Link Round Up

One of the most excellent links I’ve followed all week was this one–JK Rowling: the fringe benefits of failure. It’s a video of JK Rowling giving a talk to the Harvard graduating class. She is at once charming, inspiring and manages in the same piece to argue the importance of both failure and imagination in our lives. It’s about 20 mins long, but I promise you won’t notice. Her voice here is every bit as irresistible as in Harry Potter. She starts with a gay wizard joke and ends with a discussion of Africa. It’s a speech only she could give.

Everyone likes lists … okay, that’s not true at all, but I do! Anyway, these three links, all from Tips and Quips for Successful Writers each offer a list of tips to improve your writing. Working Freelance-5 tips for staying busy writing tells how, despite the inevitable ebbs and flows when freelancing, you can build a sustainable business with fewer slumps and more humps. Practical and informative, it only takes a few minutes to digest but has a lot of carryover. 8 Ways to Build a Better Freelance Writing Career lists the differences between being an amateur and an expert. We each have wondered, during the down times, what could I be doing better? How can I get more gigs? Well, this piece answers those questions. Finally, 5 Signs of Bad Writing-How to Recognize Your Poorly Written Work offers some tips for self-editing. As I’ve said before, I have problems vetting my own work and deciding what to keep and what to toss. These tips helped. I’ll definitely refer back the next time I’m nervous about handing in a piece!

In addition to lists, I love quotes. Seriously–when I was younger I bought a notebook and copied several hundred quotes into it for future reference. I still have the notebook and occasionally still add quotes. It contains some of my favorites. This next link, 12 Quotes Every Entrepreneur Should Have Tattooed On Their Arms specifically lists quotes for entrepreneurs: the quotes small business owners should take to heart. Or, for writer specific quotes, check out this post or this post (from my OLD blog, that I don’t update anymore…). My favorite is:
“Words usually have something to hide — you have to shake them until the top pops off and some revelation tumbles out, an insight into some attitude that it would be hard to put your finger on by any other means.”
- Geoffrey Nunberg, Going Nucular

Why All Entrepreneurs are Designers – this link argues the case that anyone who wants to start something new is in essence required to enter a specific frame of mind; they have to let their imagination go. In it the author argues, “Design is a pattern for thinking, and while design thinking often produces the “beautiful things” which we have traditionally associated with design, widespread application of design thinking is beginning to have far-reaching effects on our society.”

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