Make an Idea Map to visualize your book’s idea flow

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Some nonfiction books just seem to flow naturally from idea to idea. Others seem repetitive — as if the author is just hitting the same idea again and again. An Idea Map can help you visualize your concepts and organize them to avoid repetition. I’m nearing completion on my manuscript for Writing Without Bullshit, and I wanted … Continued

Six short words explain why Donald Trump quit Fox News debate

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The Donald Trump campaign’s 271-word statement about skipping the next debate is short, clear, and free of jargon. But it could have been much shorter, only six words: “I am afraid of Megyn Kelly.” I believe his strategic calculation was that this debate would not help him — people already know who he is — but that tangling again … Continued

What frustrates business writers

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My recent survey of business writers has a text box where people can type anything they want about their writing experience. They’re pretty upset about all the bullshit they have to deal with. Here’s a sample. Each comment includes the information I have about the role and industry of the person who wrote it. I’ve lightly edited the comments for … Continued

1 million blog views: a case study

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This blog crossed 1 million page views this weekend. It got there in ten months of blogging every weekday. Not bad. I try to spend my time looking outward, not inward, but I thought you’d be interested in how I got there. Steady growth with spikes Things first took off in May with one popular … Continued

Tweetable highlights of National Review’s Donald Trump Takedown

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Conservative publication National Review invited prominent conservatives to explain why they’re against Donald Trump. I’ve never seen so many distinguished people so angry in such a florid and entertaining way. For wit to spread, it must be tweetable. So I made this little compilation for you. Have fun. General insults [tweetthis]We can talk about whether [Trump] … Continued

Bomb Agrabah? Manipulative pollsters, not stupid people.

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When you hear an outlandish poll result, you first thought may be, “Wow, people are stupid.” You’d be wrong. Blame the pollsters and the people who publicize their spurious results, not the supposed “voters” they contacted. In the last month, we’ve heard these unbelievable poll results: 30% of likely Republican voters think we should bomb Agrabah, the fictional … Continued

Comparing apologies: Oscars vs. Chipotle vs. Boston Globe

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Three organizations have screwed up recently: The Motion Picture Academy nominated zero actors of color for Oscars, Chipotle made its customers sick, and the Boston Globe couldn’t deliver papers. I wanted to follow up on my recent posts about Chipotle and the Globe, and see if the Academy Awards folks could do any better. All three needed to … Continued

Deathly euphemisms: “rest in peace” and “thoughts and prayers”

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Death is a fact of life. Sayings like “rest in peace” and “our thoughts and prayers are with the victims” are euphemisms: they enable us to go on without thinking about death. Not thinking about death can help us cope, but let’s not imagine that we’re actually saying anything when we say these things. I’ve been thinking … Continued