The Wednesday Web Browser: Wells Tower, Dan Baum, and David Foster Wallace

The hype’s been everywhere (or so it seems), but it was this Fiction Writers Review piece on Wells Tower’s new story collection that really motivated me to attend a reading featuring Tower the other evening. Great event. Now, I must get the book.
Speaking of hype–I’m sure plenty of you followed last week’s big online story about another online story: Dan Baum’s Twitter-based revelations of his association with the New Yorker. Here’s something a bit different: an interview with Baum, courtesy of The Renegade Writer, focusing on “writing for the big names – and the future of journalism.”
And on a sad, yet inspiring note: check out the online home of a spring term Pomona College course, English 166: David Foster Wallace. The site includes a blog maintained by the course participants, as well as a link to the wiki that has emerged from it. An amazing resource for anyone interested in Wallace and his work – and, I think, for teachers of literature and writing.

One More Job to Share: Assistant to Director, MFA Program in Creative Writing, Hunter College

Hey, folks. This position was just posted on the CUNY job site yesterday (Hunter is a CUNY college), and I didn’t want to wait until next Monday’s roundup to share it.

The MFA Program in Creative Writing at Hunter College is looking for an Assistant to the Director.

Reporting to the Director of the Master’s Degree in Fine Arts in Creative Writing housed in the Department of English and working with the Chair of the English Department, the Assistant has overall administrative responsibility for all aspects of the Program.

The three primary responsibilities are: to coordinate the preparation and distribution of all information about the MFA program to students, to the wider population within the college, and to the general public; to manage the office and all liaison with the distinguished writers, speakers and faculty who are invited to participate in the program; and to coordinate the budget and fund-raising for the program. The Assistant will also coordinate and maintain program and event information on the MFA website ensuring that it is updated and the information is accurate and helpful. Prepares reports as necessary, other duties as assigned.

To read the full job posting, click here. And to learn more Hunter’s MFA program, visit the program’s site.

This message has been brought to you by your friendly blogmistress…who is also a CUNY employee.

Friday Find: Words of Wisdom from Tayari Jones

Author Tayari Jones is about to embark on a month dedicated to her writing, and the post she added to her blog yesterday explaining her imminent departure (especially the part I’m quoting here) really resonated with me:

Why all the drama? Why not just set up a DIY writing clinic in my apartment. I do have a dedicated room just for writing. I’m getting away because I feel that I am been distracted from myself by my life. I have been way too busy being too many things to too many people and I have really gotten out of touch with my work. I know that this happens to everyone, but I feel particularly frustrated because I spend so much time telling other writers to put themselves first. But here I am, in the same trap as everyone else.

Tayari’s post really got me thinking. A month seems an impossible dream given my current circumstances, but something shorter should be feasible. I need it. I owe it to myself, for a lot of reasons, to work very hard on carving out some real, dedicated time for my writing.

Because I, too, have “been distracted from myself by my life…way too busy…have really gotten out of touch with my work.” And, I, too, feel that I spend a lot of time encouraging other writers (you probably wouldn’t be reading this blog if that weren’t the case). At some point, I need to encourage myself.

Not sure when, where, or how this gift of time to myself and my writing will happen. But it WILL happen.

And for that, I thank Tayari Jones. Have a wonderful, productive month, Tayari!

An Idea Whose Time Has Come: Writers Worth Day

Now here’s a noble idea whose time has come, particularly within the freelance context (unfortunately, I just can’t envision the literary journals all joining in). Writer Lori Widmer has declared tomorrow, May 15, as “Writers Worth Day.”

According to the press release, the project is designed “to promote the fair market value of writers through education, awareness, and ongoing support.”

“Writers Worth Day was established in response to the increasing amount of job postings that offer little, if any, compensation for the amount of work expected,” says Widmer, a veteran writer and editor, who has seen a decline in market rates. “More beginning freelancers accept abominable rates. The message of Writers Worth Day is every writer has marketable skills, and those skills should be compensated fairly and within industry-acceptable standards.”

All this month, Widmer’s weblog – Words on the Page – is highlighting numerous career tips for new writers and extending into the blogging community to inspire other established writers to educate and offer guidance to their followers and all within the writing community.

So there you are. Think about it for a moment. Imagine a world where it’s more possible than not to support yourself, feed your family, heat your house, and save for retirement through writing. Then go visit Lori’s blog and read through some of the tips and advice she is offering.

The Wednesday Web Browser: Freelance Edition

Elaine Appleton Grant shares “Five Foolproof Ways to Generate Story Ideas Editors Will Love.”
Know what happened Monday? United States postal rates went up (again). If this is news to you, click here for the nitty-gritty. And don’t expect the SASEs you sent out early this week to make their way back to you (unless you used “Forever” stamps).
I’m one of the readers Lisa Belkin doesn’t quite understand: I don’t have children of my own, and yet I follow her “Motherlode” blog with great interest. And because I do that, I was amused by this interview, which a sixth-grade journalist conducted concerning Ms. Belkin’s writing career.