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Jane Friedman Electric Speed

In this issue

A note from Jane

I’ve long been haunted by this profile of Marina Abramović.

She and her partner are both well-known performance artists. Upon deciding to split—after a very long time together—they both started walking the Great Wall of China, each starting on opposite ends. When they met in the middle, they said goodbye to each other.

Of the effort, she said, “People put so much effort into starting a relationship and so little effort into ending one.”

I found it an incredible and unique act of honoring the importance of someone or some thing in your life.

We’re not all performance artists with the resources to stage such an effort, of course. Instead, most of us participate in rituals that our family, religion, or culture has established. But when I read that profile, I suddenly realized I had been de-emphasizing the role of any ritual in my life. My modus operandi, especially when I was young, was to quietly let things pass by. To eschew even the ritual of a goodbye. (I was an expert ghoster long before there was a term for it.) Somehow I considered this attitude incredibly mature.

But Alain de Botton once wisely said: “Life without ritual: burden of having to mark all significance oneself.”

I hope you find a way to mark this holiday—one that might be absent of your usual rituals—with meaning of your own.


P.S. The most popular blog post at my site this month:
Literary Agents Discuss Foreign Rights and the International Book Market

P.P.S. There is more to this newsletter—keep scrolling!
Emerging Voices: A Webzine for Shifting Times


Emerging Voices: A Webzine for Shifting Times

Emerging Voices is a quarterly online webzine going into its third year. Based in London, the webzine presents voices from around the globe reflecting the personal and the political through paintings, poetry, essays, photography and short commentary. Join our Subscriber list to be updated on quarterly postings, and follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram!

Sponsorships help support Electric Speed. Learn more.

Jane’s Electric Speed List

Here are some of the latest things I’ve discovered. I have not been paid to mention any of these resources and there are no affiliate links.

What is the best story outlining software?

If you hadn’t noticed, there are more choices than ever. Scrivener has been a longtime favorite, but there’s also Novel Factory, Plottr, and Plot Factory. Dave Chesson at Kindlepreneur helpfully reviews the most well-known tools and offers a compare-and-contrast piece. If you don’t want to read about them, he’s also recorded a video.

An incredible resource for researching old newspapers

Elephind is a free resource for searching a global archive of historical newspapers—more than 4,000 titles in all. This is a treasure trove for writers, reporters, and genealogists. Search now.

Easily download YouTube videos without any software

I share this for honest and fair use purposes only: you can download any YouTube video (or audio) to your computer by adding the letters dld to the URL. For example:

Reflection app

New year, new you: start a writing habit

While November often gets all the attention as the writing-focused month (NaNoWriMo), it’s really January that’s the biggest. That’s when New Year’s resolutions happen and people promise themselves that this year they’re really going to commit to a daily writing habit.

If you’d like a beautiful app to motivate you, take a look at Reflection. Its purpose is twofold: journaling and self-reflection.

Author Platform: Build your foundation for career success with Jane Friedman. $25 class. Wednesday December 2, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. Eastern

Next online class: Author Platform—Build Your Foundation for Career Success with Jane Friedman

On Wednesday, Dec. 2: Platform building requires consistent, ongoing effort over the course of a career; the work is never really done, and your strategy will evolve over time. This class offers a framework for understanding platform (it needn’t be intimidating or steal away time from your real writing work), and how to develop an approach and philosophy that fits your personality and the unique qualities of your career.
Learn more and register

Your turn: Online shopping ideas

In the last issue, I asked what online retailers or artists you’re eyeing this year for gift giving. Here’s what you said.
  • For holiday gifts, my husband and I are giving everyone a jar of Kween spreadable granola. It’s a gourmet product and the price reflects that, but the taste and quality are worth every penny. The original tastes like gingersnap cookie dough and the chocolate tastes like brownie batter. We ordered 30 this week and our plan is to give them out at Thanksgiving because we believe once people taste it, they’ll want to give jars as gifts, as well. —Kelly Kandra Hughes
  • My husband and I are planning to send gifts from a DC-area small business, Boso Kitchen. They have interesting and delicious roasted nuts. Boso Kitchen does online ordering and shipping, though they don’t provide gift wrapping. —Nick Barron
  • Under interesting artists/craftsmen: hand-forged gardening tools made in Montana at Fisher Blacksmithing. —Carol Michel
  • I can recommend ArtsyFartsyBowTeek at Etsy. All one-of-a-kind items, mostly jewelry and handmade purses, but clothing items as well. —Lee Sumerall
  • A tiny store in the Canadian Rockies called Cartolina. They came across some beautiful maps and illustrations and turned them into a business. Oprah is crazy about them—so is Downton Abbey/Highclere Castle! —Julie Pithers
  • I found a black tea with four red fruits 25 years ago in Nice, France. You can find it at Kusmi Tea, which now has a U.S. distributor. Their detox tea is another favorite and how I learned to like green tea. Another long time favorite is Davidson’s Christmas tea. —Susan Hodge
I’ve relied greatly this year on the New York Times gift giving guide—and also ended up gifting myself a weighted blanket from Bearaby.

Next question: For those of you who use paper-based calendar systems, who is your favorite designer, brand, or provider?

Upcoming online classes

⭐️ December 2: Author Platform—Build Your Foundation for Career Success with Jane Friedman

🔁 December 16: Second Draft—Your Path to a Powerful, Publishable Story with Allison K Williams

☯️ December 30: Social Media Bliss with Jane Friedman

🖋 January 6: How to Get Published—Land a Book Deal in 2021 with Jane Friedman

👑 January 13: Query Letter Master Class with Critique with Jane Friedman

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Electric Speed is a free newsletter by Jane Friedman that launched in 2009. More than 35,000 subscribers receive it. You can support it by (1) sponsoring an issue or (2) sharing it with friends and colleagues.
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