Repurpose Unwelcome Old Books

I am a book hoarder. I knew I had passed the collecting versus hoarding limit when I needed a second bookshelf for the non-ficiton books I mostly have not read yet. All those good intentions can’t last forever. So I have at least a dozen books about computer software which have not been relevant for awhile. Libraries and second hand bookstores do not want them – computer books in particular they tend not to accept at all. But, I can’t just throw them away! All that idealism that went into picking them for whatever project I had in mind. All that stuff I wanted to learn but didn’t finish… before it became outdated. 

Some books are just obsolete. 

Just because you can’t find someone who wants that old book about Windows ME, doesn’t mean it’s not worth more than the paper it’s printed on. There are people who would be glad to have those old books for art projects. Consider donating them to schools for children to use in craft projects. I’m thinking paper mache but I’m sure teachers working with young people could think of other uses. Artists working with paper could use the pages of your books for practicing, creating a mock up/ rough draft of a project – of cleaning their paint brushes. 

There is hope for your old books so stop keeping them all yourself. 

(Image from Good Housekeeping).

Sell Your Writing on Etsy

Self publishing lets writers choose what they want to publish and… the format they will use. Most often the format is digital now. But… consider going back to print. You can print publish your own content without a big name publisher, or a literary agent. Self publish your own zine and distribute it online through Etsy (or other online stores like it).

I was surprised at how many zines are being distributed through Etsy, in particular. Most are sent as do-it-yourself publications, on paper and mailed out to buyers. However, there is the option of selling a digital copy which people buy and then print themselves. There are pluses and minuses for both. A digital copy is easier to distribute, no mail service involved. But, the print copy gives the writer options. A print publication can be mailed out with extras. I’ve seen publishers make their own stickers and buttons. You could also create calendars for yearly subscribers. There are a lot of extras you could do with your own print publication.

It’s a new (retro) way of self publishing.

teamzineLink: Team Zine – Etsy Teams

Taking Ebooks Back to Books?

Is bookbinding a dead profession?

I hope not. At the very least I’d like to know there are still people who can repair and restore old books.

But, I’d really like to see bookbinding become popular – taking ebooks to a new level.

I almost never read any ebook I have downloaded. Maybe younger people will change their habits enough to include ebook computer time. I find I want a real book, paperback or hardcover, to take me away from the computer. I love reading in bed. I’ve always got a book in my purse to bring out while I have coffee somewhere, wait for a bus, or just find a time and place to read.

If the ebooks were on paper I might read them. But, I don’t really want more computer time when I am not working on computer/ Internet things. I’d read all those ebooks if they were converted into books. I wonder if something like that will come along some day?

bookbinders

Since 1983 the Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild has worked to support the development of the book arts in Canada. This web site is dedicated to that effort. The book arts include bookbinding, artists’ books, papermaking, calligraphy, letterpress printing and typography, wood engraving, paper decorating, restoration, and conservation.

The Canadian Bookbinders and Book Artists Guild

For the Lost Art of Letter Writing

This Letter Writing Kit was made for those of us “born in the wrong century”! It is “All things Austen!!” With this kit, you or a loved one will be able to spend time relaxing and enjoying an almost ” Lost Art” of writing letters in the style of Jane Austen. Enjoy sealing your letter with a real wax seal and using all the Jane Austen themed ephemera! And while you are at it … Enjoy a cup of tea courtesy of me!

It contains:

1. Mini ceramic wax seal ( current stock: heart enclosed in a wreath).
2. 1 wax stick
3. Variety of Jane Austen Themed Stickers
4. 1 set (6) of Jane Austen Silhouette Stickers
5. 1 gorgeously illustrated ( from the beloved novel: Pride and Prejudice) blank note card/ envelope
6. 1 Unique, fill in the blank, Jane Austen Letter Writing Society Mail Tag card
7. 2 blank note cards/ with envelopes to decorate
8. 2 sheets of Victorian mailing labels
9. 2 Jane Austen quote post cards
10. 1 log book to record correspondence
11. Sample of Bakers Twine
12. Sample of craft lace or ribbon
13. 4 mini , stamped envelopes ( to hold a tea bag)
14. 1 vintage themed rubber stamp
15. An assortment of vintage die cuts ephemera
16. 2 large dimensional stickers ,includes 1 large oval Jane Austen Silhouette
17. 4 small doilies
18. 4 vintage circle letter seals
19. 1 package of “Forget -Me -not” seeds just for sentimental sake!
20. 1 roll of vintage paper or fabric tape

Source: On Sale Jane Austen letter writing kit letter by LostArtRevived

The Typewriter Project of New York City

Inside a wooden shack installed at North 12th Street and Driggs Avenue in Williamsburg’s McCarren Park, anyone can sit down at a typewriter and contribute to a collaborative poem unfolding over a 100-foot paper scroll. “The Typewriter Project: The Subconscious of the City,” presented by the Poetry Society of New York in partnership with the Parks Department, is a nomadic experiment in engaging the public with writing.

Source: A Roving Typewriter Records the Subconscious of New York City

Perfunctory Moments

According to Miriam-Webster, the word perfunctory is-

Just kidding. I would never subject you to the moist handshake of essay openers. But while we’re on the subject, now is a good time to talk about your throw-away moments. The moments you have to get through the show the big plot point you can’t wait to write.

Take a woman about to discover a body. Or a killer. Whatever. How do you make the start of the scene stand out? To you, she may just be PERSON ABOUT TO DISCOVER BODY (housewife, 40s). To a good writer, she’s a woman in the middle of a day. Good day? Bad? Maybe she’s soaked from the rain. Maybe the paper bag of groceries is so wet it breaks. Perhaps a PEAR rolls to the front door of her apartment where the shadow of TWO FEET are visible under the door…

In some scripts the writer is so excited to drop a body (or discover one) the scene leading up to that moment could’ve been written by a computer program. I’m not even talking about a good computer program. A $4.99 in Fry’s discount bin, cutting edge of 1997 kind of program.

When your script is finished, go back to your big reveals – especially those after throw-away moments – and ask yourself if you really need to throw those moments away.

Every scene we read is time we give to your script. Throw-away moments let us know if you value our time as much as you value your own.

Source: Reader’s Lament: Perfunctory Moments

This post comes from an abandoned blog from 2013. I like this post. The idea of all the little moments in our day and how even the big events have little moments before, during and after.

How would you write the scene with the woman who discovers a dead body? What was her day like up to then, what mood was she in and how is it she (in particular) was in that right place and right time to find the body? She may not be the lead character in a story, just some woman written about and then not heard from again.

Clear Your Head Before Writing?

CaptureI flushed this as a spam comment because it was on an old post which had nothing at all to do with the question asked in the comment. But, just before I clicked the magic button… I cut the actual question so I could paste it in here. See below:

I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had a tough time clearing my thoughts in getting my thoughts out. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin.

I don’t centre myself before I begin to write anything. That would not work for me at all. If I am at peace, confident and comfortable I’d never get anywhere.

Writing has to have some discontent behind it. You can be right pissed off or just mildly bothered, but there has to be some disturbance in your force to get your words started.

If I write when I am content I will think too much. I’ll think about what a loser I am in many assorted ways. I knock myself down, run over myself a few times and then think someone else would be a much smarter choice to write about whatever I was set to write about. A writer full of self-confidence is probably the world’s biggest fraud.

Instead it is all of us who feel like frauds even as we put the pen to paper or fingers to the keyboard. That’s just the way it needs to be. A content writer who really believes he or she is great will not be someone with human empathy and failings.

So, no, right from the start, getting centred is just not the way to go.

I try to trick myself into writing. That works.

Start writing before you’re ready, before you have a plan or know how you want to start. Just start.

Later you can muck around and perfect it. Don’t perfect the life out of it though. Don’t get lost in perfecting it and lose track of your deadline and the actual point of getting it done and letting it go.

If you are one of those writers who feels confident and content (bless you) put a tack on your chair, something to at least make you uncomfortable enough to write something.

I Used to Write on BackWash Kids

bwkids

If you also wrote for (with) the BackWash community network of writers/ columnists join us for a BackWash reunion.

Here is the content from the post above. In text for those who can’t read it from the screen captured image above.

Spin your Thoughts with a Journal

Do you keep a journal? Sometimes its called a diary, I think thats the old fashioned term. What you write in your journal is up to you. Be creative, rant about your family, chronicle your life, or just spin your thoughts on the web.

Keep your journal in a secret place if you don’t want anyone to read it. Or, if you feel like sharing you can read what you write to friends or even keep your journal online with sites like Blogger. Of course, you can do both. Have an online journal and another secret journal for just yourself.

Journals can be kept in plain notebooks or fancy lined paper books you buy in stationery stores like Hallmark. I like to write with a fine tip black pen but you can experiment with all kinds of pens and colours. Add stickers or stick in clippings from newspapers and magazines. If you really want to put in a lot of clippings have a look at scrapbooking. Thats another form of journaling but there tends to be less writing and more drawings.

There are lots of websites about journaling and scrapbooking. Have a look around and see which appeals to you.

Remembering BackWash

Listen to Your World

In a world of noise and bustle, we very often do not listen to it. Singers have often used city sounds as inspiration. Neil Diamond had a hit a number of years ago about the sounds of New York. As a writer you can listen to the sounds in your world and write about them.

Tonight, as I was arriving home, I heard a different sound in my parking garage. A lone cricket had found his way into the garage and the walls and cars worked to amplify his music. I started thinking about “a lone cricket, a lonely cricket, a lonely cricket attracting his mate… you get the idea. The “what ifs” led me to a poem.

Think about the sounds of your world.
What does your child sound like sleeping?
What are the sounds of your family dinners?
What is the sound of your morning? night?
What does the night outside sound like?
What is the sound of pen/pencil across paper?
What are the sounds of your neighborhood on a Saturday morning?
Listen to the park on a Sunday afternoon as the old couple shuffle hand in hand.
Hear the squeak of the swing.
Be very quiet and listen to the wind whisper in the trees.
Hear the waves on the lake…the roar of the jet ski… and the silence of the sail boat.
And what about the clatter of the diner?
Close your eyes, listen to your surroundings. Be sure to have your notebook with you. After all, you are a writer and I have to assume you have it with you all the time. Make quiet time for yourself. After about 20 minutes, write what you have heard. It will provide you with grist for your writer’s mill. What you write now may not have application, but you are training yourself to see. And those notes may just be the kernel of a story.

The post above comes from a friend I met while writing on BackWash.com. The network is now gone, just archives you can find with the Wayback Machine. The writer is gone too. Marcia was taken by cancer several years ago. I posted this because we are having a BackWash reunion. At first I thought it was ten years but it may be more than that. Anyway, it is at least ten years since the days I was a columnist on BackWash. If you wrote for the site take a look at the reunion site and add your update to the Personalities page.