“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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
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...]
Ta-Nehisi Coates is one of the best writers on the web right now, using his Atlantic.com blog and other venues to discuss race, culture, history, and a myriad of other topics. He writes long, thoughtful pieces, and even his commenters can be dauntingly erudite.
He's currently debating New York Magazine writer Jonathan Chait on whether there's a "culture of poverty" in U.S. black communities, and while the debate is definitely worth checking out for its main points, I glommed onto this statement by Coates:
"The set of practices … [Read More...]
Recently, I've noticed an interesting evolution in the writing productivity classes I teach.
Up until a few years ago, writers almost always took one of my classes because they were procrastinating or blocked on a book or other work. These days, however, many who take my classes have finished their book: it's their marketing they're stuck on.
And many of those who are stuck are indie publishers.
To understand what's going on, you first need to understand that procrastination isn't caused by laziness, lack of … [Read More...]
Everyone gets rejected. Even Kurt Vonnegut, Madonna, Andy Warhol, and others who went on to be luminaries in their field.
If you get rejected, don't take it to heart. Learn from the experience and move on.
Mostly, rejection is simply proof that you haven't given up--which is a great thing. … [Read More...]