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“Writing Fiction Gives You Freedom,” Says Etgar Keret

Etgar Keret is an Israeli writer the same age as my daughter Shir. I have read a few of his short stories, that are whimsical, loving, and often really strange. Today I heard him being interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR’s “Fresh Air,” one of my very favorite programs. Among many other fascinating details, he […]

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Software Discounts for Writers

Once again, some of my favorite software companies have gotten together for a summer discount campaign: SummerFest 2015: Discounted Artisanal Software. The products: Aeon Timeline The timeline tool for creative thinking. If you write anything that happens over time, you need this. Bookends The reference manager you’ve been looking for. DEVONthink Pro Office Your paperless […]

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Writing is thinking

Stringing words together is not hard. You do it all the time. But without thought, you may find that the words don’t make a lot of sense, are boring, or silly. You look at what you wrote, and think, “That’s not at all what I meant. I need to explain the context. But with just […]

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Writer: For Instruction and Encouragement, Read Brainpickings.org

Here’s an example. If you read the piece at the other end of that link, you will receive several blessings: You will meet Ann Patchett, whose wisdom about writing is exquisitely life-giving You will be introduced in passing to Maria Popova, mother of Brainpickings.org, and her contagious love of writing, writers, and you You will […]

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5 Reasons You Should Write a Book Now

I’ve probably told you this before, but so what? When did I ever learn anything from hearing it just once? Listen up, and absorb what resonates with you–and act on it: Credential. If you become an author, you become an authority. Notice “author” in the word “authority”? If you are an author, you are automagically an […]

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An embarrassment of riches for readers

For $10/month or less, you can get access to a library of hundreds of thousands of books. There are at least three such libraries: Kindle Unlimited (Amazon); Oysterbooks.com; and Scribd.com. All three let you try their service for a free month. I tried all three. There is lots of overlap among them, in terms of […]

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Music to focus by

The Brain Club is a monthly meeting in San Francisco founded by my friend Phil Dixon. Their presentations are video-streamed. Here is yesterday’s, by Will Henshall, on the subject of focus. More precisely, on the types of music that actually help you focus on the task at hand—say, the book you are writing—and the types that […]

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Word Trippers

Barbara McNichol has written Word Trippers, a short book that will help you distinguish between lie and lay, less and fewer, affect and effect, and more. Watch her brief promotional video (below), then head over to her site for more information. I, who am pretty good at such distinctions, get a lot out of Barbara’s […]

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To Write A Good Book, Answer These 3 Questions

1. What is the question my book answers? 2. Who cares? Who is seeking the answer to this question? 3. Where do I find that caring audience?  If you are writing a non-fiction book, it answers some question. “How do I play the guitar?” “How do I find the right midwife?” “What are some low-capital […]

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Note-taking for the writer

I’m listening to author Amy Tan being interviewed on City Arts and Lectures, on NPR. The wonderful interviewer–I missed his name–asked, “Why do you write?” To my surprise, she said she discovered that writing has enabled her to explore her life purpose. One kind of writing is note-taking–jotting things down as they happen, whether event descriptions […]

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