about my art here on my site.
There’s this guy named Sid who wrote about cognitive biases over on Medium. Sid got me thinking about all the ways we make decisions based on wrong assumptions or biases. He lays out ten, right? And I just wanted to talk about the first two this week and maybe make this a series. Why? Well, because as Sid says, “Being aware of our cognitive biases helps to recognize their power in shaping our thoughts, opinions, attitudes and the decisions we make. Let’s check out these effects by analyzing ten cognitive biases that shape our world today.” So, those first two are: The Availability Heuristic The Affect Heuristic. Let's start with the first one. The availability heuristic According to the Decision Lab, the availability heuristic is a bias that “describes our tendency to use information that comes to mind quickly and easily when making decisions about the future.” It’s basically memorable moments that are made influence our decisions in ways that they shouldn’t. The decision lab has a great example. “Imagine you are considering either John or Jane, two employees at your company, for a promotion. Both have a steady employment record, though Jane has been the highest performer in her department during her tenure. However, in Jane’s first year, she unwittingly deleted a company project when her computer crashed. The vivid memory of having lost that project likely weighs more heavily on the decision to promote Jane than it should. This is due to the availability heuristic, which suggests that singular memorable moments have an outsized influence on decisions.” And this sucks because bad memories are easier to remember than good ones. And that means we aren’t making our decisions logically. This happens because our brains need shortcuts. ...
There was recently a piece by a lawyer/poet critiquing a younger, more celebritified (we made up that word) poet that caused a bit of an uproar for multiple reasons. Here’s the thing: Just because a poem doesn’t speak to you or your ‘idea’ of what a poem is doesn’t mean that it’s not a poem or that the person who wrote it isn’t a poet. One man writing about one woman doesn’t get to decide that woman is or isn't an artist or a poet no matter how adamantly he digs in his heels. One liberal doesn’t get to decide that about a conservative or vice versa. We shouldn't think we have the power to label or un-label another person. Being a critic doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole. It isn't just people on the internet though. We were walking our puppy, Pogie, and our older dog, Sparty, this weekend, and a woman Carrie often tries to avoid stopped to talk. The woman said that we needed to take our chunky, arthritic Sparty on more walks so he could lose some weight. She has no idea how many walks Sparty goes on. Disclosure: It's more than it seems. Next, she looked at our newly painted blue stairs and said, “Oh, that white splotch is still there. That's been there forever.” Then she gave our chubby dog a dog treat. A couple actually. Yes, the same woman who told us we needed to walk him more to lose weight. Here’s another thing: Being observant doesn’t mean you have to be an asshole either. People don’t need to be celebrities for other people to want to take them down, to criticize, to refuse to say one ...
Writing is all about relationships, right? The reader relates to the characters that the writer creates. The characters relate to each other. Relationships are tricky things. They are expansive and minute all at once. They can completely surround you, dwarf you, push against you until all you think about is them. Relationships untended to can also be forgotten – just become nothing things. I have had relationships become nothing things. And I think when there are huge life transistions are happening, it’s a lot easier for a relationship to become exactly that – nothing, a place of indifference instead of a place of promise and growth. Sometimes we ignore the things we take for granted. Sometimes we don’t. And it’s never healthy to ignore relationships in books or in real life. WRITING TIP OF THE CAST – Think of your characters like profiles on Tinder, the dating app. What would make your reader swipe right, and commit to knowing more about the character and the book? What would make you do that? Incorporate that. If you wouldn’t swipe right to learn more about your character, someone else isn’t going to either. First impressions matter. DOG TIP FOR LIFE – Speaking of first impressions mattering, dogs are a perfect example of this. Dogs are all about that first scent, the first size up. Readers are like that. People are like that too. Too often we ignore our first instincts about people and … Well, we shouldn’t. ...