Why an Animal Activist Life is the Very Best Life

This summer we shared two posts discussing how emotionally and socially challenging animal activism can be. You’ll find them here and here. The interesting thing is how many activists persevere despite these challenges. Some of this surely comes from a desire not to abandon animals in need, but there’s something else going on as well: We, as individuals, get a lot from our activism. Here’s the thing: in my work, I am lucky enough to spend a good chunk of my time talking to activists, academics, artists, writers, … [Read More...]

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How Filtering Your Facebook, Twitter, and Other Feeds Can Make You a Happier and More Effective Activist

Dear Hillary: “How do I enjoy myself when so many horrors go on continually?” Consider this a continuation of last month’s column on how to be happy in a world filled with suffering, in which  the importance of: (1) consciously deciding how much of your life you want to devote to animal activism or advocacy, and (2) taking regular breaks was discussed. This month, try doing an easy thing that will benefit you all year round: filter your Facebook and other social media inputs. If your social media exposes you to an … [Read More...]

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How to Be Happy in a World Full of Suffering

Dear Hillary: “How do I enjoy myself when so many horrors go on continually?” Dear Animal Activist: Thank you for your question, which was actually the most-submitted one. It saddens me to think that so many animal activists—whom I truly consider to be among the best and noblest people on the planet—struggle to find joy. As I hope to convince you, it is not only possible to be joyful in a world filled with suffering, I think it is imperative that animal activists and advocates learn to do so. Before I explain how, please … [Read More...]

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Meet Compassionate Objectivity, The Antidote to Guilt

“I should succeed at this job despite the fact that we're severely under-resourced and my boss is chronically disorganized. If I don't, I’m a loser.” “If I don’t sacrifice everything to my kids, I'm a terrible parent.” "If I don’t get my hour of exercise in every single day, I'm just a lazy slob.” “If my book doesn't sell well, I must be a crappy writer.” You've probably experienced the above or similar thoughts at different times. No matter what the project, or how well we've done, it seems like we can always do a better … [Read More...]

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Why Amazon is This Writer’s Best Friend

Right now, there's a contract dispute going on between Amazon and the publisher Hachette Book Group, with the result that Amazon is delaying shipment of some Hachette books and removing "pre-order" buttons from listings of others. Read some news stories and you might think all authors are pro-Hachette and anti-Amazon. But that is not at all the case. Many of us strongly support Amazon, including famous writers like Joe Konrath, Barry Eisler, and Bob Mayer, and many lesser-known writers--like me. One reason is that this is no … [Read More...]

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Why a Course on Weight Loss for Writers?

On June 9, I will be thrilled to start the second run of my SavvyAuthors' exclusive Weight Loss for Writers class. To my knowledge, you won't find another class like it anywhere. But why a class on weight loss just for writers? Well, for one thing, writing is a sedentary occupation, so it's easy for writers to gain weight. For another, overweight (yes, I use it as a noun for convenience's sake!) has a lot in common with that other unfortunately common malady for writers, writer's block. Both are forms of procrastination fed by … [Read More...]

Summer 2014 Online Classes

I'm teaching three great online classes this summer, two on writing productivity, and one on weight loss. Online classes are fun, convenient, inexpensive, and you do get loads of individualized attention from me. Check out my Events page for more information, and hope to see you in class. … [Read More...]

Free ebook of The 7 Secrets of the Prolific to first five people who email me telling me who's in the picture, and why it's relevant to the topic.

What Being “Willing to Fail” Really Means

These days, many people know it's okay to fail.* They understand that failure is an essential part of any ambitious path, and also a fantastic learning opportunity. They also know that if you’re not failing at least some of the time, you’re probably not taking enough risks. This failure-is-okay viewpoint is reinforced by many inspiring quotes by brilliant people, including: "He who has never failed somewhere, that man can not be great. - Herman Melville “Go on failing. Go on. Only next time, try to fail better.” - Samuel … [Read More...]

Bretschnedier's The Scholar's Study. Art like this is beautiful but unfortunately romanticized images like these promote perfectionism. You might feel inadequate if your own source materials aren't as abundantly arrayed.

Why People Quit Big Projects (And How Not To!)

The below fantastic article from ThesisWhisperer.com is aimed at graduate students, but really pertains to anyone who is struggling, or has struggled, with a big project. (Just substitute “boss” for “supervisor” if needed!) Thanks to the the Thesis Whisperer herself, Dr. Inger Mewburn, Director of Research Training at the Australian National University, for kind permission to reprint. I've edited it for brevity, added some formatting, and also annotated it with some of my own thoughts and solutions. And your own thoughts and feedback … [Read More...]

sleepwalkers

Historians are Getting Less Blame-y and You Should, Too!

So privileged, last night, to hear a lecture at Kalamazoo College by Christopher Clark, one of the world's leading historians. His recent book on the causes of World War I is called The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914; and please note the interesting "How" in the subtitle. Clark says he used "how" because "why" discussions tend to get abstract: he wanted to keep things focused and concrete. Also, he said (paraphrasing) that "why" discussions almost inevitably devolve into questions of blame and finger-pointing, which are … [Read More...]