Tag Archives: ursula k. le guin

Ursula K. Le Guin's Writing Schedule is Very Relatable

Ursula K. Le Guin’s Ideal Writing Schedule Was Very Relatable

“My life is very ordinary, common place, middle class, quiet and hard-working. I enjoy it immensely. I do not find it appropriate to talk about it very much.”

The schedule of famous writers and creators has always been a fascination of mine, and I know I’m not alone. Despite what social media tells you, there’s no right or wrong way to create. What works for one person won’t always work for someone else. Glean what you can. Reject what doesn’t work. Part of creating is learning what works for you. Be kind and humble enough to let others follow their own path.

All that said, I find Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing process relatable, delightful, and somewhat enviable—well, except for that 5:30 AM wake-up. (Who does that?) While Le Guin’s ideal schedule is nothing compared to the alleged Hunter S. Thompson routine, you never know what happens after 8:00 PM, for all we know “middle-aged Portland housewives” go hard.

5:30 a.m. - wake up and lie there and think. 6:15 a.m. - get up and eat breakfast (lots). 7:15 a.m. - get to work writing, writing, writing. Noon - lunch. 1-3 p.m. - reading, music. 3-5 p.m. - correspondence, maybe house cleaning. 5-8 p.m. - make dinner and eat it. After 8 p.m. - I tend to be very stupid and we won't talk about this. I go to bed at 10:00 p.m. If I'm at the beach there would be one ore two long walks on the beach in that day. This is a perfect day for me.

It’s easy to see the appeal. I too am a fan of thinking in bed, breakfast foods, reading, and taking time to be stupid. (The graphic above omits her 10 PM bedtime, for some reason. So it’s only two hours of stupidity despite what we all hoped.)

Le Guin’s schedule originally appeared in a 1988 interview with Slawek Wojtowicz (you can read the full transcript and see a scanned image of her response at the link—it includes some wonderful handwritten notes as well) and more recently in Ursula K. Le Guin: The Last Interview. Want more? I’d encourage you to check out Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, a phenomenal documentary from Arwen Curry.

Ursula K. Le Guin

The Unread Story

“The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story.”

A few years ago I helped back a beautiful little documentary on Le Guin’s life. If you haven’t seen it, I highly encourage you to seek it out. Le Guin was a fantastic writer and remains an inspiration not only to me but to a thousand other writers. You can view the trailer below.

I <3 Ursula K. Leguin

 

#My5 - Influences, Inspirations, Ideas

Introducing: #My5

Attend any convention, sit in on a reading, or visit panel and during open Q&A, and you’ll hear a common question asked by someone in attendance. It’s a query every author gets. I’ve seen Neil Gaiman blog about it, Stephen King speak about it, and Ursula K. Le Guin write about it. It comes down to this:

“Where do you get your ideas?”

I think people assume that there is some hidden mystery or a big secret in being a writer. However, the truth is that inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere; the smallest thing can spark a multitude of ideas, and it’s different for every author. For me, I can imagine several key instances that have triggered something in my mind, ideas that have taken root and helped construct the world of The Bell Forging Cycle. I want to share those ideas, and I know others do as well, so I am introducing #My5, a new project I’m starting, focusing on inspiration and ideas. The goal is to create a familiar and straightforward format allowing published authors (indie or traditional) from any and all genres to share some of their inspirations for specific projects with their fans and peers. In these posts, writers will list five sources that influenced one of their projects and they’ll link to the blogs of others authors who are doing the same thing. There’s no rule on what you can find inspiring, be it music, television, books, speeches, landscapes, travel, or whatever; it’s all open. The key is that you can only pick five, no more, no less.

So, if you’re a published author who regularly blogs, you’re invited to participate! Just shoot me an email at hello at kmalexander.com and let me know you’re participating. Write your post, publish it, and link to others who have done the same. The goal is to create a network of ideas so we can share our inspirations together. You can download the #My5 Logo using any of the links below.


Download the #My5 Logo600×600 PNG: White | Black
1200×1200 PNGs: White | Black
(Vector version available upon request.)


The first round of #My5 entries are coming really soon. So watch this space and follow me on Twitter! I’ll be posting my own and linking to others. Even the simplest thing can often spark amazing stories and complex worlds; inspiration abounds, let’s explore it.

Friday Link Pack 07/31/2015 - Dang, July is a long month.

Friday Link Pack 7/31/2015

After a week hiatus, we’re back! Here is today’s Friday Link Pack! Some of these links I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Do you have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Click here to email me and let me know! (Include a website so I can link to you as well.) Let’s get to it…

WRITING:

How To Deal With Harsh Criticism Of Your Writing
A great article from Charlie Jane Anders popped up on io9 this week. Criticism is hard, sometimes painfully so, but there are ways you can approach it. This is good advice.

Wake-Up Call: Amazon Serves Author Interests Better Than Publishers
Industry vet, Mike Shatzkin, breaks down Amazons recent innovative moves (like launching the follow button for readers) and how their success has translated into success for publishing and writing in general.

Ursula K. Le Guin Is Breathing Fire To Save American Literature
A great profile on badass Ursula K. Le Guin. (If you’re a follower of my blog it’s no secret how much I love her and her work.) Absolutely fantastic read, delving into her writing, her defense of sci-fi and fantasy (and books in general), and her activism work.

Why Horror Is Good For You (And Even Better For Your Kids)
Artist Greg Ruth gives us six fantastic reasons why we should all read horror.

Indie Or Traditional: The Cost Of Publishing
Creating a book always has a cost. It’s up to you as the writer to decide what that cost should be and how much you’re willing to pay.

ART:

Alicia Savage, Destinations
Stumbled across Alicia Savage’s ethereal photography work and knew I’d need to share it here. Obscured women float and drift through surreal glimpses of shattered Americana.

The Art Of Greg Ruth
He’s already told us why horror is good for us in the Writing section. Why not enjoy exploring some of his incredible work as well?

Artist Sam Van Aken’s Tree Grows 40 Different Kinds Of Fruit
Using grafting, Sam Van Aken grows some pretty incredible trees. [Big thanks to Ben for sharing this with me.]

RANDOM:

Perfectly Timed Photos That Make Dogs Look Like Giants
Because you needed something like this right now.

Abandoned Indonesian Church Shaped Like a Massive Clucking Chicken
Some people do strange things to get messages from God, things like build a strangely shaped church in the middle of the jungle. Apparently the builder had intended it to look like a dove but it’s clearly a chicken.

Kowloon Walled City
I have mentioned before that Lovat, the megalopolis central in my Bell Forging Cycle, was heavily influenced by Kowloon Walled City. This multimedia project by the Wall Street Journal is an incredible way to explore the rich stories and dark streets of the legendary Hong Kong settlement.

A Renaissance Painting Reveals How Breeding Changed Watermelons
We’re in the throws of summer here in the Northern Hemisphere. Why not take some time to explore the horticultural history of one of summer’s greatest treats: the watermelon.

WEIRD WIKIPEDIA:

Aroma Of Tacoma

“Seattle! Seattle! Death Rattle, Death Rattle; Tacoma! Tacoma! Aroma, Aroma!”

George Francis Train

“The “Aroma of Tacoma” is a putrid and unpleasant odor associated with Tacoma, Washington. The smell has been described as similar to the odor of rotten eggs. The odor is not noticeable throughout the city, but is rather concentrated in the north end of Tacoma and is frequently smelled by motorists traveling that section of the Interstate 5 highway.”

H.P. LOVECRAFT STORY OF THE WEEK:

The Night Ocean
This gloomy mood piece follows a melancholy artist who spends time alone in his cabin by the sea, and unlike most of Lovecraft’s protagonists he doesn’t throw himself into the way of terrifying monstrosities.

GIF OF THE WEEK:

In his house at R'lyeh, dead Cthulhu waits...