Three-minute Boost for Writers

Writers, feeling sluggish after putting one word after another all day (or the last half hour)? Head to YouTube for a quick burst of insight or inspiration. When I say “quick,” I’m talking about as little as under two minutes. Here are some I found worth watching.

“Writing Advice from Matt Stone and Trey Parker” 

Matt Stone and Trey Parker, most famous as creators of TV’s “South Park” series, describe a simple but useful principle for moving a story forward.  2:14 minutes

“Hillary Jordan: Richard & Judy Show Interview”

If you know “Mudbound” only as a movie, I highly recommend reading the book. In this interview with author Hillary Jordan, you’ll learn how the novel sprang from a three-page creative writing assignment, one I’d like to try myself. (I know, novels rarely spring forth. They emerge from a heap of words spilled onto the page and then cleaned up with shovels and demitasse spoons.)  3:23 minutes

“Writers on Writing: Lee Child on Starting Writing After 40”

Spoiler alert: the author of the popular Jack Reacher detective series has good news for people who think they’re too old to start writing.  3:00 minutes

“Peter Heller on Writing”

My favorite dystopian novel is Heller’s The Dog Stars. If your writing day starts off like Sisyphus pushing the stone up the mountain, you’ll appreciate Heller’s strategy for keeping the momentum going from one day to the next. I’ve heard it before from Tosh McIntosh, who chairs the Austin Novel in Progress critique group. Sage advice, if only I’d remember it. 1:47 minutes

“20th & Vine: Backstage With Ann Patchett”

Besides being a best-selling, award-winning author, Patchett owns Parnassus, a bookstore in Nashville. It’s a magnet for other writers visiting the city, and Patchett describes how they help one another through “novel therapy.” 1:48 minutes

This blog post was inspired by fellow author Sharon Scarborough. She urged me to watch the clip of Matt Stone and Trey Parker. I was so taken with the two-minute gem that I started looking for more little jewels.

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The fact is I don’t know where my ideas come from. Nor does any writer. The only real answer is to drink way too much coffee and buy yourself a desk that doesn’t collapse when you beat your head against it.

–Douglas Adams

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5 thoughts on “Three-minute Boost for Writers

  1. To be mentioned positively in a blog post written by one of my favorite fellow author friends is indeed an honor, especially since Leanna can be tough, but always fair and usually right on, when offering suggestions for improving submissions to our critique group. Truth be told, we can all benefit from the advice of others about the critical importance of maintaining momentum in our stories. Without that outside input, we can too easily miss the speed bumps that typically populate early drafts.

  2. Thanks, Tosh. I’ve been critical of other writers for the “and then this happened” syndrome. Thankfully Novel in Progress members caught me at my own game and got me on track.

  3. I’m glad you enjoyed Trey Parker and Matt Stone. I really enjoy that clip and I’ve applied the idea to my WIP and it works! BTW Anne Patchett’s book store is in Nashville–not Memphis as the 20th and Vine note says. Great post.

  4. I have a question about your book I believe I should not post in public. Could you send me a email so I can ask away?

    Thank you

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