Why you should pop this app in your pocket

pocket

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I'm a demon for efficiency and I love it when technology helps me work better, faster. Here's a redesigned app you might want to put in your pocket... I consider myself a bantam or lightweight nerd when it comes to technology. I love the stuff (don't ever try to separate me from my Up Activity Tracker!) but I'm not young enough to know all the jargon — or t... Read More

Ice came down like poisoned darts…

Joshua Ferris

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a series of similes and metaphors from novelist Joshua Ferris... I'm a relatively fast reader but it took me more than two months to get through the novel The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris. (I always read more than one book at a time which is partly what slows... Read More

What does the word thrawn mean?

thrawn

Reading time: Just over 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: thrawn. I read Kate Atkinson's 1995 debut novel Behind the Scenes at the Museum more than a decade ago and it has remained one of my favourite books. I found it a funny, clever and sophisticated study of the English middle-class... Read More

Are you a natural writer? Here’s why that’s bad

natural writer

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Being a natural writer might sound like a good thing. Here’s why it usually isn’t… My 21-year-old son started singing when he was two years old. We’d taken the kids to a Raffi concert and it was comical the way we could see the lightbulb turn on in Duncan’s brain. “Wait!” the thought bubble above his head seemed to say. “Performers can st... Read More

Solving the procrastination puzzle

procrastination

Reading time: About 3 minutes This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a book about procrastination by Tim Pychyl... I haven't yet read The Procrastination Puzzle by psychology professor Tim Pychyl  but I've put it at the top of my list after learning about the book on ... Read More

The value of hiring specialists

hiring specialists

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Have you ever felt uncomfortable with hiring specialists? Here's why you should get over that idea.... If you had a problem with your feet, you'd visit a podiatrist. If you had cancer, you'd see an oncologist. If you had heart troubles, you'd go to a cardiologist. So, why do people have such a hard time translating the basic principles — and value —... Read More

With the unblinking eyes of a Victorian beggar…

Karen Auvinen

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I like to share interesting pieces of figurative language I encounter in my reading. I write today about a metaphor from Karen Auvinen... A few years ago when I was travelling with my family in England, we saw a fox in the backyard of the house where we were staying (in Walton-on-Thames, birthplace of Julie Andrews.) My husband has an undergraduate degree i... Read More

What’s the root of the word panacea?

panacea

Reading time: Less than 1 minute Increase your vocabulary and you’ll make your writing much more precise. That's why I provide a word of the week. Today's word: panacea. I can't recall when I learned the word panacea, but I've loved it ever since. For more than 40 years, I've known it means a cure-all or remedy for all ills or difficulties. And I enjoy the way the four syllables trip o... Read More

Trying to build a writing habit? Beware these 5 traps

bad writing habits

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Do you suffer from bad writing habits? Here are some ideas you need to overcome so you can develop the good habit of writing — easily — every day… I work with dozens of people every year who are trying to build the writing habit. Some succeed quickly. Others take much longer. When would-be-writers flail and flop I can usually trace the problem back ... Read More

Can writers get too comfortable?

Nick Cave

Reading time: Less than 1 minute This is my weekly installment of "writing about writing," in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss an interview with musician and songwriter Nick Cave... I know very little about popular music — except that my lack of knowledge makes my own children despair. So when reader Zoe Basil forwarded me... Read More