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“We off That.” Don’ts for Writers in 2017

Jay-Z’s “Off That” is a concise guide to what was no longer cool as of 2009: everything from baggy clothes and Timbs (Timberland boots,) to fighting in the club and telling your girl you love her. We writers could use a similar style audit. With all the wackness being perpetrated in the writing game today,… Read more »

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Friday Roundup

“We must continually remind ourselves that there is a difference between what is natural and what is actually good for us. There is nothing more natural than being mauled and eaten by a bear.” —Sam Harris    I’m on Medium now. Follow me.   History’s great authors request nudes at the New Yorker.   Throwback… Read more »

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Aleppo Needs Writers to Put it on the Record

The news from Aleppo today makes me sick. We can come at this from any angle we want, but the fact is we are all bystanders. We are “the good man who does nothing.” This is a bad day for those of us who can write and photograph and otherwise document. I’m reading tweets from… Read more »

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50 Things to Collect when you Read

Favorite quotes Gorgeous prose Bad prose Lines that make you laugh and cry Lines you wish you had written Scenes that make you wonder how the hell this book got so popular Place names Character names Obscure words (the word for a collector of words is sesquipedalian) Words you derive the meaning of from their… Read more »

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Friday Roundup

“He traveled in order to come home.”  –William Trevor    Goodbye William Trevor.   F. Scott Fitzgerald ‘that sad young man’ profiled in the New Yorker April, 1926   The Defunct Language of Nautical Flags.   Leonard Cohen at BrainPickings.   A visit to Nouvella’s studio.  

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Showing Up, By the Numbers

If you do three morning pages  every day, you’ll write 273,750 words every year (assuming 250 words/ page.) That’s Crime and Punishment plus Lord of the Flies, all before breakfast.   Writing three hours a day gets you to 10,000 hours of practice in ten years. A decade will go by fast if you’re living the kind of life worth writing… Read more »

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Friday Roundup – Writing is Spooky

“Writing is spooky. There is no routine of an office to keep you going, only the blank page each morning, and you never know where your words are coming from, those divine words.” –Norman Mailer     The Bronx loses its only bookstore.   However, library attendance has gone up as bookstores close in NYC’s poorest borough…. Read more »

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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.