How to write a book chapter

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I write business books. Every chapter is a 5,000-word package full of stories, detail, statistics, insights, and recommendations. You don’t just sit down and write one of those at random.┬áHere’s what it takes to create one. In the last 10 years I’ve written, cowritten, or ghostwritten six books. Five of them were case-study powered business … Continued

How to write about a trend

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Trends are great topics for writing, because they’re always changing; people are eager for advice on what to do about them. But to write persuasively about a trend, you need to know what stage it’s in. So let’s go over strategies for writing about trends. I’ll start with the Gartner Hype Cycle, which is a … Continued

Four steps that enable you to write in flow

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I remember editing people at my last job. I would give them the charge on what to do, and then check back two days later. “How much did you write?” I would ask. “One paragraph,” they’d say. You will never achieve flow that way! Flow is effortless writing. You know how it feels. You sit … Continued

When to break my writing rules

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My most popular post ever included ten writing tips and the psychology behind them. On social media, I see people reading these tips with no context and objecting. “Passive voice is perfectly fine,” they say, or, “You wouldn’t get very far if you only used short sentences.” You want to break my rules? I’m here … Continued

13 tips for thriving as an author within a company

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When you write a book about ideas, it reflects well on both you and your company. Or at least it ought to. As with all corporate politics, the devil is in the details. I learned much of what you’re about to read while coauthoring three books and editing two others at Forrester Research. Since leaving, … Continued

How to deal with infuriating editors

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Here’s the five-step plan for what to do when you get a piece of writing back with infuriating comments: Read comments and suggestions from editor. Get annoyed that editor is finding fault and making stupid suggestions on how to change perfectly good prose. Figure out what problem set the editor off. Rewrite to fix the … Continued

Collaborating on a book is a terrible idea. But if you must, be asymmetrical.

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Writing a book is hard enough. Adding another person makes it twice as hard. Collaboration only makes sense if it’s asymmetrical — if you have complementary skills and different jobs. I’ve written three books with coauthors, edited a few more, and am currently ghostwriting parts of books with other authors. Coauthoring sounds like it’s going … Continued