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5 NaNoWriMo Tips from a Guy who Hasn’t Done it

Since 1999, Halloween has marked the eve of National Novel Writing Month,or NaNoWriMo, a web-based write-a-thon in which participants try to write a novel (of at least 50,000 words) in the month of November. 50,000 words in a month comes out to a daily word count of 1,667, or roughly seven pages. That’s challenging but… Read more »

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Friday Roundup — I Think You’re Fat

“If I knew where the good songs came from, I’d go there more often.” –Leonard Cohen    Leonard Cohen talks about the writing process.   The climate event that created Frankenstein and the bicycle.   Piles of Beanie Babies at the Paris Review.   Trump’s Ghostwriter talks to The New Yorker .   I think you’re fat, how… Read more »

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Elmore Leonard’s Most Important Rule for Writing

Elmore Leonard had one rule that summed up his famous 10 rules of writing: “If it sounds like writing, I rewrite it.”     You can find the other 10 in Elmore Leonard’s 10 Rules of Writing which includes illustrations and examples of writers who break his rules brilliantly.

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One Problem with Adjectives– Stating the Obvious

There are a lot of ways adjectives can mess you up, one of the worst is the tautology–that’s when the adjective has the same meaning as the word in modifies and therefore isn’t needed. Here are a few examples: Dry desert Closed fist Overused cliché Revolutionary new Freezing cold First priority Evening sunset Over exaggerate… Read more »

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Friday Roundup

“Graham Greene wrote from 9:00 to 12:00 and then drank.” –Zadie Smith    Zadie Smith on  the three hour writing day.   Nobel Laureate Bob Dylan has yet to acknowledge his prize.   Bloomberg gives the Boston Museum of Science $50 million to say thank you for his childhood visits to the museum.   Outside Magazine ranks… Read more »

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Hemingway, Refugees, and Writing with Emotion

In 1922, Hemingway was in Greece reporting for the Toronto Star on the evacuation of Thrace and the refugee crisis that followed. He used some of his memories and notes from the trip as material for In Our Time, his first collection of short stories.   Hemingway’s war reporting appears in italics between his stories…. Read more »

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Norman Mailer on Trolls and Critics

The Spooky Art, Norman Mailer’s book on the art and business of writing, is a lost classic of the writing advice genre. Like Mailer himself, it’s brilliant, frustrating, and full of fist-fighting analogies. What’s cool about this title is that it was written for working writers and advanced amateurs. You won’t find much in the… Read more »

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Friday Roundup

“We love to buy books because we believe we’re buying the time to read them.” — Warren Zevon (paraphrasing Arthur Schopenhauer)   The bizarre story of how Snorri the Seal got banned.   Stunning lotus , macro photography by Saeah Lee.   The story of Hemingway’s Guns.   Veterans heal on the Appalachian Trail.   Being a Bumpkin

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What do you Need?

One way to deal with procrastination is to bargain with it. When you get stuck, stop and ask yourself, “Self, what do you need?” Typically, your demands aren’t too outrageous: maybe you need a walk, or a run, or you need to punch something (protip: punching bags are better than walls.) It could be that… Read more »

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How to Practice Public Accountability

The flipside of the public over-share is public accountability. Here are a few ways a writer can do it: Commit to a regular blogging practice. (emphasis on regular) Uses Twitter and Instagram to show yourself showing up.  ( I recently posted a video of me starting my morning pages at 5:15AM) Post a screenshot of your word-count Write/ post a serialized… Read more »