What does 100 consecutive days of writing look like? (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)
The story spine solution. Defining the bare bones of the story.
Kameron Hurley on the myth of talent. There are several levels to almost any career or pursuit you ever want to go into. Innate talent can get you through the first level, maybe the second level. But here is something I've learned, those people who have a "talent" typically peter-out when the hit their first major obstacle. Sometimes that's the first person who doesn't tell them how wonderful they are (the dreaded rejection), sometimes it's when they get to the point where they have to engage their talent in a way they don't want to, sometimes is that wall where something becomes work (and there is always that wall waiting). Most people I know who were "talented" at something (music, art, writing, sports) aren't doing what they were talented in. They all hit that winnowing wall and, because they had "talent" and never had to "work" at it, they were ill prepared and didn't have the skills to carry on. Hard work will always win out over talent, because even if you have talent you will eventually have to work at it.
Here I will share a secret. I suck at writing. No, really, I do. I never paid attention in English class when it was important. My 7th grade to 12th grade English education was compromised by my raging hormones and a flirtive teacher (whom I found out later was flirting with the guy who always sat next to me). How have I gotten as far as I have? Because I know how to work at it. I would probably be farther along if I had more time to work at it harder. Same thing with being a designer.
Kristin Lamb on getting past the dip. I have a feeling that's where I'm at, in an extended dip. I certainly hope there's a breakthrough coming when I'm able to get back to try part. Also related, my Pissing and Moaning post where I refer to blogging as the methadone.
Mer Haskell in praise of the House of Hufflepuff.
Feeding your inner reader to help make you a better writer.
Catherine Schaff-Stump digs into the SFWA Harassment Policy. Organizational time does take longer than we all think is necessary, but that's the nature of organizations as compared to dictatorial groups. While I sincerely hope this policy is being put into action, there's enough wiggle room in "(taking) appropriate action to prevent, to correct, and if necessary, to discipline behavior that violates this policy" that can allow a multitude of outcomes. Or as they used to say, there's many a slip twixt the cup and the lip.
Opportunity finds evidence of fresh water on Mars. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Five myths about the American Flag. Oddly enough, I've had arguments about all five with people who supposedly "revere" the flag. Too bad they don't know how to do it (including the people who wanted flags to line the streets who didn't understand if you fly a flag at night it must be lit).
And, like the growing evidence that the World Bank has been a little too aggressive and optimistic about austerity programs in the face of actual data to the contrary, we now have empirical proof of GOP obstructionism. Are the Democrats blameless? No. But like that friend that takes flirting and double-entendre and goes to far turning it into something creepy, the GOP has gone around the bend. This shouldn't be surprising given their public comments about doing just such a thing. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Fred Clark discusses the various revelations this week about the government's domestic spying. As I tweeted, it's so cute that everybody acts like this is something new. Now you know why a group of us were screaming about the Patriot Act, which didn't so much start this as give legal cover for it. I'm not as worried as Fred Clark is about the semi-competence of the NSA, they've had over 50 years of experience sifting through the dross of mass communications with over 20 years of using computers to winnow the stream (search for ECHELON if you want to know more). Does that mean I agree with it? Hells no. I do think every jackwagon who voted for the Patriot Act and its two extensions, and all those who supported them, they don't get to complain about this. This is exactly what they approved of.
So, you think the NSA is bad? How about the new Xbox? All your software are belong to us.
Komen cancels their walks for the cure in many cities. Cleveland is one of those cities. The local reps completely deny this has anything to do with the recent scandals, but is all about the recession. Sure, I'm sure it has nothing to do with the major drop in participation after the scandals, but is only because of the recession that people aren't giving more. (Grokked from Jay Lake)
They're praying for water in Texas. Again. "About 30 communities statewide could run out of water by the end of the year, according to a list compiled by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality." Say, and I thought Texas was the magical state where people moved there in droves because of the permissive environment and created all those job? (Grokked from Jay Lake)
Tweet of my heart: @scalzi: Re: Google, Microsoft, Apple, et al and the NSA: Thank goodness the tech world is full of libertarians!