Every beginning writer I know abhors the idea of a crappy first draft. It's embarrassing, mortifying and humiliating. They know their boss or client or publisher is going to hate it. They're going to hate it themselves because they fear it will make them look inept and unskilled. Thus, they don't want to it exist on their hard-drive, even for a nanosecond. If this is your belief, I'm here to tell you you're wrong. You should LOVE your crappy first draft. You should worship it. You should seek to create it as soon as you possibly can.  Continue reading...
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I adore open-area offices. When I started working in a newsroom 30 years ago — with a hundred reporters and editors, each with a phone and keyboard — I thought the noise and lack of privacy would drive me crazy. Instead, it invigorated me.  Continue reading...
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Perfectionism should have been the furthest thing from my mind after getting — and recovering from — a repetitive strain injury. But I was reluctant to resume working on my book. It wasn't so much the pain in my arm. It was more my concern that my writing wasn't any good. Could that have been perfectionism speaking?  Continue reading...
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When I was in high school and university, I hated writing. I adored editing, mind you, but I found the pain of extracting that first draft torturous.

The most painful part? Paraphrasing.  Continue reading...
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My 20-year-old son, who's studying to become an opera singer, last year gave me a complaint he'd written about one of his professors. He wanted to know if it was "too harsh." More importantly, because the complaint was to be anonymous, he wanted reassurance it couldn't be traced back to him.  Continue reading...
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Many writers today strive to avoid the passive voice. Do you know what I mean by passive? Don't be too quick to say yes!  Continue reading...
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You may wonder why, shortly after waking up every morning, I head upstairs to my office and lie down on the floor and cover myself with a blanket. You'd think, after seven hours of sleep, I wouldn't need to lie down again. But I'm not just lying down; I'm meditating.  Continue reading...
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