How to eliminate your verbal tics

verbal tics

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes Do you know how to eliminate your verbal tics? It's not easy but it's possible. It just takes some commitment and concentration.... You don't need to have Tourette syndrome to have verbal tics. I know because I have such a tic myself: It's the word Umm. I've been working on getting rid of it for about a year and I think it will take me at least another y... Read More

An insulation of asperity…

Janet Malcolm

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 Janet Malcolm... As a person with four siblings — three sisters and a brother — l love hearing or reading family stories. They remind me of home. Perhaps that's why I so enjoyed a June 23/14 Janet Malcolm article in the New Yorker.... Read More

What does exegetical mean?

exegetical

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: exegetical. Recently, I've become a fan of the very fine American writer Nicholson Baker, pictured here.  A winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award (for his non-fiction book Double Fold: Libraries and the Assault on ... Read More

Is grandiosity hurting your writing?

writing and perfectionism

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do you suffer from the toxic combination of writing and perfectionism? If so, I suspect the heart of the issue may be your own grandiosity... I’m not typically grandiose about my writing but I do have overblown, elaborate or pretentious moments in other parts of my life. I’m thinking, for example, of the party last fall where I decided to make dessert... Read More

What’s in a (product) name?

product branding

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 New York Times article on product naming written by Neal Gabler... That I read the article headlined "The Weird Science of Naming New Products" entirely on my cellphone is a testament not just to my ... Read More

Practicing til you can’t get it wrong

15-01-23-professionals

Reading time: Less than 1 minute I speak convincingly and passionately. But I've recently learned a secret to giving better presentations thanks to nervousness of a client... In a couple of weeks I'm going to be doing three important workshops for a client. They have 60 senior people who need to become better writers and I'm going to have three full days with them, 20 people at a time. ... Read More

As if he were conducting electricity…

15-01-22-Bernie-Sanders

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 featuring US senator Bernie Sanders. I'm no expert on American politics but I read the New Yorker weekly and the New York Times (online) daily. As a result, I pick up the occasional governmental tidbit. A recent one focused on Senator Bernie Sand... Read More

What’s a hoyden?

happy young woman is jumping in the beach

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: hoyden. I read the novel Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger when I was about 13-years-old. I enjoyed it moderately, as I recall, although I remember being uncertain what all the fuss had been about. It didn't seem to be a groun... Read More

Why I’ve changed my website

Try - Time To Reinvent Yourself

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Change can be both exciting and difficult. I confess I've held both feelings as I've worked on my website redesign... When I was features editor at a large metropolitan daily newspaper — this was in my previous life — I had one experience I will never forget. It was about 1987 and we changed the design of our television magazine. We didn’t do this ... Read More

How to pay attention

rp_15-01-19-bigstock-cellphone-72686047-sm1.jpg

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 article on how to pay attention, published in the online magazine Re-Form. I'm constantly struck by how often writers remain convinced that the act of writing is sitting in a chair and having their... Read More