Lessons from 10 years of Brain Pickings

Brain Pickings

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 the Brain Pickings website... I've longtime been a fan of the website Brain Pickings — what owner/curator Maria Popova describes as, "a one-woman labor of love — a subjective lens on what matters... Read More

Is your busy-ness getting in the way of your work?

Reading time: Just over 1 minute Are you being undone by your own busy-ness? Here's what some productivity experts have to say about the subject and what I have done to change my own working schedule as a result... Do you have any idea how busy you are? I know, I know. You eat your lunch at your desk because you don't have time to go to a park or a lunchroom. You drive to work because you do... Read More

The figurative language of Andre Alexis…

Andre Alexis

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 and a metaphor from Andre Alexis.... I've always been more of a cat person than a dog one. I grew up with cats and I appreciate their intelligence and their aloof attitude. I also like that they don't smell, as dogs so often do. Nevertheless,... Read More

What’s a ‘portcullis’?

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: portcullis... I have certain gaps in my reading and one of the large ones is that I've never read any Barbara Tuchman. (I've also failed to read any Virginia Woolf, but that's another story...) Tuchman was an historian who not ... Read More

Your complete self-editing checklist

self-editing checklist

Reading time: About 5 minutes Do you write relatively easily but find yourself overwhelmed when it comes to editing? Here is a complete self-editing checklist to make the job easier… I do many different kinds of work, but I have one favourite job. Editing a 750 to 1,200-word piece written by someone else. I like this work because it's fast, rewarding and — usually — interesting. Editin... Read More

How to trick yourself into writing

nick ripatrazone

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 blog post written by Nick Ripatrazone... I had never heard of writer Nick Ripatrazone (pictured above) but it turns out he's the author of seven books of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism an... Read More

What not to wear (for TV interviews)

how to dress for TV

Reading time: Just over 1 minute If you ever do any media interviews it's essential that you learn how to dress for TV. Here are some important tips... Are television cameras on their way to you? Here's some advice about what not to wear. Avoid wearing white or black. Yes, I know you will sometimes see TV anchors wearing these colours. But here's why you should avoid them: television ... Read More

The figurative langue of Henry Marsh

Henry Marsh Simon Clark photo

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 metaphors from neurosurgeon Henry Marsh.... Henry Marsh is a neurosurgeon, not a professional writer. But like many Renaissance Men, he seems able to turn his hand to many tasks. I very much enjoyed his 2014 memoir Do No Harm and found his ap... Read More

What’s a ‘fo’c’s’le’?

fo'c's'le

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: fo'c's’le... I read the novel Fifteen Dogs by Andre Alexis because a friend highly recommended it and, to be honest, because it had won a couple of big awards in 2015 (the Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust ... Read More

Thanksgiving! The value of thank you notes

value of thank-you notes

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes  Has the handwritten thank you letter died a quiet death? If you were hoping the answer is yes, you’re wrong. The value of thank you notes is still significant to people who can help you… My mother seldom favoured arbitrary rules. I never had a curfew. She didn’t blink when I became vegetarian for several years. She allowed me to wear jeans to family ... Read More