Oscar Wilde described one of his writing days: “I was working on the proof of one of my poems all the morning, and took out a comma. In the afternoon I put it back again.” Yes, he was kidding. Yet Wilde's description is not so far removed from what some aspiring authors do. They spend hours fiddling… Continue reading Structure, Structure, Structure
One of the reasons that I resist writing is the unspoken belief that I have to accomplish a lot in a single session. I easily forget that the behavior we so casually refer to as writing consists of many tasks. Each of those tasks imposes a unique cognitive challenge. I find that writing goes much better when I tackle… Continue reading Reduce Resistance to Writing By Tackling One Task at a Time
I've been writing and editing books as a freelancer for almost 30 years. When I started, I made a lot of mistakes. Over the years my mistakes improved: I made better ones that led to deeper insights. I'll spare you a complete list of my mistakes and what I learned from them. Instead, I'll just… Continue reading Confessions of a Retiring Book Editor—Three Things I Wish I’d Known at the Start
I've met several people who read widely in the "mind-body-spirit" category and want to write a book of their own in this genre. While I laud their intention, I also offer a gentle warning. Too many self-help authors treat the sacred teachings of the East—including the meditation traditions of Buddhism and Hinduism—as a vast smorgasbord… Continue reading Why Deepak Chopra Worries Me—The Tension Between Self-Help and Spirituality
A colleague once said to me, "I don't just do my best writing under deadline. I do my only writing under deadline." However, there is a time to set deadlines—and a time to avoid setting deadlines. Until we understand this distinction, the deadlines we set are likely to be 1) arbitrary and 2) a source of suffering. What makes… Continue reading Are Your Writing Deadlines Meaningless?