Linky goodness for NaNoers and non-NaNoers

At the last moment–yesterday evening, in fact–I decided, oh what the hey, why not dive into National Novel Writing Month again. It’s been a year or two or more since I’ve participated, and I always feel this little (okay, biggish) stab of jealousy when I read all the angst-ridden November posts about plots gone rogue, late night typing frenzies, and the general woe-ishness that comes from being 10,000 shy of the weekly target.

I’d considered it early October but thought, no, not this year. I don’t have a strong enough story idea bubbling away on the back burner waiting for the chance to upchuck itself all over the keyboard in 30 fun-filled days. But then last night I thought, well, so what? No percolated plot? No problem! I wrote a (very short) series of flash pieces several months ago, maybe 1,200 words in total, set in a dystopian not-too-distant future, and I’d always kinda, sorta thought of revisiting that world one day. Why not now?

And that was that. I’m in.

What about you? Are you dipping your toes in the NaNoWriMo waters this year for the first or the eleventy-first time? Well, if you are, and you’re looking for a little distraction or inspiration, I have some very tasty links to share with you. (And, if you’re not NaNo-ing, click anyway, because these sites have nothing to do with NaNoWriMo, and everything to do with being yummy brain food. Eat up!)

largehearted boy offers book reviews, contests, interesting articles, and (saving the best for last) a section called Book Notes where “authors discuss a music playlist that relates in some way to their recently published book.” In some cases this might be a playlist of the music the author listened to as she or he wrote, in others it might be the music that influenced the writing, or in still other cases the connection might be something else entirely. It makes for fascinating reading, whichever way you slice it.

The Public Domain Review was a new find for me this week, “an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to promoting and celebrating the public domain in all its richness and variety.” Here you’ll find books (such asThe Life and Adventures of James F. O’Connell, the Tattooed Man [1845] or A Dictionary of Victorian Slang [1990]), films (such asÉmile Cohl’s Fantasmagorie [1908]), essays, images and audio collections, all of which have made it into the public domain. It’s a gold mine of inspiration. Not to mention an almighty time suck, so enter with care.

Finally, if you’ve run out of stultifyingly boring dramas and brain-sucking sitcoms to watch on TV or on Netflix, check out Unplug the TV. Here you will find approximately a bazillion and four videos to nourish your noggin and help you wow your co-workers with your ability to pontificate about antimatter (does it fall up? Well, does it? Go on, watch and find out); dogs (and the three things they should not be doing), and the science of laziness.


A to Z Challenge: DYAC and Documentaries

During the 2013 Blogging from A to Z Challenge I’m posting what  I like to describe as “semi-useful” procrastination strategies for writers and other time-wasters. 

After all the cat fun in yesterday’s post, you probably thought I was going to the dogs today. But, no. I love the pooches every bit as much as I love the kitties, but I’d hate for you to get bored with all the animal antics. Got to keep it fresh, right?

Today’s time-sucking procrastination tactics, sponsored by the daring letter D, appeal to opposite ends of the erudition spectrum.

On the one hand–the more vulgar, can’t get enough of the silly, don’t mind dying as long as I’m peeing my pants laughing hand–we have Damn You Autocorrect. What is not to love about an entire site devoted to the embarrassing, ridiculous, and just plain goofy gaffes perpetrated by the autocorrect feature on cell phones? I’ve posted two examples at the end of the post. These are pretty mild, but be warned if you click the link–many of the “corrections” involve profanity and sexual references, so if that’s going to offend you, steer clear.

On the other hand–the I want to feed my brain with good, nourishing truthiness and knowledge hand–we have documentaries. There all kinds of sites on the web where you can watch amazing documentaries, short and long, serious and humorous, gut-wrenching and inspiring. For a writer who’s looking for an escape route from writer’s block, these can be just the kick in the pants you need to fire up the fading embers of your story and spark it back to life.

One of my favourite documentary sites is home grown, that great Canadian cultural institution, The National Film Board. I’m not sure, though, whether this link works outside of Canada, so I’m also including a link to Documentary Heaven. Biography, animation, experimental film, history, glimpses of other’s’ lives lived in unfamiliar ways, documentaries have it all, bringing bite-sized pieces of our fascinating world to your computer screen with just one click.

A couple of the tamer examples from Damn You Autocorrect:












There are some terrific bloggers participating in the challenge this year. Check them out over here.