Don’t capitalize Random Crap

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Even if you feel a need to make your favorite magic words more important, don’t capitalize them in running text. It makes prose look uneven — and makes you look like an eighteenth-century pamphleteer. Do you write to impress? I edit a lot of prose intended for that purpose — including “thought leadership” blogs, business … Continued

Nonfiction writers: Start every chapter with a story

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I don’t care whether you’r writing a memoir, a historical narrative, or a business book full of advice. You should start every chapter with a story. Why? Because stories draw people in. It’s that simple. Here are the starts of some chapters in my first book Groundswell. Would you want to read these chapters? When … Continued

For editors, it pays to specialize

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There are a million editors out there. If you aspire to make a living as one, you can’t just be “an editor” — because only those who specialize will be paid what they’re worth. (Author’s note — I’ll now resume posting mostly about writing, editing, and books. Thanks for your tolerance of my political posts … Continued

As election week ends, let’s start governing

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It’s now a foregone conclusion that Joe Biden will win the state of Pennsylvania — and if the mail ballots continue trending as they have, it won’t be close. He’ll be our next President. And he’s likely to win Georgia, Nevada, and Arizona as well, and to end up with well over 50% of the … Continued

The truth about polls in 2020

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The polls predicted a Biden landslide, as well as Democratic takeover of the Senate majority. Neither happened. Let’s look at why polls may be having problems with prediction right now. Where the polls were way off According to estimates by fivethirtyeight.com, an aggregation of polls indicated that Biden would get 51.8% of the final vote … Continued

Always doubt what you want to believe

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Good morning. I trust you slept well and soundly last night. As I write this, no serious news organization has declared the winner of the US presidential election. Based on current vote counts (9:15am) and the likelihood of remaining Democratic-skewing mail ballots being counted, Joe Biden is more likely than not to win the presidency, … Continued

The Rationalist Papers (31): Election day

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We’ve reached the end of this maddening election cycle. Three things: First, if you still haven’t decided, ask yourself one question. Are you better off today than you were four years ago? That’s the question that the challenger Ronald Reagan asked the audience, a week before the election, in his final debate with President Jimmy … Continued

The Rationalist Papers (30): Harden your heart

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Only the tough survive. It’s time to get tough, America. At its core, that’s the argument for Donald Trump in this election. What’s the alternative? Bleeding-heart liberalism that wants to take what you have and give it to people who don’t deserve it. Sympathy is weakness. To keep America great, you need to harden your … Continued