Coping with the Many Silly / Annoying / Challenging Comments and Questions People Direct at Writers

You’d think that having people ask questions about what you do wouldn’t be such a big deal. But in a world where most people don’t have a clue what writing is about, a writer is always going to be on the defensive. Here’s how to cope.

"To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one's education is complete."

“To accuse others of one’s own misfortune is a sign of want of education. To accuse oneself shows that one’s education has begun. To accuse neither oneself nor others shows that one’s education is complete.” – Epictetus, a Stoic, A.D. 55 -135 (Thanks CT!)

Preview! The Seven Secrets of the Prolific Cover

Here’s the draft cover for my new book, The Seven Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism and Writer’s Block. I love it! The book will be out in August.

The Lifelong Activist now online!

I’m very pleased to announce that the entire text to my book The Lifelong Activist: How to Change the World Without Losing Your Way (Lantern Books, 2006) can now be found at For those who aren’t familiar with it, the book is a self-help guide for activists, organizers, educators, human service workers and others […]

Perfectionism and Human Relations

Or, more specifically: sex. I mainly write on procrastination and perfectionism in one’s work, but the same principles apply in other parts of our lives. Here’s Andrew Sullivan nailing it (so to speak) relative to perfectionism in our sex lives: “If your standard is never to commit a venial sin, you will almost certainly fail. […]

How Much Does Labeling Hurt?

How much does it hurt when parents or others unfairly label us? An acquaintance recently told about how, after her 13-year-old daughter broke her wrist playing sports, her Dad, who had taken her to the hospital, responded to her expressions of pain by telling her, “Don’t be a wimp.” Later, when Mom showed up, the daughter’s first words were not about her painful injury, but an outraged and accusatory: “He called me a wimp!”

The Perils of Overgiving

There are plenty of selfish, exploitative people in the world – no doubt. But most of the people I encounter in my workshops and coaching have the opposite problem – they’re overgivers, perennially sacrificing their needs and missions to others’. That’s a much nobler problem, but still a problem.

Emo About the Commute

this guy sounds pretty emo about his commute, but I actually agree with him 100%. commuting is dreadful and cars are the most overrated appliance. The less I drive, the less I want to drive.

Stephen Hawking on Leveraging Your Strengths

In this interview, Hawking gives the same basic advice I hear from successful people in every field: don’t worry about your weaknesses or “deficits,” focus on leveraging your strengths: “My advice to other disabled people would be, concentrate on things your disability doesn’t prevent you doing well, and don’t regret the things it interferes with. […]

Greetings Greenhorn Connecters!

Happy to see you here – feel free to browse, kick the tires, etc. If you have questions or comments, please leave them in the comments box or feel free to email me. Thanks! Hillary

How to Overcome Procrastination by Lowering Your Energy of Activation

I’ve been obsessed lately with the concept of energy of activation (Ea) – the energy you put into a system to get it to change. If there’s a task you procrastinate on, try reducing its “Ea” by, (1) optimizing your environment, and (2) getting some of the preconditions out of the way earlier.

Shakespeare on Ambition

Hamlet: To me [Denmark] is a prison. Rosencrantz: Why then your ambition makes it one. ‘Tis too narrow for your mind. Hamlet: O God, I could be bounded in a nutshell, and count myself a king of infinite space—were it not that I have bad dreams. Guildenstern: Which dreams indeed are ambition, for the very […]

Perfectionism Quotes

Here’s a fantastic page of them: Some good ones: A child becomes an adult when he realises that he has a right not only to be right but also to be wrong.–Thomas Szasz Freedom is not worth having if it does not connote freedom to err. It passes my comprehension how human beings, be […]

Vegan Integrity and the Fate of a Vegan Whistleblower

The truly valuable thing Quarrygirl did was prove that the vegan community has integrity, and that we are not so weak or authoritarian or cultlike that we cannot challenge the lies of our leaders. She also exposed lies that were not just wrong on their own merits (a violation of journalistic ethic as well as veganism), but that would have been exposed eventually, and probably in ways that would have done infinitely more harm.

Arrows all the Time

In his essay On the Sublime Greek philosopher Longinus said that creators must be ready when the “arrow of inspiration” strikes. What the prolific know is that there aren’t just a few arrows out there: it’s arrows all the time. Just work to eliminate your obstacles to receiving and working with them.