Stephen King and Anthony Trollope on the Importance of Approaching Your Work With the Proper (Non-Grandiose) Attitude

From The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The prolific tend to see their writing not as some holy mission but their “work, “craft,” or even “job”: Stephen King: “Don’t wait for the muse…This isn’t the Ouija board or the spirit-world we’re talking about here, but just another job like laying pipe or driving long-haul trucks. […]

Welcome Tomorrow’s Professor People!

Glad you found your way here! There are plenty of free resources to help you. I’m very grateful to Dr. Reis for mentioning my book because I have a special admiration for graduate students and scholars in general. Your work is very important! The appendix to The 7 Secrets of the Prolific is devoted to […]

Video: The Truth About Procrastination

The Truth About Procrastination featuring Hillary Rettig from Hillary Rettig on Vimeo.

He Gets It!


“We must act knowing that our work will be imperfect.” Barack Obama, 2d inaugural address, January 21, 2013

“Procrastinating Surgeon Putting Off Coronary Bypass By Cleaning Entire Hospital”

procrastinating surgeon

The Onion gives us a sterling example of procrastination as a mimic of productive work: “NEW YORK—Sources at Columbia University Medical Center reported Sunday that cardiac surgeon Dr. Robert Klinge, 44, was putting off an impending coronary bypass procedure by cleaning the entire hospital. “I know that guy’s arteries are a mess, but so are […]

This is Called “Situational Perfectionism”


Situational perfectionism is when something happens that causes your perfectionism to spike. Examples include: *You’ve invested in your writing or other dream – say, by taking a class or buying a piece of equipment – and think, “Now, I’d better make that pay off.” *You’ve just finished a workshop or class, and are feeling all, […]

Three Great Success Tips from Ted Behr


My friend Ted Behr went to a success workshop and came back with three great tips.

Click to read his article.

Coping with Harsh Criticism


My friend and former student Kirstin Butler wrote a fantastic post on coping with traumatic rejection. I won’t go into a ton of detail about the feedback itself, because I know it was well-intentioned. But it also contained a few comments — I believe the exact phrase was “total rewrite situation” — that hit me […]

“Scope Creep” will Poison Your Projects!

“Scope creep is poisonous,” a client of mine recently said after finally finishing an academic paper he had been procrastinating on for more than three years. He had a full spaghetti snarl of reasons for not getting it done–and remember, our reasons for procrastinating are always valid–but after he worked through them and started to […]

Seth Godin’s Icarus Sessions A Great Idea – and Coming to Your Town


It’s so important that you be able to stand up and say, “This is who I am and this is what is important to me, and here’s why it is important.” If you don’t you remain ashamed and isolated, which feeds procrastination. Uber marketing guru Seth Godin knows all this and is organizing a global […]

Register Now for January Classes (Boston and Online)

New Englanders! Register Now for my winter Grub Street Writers classes! 1) How to Write a Lot, 6 Tuesdays, 10:30a – 1:30b, starting Jan 8 2) The Time of Your Life, Sat Jan 26, 10:30a – 6:30p Everyone! Register now for my next online class! The 7 Secrets of the Prolific, 4 weeks beginning Monday […]

Special Offer: Donate $1+ to Rolling Jubilee, Get Free Books!


Rolling Jubilee is the wonderful new program from Occupy Wall Street that purchases and retires distressed consumer debt: Rolling Jubilee is a…project that buys debt for pennies on the dollar, but instead of collecting it, abolishes it. Together we can liberate debtors at random through a campaign of mutual support, good will, and collective refusal. […]

Four Things Your College Career Center Got Dead Wrong

Over the years, I’ve helped many new graduates look for work; and one of the things I’ve learned is that a lot of the advice dispensed by college career centers is flawed. Below are four of the most common errors I see: three having to do with resumes (easily correctable), the fourth having to do […]

More on Millennials

Got a great response to my last blog post defending millennials (who should need no defense). Colorado-based writer Teresa Funke, author of the Home Front Heroes series of kids’ books about World War II—which would make a great holiday present for any book-loving kid you know (hint, hint)—wrote a particularly stirring reply and gave me […]

David Foster Wallace on Time Management


From a graduation speech he gave at Kenyon College in 2005: Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that…”Learning how to think” really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to […]