John Hewitt’s News, Prompts and Thoughts #5

Hi everyone. I’ve been making some site changes lately. Once again, I have changed the look and feel of the site. I’ve also stopped posting individual jobs. There was a time when those seemed to drive a lot of traffic, but I think people have gotten used to other sources, and I just can’t devote the time to it and expect to write new material. Still, I don’t want to abandon people who are on the hunt for new gigs, so I am aggregating job ads in these posts. I hope it helps. You can also always visit jobs.poewar.com to … Continue reading John Hewitt’s News, Prompts and Thoughts #5

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John Hewitt’s News, Prompts and Thoughts #4

My work schedule has been very hectic for the past couple of weeks, and as a consequence I have been eating lunch at my desk. Last Wednesday I decided I had to put a stop to that, so I took a late lunch and went to my favorite sushi place. I didn’t bring any of my devices and I just relaxed and ate a leisurely lunch. Sure enough, about halfway through lunch I was struck by a story idea that immediately caught my imagination. That night I wrote over three thousand words and still loved the idea.

I hope I’ll have more to discuss with the story as time passes, but the point I wanted to make is that you have to give yourself downtime, especially if you are a person who writes creative work. Unfortunately, many of us mistake watching TV, using our tablets or even our phones as downtime. Downtime requires that you shut all of these things off and just let your mind wander free for a bit. If you haven’t done that lately, I highly recommend it.

News

Not much news today, but I found this story of best sellers that began as self-published books to be interesting. Many of the items on the list are from the eBook era, but some, such as The Tales of Peter Rabbit and The Joy of Cooking are decades old.

 

Prompts

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Make a list of all the things you have on you right now, with descriptions of how you got each item.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem about a fantasy.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story that begins with someone eating.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about the last time you sent a letter by mail.

Plugs

I just want to say a quick Happy Birthday to my wife Jeni. I love you honey.

Jeni Heart

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John Hewitt’s News, Prompts and Thoughts #3

I hope your week gets off to a good start. I am elbow deep in a documentation project that sprang onto my calendar just last week. It is my task to take a set of documents created with one purpose in mind, and mold them to suit an entirely new framework that will cover similar ground. There’s a short window of time to do this in, so I don’t have much time to plan and reflect. I have to pick a path and move forward. This can be problematic, but it is also liberating. A project like this could easily consume triple the amount of time I have to work on it. Working faster requires accepting that I will not always make the best choice, but that making any choice will get me closer to my goal. Progress trumps perfection sometimes.

News

E-Book Reading Continues to Grow

Here’s a nice article about the growth of ebooks, and the appeal of their portable, accessible format. It also delves into the likelihood of e-book readers to comment and share their reading experiences through social media.

Measurable Buzz

The Nielsen Company, best known for tracking who watches what on TV, are going to expand to track who tweets about what show. Getting advertising revenue from Twitter followers seems unlikely at best, but the tool should do a great of identifying the shows with the most loyal and vocal fans, which may keep a show going despite a small audience.

Prompts

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Describe ten real-world examples of different colors.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem that begins with the name of a city.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story in which something gets halved.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about something you think is funny, but most other people do not think is funny.

Plugs

Judy Blume has a Twitter account. That makes me very happy. She’s @JudyBlume and giving twerking advice to @lenadunham. That is just too perfect. I, by the way, am still @HewittJohnC. In Honor of Judy Blume, please have some Fudge.

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John Hewitt’s News, Prompts and Thoughts #2

The Good, The Bad and the Tasty

The Good, The Bad and the Tasty

My Twitter Account is Filled with Food

I have struggled with my weight for most of my life. Last year I dieted my way from 360 pounds down to 230 pounds. As often happens with diets, my weight has been jumping up since I stopped actively dieting. I’ve been through a lot of major life events and other distractions that pushed my weight loss goals down on the priority list. Recently my weight hit 310, and I decided to get serious about improving my eating habits. This isn’t easy. I am surrounded by people who eat and enjoy junk food and high calorie foods of all types. In addition, I travel weekly for work, so maintaining any particular routine of diet or exercise is a challenge.

My goal this time is different from previous goals. I am not going to try a specific diet. Instead, I am simply trying to make myself think about what I eat (and think twice about many of my choices). To do this, I started posting all of my meals and snacks (usually with pictures) to my twitter feed (@HewittJohnC). I was nervous about this at first. I wasn’t sure if this would make me lose followers or result in a lot of unkind comments. So far though, the response has been minor, but the results for me have been very positive.

I am down seven pounds since I started posting three weeks ago. I haven’t completely changed my habits, nor did I expect to. My addiction to slush drinks remains. I still eat fast food on occasion. I have consumed more than a few cookies. At times I have wondered if I have changed my habits at all, but since the weight keeps inching down I feel like I am accomplishing something, and that is good.

So, if you aren’t following me on Twitter, please know that I would like you to. If you do, you’ll see:

  • Pictures of food
  • Comments on pop culture
  • Links to jobs and other posts here at Poewar
  • Videos of my twins
  • Occasional conversations with people who I think are interesting

So please think about following: @HewittJohnC

 

News

Self Publishing Benefits Major Publishers

Whether you like the book or not (My wife likes it, I haven’t read it) 50 Shades of Gray (aff) changed publishing, and I think it changed it for the better. It demonstrated that a bestseller could not only be self published, but could get to the top before it ever hit print. This must be devastating for the big publishers, right? Nope. The big houses are doing just fine. It turns out that all the big indie authors eventually sign some sort of deal with the publishers, who get the benefit of a proven money earner. Self publishing is serving as a sort of farm system for publishers. The writers who thrive as self publishers eventually thrive with a major publisher.

Books as a Service

Web site Scribd recently launched a subscription service that will allow you to pay a flat fee ($8.99) and read any book in their collection. In much the same way as Netflix, readers choose what they want to read from a list of available titles. The service does this by paying the publishers for the titles that people read (I assume at a significant discount) so the publisher does not get cut out of the profits. Sounds like a good deal for everyone.

Prompts

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Pick three books (at random, your favorites, recent reads) and create new (alternate) titles for the books based on your experiences with the book.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem that involves trust.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story that begins with a person buying a drink.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about your experiences reading books in a nontraditional format (on a a tablet, on our computer, via audio).

Jobs Round Up

Here are some recent jobs posts:

Plugs

Again, you can follow me on twitter @HewittJohnC

 

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John Hewitt’s News, Prompts and Thoughts #1

I’m trying to get back into more of a newsletter mode with my updates. We’ll see how it holds up. The general idea is to give people the prompts that they love, but add a little extra to the mix. It probably won’t be daily, but I’m hoping to get about three updates a week in. Fingers crossed.

News

RIP Tom Clancy

We start with a little sad news. Tom Clancy, writer of the Jack Ryan novels and other technothrillers has died at the age of 66. I’ve never read his novels, so I only know his stories from the movies, but he was known for his exhaustive research into the details of how government and the military works, which gave his stories an authenticity that is rare in thrillers.

RIP CEO Walter White

“Legal issues aside, Walt would be a fantastic startup founder.”
I’m still thinking about Breaking Bad, and I love this article about how Walter White demonstrates the entrepreneurial spirit… and leaves a path or destruction is his wake.

Because I Have Kids

If you want your kids to be smart, you should talk to them and listen to them. It seems obvious, but it is certainly an interesting experience talking to my fourteen-month-old twins. It turns out, they really like saying “Hi”. Thanks to Next Draft for the link.

Prompts

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Make a list of words you don’t like and why you don’t like them.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem that involved a clasp.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story in which something falls from the sky.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about how the government shutdown has affected you.

Plugs

My friends Deb Dorchak and Wendi Kelly have released the third volume in their werewolf and vampires saga. Reclamations is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. If you love the creatures who go bump in the night (occasionally with each other) then give it a read.

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Writing Prompts #34

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise)

Write a dialog between a customer and a salesperson that ends in a purchase.

Poetry Prompt

Write a poem about finding the end of a road.

Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt

Write a story that takes place at a carnival or fair.

Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt

Write about your experiences with competition.

Writing Prompts #33

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise) Write about what the word darkness means to you. Poetry Prompt Write a poem that uses the word splinter in the first line. Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt Write a story that takes place in the first five minutes after waking up on a Saturday morning. Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt Write about a trade or deal you have made and how you felt about it over time.

Writing Prompts #32

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise) Write a description of what a great day for you is like. Poetry Prompt Write a poem about making something smaller than it used to be. Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt Write a story that involves climbing. Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt Write about what actions you or any single person cold take to improve the city or town you live in.

Writing Prompts #31

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise) Go to the spam folder in your email and rewrite one of the terribly written messages so that it makes sense. Alternatively, turn it into a poem. Poetry Prompt Write a poem about turning one thing into many things. Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt Write a story that takes place in an alley. Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt Write about your least favorite mode of transportation.

Writing Prompts #30

Writing Skill Builder (A Quick Exercise) To flesh out a character you have created, describe how that character would pack for a week-long trip. What would that person bring and what would that person leave out? Poetry Prompt Write a list poem about exercise. Short Story / Fast Fiction Prompt Write a story that includes a conversation between two people who think they are being lied to. Essay / Non-Fiction Prompt Write about a time in your life when you had to stay awake long after you would have liked to have slept.