How good editors deliver bad news

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I’m an editor. That means I’m going to read what you write and then tell you that it is wrong. You might think people would resist that. But in fact, the opposite is true. I recently did a detailed and highly critical edit of documents by two very smart people. I then met with them … Continued

A happy retirement

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When you work for a company — or are building your own business — you need to make compromises for the long-term. You might have to travel a lot, obey commands from a stupid boss, or perform in ways that create ethical compromises. And you’ll probably be working harder, and more hours, than you’d like, … Continued

What did you learn today? And would you blog it?

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After 1,789 blog posts here, I may have learned something about blogging — and about myself. And if I’ve learned something, I’ve also learned that I have to share it. What did you learn today? Imagine for a moment that, like me, you have decided to do a substantive blog post every weekday. What would … Continued

The price of pushy

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One afternoon a couple years ago I was sitting peacefully in my den reading when I heard a loud buzzing sound. It got louder and softer, but never went away, and I’d never heard that particular sound in my house before. Like any other homeowner, I carefully looked around my house to determine if some … Continued

Repetition in writing: why it happens, what it means, and how to fix it

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Every editor has had this experience: deep into a manuscript, you find yourself reading a familiar passage. Sure enough, it duplicates content that was earlier in the manuscript. Don’t just delete it. Ask yourself why it’s there, and use that knowledge to make the manuscript better. Why writers repeat themselves All writers repeat information in … Continued

How to get the most out of an online workshop

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I give writing workshops. Some clients find them awesome. For others, they are less effective. Since I am usually delivering similar content, what accounts for the difference? The value often depends on the way the client has positioned the workshop and the way participants engage during the session. So here’s some advice on how to … Continued

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi showed us flow. Writers need flow. And tech destroys it.

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Last week, the great psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi died. Csikszentmihalyi (pronounced chik-sent-mee-hai-ee) advanced our understanding of happiness and creativity enormously by codifying the concept of “flow,” a highly pleasurable and concentrated state of mind in which people are enormously productive. Every writer needs to know about flow — what it is, why it is important, and … Continued