top 5 tuesday: laying the foundations

is tuesday an underrated day of the week or what? i’ve personally always liked tuesdays–maybe because in high school my sophomore english teacher was legitimately superstitious about them. she believed everything bad happened on a tuesday. (she was cuh-RAY-zee.) so i decided i was gonna love the crap out of tuesdays just to spite her.

also, in my corner of the world, tuesdays are buy 1 pad thai get 1 for a dollar at the local thai food restaurant. you better believe that’s what i did today.

so, anyways, people always ask me, “where do you get your inspiration?” (false. no one asks me that.)  nonetheless, i thought i’d lay some foundations and share some cool stuff that’s inspired me, all of which are things i’d highly recommend to anyone who loves writing and/or literature:

1. How To Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster

i actually wrote a review on this book back in my early days, which you can read here if you feel so inclined. but i’ll say now what i said then: this book is great for anyone who likes to read (not just scholarly types). one of my biggest takeaways was that you don’t have to be a professor or to have read all the classics to be an intelligent reader. everything we read, see, and hear can hone our literary skills. that means you can focus on what you do know instead of what you don’t–and see every new story as a chance to learn something new.

2. Just Write (YouTube)

with that in mind, i am a big fan of looking at pop culture through a writer’s (or a literary critic’s) eyes–because as valuable as books are, film, tv, and even music have their place in the world of storytelling. enter Just Write, a YouTube channel that breaks down the storytelling strengths/flaws of various (mostly well-known) films and tv shows. it’ll open your eyes as both a writer and a viewer–and teach you some powerful lessons about storytelling (not just screenwriting). if you like game of thrones (hot button issue rn, i know), i’d check out What Writers Should Learn From Game of Thrones… and then watch the follow-ups.

3. On Writing by Stephen King

well, i may have never actually read any of the master of horror’s novels (though i really should), but i have read his memoir, which is basically required reading for anyone who dares to call themselves a writer. king’s no-nonsense wit and eye-opening wisdom will kick you in the seat of your pants–in the best way possible. just take this pretty oft-quoted tidbit for a ride: “The road to hell is paved with adverbs.” touché, king, touché.

4. Teen Ink

okay, so, maybe i’m not a teenager anymore (though could somebody please tell my brain that?), but when i was one, my go-to was Teen Ink, an online and print publication for teenaged creative writers and artists. i didn’t take the time to submit a whole lot to them, but i loved their weekly newsletter, which was basically a writing blog. i would occasionally peruse their site or pick up the latest issue from the library, and tbh, i’d often get discouraged by how good some of these teen authors were. but i shouldn’t have been discouraged–i should’ve been inspired! so, teens, don’t be like me: read, submit, subscribe as much as you can!

5. Shelly Thacker’s “Top 10 Tips For a Top-Notch Novel”

years ago, i printed out romance author shelly thacker’s “top 10 tips” from the internet and put it in my writing binder–where it’s remained ever since (though at the present moment i’m in the process of moving so it’s buried beneath a bunch of other shit). any author worth her salt will tell you that there isn’t one bonafide way to write a novel, but you can certainly learn from the best. these tips have definitely become part of my foundation–i always end up going back to them.

did you like any of these picks? do you have inspirations of your own you’d like to share? let me know in the comments!

4 thoughts on “top 5 tuesday: laying the foundations

  1. This is a great post! I’m also a huge fan of How to Read Literature Like a Professor. I read that way naturally to some degree, but that book provides so much clarity about a way of thinking that can sometimes feel unintuitive.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. thank you so much! i totally agree. he has another book titled How to Read Novels Like Professor that i’ve been meaning to read. i bet it’s just as good!


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