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"Writing Lots!" by Dawn Vogel

Hi, I'm Dawn, and I'm doing guest post here on Kurt's blog. I write fantasy, steampunk, YA, and pretty much anything else that looks shiny for a moment. You can learn more about me here! Today, I'm talking about how I write as much as I do.

I've been writing since I knew how to do so, but I've been writing with an eye toward publication for about eleven years. As I've gotten more comfortable with the craft of writing, my productivity has increased dramatically. In the first six years I was writing seriously, I wrote fewer than twenty short stories, all told. Over the next three years, I increased my output and wrote about a dozen stories a year (with an occasional poem mixed in). Last year, I wrote 38 short stories/flash and 6 poems. This year, I've already surpassed that, and it's only September.

In analyzing how I've increased my output so dramatically, I've found three main keys to my prolific writing: 1) planning, 2) stolen moments, and 3)…
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100 Albums Supplemental: Anticipointments

So every now and then you have an album you really and truly love from an artist who's really impressed you. You were looking forward to the follow-up so much, and then you get let down hard. You know the feeling. It was the feeling you got after watching Star Wars, Episode I or The Matrix: Reloaded. It's especially pervasive in music because of a phenomenon called the "sophomore slump" in which an artist has spent years on the underground circuit cultivating a playlist and their debut album is essentially a greatest hits of their pre-contract work. Then they go into the studio to record a follow up and what they put together is... Sam's Town.

So here's a list of albums that I was really looking forward to and then hated.

Hospitality - Trouble

Hospitality's eponymous debut is a little indie-pop gem with a fantastic single in Friends Of Friends. They're a little twee, sure, but it was a fun bite-sized nugget of a record and I was anxious to see what the…

100 Albums: "Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?" by of Montreal

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: of Montreal
Title:Hissing Fauna, Are You The Destroyer?
Released: 2007
Genre: indie glam dance-pop


of Montreal is one of my favorite bands to see live. Every time I've seen them it's just been a giant over-the-top dance party that was as weird as it was fun. The band is primarily the project of singer/composer Kevin Barnes and came out of the mid-90s Athens, Georgia pop scene--keeping in mind that this is the same college town that produced REM and The B-52's over a decade prior (both of whom have already been featured in this list!). of Montreal borrows a lot from psychedelic rock and glam, but their sound is pretty uniquely their own. of Montreal songs don't have chord progressions so much as they have sequences that modulate around. Barnes doesn't so much sing as strut around with lyrics. The music is infectiously danceable but resists sticking in your head. It's anot…

100 Albums: "Missile Toe" by Pspazz

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Pspazz
Title:Missile Toe
Released: 1995
Genre: sophomoric christian surf-punk



This one is obscure enough that I can't even find a video for it. You're just going to have to take my word (or listen to some extremely low quality samples here) (or just do the minimal amount of googling required to download the thing for free). The 90s saw a surge in the Christian rock movement spearheaded by dc Talk's Jesus Freak and crossover success from Christian bands like Jars of Clay and Christian-influenced bands like Collective Soul. Riding this wave, a lot of Christian bands were marketed to parents of teens as wholesome alternatives to mainstream rock. Youth pastors would get promo CDs to share and one-sheets of an entire record label's catalog saying "if your teen likes Stone Temple Pilots, you should get them an album from Third Day." In 1995, my youth pastor heard this oddbal…

100 Albums: "The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill" by Lauryn Hill

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Lauryn Hill
Title:The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill
Released: 1998
Genre: neo-soul hip-hop r&b reggae


Hill broke in the mainstream as a member of the Fugees, alongside Pras and Wyclef Jean. She was the featured vocalist on the group's most successful hit, a cover of Roberta Flack's Killing Me Softly that blended the original soulful melody with hip-hop and reggae influences. After the group rocketed to stardom on the success of their album The Score, they immediately split up to pursue solo projects. Miseducation is Hill's only solo studio album, and is something of a minor masterpiece--a deeply personal record that features commentary on motherhood, race, and culture (while she is dedicated to equality, Hill's personal politics are, not to put to fine a point on it, reactionary). The ostensible main theme of the record is capital-L Love. As was trendy in late 90s hip-hop, the…

100 Albums: "Broken Bells" by Broken Bells

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: Broken Bells
Title:Broken Bells
Released: 2010
Genre: retro indie alt-funk... or, you know, whatever it is Danger Mouse does


Indie hip-hop producer/Wunderkind Danger Mouse has collaborated with a number of artists in this list. In addition to producing albums like Beck's Modern Guilt or Portugal. The Man's Evil Friends, he's also worked on collab projects like Danger Doom with MF Doom and Gnarls Barkley with Cee-Lo Green. One gets the impression that people just walk up to Danger Mouse and say "Hey, I loved The Gray Album, wanna work on something together?" and he keeps saying yes. Which, if that's the case, good for him! Broken Bells is another one of these projects, this time working with James Mercer of The Shins after the two met at a music festival. The combination is not as flashy as Gnarls Barkley, but Danger Mouse's retro-spaghetti-western sample libraries …

100 Albums: "Stankonia" by OutKast

Kurt is going through his favorite records. Read the explainer or view the master list.

Artist: OutKast
Title:Stankonia
Released: 2000
Genre: southern hip-hop


Born out of the Dungeon Family collective in the early 90s, OutKast was the group that broke the "Dirty South" sound into the mainstream. They paved the way for acts like Ludacris and T.I. and emerged at a time when the rap community was focused on a rivalry between the East and West coasts. The duo's sound was a blend of Antwan "Big Boi" Patton's more traditional MC style and André "André 3000" Benjamin's observational lyrics and funk-rock instrumentation.

Stankonia marked a stylistic change for the duo. It's more up-tempo and driving than previous records. The lead single B.O.B. (embedded above) is a six-minute anthem that runs at a break-neck pace with touches of techno, funk, and even a church choir. The album spawned additional singles in So Fresh, So Clean and Ms. Jackson. In the 90…