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Would You Rather have Writer’s Block or Insomnia?


Insomnia: the frustrating and painful condition of wanting and needing to change your state of consciousness and being unable to do so. Writer’s Block: the frustrating and painful condition of wanting and needing to change your state of consciousness and being unable to do so. In both insomnia and writer’s block, you can’t make the […]

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Writers Can’t Afford to Waste Time, Right? Wrong!


I get it. You have to make money and you either do that through writing, in which case you don’t have time to fart around, or you make money through another skill and write in your “spare time,” in which case you don’t have time to fart around. You want time to spend with people […]

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Only Writing Is Writing, Right? Wrong!


When E. L. Doctorow observed that planning to write, outlining, researching or talking about you’re going to write is NOT writing, I think he meant we can’t just hope to write or dream about writing, we have to take action. Unfortunately, many of my students and clients have interpreted that mindset (wherever they know the […]

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Practical Writers Need Impractical Play


I love paradox. The most important insights I’ve found came wrapped in paradox. For example, play is by definition doing something that has no practical purpose. Yet play provides essential, practical rewards. Shigeru Miyamoto, inventor of Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda, told The New Yorker, “Anything that is impractical can […]

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Fact-Track Your Writing: Tricks of Tracking #4


While journalism, done correctly, requires facts, facts may seem secondary in poetry, playwriting and fiction. But when it comes to tracking your writing, all genres are equal: you must focus on facts. Detective Joe Friday knew how to track: Focus on facts. When you track your writing progress, keep your attention on two facts: “This […]

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Track Your Way Out of Writer’s Block: Tricks of Tracking #3


The old saying “Ready, set, go!” won’t work for writers who want to track their way out of resistance and into satisfaction and success. Instead, you need to Set your intentions, Ready the resources and Go track yourself. Set Your Intentions! They say the road to hell is paved with good intentions, but the road […]

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Tricks of Tracking: KISS


The second trick of tracking for writing success is KISS: Keep It Simple and Seen. The system you use for tracking needs to be simple, quick, easy to use and readily accessible. It could be a chart with gold stars on your office wall, a legal pad on your desk, a Moleskine notebook in your […]

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Tricks of Tracking: #1 Track the Right Stuff


How do you measure your writing progress: Word counts? Critical due dates? Action steps taken? I track Product Time, that is, the amount of time I spend doing anything necessary to move a writing project forward. Here’s why. For a week, I’ve been revising and reworking Chapter 61 in my novel. The daily word counts […]

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Deep Work, Deep Play: Writers Need Both


For writers, extended time without distractions and competing priorities is a pleasurable necessity; without it we cannot enter the writer’s trance, aka creative flow. We want and need what Cal Newport defines as Deep Work: “Professional activities performed in a state of distraction-free concentration that push your cognitive capabilities to their limit.” In Deep Work: […]

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Does Coloring Help or Hinder Your Writing and Reading?


Kerri Miller, MPR host, encouraged Americans to put away coloring books and pick up real books instead in a post on The Thread. If coloring books were the cause of Americans reading only 4 books a year on average, I’d agree. But I highly doubt the trade-off is between real books and coloring books. I […]

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