Why you should copy others

value of copying

Reading time: Just over 1 minute Not all copying is dishonest and a bad idea (as in the photograph, above). If you do it right, the value of copying can be enormous... When I edited a cookbook more than three decades ago — my first entry into the professional book publishing business — I learned a lesson I've never forgotten. You can accomplish a great deal simply by copying other people... Read More

Words fall off and roll out of sight…

hilma wolitzer

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 simile from Hilma Wolitzer... The book, A Story Larger Than My Own, edited by Janet Burroway, carries the intriguing subtitle: Women Writers Look Back on Their Lives and Careers. A collection of essays  by a group of women who came of age during t... Read More

What does ‘wilco’ mean?

Wilco

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: wilco.... I was texting a good friend recently and after a brief exchange, received the following message from him: wilco. I immediately knew what he meant, of course: "Sure, I'll do it; you can count on me." I think I recognize... Read More

How to read more books

how to read more books

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do struggle to find enough time for reading? Here are five tips for how to read more books. After I published last week’s blog post about the books I’ve read so far this year, emails started flooding my inbox. “How do you possibly read so much?” people wondered. “Where on earth do you find the time?”  While my semi-annual “books” column ... Read More

What’s the value of plot?

value of plot

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 a Guardian article about the value of plot... I wrote a piece, many years ago, for an online magazine, in which I expressed my tendency to read novels for their plot. The editor emailed me back almost... Read More

How to develop better ‘to do’ lists…

better to do lists

Reading time: less than 1 minute Do you overcommit yourself? Regularly take on too much work? Have a "to do" list that manages you (instead of you managing it?) Here's how to get better to do lists... I love my "to do" list but some days it grows to monstrous proportions. I readily admit that I frequently take on way too many tasks. Then I'm faced with the distressing prospect of "carrying ... Read More

Three notes suddenly making a chord…

rebecca solnit

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 Rebecca Solnit... If you're familiar with my blog you'll know that I am an inveterate walker. Not only do I always walk to get my groceries, go to the library and do my banking, I also walk while I'm writing, thanks to the treadmill I've ... Read More

What does ‘porcine’ mean?

porcine

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: porcine... I don't know that I've ever used the word porcine, but when my colleague John Friesen emailed me about it, I knew what it meant. You can practically see the word pork buried right in there! John found it in the book... Read More

Recommended books: summer 2016

Reading time: About 5 minutes Looking for some recommended books in time for summer reading? Here’s my semi-annual roundup of books I’ve read so far this year.   I aim to read 52 books every 12 months and my habit is to post a complete list of the names of them for you, in June and December. Here is a description of the 25 books I’ve enjoyed so far this year. Yes, I really do read m... Read More

Read more blogs, says Seth Godin

seth godin

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 blog post by Seth Godin... If you need to improve your writing you might think about improving your reading. The fastest, least expensive and easiest way of doing this is by reading more blogs. Seth G... Read More