Why the Middles of Projects are Tough (Part 2): Plus, How to Have Fun Revising!

Middles are Tough. Last time I wrote about how the middles of writing and other projects can be difficult, citing Dante’s Inferno, which begins “midway upon the journey of our life,” and John Bunyan’s classic The Pilgrim’s Progress, in which the protagonist, Christian, literally bogs down midway, in the infamous “Slough of Despond.” Middles are […]

Who Makes the Best Mentor? And Coming to Terms with My $14,500 Mentor Failure

Who makes the best mentor? According to research, it’s not the star performers: In an article published in the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science, for example, Jerker Denrell of the University of Oxford and Chengwei Liu of the University of Warwick counsel us to model ourselves on solid, second-tier performers, not the flashy […]

Designer Milton Glaser’s Universe of Abundance

An important element of perfectionism is a sense of scarcity and deprivation, so this quotation from iconic graphic designer Milton Glaser offers an important antiperfectionist message: “If you perceive the universe as being a universe of abundance, then it will be. If you think of the universe as one of scarcity then it will be…I […]

Margaret Atwood, Anne Enright, and Garry Kasparov, on Failure

Meditations on failure, from some leading writers. I like this quote from Margaret Atwood: Failure is just another name for much of real life: much of what we set out to accomplish ends in failure, at least in our own eyes. Who set the bar so high that most of our attempts to sail gracefully over it […]

Hartford, Connecticut: Registration Now Open for 7 Secrets of the Prolific Class, Tuesday, July 2, at Mark Twain House

[please scroll down to see participant feedback from my last session at Mark Twain House] “One of the most popular writers from our 2nd Annual Writers’ weekend returns to jump-start your writing this summer.” Would you like to boost your writing productivity, finish your projects, and find more joy in your work? You can do […]

Why You Shouldn’t Mock Beauty Pageant Contestants

[Note: I’m pretty sure none of my readers would mock a contestant, so please don’t think I’m speaking to you personally, so much as the entire Internet. – Hillary] It seems to be evolving into a seasonal pastime to mock beauty pageant contestants who garble their speeches, but here’s why you shouldn’t do it: 1) […]

My Inner Critic is a Wise Latina

I had a really bad night’s sleep last night, even for me. At one point, I actually dreamt that I was being judged by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor! Could be worse–could have been Scalia or Alito or Thomas. So the yield of twelve+ years work helping others overcome their perfectionism is that my Inner […]

Wikipedia the Wise

New Articles on Procrastination and Perfectionism, and How to Help Your Kid Kick the Video Game Habit

Just posted new, updated sections on how to recognize and overcome Procrastination and Perfectionism. Please check them out! Also posted a new article called How to Help Your Kids Kick the Video Game Habit. It’s adapted from one I published a while back on the Psychology Today blog, andit will be useful to anyone (not […]

Good Apps for Distraction-Free Writing

Here are ten apps that let you write on a “clean” screen without distracting menus or other junk.  

My Dad’s Finest Hour

My dad was an intelligent, creative, and incredibly thwarted man who was unhappy much of his life. I suggested a couple of times that he get therapy, and his answer was, “What do you think I am–nuts?” And so he never got happier. So I’m really happy to read that more elderly people are using […]

Seth Godin and Jennifer Crusie on Artistic Legitimacy

Following onto the post about Amanda Palmer’s exhortation to legitimize yourself as an artist, instead of waiting for gatekeepers to do so, here are marketing guru Seth Godin and best-selling romance author Jennifer Crusie on the same topic. First, Godin: No knight, no shining armor “Sure, Seth can do that, because he has a popular […]

Cat is Literal Writer’s Block

Children’s author Deborah Underwood catches her cat Bella in the act of literally being a writer’s block. (Sitting on one of Deb’s notebooks.) Read an interview with Bella here. Like all cats, she’s got opinions!

Amanda Palmer on Why Artists Should Self-Promote (Bonus: How To Do It Without Selling Out!)

Last week I wrote about Amanda Palmer’s excellent keynote speech for the Grub Street Writers’ Muse and the Marketplace conference, where she made an impassioned plea for artists to validate themselves instead of waiting for a publisher, gallery owner, studio, or other gatekeeper’s endorsement. She also had a lot of useful things to say about […]

Inger Mewburn on Racism in Academia

A very good and honest piece from Inger Mewburn, a.k.a., The Thesis Whisperer, about waking up to racism in academia, and her own white privilege: At the time Joe and I were both looking for more permanent work in academia. It has to be said that neither of us were having much luck. I barely […]