Showing posts from July, 2009

Where Does Your Brain Get Your Ideas?

I think writers are more familiar than anyone with the strange and unpredictable nature of inspiration. Suddenly, out of seemingly nowhere, a brilliant idea strikes. You might be awake or dreaming. You have to write it down NOW or you risk losing it. I've always known the best stories arose out of primordial mental chaos. Now, science has proved it. Networks of brain cells alternate between periods of calm and periods of instability - "avalanches" of electrical activity that cascade through the neurons. Like real avalanches, exactly how these cascades occur and the resulting state of the brain are unpredictable. It might seem precarious to have a brain that plunges randomly into periods of instability, but the disorder is actually essential to the brain's ability to transmit information and solve problems. ...and write stories.

Book Sales for 2009

How are books selling in Great Depression II? Just great! As long as you take into account that "flat is the new up"! Total U.S. book publishers’ net revenues reached $40.32 billion in 2008, up 1.0% over 2007, while 2008 unit sales reached nearly 3.1 billion, down 1.5% over 2007, according to Book Industry TRENDS 2009, the Book Industry Study Group’s comprehensive annual research study.

Writing Drunk or Sober

Some thoughts on writers and internet addiction: I am coming to suspect that the internet will be to my generation of journalists, and to any younger ones, what alcohol was to our predecessors': a destroyer first of thought and then of productivity, destructive both of the capacity to reflect, and to react, blurring everything into a haze of talk and endlessly repeated variations on the same experience. Just like alcohol, and even cigarettes once were, it seems an inevitable part of the job, one of the things that distinguishes it from all others. Stories are chased and found on the net just as they once were in bars. This won't kill journalism, or thought, of course. There were always many journalists who functioned drunk, and some who could not function any other way. ...But the internet has no edges, any more than it has depth. The sudden movement of someone else's thought across a screen is something you can follow far beyond the room in which your thoughts could be con