How to create “flow” in your writing process

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The brilliant psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes the experience of “flow” — of being productive, in the moment, and making rapid progress on work that matches well to your skills. Flow creates great writing, but it happens only if you prepare properly. If you’re writing something longer than 1000 words, it matters how you write it. You’re … Continued

The bizarre poetry of Infosys’ influencer email

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Infosys is the second-largest systems integrator in India, the epicenter of outsourcing. One of their analyst relations people recently sent a friend of mine an entertainingly baroque email. Systems integrators are huge companies that have trouble articulating their differentiation. They have various technical strengths and will build what you ask them to build. Differentiating is … Continued

The batshit candor of Donald Trump

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Yesterday, Donald Trump announced he’s a candidate. He is a politician like no other. We ask for honesty from candidates. We rarely get it. We are getting it from Trump. Other politicians occasionally let something slip that reveals how they really think. There are no slips with Trump, just a relentless flood of unfiltered candor. Fivethirtyeight’s Harry … Continued

Why is Twitter’s CEO leaving? Because “Everything is Awesome”

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Twitter’s got problems. Its active users grew only 18% year-over-year. Profits are a mirage in the distance. While Twitter’s users are reading tweets, they’re not clicking on them very much. And the CEO just announced he’s leaving. But if you read what they publish, you’d say “Everything is awesome!” Here are some excerpts from the … Continued

Applying “Games People Play” to writers and editors

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In the 1964 bestseller “Games People Play,” Eric Berne showed how transactional analysis (TA) explains emotional conflict. In TA, people interact in one of three roles: parent, adult, or child; when roles get confused, people get upset. These same kinds of conflicts occur, for similar reasons, when writers and editors aren’t clear about the roles they’re playing. Here’s the briefest possible explanation … Continued

Christopher L. Gasper’s passive voice approach to fixing the Red Sox

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“Something must be done.” It’s the passive-voice cry of the handwringing editorial or the concerned memo. And it’s vacuous and worthless, since it doesn’t say who must do what. I’ll illustrate with Christopher L. Gasper’s article in today’s Boston Globe: “It’s time for the Red Sox to call for a changeup.” The story so far: despite a high payroll, the Boston … Continued

To write well and efficiently, choose the right level of editing

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Editing is like going to the dentist — nobody likes it, but you’ll avoid a lot of pain and ugliness if you get the right help at the right time. And you need to pick the right intensity of editing to match what your writing needs; you can’t fix a toothache with just a cleaning. Good … Continued

The economics of cord-cutting at my house

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When I cut the cable cord, I did it to get more of what I wanted (speed), not to save money. The economics are reasonable, but the benefits are a lot better. My earlier post that described how I cut the cable cord was far more popular than I expected. Several of you asked about the actual … Continued