B&N Has Something Up Their Sleeve…

BLOG bookstore.jpgAs an avid reader, receiving books as a gift for the holidays will always put a huge smile on my face. If you or someone you know feels the same way, I’ve got some news for you –  Barnes & Noble has revealed some great holiday gifts and ideas.

Barnes & Noble recently advertised how they are going to make book shopping easier. There will be a new Nook hitting the displays this holiday season. This updated device will have an automatic brightness adjustment which will sense the area surrounding the reader to make the screen more comfortable to read. Small features like this will help Barnes & Noble stay in the race of a very dominated industry. This would be a great gift for someone who enjoys technology or for the avid reader who might want to have a hand in helping to save a few trees.


The company has developed two new apps to make discovering new books and gift-giving easier: BookGraph and SmartGift.

The first app is BookGraph. It is only available as a desktop app. It is described as an “interactive discovery tool,” essentially showing shoppers a list of books that might interest them. It is meant to increase discoverability for both readers and authors.

The second app is called SmartGift. This app is available on both desktop and mobile devices. Users can send a gift to someone, who can either accept the gift or exchange it for something else of the same price.

The Barnes & Noble gift guide has been updated as well. If you’re feeling extra charitable this season, they are renewing their holiday book drive program in partnership with the Instagram brand, “Hot Dudes Reading.”

Keep in touch on social media with Barnes & Noble with the hashtag, #AllIWant.







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If you enjoy journaling and are also a writer/author, the relationship between the two can get stronger if you put them together. Embracing a journal and writing entries regularly can help develop your skills as a creative writer.

Suddenly Jamie, a blogger, gave 10 reasons as to why journaling helps writing. Here are just a few that I believe are relevant to writing your novel:

  1. Helps develop writing habits.
  2. Helps find your unique voice.
  3. Clears your mind.
  4. Flushes out the crap.
  5. Alleviates the pressure to be “good.”

First, you need to find your own journaling style. If you’re a new writer and want to incorporate your journaling with your writing, there are many different ways to use your journal as a powerful writing tool. You shouldn’t feel pressure from your journaling to write more, think of it as a tool or technique that encourages your writing to happen, instead of falling into the abyss of writer’s block. One style of journaling is like John Steinback’s journals. He chooses to journal about his writing process and keeps himself updated about his writing outside of his current manuscript. Another method is to mirror something like ‘A Q&A a day’, also called “Big-Picture it,” you answer questions in which you revisit the questions after time has lapsed and in revisiting something may pop out in which you can use in your writing. If you enjoy poetry and Twitter, another interesting journaling technique is to use the character-limited social service to write a short sentence about anything. When choosing this route, you could write one tweet a week and compile 52 different poems! A similar tactic is using keywords to write in short hand. Lastly, snapshots are a fun way to journal about one moment in the day.


Now, if you’re comfortable with your journaling style but still want to try and weave it together with your writing, Mari L. McCarthy may be able to help. Journaling is not writing, so don’t substitute! Journaling can serve as a warm-up exercise prior to writing professionally. Writing in a journal can jumpstart thinking and test all kinds of limits for your creative writing. Your journal can be your personal therapist – to flush out the unwanted writing you may accidentally include in your novel.

The art of journaling can be a simple cure to writer’s block or can easily be used to keep your writing brain going between projects. Maybe taking a trip down to the local hobby store and picking up a journal is in your future…it counts as “work,” right?

Put Your Hand To It

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With technology constantly advancing, authors and writers have taken to saving their work on the hard drive of their personal computers. If they’re risk-takers, the manuscript will only be saved on their Google Drive. But, what happens if the internet breaks because of a technological apocalypse? Does a writer wave farewell to the 300-page world they had created and give up on the art of creative writing?

It might come as a surprise, but longhand isn’t a lost art, although it is growing more and more extinct as time moves forward. Authors like Neil Gaiman, Joyce Carol Oates, Tom Wolfe, Joe Haldeman, Andre Dubus III, and Joshua Ferris are only a few examples of authors who still take a pen and notebook to their home desk to write for several hours at a time. From a scientific standpoint, outside of creative writing, the reasons to use this style vary: individuals learn faster, recall more, are more creative, are less distracted, and  it keeps the brain sharp.

Need more of an author’s point of view to consider writing longhand? Patrick McLean posted a blog discussing his relationship with writing manuscripts by hand. He’s been reminded time and time again that every first draft won’t be perfect, so writing should be done effortlessly. In his experience, he sees that he writes better without a computer. Without the sounds of chat notifications, incoming emails, or the world wide web, McLean claims he has less distraction when writing. He sees paper as perishable but he sees technology as perishable as well; when the computer crashes, everything will be destroyed if there isn’t a backup on a hard drive. He firmly believes that just because technology evolves, the amount of content might grow, but that doesn’t mean the quality will get better.

Especially if you are in a slump or just looking for a way to revive your writing process, consider leaving technology on the side for a few hours. Give the old-fashioned longhand writing a try, instead of tapping away at a keyboard. It could potentially be lifechanging!