An Editor Stumbles into a Writing Workshop

Nine a.m. on a Sunday morning and I rolled into the conference hall.

I’d had a long week and was looking forward to sitting in back row of some interesting talks that I had no responsibility to develop, edit, or promote, until the caffeine from my large cup of tea kicked in. It was this editor’s day off! Little did I know I was about to discover something unexpected inside myself and to glimpse that spark that draws me to my vocation in the first place.

I set out to attend Limmud, an all-day festival of Jewish learning in down... keep reading


Five easy formats for nonfiction books

Your book contains some of your best ideas. But do those ideas add up to a streamlined, compelling manuscript… or a pile of disorganized thoughts? When you’re outlining your nonfiction book, it’s easy to get so caught up in the content that you neglect to plan the book’s overarching structure. This can be a real problem because many readers will give up in frustration when faced with a book that forces them to work too hard to understand it.

So how should you structure your book? Of course you could always just move through your material chapter by chapter, begin... keep reading


Two Great Ways to Beat Writers’ Block

I don’t believe in writers’ block, any more than I believe in washing-dishes-block, or dealing-with your-taxes-block, or confronting-a-scary-problem-block. I’m not saying that writing will always come easily, or that you won’t sometimes stop and find it hard to start again. Of course you will. What I’m saying is that the reasons for halting your work are perfectly logical, therefore so are their remedies.

When your productivity dries up (and it will), do not deceive yourself that you’re the victim of some kind of creativity flu, or a passive vessel waiting to be filled wi... keep reading


Month by Month: How to Write Your Book in a Year

“Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” So goes the advice for which author and writing prof Anne Lamott named her classic instructional memoir.

Wise words if, like Lamott’s brother, you’re churning out a school report on ornithology. But the rest of us can learn a thing or two from her approach, too.

Writing a nonfiction manuscript is a big task. A year is a long stretch. At least one of those t... keep reading


Writing About Writing: How to Move Past Fear so You Can Finish Your Book

Any act of creativity will activate your fear in a big way. That’s how you know it’s working. Creative acts involve a swirling kaleidoscope of emotions, ranging from vision, exhilaration, industriousness, boredom and grandiosity to sheer terror. Sometimes there is shame too. We rotate through all of them along the way, repeatedly, throughout any creative act.

Everybody loves the fun part; the exhilaration, grandiosity and industriousne... keep reading


How Editing Your Own Writing is Like Spring Cleaning

It’s Tuesday, which means I am working on my forthcoming book about writing. To inspire you to work on your own book, I promised to share my process and also offer a sneak peek at the work-in-progress along the way. Here’s a little excerpt from today’s chapter about self-editing. Do you hate editing your own work? Let me know what you think ... keep reading


Writing About Writing: What Sprinters Can Learn From Plodders

Wow. Three weeks have passed since my last post. Where did the time go?

It has been too easy to push my book writing project to one side. After the initial buzz I got from sharing my outline wore off, I turned my attention elsewhere. I thought, I’ve got lots of time, and lots of other things calling out for my attention. There is urgent client work to complete, special projects to push forward on (Paris and I are creating an online course in how to build your aut... keep reading


Writing About Writing: Follow My Progress As I Write My Book

Last week I announced to the world that I am writing a book about writing a book, and promised to share my progress with anyone who cares to follow along. This post is my very first progress report! (Cue the tiny marching band! I believe in celebrating early and often.)

I’m doing this for two reasons. First, I want to share my experience as a first time author in the hope that it will encourage others to dive into their own... keep reading