I dated a Ginger. I married a Mary Ann.

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In the 1960s and 70s nearly everyone watched endless reruns of “Gilligan’s Island,” the sitcom featuring seven castaways on an uncharted island. If you were a male viewer, you had to express a preference for one of the two single women on the island: Ginger, the elegant, tall, and pale-haired starlet, or Mary Ann, the … Continued

The moral conundrum of Books by the Foot

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A Maryland bookseller will outfit your bookshelf with books of any description — liberal history, musty old tomes, or just “green.” What are the moral implications of treating books as objects and not content? Politico describes Books by the Foot‘s business. Its clients vary. Some are set decorators for movies and plays. Others are people … Continued

A 2021 New Year’s resolution for authors

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Is writing a book in your list of 2021 New Year’s resolutions? Your friends may be encouraging you. “This is your year! You can do it!” If you’ve subscribed to emails from any of the “we help you publish” services out there, they’re telling you the same thing. Maybe you need a push. Or perhaps … Continued

Analyzing Trump’s bill-signing tantrum

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Donald Trump reluctantly signed the bill that provides Coronavirus relief payments and funds the government for the next nine months — but released a petulant statement along with it. The statement’s a little confusing, so I’ll provide a translation. First, some context. Democrat and Republican congressional leaders negotiated the bill with Steven Mnuchin, Trump’s Treasury … Continued

Merry crisis

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Stop reading this. If you’re home, give your family a hug. If you’re not near family, give whoever you’re living with a hug. (Ask permission first.) If you’re alone, give a friend or family member a call. If you know someone who is alone, give them a call. Even if things are difficult between you, … Continued

Contributed op-ed case study (5): Time budget

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How much work goes into a contributed op-ed? Here’s my experience. Conception and pitching: 2 hours. Planning and conducting research interviews: 5 hours Web research: 2 hours Review of material in books: 4 hours Planning the draft: 3 hours Writing: 2 hours Revisions: 3 hours Total time: 21 hours. I’ve done contributed articles for other … Continued

Social Media Broke America (version printed in the Globe)

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I am posting this in case you want to compare what I wrote to what was published after editing. The original version is here. Here’s a link to the Globe’s page containing the piece. And below is the text of the actual op-ed that ran in the Globe. Social media broke America. Here’s how to … Continued

Contributed op-ed case study (4): Editing and revision

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Writing an opinion piece is rarely the end of the process. The editors of your target publication are likely to request revisions. An effective writer budgets time for those revisions and maintains effort and creativity through the revision cycle. Responding to edits In the last three posts, I explained how I pitched, researched, and wrote … Continued