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Interesting Times and Heavy Lifting

A college friend who is an avid reader and married to another college friend and avid writer sent this story to me with this note: “Interesting times ahead.” Big Six publishers decline to renew contract with Amazon over unfavorable terms He, several friends, and I engaged in some commentary on the article. Here’s an edited/condensed version of my thoughts: Isn’t that an old Chinese curse – interesting times?...

Paradox: Limitations Drive Creativity

If I ask you to tell me a story, or to draw me a picture, what’s your first reaction? If you’re like most people, it’s another question: “About what?” Few things are as intimidating as a blank sheet of paper. All the hopes, fears, dreams, tragedies, climaxes, and denouements you plan to spill forth in lyrical and dazzling prose … where, oh where, to begin? That’s one reason prompts are such powerful, proven...

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...

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...

Kudos!

This site has been live for a year and a month, and I’ve been working on growing it organically rather than through some of the less savory methods of social media bombardment and manipulation. Traffic is good and growing, and subscriptions increase regularly, so the strategy is working. I was honored to get this message from a new visitor: I have to let you know this is the best prompt site I have ever...

Writer’s Digest 2011 highlights

In the veritable cornucopia of best-of lists overwhelming our sensory inputs during this holiday season, here’s one with the potential to teach us something: The 18 most popular articles among the 1,300 posted to the Writer’s Digest web site. Among the articles you can choose from: The 7 Deadly Sins of Writing How to Craft Compelling Characters The 7 Tools of Dialogue What Writers Need to Know About...

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