Revising what one has written is a key part to the writing process. But what about revising the title, the way a work will be known for all time? Literary history is filled with titles that "almost were," and they are difficult to embrace, perhaps because the titles we know are so comfortably familiar.  Continue reading...
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People often have the totally wrong idea that they need to have been born creative in order to write. While being born certain ways can help your writing a lot — being born wealthy means you may not have to worry about money; being born a good proofreader means you'll catch most of your own typos — creativity doesn't even count on the list of concerns you should fret about.  Continue reading...
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The dog ate the food. That's writing at its plainest. Each word has a definite, well-known meaning, the signifiers point to their signifieds just like they're supposed to. If we know how to read, we have no trouble seeing Fido happily munching his kibble.  Continue reading...
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Are you a writer so addicted to self-sabotage that you regularly trash-talk to yourself? You know what I mean. You say things like: "I really don't know how to write..." "My boss is going to hate this..." "Readers are going to be so bored..."  Continue reading...
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Language allows us to communicate the ideas in our heads with other people. It is a main way we connect with the world around us. Because of that, language becomes very personal to each user. We form affinities for individual words because of what they mean to us.  Continue reading...
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Aside from writing prose, I write songs, maybe five or six a year. Usually I have no idea where they come from. One day I'm strumming my guitar, thinking of this and that, and suddenly a chord or a fragment of melody catches my ear, or a few words pop into my mind. I repeat them and wonder, is this the seed of a song?  Continue reading...
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On the surface, and/or seems like a helpful but mostly harmless little phrase — a little ugly, perhaps, but still useful for those times when you want to be extra clear about what all the options are. Most people associate the phrase with legal writing, but it turns out that a surprising number of lawyers and judges hate it, claiming that it's actually unclear and thus impossible to interpret.  Continue reading...
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