Monday, March 3, 2014

The Free Bin: Procrastination, Amtrak Residencies, and Free Homes for Writers


It’s time for another link round-up of interesting stories I’ve found related to books, writing, and the occasional oddball thingamajig. 


What is the allure of trains? Amtrak wants writers to find out. (Loco Steve/Creative Commons License)

  • A non-profit in Detroit has figured out what to do with the supply of empty houses, and is using them to attract creative types to the city. Write-a-House is renovating homes that low-income writers can apply to lease. The kicker: if the writer stays a minimum of two years, he or she is awarded the lease, for keeps.

  • Amtrak is considering a plan to offer residencies to writers that would allow them to write on their trains during free round-trip rides. The idea is still on the drawing table, but the giddy response from writers predicts that there would be a slew of applications.

  • Who else is giving stuff away? James Patterson is. The author plans to give $1 million to independent bookstores, to use however they like. No word on whether or not it will be broken up into 117 payments. (Yes, that’s a crack about his excessive number of chapters.)


  • The Atlantic ‘s article about writers and procrastination goes beyond the surface, and may even touch a nerve a two. It looks at the psychological reasons behind procrastinating, and why, for writers, it’s “a peculiarly common occupational hazard.”

  • Here’s one for mystery and crime writers: Crime Library examines whether or not one could actually use an icicle to kill a person.


Have you come across any notable book news in your web surfing lately? Are you considering a writer’s residency, or perhaps an icicle murder? Spill it.

17 comments:

  1. I'm sure the appeal of living in Detroit will be a big draw. I think I'd rather live on a train going back and forth across the country. I guess I'll wait before I start applying to any of these offers.

    I would imagine that if one had a big enough icicle to work with they could cram it down someone's throat and hold it there until it killed them. I'm cringing just thinking of that possibility. I

    Lee
    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

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  2. I'd become a writer, (although not a good one I'm sure!) if I got to ride the train for free! Very interesting links Kelly!

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    1. You blog enough and read enough that you'd probably be a better writer than you suspect, Peggy.

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  3. Like the Amrtak idea but not sure I have that much travel in me.

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    1. It's okay, I have enough for the both of us.

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  4. Marvellous - thanks very much Kelly. I really hope the Detroit idea pans out, they certainly need the help.

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    1. Yep, and there are also a lot of writers who could use the help with housing.

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  5. I'm ready to fill out that Amtrak residency application. I'm itching to escape the wintry sluggishness of Chicago. Even though I've had a couple of unmemorable cross-country trips on Amtrak I know I'd be able to transform a "train residency" into the most romantic of my many chapters in nomadic living.

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    1. It was just an idea when I made this post, but it looks like they are now officially taking applications.

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  6. I liked the article about procrasination... which I do a lot of, even if I am not a writer. Did not specifically apply to me, but still interesting. Especially about kids coming out of college.

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    1. I'm pretty good at staying on task when I have deadlines, but I thought the psychological aspects of the article were fascinating.

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  7. Kelly, thanks very much for mentioning my post on footpath booksellers; I really appreciate it. The Amtrak trip sounds exciting, even more so if I don't have to write anything; in which case I guess I'll have to pay for the ride.

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    1. Glad to do it; it was a neat post. I also thought it was serendipitous that you posted about reading on trains as I was preparing this post.

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  8. That train possibility could make me finally start writing seriously. I am still high from my Chicago-L.A. train wide in December. I will jot down outlines today.\ ==================================
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    http://detectivesbeyondborders.blogspot.com

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    1. You should apply! It would be perfect for you.

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  9. I would loooove to do the Amtrak thing. Living in Detroit, not so much, but not the worst idea. As a teenager I took a cross-country train trip: Cleveland to Los Angeles, and on the return, LA to Philadelphia. Experiences I'll never forget, new friendships, plus seeing the USA in a very different way.

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