Top 100

become a better proofreader

10 ways to become a better proofreader

Reading time: About 2 minutes If you can afford to outsource your proofreading, do it. If you can’t here are some tips that will help… Do you clean your own gutters? Change the oil in your own car? Bake every birthday cake from scratch? I’m guessing you don’t do many

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email mistakes

11 email mistakes you really shouldn’t make

Reading time: Just over four minutes Is email the best, most efficient way of communicating or is it a heavy encumbrance that stops us for talking to each other? Whatever you think of it, email is part of the business world and you’d be wise to avoid these email mistakes… How many

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11 ways to be devilishly more productive

Reading time: About 3 minutes When the day ends, do you find you’ve run out of time for writing? Here’s how to be more productive… I work long, intense hours. But in addition to my paid job, I also volunteer at a local high school. I’m their debate coach and I

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how to get more sleep

13 ways to help your writing by catching more ZZZZZs…

Reading time: about 4 minutes To be a truly productive writer you need plenty of shut-eye. The absence of sleep will not only negatively affect your health it will also hurt your writing… Here’s how to get more sleep: I’ve been thinking a lot about sleep lately. My recent trip

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no cost tools for writers

26 fantastic no-cost tools for writers

Reading time: About 4 minutes The price of groceries is rising these days. But that’s not true of everything. The Internet allows us to do so much at absolutely no charge. Here’s a digest of great no-cost tools for writers… Do you ever feel that there’s just not enough time in

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inner editor

7 surprising ways to silence your inner editor

Reading time: About 5 minutes This person may seem like your best, most concerned friend but, in fact, he or she is your worst enemy. Hello, let me introduce you to your inner editor… I am wallowing in the book I’m writing now. It’s a food related memoir (including recipes) but

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non-native English speakers

7 ways non-native English speakers can improve their writing

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Are you one of the non-native English speakers who’s afraid of writing. Don’t be scared. And don’t think that focusing on grammar is the answer. Here’s what you should do instead… I’m a debate coach at my local high school and a great many of my

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7 ways to boost your creativity

Word count: 710 words Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do you think your writing would improve if only you could become more creative? Here are seven ways to boost your creativity…. We’ve never had pets in our household. Although I’d dearly love a cat, my husband is highly allergic to animal

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editing while you write

7 ways to stop editing while you write

Reading time: Just over 5 minutes Are you writing slowly because you’re editing WHILE you write? Today, I give some practical advice on how to break this terribly destructive habit…..  When I started writing back in high school, I developed the practice of producing a sentence and then going back to edit

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toastmasters

A writing lesson from Toastmasters

Word count: 637 words Reading time: About 2.5 minutes How are you doing in the praise department? Are you getting enough? It’s something all writers need… I’m shopping for a Toastmaster’s group right now. This isn’t because I’m scared of public speaking and I’m not particularly bad at it.  I

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natural writer

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

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

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awfulizer

Are you an awfulizer?

Word count: 630 words Reading time: 2.5 minutes If you’re an “awfulizer” who procrastinates until deadlines are near (or passed!) here are five writing tips to help you become eager and optimistic about writing…. Awfulizers are people who expect the worst. They are the Alexanders of this world, constantly experiencing

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are you getting enough writing feedback?

Are you getting enough writing feedback?

Reading time: About 3 minutes Some writers feel as though they’re working in a black hole. Ask them the question, ‘Are you getting enough writing feedback?’ and they’ll answer with a resounding no… Back in my freelancing days, I used to write the occasional piece for national magazines. I didn’t

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Biking (and writing) like it’s no big deal

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes My husband and I just returned from a three-week trip to Europe. Here is part 1 of a three-part series on each of the cities we visited. Today I focus on Amsterdam with a piece on biking and writing. I didn’t own a bike

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why you should get better at writing

Can you make money as a writer?

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Ask me if you can make money as a writer and I’ll tell you yes. But it won’t be in the way that you expect… I grew up poor. My parents scrambled to put enough food on the table to feed their kids, five of

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Can’t write? Can’t draw? Here’s why you should doodle

Reading time: About 4 minutes Do you view doodling as dilly-dallying or time-wasting? It may surprise you to learn that scientists now believe there are very good reasons why you should doodle. My mother became an artist at the age of 65. She took up chalk pastels and almost immediately started

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Come to Papa with the Hemingway app

Reading time: Just over 2 minutes The Hemingway App promises to make your writing bold and clear. How does it do that? Most writers today strive to avoid the passive voice. Do you know what I mean by passive? Don’t be too quick to say yes! It may be easy

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travel

Cooking lessons from the heart of Italy

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes I didn’t get to travel when I was young because I had to work at a family business. Nor did I get the chance when I had my own family, because my kids were triplets. I’m making up for lost time now… I’m hoping

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Ditch the resolutions and make rituals instead

Reading time: About 3 minutes This might sound like heresy as we approach the last day of the year, but I’m encouraging you to ditch the resolutions and opt for rituals instead…. The lure of making resolutions for January 1 is practically irresistible. Lose 10 lbs. Go to the gym

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quotes about writing

Do you agree with these quotes about writing?

Reading time: About 3 minutes Whenever I read, I copy my favourite lines and passages into my gigantic collection of quotes about writing. Here are some that have spoken to me at various phases of my writing life. 1) Reading and writing, like everything else, improve with practice. ~Margaret Atwood I particularly

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writing and the 10,000 hour rule

Do you really need 10,000 hours to be a good writer?

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes You certainly know that writing takes time, but what do you know about writing and the 10,000-hour rule? Best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell popularized the notion that in order to be really good at something, you need to spend 10,000 hours doing it. In his

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Keith Richards writing advice

Five writing lessons from Keith Richards…

You may dismiss the Rolling Stones as old-time rock ‘n rollers, druggies or a group of has-beens, but it turns out that Keith Richards’ writing advice is surprisingly wise….  I’m old enough to have been a seven-year-old when the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. (“Those boys have hair

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value of stories

Graduation and the value of stories

Word count: 719 words Reading time: Less than 3 minutes How my daughter’s graduation ceremony taught me about the value of stories…. I attended two graduation ceremonies last week and a dinner-dance. As the mother of triplets all I can say is thank goodness one of my three kids has

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500th anniversary

Happy anniversary to me!

Reading time: About 3 minutes The year 2015 marked the 800th anniversary of the Magna Carta, the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II across Europe, the 80th anniversary of Elvis Presley’s birth and, oh, the 500th edition of this column. Welcome to the 500th issue of this column.

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Hello, meet my new standing desk

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Has anyone ever told you that sitting is the new smoking? Here’s what I’m doing about that…. I didn’t make a new year’s resolution to use a standing desk. It just kind of crept up on me… If you’ve read my column for any

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resolutions for writers

Here’s a non-resolution that could change your writing life

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do you think there ought to be some new year’s resolutions for writers? Let me suggest something that will work even better… I know it’s resolution season. New year’s plans seem to lurk in blogs like dangerous creatures in swamps. But not here. I

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willpower and writing

Holidays, writing & the neuroscience of willpower

Reading time: Just over 2 minutes When making your holiday plans, think about the neuroscience of willpower and writing before taking your break… I’m a sucker for free shipping. In fact, that’s why there’s never any shipping charge for my own book. So, when I bought a bunch of Amazon titles for Christmas recently, it

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How did you fall in love with writing?

Word count: 641 words Reading time: About 2.5 minutes Thursday is Valentine’s Day and that leads me to address the topic of love — from a literary angle. How did you fall in love with writing? Here is my story…. I’ve sounded off many times about the difficulties I’ve had with

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How long will it take you to write this?

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes How long does it take you to write something? How you answer this question may be one of the most important decisions you make… Our society lavishes praise on anything involving time and money. Is something expensive? It must be really good. Did you

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how much sleep do writers need

How much sleep do writers need?

Reading time: About 3 minutes How does your writing life intersect with your sleeping one? In fact, how much sleep do writers need, anyway? How often do you hear that it’s just about mandatory to start writing earlier in the day? About 30 seconds of research showed me that a great

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how to write better English

How non-English speakers can write better

Reading time: About 3.5 minutes Here’s some practical advice on how to write better English if it’s not your native language…  I was briefly fluent in French when I was 20. I knew this for two reasons: First, I’d gone to visit a friend in Quebec City and ended up

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How the Internet is improving writing

How the Internet is improving writing

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes You may hate technology or love it but at least be aware of how the Internet is improving writing… I graduated from high school 40 years ago this June. (Yikes! Time doesn’t just fly. It’s rocket-propelled.) Back in this mesolithic era, teachers moaned about…

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writing assessment test tips

How to ace a writing assessment test

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Does the mere thought of a test make your stomach clench? Here are some basic writing assessment test tips… I once failed a personality test. OK, to be honest, it’s not technically possible to fail such a test because we all have personalities. But I

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how to ask better questions

How to ask better questions…

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Are you good at collecting quotes from your interview subjects? Here’s a primer on how to ask better questions… As a former journalist, I’ve done more than my share of interviews, many of them with then big-name Canadian authors. I was a books editor

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how to build a style sheet

How to build your own style sheet

Reading time: About 5 minutes Have you ever wondered how to build a style sheet? Has your boss ever asked you to create one? Here’s a straightforward guide on how to accomplish the task… I’ve long held the belief that good copy editors are born, not made. I’m a very good substantive

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How to carry your bag of hammers

Word count: 720 words Reading time: Less than 3 minutes A bag of hammers typically refers to something that’s dumb or stupid. But I prefer Michael J. Fox’s definition — he takes it to mean anything that makes our lives more difficult…. I’m not generally a star-struck kind of person

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verbal tics

How to eliminate your verbal tics

Reading time: Just over 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

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How to improve your focus

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do you ever feel overwhelmed when you need to write? Here are some suggestions for how to improve your focus… As I write this column, I’m feeling overwhelmed. Why? I just said goodbye to a contractor who carved a hole in our dining-room ceiling.

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how to write more concisely

How to make big cuts to your writing

Reading time: About 3 minutes Do you tend to write more words than you need or want? Here’s some practical advice on how to edit so that you can learn how to write more concisely… When I started writing, 35 years ago, I always wrote short. If a client or boss

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how to create a mindmap

How to mindmap… (video)

 Reading time: About 4 minutes Video: Just under 7 minutes Have you ever struggled with mindmapping? Here is a video, and a post, designed to teach you how to create a mindmap… Like a cardiologist who see nothing but hearts with problems — and therefore finds them easier to

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prioritize writing

How to prioritize writing

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Some people just never seem to find the time to be able to write. Here is my best advice on how to prioritize writing…. I learned some hard lessons when I wrote my first book. It took me more than a year of angst-ridden,

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taking a break

How to re-establish your writing habit after taking a break

Reading time: About 2.5 minutes Do you find it hard to get back into writing after taking a break from it for awhile? Here’s what to do… One of my clients is a successful novelist. She has a high-profile, New-York-based agent, and has already had one of her books published, to

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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

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rewire your brain

How to rewire your brain for better writing

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Did you know you could rewire your brain? And doing so might just be the first step you need to take to become a better writer… I’ve always been deeply fascinated by the human brain. Perhaps never more so than following my two strokes in

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stop editing while you write

How to see yourself in a writing mirror

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes If you’ve ever vowed to stop editing while you write, here’s a tool that will really make you want to keep that promise. Watch the video to see how writers waste time, editing while they write… Do you have difficulty writing your crappy first

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literary envy

How to stop envying other writers

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do you ever suffer from literary envy? If so, today’s column is for you. I’ve been lucky enough to be born with little envy for other writers. I think this is because I’ve never identified primarily as a writer. My thing? Editing. I was born

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how to work alone

How to work alone

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Do you struggle with being alone? If you’re a writer, it’s essential to learn how to work alone… I enjoy meeting people. I’m cheerful and friendly. I love chatting with friends. I never fear speaking in front of an audience. These are all characteristics of

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how to cure procrastination

How to write (when you really don’t want to)

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do you want to learn how to cure procrastination? Try lying to yourself… I used to hate writing. Twenty years ago, if you’d told me that I could tell myself a simple lie and — suddenly, magically — it would make writing easier and

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how to write a complaint

How to write a complaint that gets results

Reading time: About 3 minutes Do you know how to write a complaint letter? The rules are straightforward but surprisingly challenging to apply… My 20-year-old son, who’s studying to become an opera singer, recently gave me a complaint he’d written about one of his professors. He wanted to know if

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how to write if you're a night owl

How to write if you’re a night owl

Reading time: About 3 minutes I used to be a night person who wrote best at 1 am. Even though I mysteriously turned into a morning lark 10 years ago, I’m still sympathetic to those who prefer nights. Here’s how to write if you’re a night owl… Here’s what I’d

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perfect amount of copy

How to write the perfect amount of copy

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Are you always able to write the perfect amount of copy? It’s not related to luck. It’s the product of good planning and diligent editing… I awoke at 6 this morning, as I do most mornings, and went to my office to meditate. Then I

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how to write your book

How to write your book

Reading time: Just over 5 minutes You have a book in you. I know you do! Here’s how to get it out of your head and down on paper. Here’s how to write your book… There are many ways to do anything and I don’t delude myself that I offer

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writing and perfectionism

Is grandiosity hurting your writing?

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

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how do you improve creativity?

Is your mind messy enough?

Reading time: Less than 2 minutes How do you improve creativity? Neuroscientists suggest that you embrace the concept of messiness. I can’t write if my desk is untidy. That’s why I obsessively jam everything into my large wire inbox so my desktop at least gives the appearance of being clean.

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Please join my writing community…by commenting

Word count: 703 words Reading time: Less than 3 minutes We all need friends. Writers, perhaps, need them more than most. Read on to learn how you can join my writing community, at no charge… I’m lucky enough to have a group of bright and vigorous writing companions who are

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book suggestions

Recommended books: Christmas 2012

Word count: 794 words Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Looking for some book suggestions in time for Christmas? I’ve just reached my goal to read 52 books this year. (For more book suggestions, be sure to check out my list from June, as well.) My habit is to post

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Recommended books: Christmas 2014

Reading time: About 3 minutes Looking for some book suggestions in time for Christmas? Here’s my roundup based on my reading so far this year.  My habit is to post for you the names of  all the books I’ve read, twice a year. Last July, I told you about the

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book suggestions

Recommended books: Summer 2012

Word count: 733 words Reading time: About 3 minutes Looking for some book suggestions? I’m on track for reaching my year-end goal of reading 52 books and here is my semi-annual accounting.  My habit is to post for you the names of ALL the books I’ve read, twice a year

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recommended books

Recommended books: Summer 2017

Reading time: About 4 minutes Looking for some recommended books in time for summer reading? Here’s my semi-annual roundup of books I’ve read 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

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recommended books

Recommended books: winter 2015

Reading time: Less than 4 minutes Looking for some recommended books in time Christmas gift-giving? Here’s my semi-annual roundup — this time of books I’ve read since June.   I aim to read 52 books every 12 months and my habit is to post the names of them for you, twice a

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recommended books

Recommended books: Winter 2016

Reading time: About 4 minutes Looking for some recommended books in time Christmas gift-giving? Here’s my semi-annual roundup — this time of books I’ve read since June.   I aim to read 52 books every 12 months and my habit is to post the names of them for you, twice a year.

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Test: are you a born editor or a born writer?

Word count: 757 words Reading time: About 3 minutes Is there anyone — apart from school students — who doesn’t enjoy taking an easy, self-revealing test? Today, I’m giving you the chance to take a quick quiz for writers. Sharpen your pencils! If you want to be a better writer,

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7 habits

The 7 habits of highly effective writers

This post first appeared on Oct. 23, 2007. Reading time: less than 2 minutes I’ve noticed that effective writers tend to share seven traits. So, with apologies to Stephen Covey (pictured above), here is my own list of 7 habits worth adopting. Have you ever wondered why some people write

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benefits of boredom

The benefits of boredom…

Reading time: Less than 4 minutes I know this may sound crazy, but, for writers, the benefits of boredom outweigh its downsides…. I’m going to ask you to do something difficult. I’d like you to stop seeing boredom as automatically undesirable, bad or negative. Instead, I ask you to see

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The benefits of saying no

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Last week I wrote about the benefits of the word yes. Today, I reflect on the advantages of just saying no. I have a bad back. I know I’ve created this back myself, after 30 years of stooping over a computer keyboard and hunching

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reducing writing stress

The definitive guide to reducing writing stress

Reading time: Just over 4 minutes Is your major aim reducing writing stress? Over the last 40 years, I’ve developed 11 strategies that really work… My number 1 stressor right now? Organizing high school debate tournaments. Picture this: An event featuring 48 articulate and argumentative teenagers who must be matched

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crappy first draft

The JOY of the crappy first draft

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes People often laugh when I use the phrase “crappy first draft,” but I’m serious about it. Producing one is exactly what will turn you into a professional writer… Every beginning writer I know abhors the idea of a crappy first draft. It’s embarrassing, mortifying and humiliating.

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story

The power of the personal story

Word count: 518 words Reading time: About 2 minutes Even when I don’t go looking for stories, I seem to fall over them. If you’re a writer, be sure to keep an eye out for them, too…. I took myself out for lunch following my blog launch. I wanted a

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how to write faster

The ultimate 7-step guide for how to write faster

Reading time: Less than 6 minutes Even if you don’t know exactly how many words you can produce in an hour, here’s how to write faster… Ask a bunch of journalists or professional writers how many words they can produce in an hour and you’ll get a dog-pile of half-answers and

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value of thank-you notes

The 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

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think first write later

Think first. Write later.

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Some writers try to figure out what they want to say by writing. Here’s why you should think first, write later…. Here are the mistakes I see some (not all!) academic writers make: They use the passive voice too much, hiding the ‘actor’ of

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Three ways to beat the editing monster

This post first appeared on Sept. 15, 2009. Reading time: About 3 minutes There are two main types of writers in this world and here are three editing tips for each of them. A subscriber wrote to me recently with the alarming subject line “writing discipline” and told the following story: “I’ve

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bad writing habits

Trying to build a writing habit? Beware these 5 traps

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

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responsibility

What a circus act can teach you about writing…

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Is writing burdensome to you? Consider whether you might be taking on more responsibility than you need to… My son, who is studying to become an opera singer, must display a panoply of skills: Singing without a microphone. Learning a smattering of six different languages.

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turn off smartphone

What if you turned off your smartphone today?

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes I like smartphones as much as the next person. But I also know there’s a good time to turn off your smartphone…. When my brother-in-law comes to our house for dinner he knows I’ll require him to step away from the table if he

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When is the best time to write?

Word count: 781 words Reading time: About 3 minutes It’s always hard to find enough time for all the things we want to do. But somehow it’s extra-difficult to find writing time. What, then, is the best time to write? I was born a night owl. I used to think

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meditation for writers

Why and how to meditate — even if you think it’s crazy

Reading time: Less than 4 minutes Some people think meditation should be reserved for monks and hippies. I disagree. Many business people are starting to meditate and I’m a big believer in meditation for writers. Many years ago, when my kids were young, I took a course in meditation. Each

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improving writing skills

Why aren’t we getting better at writing?

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Does the idea of improving writing skills make you feel hopeful and excited? If so, the term “deliberate practice” is one you need to learn… Has our writing improved in the last 100 years? This question occurred to me as I listened to a

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Emotional intelligence

Why do the best writers have the most emotional intelligence?

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes You’ve probably heard the term “emotional intelligence” lots of times. Did you know it was something that could help writers do their work better? I read the bestselling book Emotional Intelligence — also known as EI — by Daniel Goleman, in 1996 when my

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mindmapping

Why I insist on blathering about mindmapping

Word count: 644 words Reading time: About 2.5 minutes Have you ever heard me talk about mindmapping and wondered what all the fuss was about? Here’s an explanation… I bribed my daughter last week. When she asked for help with an essay I looked her squarely in the eye and said,

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quitting Facebook

Why I’ve quit Facebook for 99 days

Reading time: Just over 4 minutes Are you a writer who’s addicted to social media? Consider joining me in quitting Facebook for at least 99 days…. I have long mocked my brother-in-law for never having had a Facebook account. He’s a structural engineer, so you might be inclined to brand

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treadmill desk

Why I’m writing this on a treadmill

Reading time: About 3 minutes You’ve certainly heard of standing desks, but have you ever heard of walking ones? Here are some treadmill desk benefits… I am an eccentric. Here are some of my credentials: I have a computer file with all my recipes and I make a menu plan once

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writing something stupid makes sense

Why it’s better to write than to BE right

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Writing something stupid makes sense when the alternative is simply staring at a blank computer screen…  When I was a teenager, I used to babysit a girl I’ll call Michelle. She lived directly across the street from me and she was famous in our

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why overthinking is bad for writers

Why overthinking is bad for writers

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Has a piece of writing ever left you stymied? My guess is that you may have overthought it. Here’s why overthinking is bad for writers… When I teach people about mindmapping, I try to be explicit about one thing. My use of the phrases “left

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stubbornness is a virtue

Why stubbornness is a virtue

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Are you determined enough to get your writing done? Believe it or not, stubbornness is a virtue… When one of my daughters was two she chose to present her unique personality on a family camping trip. I was about to go for a walk, and

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best readers make best writers

Why the best readers make the best writers

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes I’m sure you’ve read elsewhere that good writers are always good readers. Here are the reasons why…. A grade 2 teacher reported to my parents more than 50 years ago that I wasn’t reading enough. The reaction? It was like an alarm going off in a nuclear

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fear of writing failure

Why we should WANT to fail as writers

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes “Fail” is one of the most dreaded four-letter words. But it shouldn’t be! Here’s why you should overcome the fear of writing failure… When I worked in daily newspapers, in the early 1980s, I wrote and edited my stories on a computer. This was

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why writers need checklists

Why writers need checklists

Reading time: Just over 4 minutes Do you ever use checklists when you’re writing? Here’s why you should… A few weeks ago I wrote a column here, in which I mentioned casually — in a by-the-way sort of manner —that I had a 17-item list of tasks I perform fist thing

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Why writers need to practice generosity

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Have you ever wondered how to fight perfectionism? I’ve battled it for many years. Let me share my strategy… Born into a highly competitive family, with a father — a writer — who believed his five children always needed to try a whole lot harder,

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writing tracking

Why writers should use a secret sauce — tracking

Reading time: About 3 minutes Have you ever kept a writing tracking record? This simple document — you can create it easily in your own word processing software — will revolutionize your productivity…. When I wrote my first book, I made so many mistakes. I didn’t have a daily writing

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buyer beware

Why you get what you pay for

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes  Do you understand how many of the blogs you read and the podcasts you hear earn their money through advertising and sponsorships? In the world of the internet, it’s a case of buyer beware… How do you feel about advertising on the internet? And

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copycat

Why you should be a copycat

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Being called a copycat is generally an insult. Instead, I think it’s a valuable tool for writers to try… If you were ever able to sneak into my home office around 6 am on a weekday morning, you just might find me hunched over my computer,

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just say thanks

Why you should just say thanks

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes When someone thanks you, when someone helps you, when you need something, when you don’t know what to say, here’s a tip: Just say thanks… Why is the phrase “thank you” so hard to accept and so hard to say? Think about the last

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why writers shouldn't multi-task

Why you should stop multi-tasking

Reading time: Just over 3 minutes Multi-tasking isn’t the good idea it’s often cracked up to be. But there are some especially important reasons why writers shouldn’t multi-task… I have a simple question I ask everyone I coach and it’s this: Do you let your computer collect your email for

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benefits of walking for writers

Why you should walk more if you’re a writer

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes There are many benefits of walking for writers. Staying in shape is one of them. But becoming more creative is the biggest gain…  I have a neighbour who often drove her three kids to school. I’m too polite to have told her off for

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how to write freely

Why you should write like a jazz musician plays

Reading time: Less than 3 minutes Do you know how to write freely? Here’s a metaphor that might help. Pretend you’re a jazz musician who’s improvising… When I moved away from home at the age of 21, I started pondering how to take music lessons. I’d always wanted to learn

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plans for writers

Your guide to a better kind of New Year’s resolution

Reading time: Just over 2 minutes  If the recent passage of Jan. 1 has you feeling bad for not having made some writing-related new year’s resolutions, remember this: plans for writers are a far better idea…  I no longer believe in new year’s resolutions. This discovery came over me in

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