A Week in the Writing Life, 25 March 2023

Hi, again. [Please note, the above image is not my actual birthday cake lol.]

Although I find that I am doing pretty well with putting out a weekly newsletter, I have to note that I am starting to put it together earlier and earlier in the week (although not necessarily finishing it early in the week). One of the difficulties that I find on a regular basis is finding readings to recommend and give links to, especially when I find myself busy with writing and the day job (teaching).

Home Front Stuff

As I might have mentioned previously, I’ll be celebrating my 50th birthday soon (no use in denying it when I can use the occasion for a promotional event lol). As for the family celebration of the event, that might have to wait until the following weekend. It appears that we might be combining the celebration of my 50th birthday and my daughter’s 21st birthday (nine days prior to mine) into a single event. This is a side effect of having my kids living in two different cities, none of which I live in.

At least for now, we all live in the same state, but who knows how long that will last. I never lived in the same state as my grandparents and most of my aunts and uncles, but my kids lived in the same area as their grandparents and maternal aunts for most of their childhood. Circumstances can always change, and I just treasure the times that I am around any of my family, especially my wife and kids.

What I’ve Been Writing

New sneak peek picture of the inside of The Yank Striker: A Footballer’s Beginning.

I’ve already gotten my second proof for The Yank Striker in the mail on Monday. Now it’s sit around and wait as I get the next proof back and see what else needs to be done. I hope there’s not too much left to do, but I can’t rush things either. Of course, I have to check and make sure that all of the revisions I asked to get done actually did get done. As I started looking at that this week, it appears the vast majority of those did happen, which should help out my second round of revisions.

I thought it might be useful to some of you writers who are looking for a system to help revise your longer projects to give an insider’s look at my process behind The Yank Striker, something I began with my first book The Holy Fool and refined during this project. It’s going to post here about an hour after this post goes live, so go check it out.

As for other writing, once I finish the first look at the new proof, I hope to get back to writing The Yank Striker Part 2 (working title). Like I mentioned last time, one of my issues stemmed from me not really being comfortable with the description of a particular setting in the first book in the series, so I didn’t want to proceed with scenes at that setting (an important one in the book) in the new book until I resolved it in the first book. Especially with it being a series, I knew that I had to get it right the first time to avoid continuity errors and awkwardness.

With that in mind, I’m planning on putting together another article for the following week that covers putting together settings for a fictional place. I might even turn it into my first subscriber-exclusive piece for Liegois Media and The Writing Life With Jason Liegois. Keep checking those spaces.

What I’ve Been Doing Having to do With Writing

I think I might need to explain a reference I made last week when I compared the monthly meeting of my writing group to the plot of the film Saturday Night Fever. I have to remember once again that there are an ever fewer number of people who have a direct memory of the 20th century, although I had to realize it about 10 years or so when I was teaching a class of eighth graders and I started to figure out their ages[1].

Many film fans (and music fans as well) of 1977 saw the music and the dancing and the fashion of the movie and didn’t get much farther than that. But a lot of the perceptive people recognized the film as an exploration of characters looking for meaning and validation in their lives. Gene Siskel, the late great film critic of the Chicago Tribune, was so obsessed with the film that he eventually purchased the white suit that star John Travola wore at the film’s climax. Anyway, this was a long-winded way of saying that writing and my fellow writers are a great escape from the regular grind of my workdays and something I truly look forward to.

Last week, I already talked about preparations for paid subscriptions on Liegois Media (WordPress) and The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (Substack). I’ve already got the payment systems set up for both sites, so it’s just a matter of getting the subscriptions to go live. As I promised, that will happen at 8 p.m. Central Time March 30. For Substack, the process will be more or less immediate.

However, it will be more of an evolving process on WordPress, because you can’t simply have a certain amount of posts become subscriber exclusive. Apparently, you have to have subscriber exclusive boxes so that you can get the subscribers to pay for it. That means I might be more than just a few days reformatting new subscriber box content. Now, I say all this, but watch and see the Substack be more complicated than WordPress. I might be able to let you know how it’s going by the next time I post the next A Week in the Writing Life.

Free Piece of Writing Advice for the Week

During our members’ meeting of the Iowa Writer’s Corner last weekend, we had a great presentation from one of our new members, writer TK Cassidy. It was entitled “Crutch Words and the Dreaded Lack of Definition.” To summarize the presentation, she talked with us about words that we tend to use repeatedly in our writings that can be both monotonous for our readers and not specific enough to be properly descriptive for them as well. They tend to happen in everyday speech quite a lot[2].

Go ahead and use the “find word” function in the word processing program of your choice. If you find yourself using certain words hundreds of times over the course of a book-length manuscript (especially these ones, thanks to Hannah Bauman for them), try to change them out for more descriptive alternatives[3][4].

What I’ve Been Reading/General Recommendations

Korynn Morrison is an artist from Sydney, Australia, I met on Substack. She’s just as good of a writer as she is a visual artist, like this piece on the concept of stillness and how it can lead to more self-awareness. Check her out.

I had a chance to reread my copy of Up the Down Staircase, Bel Kaufman’s classic 1964 novel of a young female rookie teacher in the New York public school system. The trailer for its 1967 film adaptation appears to be a bit extra. A movie trailer more than four minutes long? Anyway, see it for yourself:

One of the things I noticed about the book was how a lot of the issues teachers had to deal with back then are just as present now, if exacerbated by increased pressures on students and technology. However, it would be quite easy to re-adapt the book for today’s time, switching out those letters, assignments, and interoffice memos with emails, texts, and Google Classroom files.

Writing Quote of the Week

Since I was talking earlier about eliminating crutch words and vivid descriptions, this seems appropriate.

Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

Anton Chekhov

Final Thoughts

Let’s close things out with a jam. If someone tells you that all of the music of the 1980’s and their music videos were overproduced mush, you might want to show them this little number from Minneapolis, Minnesota’s own, The Replacements.

Thanks to all my readers, and especially my subscribers, for your continued support. I appreciate it very much, and I’m not going to forget it.. Writers keep writing and everyone take care of themselves.

– 30 –


  1. Then again, they could just look up the history like I did. One of my personal mottoes is “I looked it up.”
  2. I tend to believe the theory that people use these words in speech to buy time to allow you to think about what to say next.
  3. Of course, when it comes to dialogue, this rule doesn’t necessarily count. In fact, a good amount of realistic dialogue would contain plenty of crutch words.
  4. Yes, I’m getting on my footnotes again.

While I do appreciate you following this blog, I really would like you to subscribe to my Substack page. By subscribing to that page, you’ll not only be receiving my Substack newsletter, The Writing Life With Jason Liegois (the companion blog to this one), but you’ll also be signing up for my email list. I will eventually be opening some special contests, offers, and first looks at original fiction, poems, and other items. Just click the button below.

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