While it's true that Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein, and Mark Twain all had messy workplaces, it's also certain that clean, organized desks keep most people efficient and more productive. I know that I'm always more prolific, more creative and happier when my desk is tidy. Which isn't to say that I'm always able to keep it that way. Some days I fear I must be suffering from Irritable Desk Syndrome.  Continue reading...
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Whether you're an acrobat or a writer, you can do only one thing at a time. And, like the acrobats who watch their eating and drinking habits before performances, writers who spend some time thinking about what they want to write — before writing — are going to be better prepared for the demands of the job.  Continue reading...
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While millions of people are tweeting and retweeting every day, a small fraction of them are also subtweeting, and if news stories are to be believed, they are not doing so very successfully. Recent news stories alerted me to the idea of subtweeting and got me thinking about the conversational aspects of Tweets and their sub-cousins.  Continue reading...
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Ta-da! You're about to read my eightieth column for Visual Thesaurus—Happy Column! Penning (on computer of course) twelve hundred words on aspects of writing every few weeks has been a pleasurable discipline that's taught me, I hope, to say a lot in a little.  Continue reading...
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The spells are quite witty, but they aren't the only examples of wordplay in the Harry Potter universe. In the Potter novels J. K. Rowling uses vocabulary that has made her characters living creatures to generations of readers. This tradition continues in Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.  Continue reading...
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When I recently heard a news reporter say that "China doesn't want a failed nuclear state on their doorstep," I was taken by surprise. Did China seriously want North Korea to succeed in their nuclear ambitions?  Continue reading...
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Whenever I talk about the benefits of the crappy first draft some people always object. Why? For some, it's a habit and — as anyone who's tried to quit smoking can tell you — habits are hard to break. But for others the problem is fear.  Continue reading...
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