Editing, Self-editing Tips, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

Make Something Happen

“Try to leave out the part that readers tend to skip.” – Elmore Leonard I love this quote. Not just because it indirectly gives purpose to the existence of content editors. (Mostly because of that.) But also because it’s impossibly clever and initially appears to be cleverly impossible. I mean, how do you do that? Some readers tend to skip long descriptive sections. So you should leave those out, right? Not necessarily. There’s nothing wrong with good descriptive writing. If your voice happens to be descriptive, some readers are going to go skipping. You can’t stop them. Other readers become…

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About Me, My Thoughts, The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

How to Love Writing

“I hate writing. I love having written.” – Dorothy Parker I’ve met a few people who are quick to say they love writing. They are sincere, happy people who tend to glow in the dark. People who eagerly sift through tornado-paths of literary devastation to find the one story that can threaten to replace your well-earned despair with un-warranted hope. I hate* those people. I also hate writing. Okay, maybe that’s a little bit strong. How about this: I find it difficult to love writing. Oh, there are moments when writing appears to be lovable. Like the moment when you…

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The Publishing Process, The Writer's Life, Writing tips

Two Paths

The path to writing well and the path to publication are two different paths. I’ll explain in a second. But before I begin, let’s dispense with the “good writing is subjective” conversation. Can we just work from the assumption that everyone in the room understands that my definition of “writing well” and yours differ at least in small ways, and perhaps also in big ways? We can? Cool. Four Truths About the Path to Writing Well 1. Writing well takes time. Period. There are no shortcuts to writing well. 2. Each person’s journey to writing well is unique. A select…

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The Writer's Life, Writing Encouragement

At the End of the Day

At the end of the day, you either wrote something or you didn’t. Maybe it was a banner day, when the stars all aligned and the metaphors all sang and the characters all looked up from the page to offer their thanks for three dimensions instead of two, for flesh and bone and blood and tears, for life itself, even though some of them will be dead by page 243. Especially because of that. Maybe it was a prolific day, a day of ten thousand perfect words, or ten thousand shitty words. A marathon that left you sweaty and exhausted…

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My Thoughts, The Writer's Life

Self-Talk for Writers

Writers are notorious self-talkers. We have to be. All of our employees live in our head. Self-talk is our way of motivating them to do their jobs. But not all our self-talk is helping. Some of it is de-motivating those employees. Yes, it’s true that there are a few uniquely-wired writers who seem to be genuinely motivated by de-motivation. If repeating “I’m a loser!” inspires you to greatness, well…good for you. (And be sure to tip your therapist.) But be careful. Negativity (and also just plain wrongful thinking) leaves a residue that can poison your writing life. The solution seems…

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Editing, Meaningless Drivel, The Writer's Life

The Maybe (An Imaginary Conversation Between Writer and Editor)

Writer: Which is the better career – janitor or hairdresser? Editor: I take it you got my editorial notes. Writer: Yeah. So tell me. Which one? Editor: You already have a job. Writer: Humor me. Editor: Hairdresser. Writer: Wrong. Janitor. Editor: I didn’t know there was a right answer. Writer: Exactly! Do you see what I did there? You just fell into my segue trap. Editor: You’re talking about my notes, aren’t you. Clever. Writer: I know, right? So about those notes… Editor: Which ones? Writer: Well…all of them. But let’s start with the one that says “you show great…

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My Thoughts, The Writer's Life

Once Again, With Feeling: The Empty Page

Life happens. And then it keeps happening. And by the time it starts to happen a little less – by the time you might actually have a little mental space for thinking thoughts and time space to write them down – you realize you’re used to the empty page, at peace with the simplicity of having written nothing. The blog light grows dim, the empty page becomes an empty stage. There are no actors in the wings. No orchestra in the pit. No director pacing back and forth scribbling notes in his head. But there are people in the audience.…

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