Sunday Sharing #2: Seeing only the punctuation, dealing with rejection as a writer, the cult-like world of #PublishingHopefuls and more

Left: Just the punctuation from the opening of Blood Meridian by Cormac McCarthy. Right: Just the punctuation from Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner.

At least until the end of the month I’m going to continue with these lists of things I enjoyed reading/viewing from the week that I think others might enjoy, too. I can already foresee selecting some highlights for this month’s newsletter will be a challenge.

This week’s 10 things I felt were worth sharing:

  1. Clive Thompson on what he learnt about his writing by seeing only the punctuation. He also made a website where you can post your own writing to see just the punctuation. Currently in the process of typing up a post where I analyse my own punctuation.
  1. Jeff Bens advises on how to write a good fight scene.
  1. Should’ve been included in last week’s post is this article from Bad Form Review: “Inside the Cult-Like World of #PublishingHopefuls.” Prior to starting the current job I’m in, I considered myself a “Publishing Hopeful.” Whilst I haven’t written off working in the industry entirely, the content of the article speaks to many of the reservations I now hold. A particular quote from the article that stood out to me:

Publishing Tea suggests that burnout is exacerbated by social media: publishing professionals are expected ‘to become a personality [online]’ if they want to succeed in the industry. The separation between people’s professional and personal lives is increasingly fragile not just for workers but also for hopefuls

… [they] transform hopefuls’ passions and hobbies into jobs and side-gigs, arguably creating a culture of overworking before they’ve even started their jobs. As Amelia Horgan writes in Lost in Work: Escaping Capitalism, work is now ‘tied up with our identities and our everyday lives in profound ways.’ Under neoliberalism, Horgan argues, work and leisure have merged, ‘with work increasingly resembling play, and leisure treated as something we can and should make profitable…each hobby a potential ‘side gig.’’ Even those who don’t yet work in publishing report experiencing burnout from all their side gigs. 

  1. I love Innuendo Studios’ YouTube series The Alt-Right Playbook, which deconstructs tactics employed by the alt-right to recruit members and spread their influence. I regularly revisit this series of videos. What I hadn’t started exploring until this week was their “Endnotes” that follow-up on episodes of the series. Such as this one: “The Origins of Conservatism.” This is an endnote to their excellent analysis of how conservative thinking differs from liberal thinking in “Always a Bigger Fish.”
  1. If you’ve heard about the Sally Rooney/Israel controversy and want to know more about it, Walker Caplan for LitHub covers it all. I’m in full support of Rooney’s decision.
  1. A Twitter thread showcasing the wild but admirable dedication of AO3 writers.
  1. Finally got around to watching Owen Jones’ coverage of the Tory Conference. Unsurprisingly, it was depressing and rage-inducing. I’ll never get over how disconnected these people are from the challenges people in poverty face. Lack of understanding and empathy on full display here.
  1. Alternative search engines to Google.
  1. What I needed reminding this week: “Beautiful things grow out of shit.”
  1. Lastly, I think this is a great video from Shaelin Bishop on dealing with rejection as a writer. I thought her idea to set a number of rejections as a goal to hit interesting; it sounds like a simple but effective win-win method of submitting work.