Litsub was created to be an email-based community of writers, editors, readers, and literary folks. Started in 2019, litsub.com was a brief experiment to create a place for people to share in their love of writing.
Email remains the most robust, intimate social community online. Letters to friends are thoughtful, deep, and empowering.
Alas, fostering communities is challenging. In the brief time I spent running Litsub, I spent more time thinking about the community aspect then it brought benefits to my writing, which was strictly counter to the point.
For posterity sake, an archive of the few posts to the list are below.
From: Nick Wynja <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: [Writers] A Curiosity for Words Date: Thu, 24 Jan 2019 07:47:28 -0500 Welcome to the writers.litsub mailing list! I've been thinking about the idea for this community off and on for a few years. As I've been focusing on my writing practice lately it has become more important to me. William Zinsser wrote in "On Writing Well": > You'll never make your mark as a writer unless you develop a respect for > words and a curiosity about their shades of meaning that is almost obsessive. > The English language is rich in strong and supple words. Take the time to > root around and find the ones you want. Often I find myself struggling to grab hold of words that seem just out of reach. My vocabulary is stunted. Too often I've wished for a legion of writers to have on call when I'm stuck, lost. I've spent enough time lost (and have read about other writers who spend their time lost) to know this is normal. But it's lonely trudging through the woods trying to find your way out of a sentence. I'm glad to find some friends to help along the way. Do you have any good suggestions for finding words just out of reach? Do you keep a Thesaurus on your desk? What do you do to practice your vocabulary or to stumble across new words? -- Nick Wynja https://nickwynja.com
From: Nick Wynja <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: [Writers] Voice Date: Thu, 31 Jan 2019 23:04:42 -0500 Hi friends, I recently dug up some old creative writing pieces from 2012 and 2013. When I wrote them, I had just moved to New York and was stumbling into who I was. Discovering that writing was something I needed to do was an accident that was unfolding. I wanted to read these few pieces again to help me work through finding my voice. The beginnings of a large writing project is intimidating and I wanted to go into it early with confidence of who I am and what I want to say. I was hoping to find some clues in these early pieces like hints I left myself before I was consciously writing as a craft. As you'd expect, these pieces were raw and rambling. I was clearly lost and lonely. Yet when I reread those pieces I still saw myself in them. The topics, when not forlorn, are often about journeys, moments, and scenery. Just as I was at the time, my style was a little sad and disconnected. Maybe in five years, when I look back on what I'm writing now it'll be more full of joy and humanity since I am too. What do you do to help find and refine your voice? Do you feel like yourself when you write or are you impersonating? Sincerely, Nick -- Nick Wynja https://nickwynja.com
From: Nick Wynja <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: [Writers] Favorite Current Essayists? Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2019 08:30:14 -0500 Hi everyone, I'm curious who your favorite current, living, producing essayists are. A favorite of mine right now is Jill Lepore. She's a historian and staff writer at The New Yorker. She weaves her recent essay on journalism together beautifully while her essay in the latest edition on Eugene V. Debs had me hooked early, somehow capturing the labor, race, and class issues of the late 1800s in the first few paragraphs. I'd love to hear about the essayists that inspire you. Regards, Nick : https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/01/28/does-journalism-have-a-future : https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/02/18/eugene-v-debs-and-the-endurance-of-socialism
From: Nick Wynja <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: [Writers] Breakthrough Date: Mon, 01 Jul 2019 11:34:52 -0400 I made a breakthrough on my book project this weekend. After letting a draft sit for a while, I came back to read it. It is awful. It's nothing but a disembodied voice complaining. I need to start over but at least I know where I stand. Have you made similar discoveries? That something you've put a lot of time into just isn't working? Did you scrap it and start over or just leave it in the trash and move on? Best, Nick P.S. As a reminder, this is a small mailing list of writers. Replying goes to the whole list so we can work through the writing process as a community.
From: Nick Wynja <firstname.lastname@example.org> To: email@example.com Subject: [Writers] Messy Date: Sun, 20 Oct 2019 21:46:01 -0400 Hi writing friends, I've noticed a fundamental shift in my writing process that should not have come as a surprise. For many years, I focused on making my writing process as efficient as possible. This led me to spending an undeniably grotesque amount of time honing in on a work flow that removed as much rewriting between mediums, reduced the times I needed to move around words, copy/paste between platforms, or take otherwise cruel steps between getting ideas from my head to the world. Some parts of this process continue to pay dividends yet I was surprised to realize how, at its most natural, unadulterated state, the writing process is just messy. The essay I'm working on right now, coming in at only around 700 words edited, started on a yellow legal pad, was then typed, reworked through a massacre of red Fineliner on a printed draft, rewritten again, first on another slab of yellow pad, then again, yes, on a typewriter, only to be then retyped into a new text file draft, printed off again and, only parts of it surviving through another red Fineliner bloodshed, where new parts were written on the back of said print off in red ink, then to be retyped again, before a painstaking game of "this or that", moving between sets of reorganized words, sentences, and paragraphs like an optometrist fine tuning a prescription. Not efficient, no. But it felt right. Each time I touched this essay by rewriting by hand or retyping it, I second guessed whether I was saying what I needed or whether there was a more natural way for the words to be arranged. If I had only just passed over it continuously in the same medium, I'm not sure I would have been as ruthless in rewriting. The harder I try to write something true, the more effort I put into scrapping nearly every word of what I'm working on to get to something more genuine. I've come to recognize that "efficiency" in process has little place in writing well. -Nick P.S. Reminder that this isn't your usual "newsletter". If you reply, your message will go to a small group of writers; about a dozen right now. Don't be shy! Reply with how you have noticed your way of writing change over time.