About Brian Klonoski

Brian is the Science, Social Sciences and Fitness Editor at Demand Media Studios.

Find the Right Flow

Late last week, something wild and uproarious happened here at the usually tame Demand Media offices: We ditched Microsoft Outlook in favor of GMail and Google Calendar. While this may seem like a benign software migration to all of you tech savvy, early adopters who started using Gmail a decade ago, the changeover resulted in lost emails, missed meetings and an isolated kerfuffle here and there. It’s not like we don’t know what we’re doing; we are a tech company, after all. The reason we had problems is because the transition totally messed with our workflow. It left us all, like:

What is workflow? Phrased in the most boring of ways, it’s the sequence of processes that a piece of work passes through from conception to completion. Put in simpler terms, it’s how you get stuff done. Everything that’s created or built has a workflow associated with it, whether it’s an article, an automobile or a piece of legislation crawling through Congress.

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Paper vs. Pixels

typewriterWe’ve all been there: You have a great idea for a story, essay, poem or article. You rush home, turn on your computer and begin writing. Then you stop. There’s something wrong with that first sentence, isn’t there? You tinker with it for a bit, replace a couple of words, read it again. Nope, it still doesn’t sound right, so you add a comma, or decide to get a little wild and toss in an em dash. But when you read those first, few, pesky words yet again, they sound even more awkward. So you turn to the internet and start perusing your favorite thesaurus. Five minutes later, you finally have a pristine opening sentence (which pretty closely resembles what you first wrote). Now, on to the rest of the piece… Continue reading

Become a Better Writer by Creating, Not Writing

Nick Adams StoriesI was a sophomore in college when one of my buddies handed me a copy of Ernest Hemingway’s Nick Adams Stories and told me to read “Big Two-Hearted River.” Nothing much happens in the story, which is about a young World War I veteran who returns to Michigan eager to hike into the wilderness to camp and fish. But as an avid fly fisherman, and someone who understood the soothing, regenerative power of nature, I was hooked. I wanted to connect with people the way Hemingway had connected with me, like he was sitting across a campfire, drinking whiskey and telling glorious lies. I changed my major to English Literature and decided I was going to be a writer.

After graduation, I was plugging along, still trying to be a writer while working the night shift at a newspaper in Maine, reporting on fires and town meetings. I’d finish work around 1 a.m., then go home and write until the sun came up. My work improved; I even published a couple of short stories. Thing is, I wasn’t enjoying it anymore. Just thinking about it felt like a struggle. I needed a break, but I still wanted to be creative. Continue reading