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Books every serious writer should read …. and study

I just finished reading Daniel James Brown’s bestselling book The Boys in the Boat. I know I’ve read a really, really good book when there’s a kind of sadness when I get to the final page, and I close the book in awe of the writer’s ability to tell the story. I’ve long said that a book …

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The verdict is in …

I love using beta readers as I’m working on a book. They are so helpful, especially to counteract the very real tunnel vision that writers get when they’ve looked at a manuscript—stared at it incessantly—for months and months and months. This time around, I had several beta readers who were quite helpful. But the chief …

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That ONE book …

Anyone who has read about the writing life of C.S. Lewis has, no doubt, come across his references to George MacDonald’s Phantastes. The book inspired Lewis like none other. He writes about how MacDonald's book opened his mind to the world of imagination, which he eventually came to understand was God-given and incredibly freeing.  Recently—out of curiosity—I ordered …

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A Thoreau moment …

I don't know about the rest of you, but I am tired of sitting at a computer screen, "talking" or "meeting" with friends and colleagues and "seeing" them in one dimension. Very, very tired. Recently, I had two back-to-back Zoom meetings totally 3 1/2 hours. (Zooming persists even in our somewhat post-COVID world because of its …

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In defense of the Xmas letter …

During the holidays, a message from an old friend popped up in my Facebook feed. It read—with a tinge of regret—that because some people had disparaged the annual Christmas letter, she would not send one out this year. Her Facebook message would have to suffice. I felt sad for her and for those who wouldn't …

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Late-blooming geniuses

Have you ever known a bonafide genius? Have you ever aspired to be one? I've been reading a book by Malcolm Gladwell—one of the most innovative writers I've ever come across. The book, What the Dog Saw, is a compilation of essays Gladwell wrote for the New Yorker. In one essay, he asks the question of whether prodigy is …

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How to outwit writer’s block …

Talk to any writer or read any number of writing blogs and you will likely find one universal fear: the dreaded phenomenon of writer's block — that moment when your brain goes blank and a great chasm opens up between your head and your fingers. Thankfully, I can say I never have writer's block. Never. …

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