Every month, I share the articles and sites that I found most interesting. Here’s what caught my attention in January.
• Putting Your Worst Foot Forward: Why You Should Play to Your Weaknesses as an Author by Charlie Jane Anders: “That’s why, at least sometimes, it’s better to lean on your weaknesses as a writer. Your strengths will still be there when you need them, but often the only way to get better at writing is to develop the skills that you lack.”
• There’s a Weird, Sexist Problem in Fantasy That We Need to Talk About by Mya Nunnally: “There is a tendency to classify women as young adult or middle grade authors, despite the actual content of their books.”
• How to trade social media for an innovative writing life by Jan Fortune
For most people, including many of us who think that social media is essential to our continued professional existence, the ‘benefits’ are at best minor and random. Yet we cling to the tools that ‘everyone’ is using in an attempt to find any scrap of benefit.
This is not an authentic craftsperson’s approach.
• Steve Jobs Never Wanted Us to Use Our iPhones Like This by Cal Newport
Practically speaking, to be a minimalist smartphone user means that you deploy this device for a small number of features that do things you value (and that the phone does particularly well), and then outside of these activities, put it away. This approach dethrones this gadget from a position of constant companion down to a luxury object, like a fancy bike or a high-end blender, that gives you great pleasure when you use it but doesn’t dominate your entire day.
When reviewers picture authenticity in ethnic food, they mentally reference all the experiences they’ve had before with that cuisine and the people who make it — and most of the time, reviewers view those experiences, whether from personal interaction or from interacting with media, as not positive. Reviews tend to reflect the racism already existing in the world; people’s biases come into play.
• Astrology Year Zero by Lauren Oyler: “The persistent grip of poptimism on cultural criticism cleared away many of the obstacles to astrology acceptance the sometimes-thinking person might face: it’s totally fine to like stupid stuff as long as you overanalyze it.”
• The World’s Writing Systems: This web site presents one glyph for each of the world’s writing systems. It is the first step of the Missing Scripts Project, a long-term initiative that aims to identify writing systems which are not yet encoded in the Unicode standard. (Via)
• iTextEditors: A feature comparison of text editors for iOS.
What’s the most interesting thing you saw online this month?