Author Archives: KylieQ

Goodreads: What’s the point?

Social networking can be both a blessing and a curse for the writer.  A blessing because it gives us an avenue to connect with both writers and readers, but a curse because it can be a massive timesink.  So when a new social networking site starts up, I usually avoid it.  I can find plenty of ways to proscrastinate as it is, thanks very much.  Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest – I haven’t tried them (although I confess I’m eyeing Pinterest with interest).   So when I first found Goodreads, I was hesitant to jump in.  But, oh boy, am I glad I did.

I admit it: I’m a Goodreads junkie.  As soon as I start a new book, I update Goodreads.  When I finish the book, I rate it.  I’m constantly adding to my “to read” list and right now I have more books listed there than I could read in 18 months.  So what are the benefits of Goodreads?

For the reader:

  1.  A place to interact with writers I enjoy.  I can follow them, see what they’re reading, what they’ve liked and not liked.
  2. A place to store my ever-expanding “to read” list.  No longer is my desk covered with post-it notes bearing scribbled reminders about books I thought looked interesting.  Now it’s all in Goodreads.
  3. I can see what my friends are reading.  A lot of the books on my “to read” list are there because a friend added them to their list.
  4. I can show my friends what I think of each book I read.  My personal policy is that I don’t rate any book as less than three stars.  If I disliked it to that extent, I leave it unstarred.  I also have a “not finished” shelf for the books I couldn’t bear to persist with.
  5. I can check out reviews and ratings of books I’m considering reading before I purchase.   On the odd occasion that I’ve ignored low ratings and scathing reviews, I’ve left the book unfinished.  Unfortunately I have gotten caught a couple of times with books that had high ratings and glowing reviews but which turned out to be awful.
  6. I can connect with other readers via various reading groups.

But what about the benefits of Goodreads for the writer?

I got as far as:

  1. A place to interact with readers and potential readers.
  2. A place where readers can easily write reviews and rate books.
  3. A place to generate buzz by providing giveaways and writing blogs.  Your Goodreads account can be synced with your blog for easy updating (although, I confess it bores me seeing the same blog post everywhere I follow a writer).
  4. A place to connect with like-minded writers via various reading groups.

What am I missing here?  How else does Goodreads benefit writers?  Or is it more about the reader?  Should writers stay out of the way?


Does Writer’s Block Exist?

Back in April, I posted about procrastination.  Since then I’ve been thinking about writer’s block and whether or not it actually exists.  Sure, I struggle to write at times.  Actually I struggle to write most of the time.  But I can usually identify a reason: fatigue, stress, not knowing my characters well enough, not knowing where the story is heading, not being in a creative mood…  I can give you any number of reasons why I can’t write today.  But is it “writer’s block”?  Or is it just me making excuses?

In the movie Stranger than Fiction, one of the lead characters is a writer who is unable to come up with a way to kill off a character in her book.  The plot paints her as a wildly successful writer who is paralysed by her own success.  But is this necessarily “writer’s block” or a case of someone who lets herself be overcome by circumstances to the point where she can no longer write?

I’ve read several theories about what causes writer’s block – it’s a result of stressful conditions, it’s a disruption to activity in a particular part of the brain, it’s a writer running out of inspiration…  I’m not arguing these aren’t all real issues that can halt the flow of words but aren’t we using them as excuses?  We’re too tired, too stressed, too busy to write, so we tell ourselves we have writer’s block.  What other profession would accept this as a valid reason for not producing the required work?  I’m sorry, I can’t paint your house today because I have painter’s block.  I can’t clean your teeth because I have dentist’s block.  I can’t sell you any milk because I have shop assistant’s block.  It’s really quite ludicrous when you think about it.

So I’ve decided I will no longer believe in writer’s block.  If Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny stop coming around because we no longer believe in them then I choose to believe that writer’s block will disappear if I don’t believe in that either.

This doesn’t mean I won’t ever be too tired or too busy to write.  It doesn’t mean I won’t ever have one of those days when I sit at the computer for hours without writing a single word.  It doesn’t mean writing will suddenly become easy.  It just means I have one fewer excuse for why I’m not producing what I know I can.

What excuses do you dress up as writer’s block?

Sunday Reads: 12 August 2012

Inspiration? Motivation? Publishing news?  Check out today’s reads:


Cory Doctorow – Apple Won’t Carry an Ebook Because it Mentions Amazon

Amanda S Green – Where Are the Howls of Outrage?

Chris Meadows – Is David Pogue Bourne to be Wild, or a Bourne Loser?

James Scott Bell – 7 Things Writers Need to do Right Now

Ed Cyzewski – When Self-Publishing is More Useful as a Marketing Tool

Jane Friedman – What Authors Seem to Forget About Marketing – Especially Those Who Dislike It

Self-Publishing Review – Book Sales Aren’t Everything

Adrien-Luc Sanders – Six Minutes

Joanna Penn – Marketing Direct to Kindle Readers

August McLaughlin – Pinterest-Friendly Blog Posts: 5 Important Steps



Missed any Fictorians articles this week?

Nancy DiMauro – Promises to Keep

David Carrico – It’s a Book Review! (Fictorian style)

Frank Morin – Building Wisdom

Sunday Reads: 5 August 2012

Looking for some reads to inspire you?  Check out these.

Brian Keene – How to Write 80,000 Words in a Weekend

Erin Bowman – Facing the Blank Page

Guest Blogger Patti Larsen at The Other Side of the Story – One Writer’s Process

James Scott Bell – Successful Fiction Begins With a Great Concept

Roger Colby – 5 Ways to Work With Stubborn Writing

Kyle Wiens – I Won’t Hire People Who Use Poor Grammar

Rachel Aaron – A New Look at Plotting

Amanda S Green – And Now We Wait

Dystel & Goderich – What Really Happened with the Pulitzer

Alison Strachan – Writing Goals: Learning How to Learn About Writing


Missed any Fictorians articles this week?

Evan Braun – Interlocking Pieces (a.k.a. The Martin Effect)

Leigh Galbreath – How to Make Highway Robbery Work for You

Matt Jones – Distractions – Stop Working Against Your Technology