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Bum Glue

In her craft book Write Away: One Novelist’s Approach to Fiction and the Writing Life, Elizabeth George spends an entire chapter on the value of what she calls “bum glue.” She defines it as that which keeps one’s bottom firmly attached to the chair in which one sits while writing. Although bum glue goes by many different names, the vast majority of successful authors confirm – or, at least, confess – it’s the...

Heroes, Old and New

“When I talk of the triumph of Nietzsche, all I mean is that do-it-yourself morality, informed by personal passion rather than old-fogey morality, is the new norm.” Jonah Goldberg in “Empty Integrity,” in the November 17, 2014, issue of National Review.   This article has some ideological and religious references you can skip over because they aren’t particularly relevant to the...

10,000 Hours

In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, Outliers: The Story of Success, he details the concept of the 10,000-hour rule. That’s a reasonably well-accepted theory that to become thoroughly proficient at something, a person needs to practice for about 10,000 hours. Gladwell’s most famous examples include the Beatles and Bill Gates. Prodigies — the exceptions who prove the rule — are popularly known. However, they...

Story Masters and Hammer Heads

A couple of years ago, I spent a valuable weekend at a writing workshop, Story Masters, with three terrific authors who are also outstanding teachers: James Scott Bell is a novelist and Writer’s Digest favorite. Donald Maass is a literary agent and author of several outstanding craft books. Christopher Vogler is a story consultant and Hollywood icon for his work interpreting, among other things, Joseph Campbell’s...

News flash: Economics applies to publishing, too!

Virginia Postrel has a great article on publishing and Amazon’s new lending library (which works sort of like Netflix for e-books) that’s worth reading in its entirety: click here to read it. Here’s the most important takeaway: A former publishing executive recently told me he simply didn’t believe that “if I really want a book for $9.95 I don’t also want it for $10.95 or $12.95.” People in...

Beat Your Muse with a Club

Inc. magazine has an interesting profile of the CEO of the country’s largest independent advertising agency in its November issue. Here’s what the reporter took away: Creativity doesn’t need a muse. It needs a drill sergeant. The article is good – worth reading – but doesn’t actually spend much time going into the counterintuitive nature of that headline (my thoughts on the...

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