Eightface

by Dave Kellam

You are a real artist

For all my creative friends who’ve struggled at times trying to achieve their dreams, an artice from Sara Benincasa, Real Artists Have Day Jobs.

Have you ever dreamt of being a real artist?

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to call yourself a real painter, or a real writer, or a real actress, or a real musician?

Have you ever described yourself as someone who does something amazing and magical and wonderful and life-affirming and then added “on the side”?

Well, you might not like what I have to say.

Because I have come here today to deliver the unfortunate truth that you are lying to yourself.

You are not going to become a real artist one day.

You are a real artist right now.

Go read the rest.

April 5, 2014 ·

Therapist for screenwriters

Barry Michaels helps screenwriters get over writer’s block.

By far the most common problem afflicting the writers in Michels’s practice is procrastination, which he understands in terms of Jung’s Father archetype. “They procrastinate because they have no external authority figure demanding that they write,” he says. “Often I explain to the patient that there is an authority figure he’s answerable to, but it’s not human. It’s Time itself that’s passing inexorably. That’s why they call it Father Time. Every time you procrastinate or waste time, you’re defying this authority figure.” Procrastination, he says, is a “spurious form of immortality,” the ego’s way of claiming that it has all the time in the world; writing, by extension, is a kind of death.

One space after a period

Despite whatever you’ve been told in the past, you should only put one space after a period, not two.

Is this arbitrary? Sure it is. But so are a lot of our conventions for writing. It’s arbitrary that we write shop instead of shoppe, or phone instead of fone, or that we use ! to emphasize a sentence rather than %. We adopted these standards because practitioners of publishing—writers, editors, typographers, and others—settled on them after decades of experience. Among their rules was that we should use one space after a period instead of two—so that’s how we should do it.

In my high-school typing class, we were working on ancient ICON computers which used monospace type, and were told to leave two spaces after a period for readability. I then spent years developing muscle-memory that had me double-tapping the spacebar after every full-stop. In university, I started writing for one of the newspapers and got yelled at for putting in double spaces and messing up the copy-setting — I learned quick. Fast-forward to book design, and given any sort of manuscript, getting rid of the double spaces is one of the first priorities. Remember, just one space.

February 5, 2011 ·

Rushdie’s digital archives

During the past thirty years, writers have shifted from typewriters or pen and paper to word processors, adding a new layer of complexity to the tradition of archiving their work. Emory obtained Salman Rushdie’s archives, including notebooks, photographs, manuscripts, and a number of old computers. In The Author’s Desktop, Emory Magazine details the effort put into preserving his work for both academics and the general public. Rushdie’s archives were relatively easy to access, but others can prove much more difficult:

A particular challenge, she says, is that technology may have moved beyond the hardware or software artifacts in an author’s archive. For example, working parts may be difficult to find for a broken, early model computer, disks might be unable to be read, programs the author used might be outdated (think eight-track tapes without an eight-track tape player).

It’s not just hardware, software formats change too. The team had to do a lot of file conversions to make the documents available on modern systems. The files will probably need to be upgraded again and again. We could end up with the modern version of the transcription errors that occurred as scribes copied out manuscripts.

January 12, 2011 ·

Using the long s

Andrew West examines the rules for long s:

It transpires that the rules are quite complicated, with various exceptions, and vary subtly from country to country as well as over time. I have summarized below my current understanding of the rules as used in roman and italic typography in various different countries.

January 2, 2011 ·

Vitamin soup

An article from Richard Morgan about his experiences in seven years as a freelance writer.

Freelancing requires such strict adherence to toadyism, to sycophancy, to the grubbiest, lowliest submissions. It is an on-spec life and it is full of what can only be described as insane serendipity (or serendipitous insanity).

An interesting read if you’ve got any designs on being a freelance writer.

August 11, 2010 ·

You’re your own boss now

Connor O’Brien takes a look at your day as a freelance writer.

Alright, now you’re out of bed. You’ll work two hours later to make up for the wasted time. Or maybe you’ll just work a little harder during the day. Yeah, that’s it. Don’t work longer, work smarter. You read that somewhere.

Or your day as pretty-much freelance anything. It’s all about motivation and self-control, which can easily go flying out the window.

August 4, 2010 ·