How to respond to an annoying edit

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Actually, that headline is redundant. All edits are annoying. If you care about your writing, that means you probably thought it was pretty good. So who is this other person to come in and change it? Who do they think they are? Well, they’re the person whose job it is to make your writing the … Continued

Change your trajectory

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I’ve spent a lot of time with some old people in a retirement community this week. What strikes me is that many elements of who they are were set long ago. It’s not that they can’t learn new things. Far from it. There is an enormous amount of learning going on here. They go to … Continued

Friction, writing, and timing

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It is easier to keep writing than it is to start writing. Productive writers plan accordingly. Why is it easier to keep writing? Even if you don’t study physics, you’ve probably seen that if you try to move something heavy, like a car, it’s easier to keep something moving than it is to start something … Continued

Writing away from the keyboard

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If you often sit down to write and feel frustrated, maybe you need to develop a new habit: writing away from the keyboard. And no, I don’t mean writing on paper or your phone. I mean writing in your head. Writing is problem-solving Writing is a puzzle. What’s the big idea? How do you start? … Continued

Understanding and working with people with talent

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When I was an analyst I would appear on TV news programs from time to time. The production staff would sometimes refer to “the talent” (for example, “Have you miked the talent yet?”). It took a moment for me to understand that I was “the talent.” The thing about the talent is that if you … Continued

Responding to a draft? Put it in writing.

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If I’m writing a document for you, you probably want to tell me what you thought of my draft. You could edit it with markup software. You could write me a note about it. You could forget to turn on the markup and just edit — don’t worry, I have tools that allow me to … Continued

Why you’re not a writer (yet)

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Let’s do a thought experiment. Imagine a time in your near future. You’ve written a book. It has made a big impact on a lot of people. Everyone who reads it says, “Wow, now I understand.” You have many fans, and they love what you’ve taught them. They talk about it often. You see people … Continued

Why freelancers should prefer “thrill ride” projects

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I hate slow projects. I like thrill rides. Consider this 2 x 2 describing the universe of potential freelance projects, with two dimensions for different types of speed. The horizontal axis describes the amount of work. Is this something that can be completed quickly, like a blog post or a tweet, or a big job … Continued