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Lower Your Standards

10 Mar


The poet William Stafford used to rise every morning at four and write a poem. Somebody said to him, “But surely you can’t write a good poem every day, Bill. What happens then?” “Oh,” he said, “then I lower my standards.”

Mary Rose O’Reilley, Radical Presence.

Welcome to the Studio

3 Mar


Welcome to the Studio. Please watch your head. We have canvas and paints and brushes. We have walls and lights and warmth. You have all the space you need. Your work here is your own.  Your time here will be short, so make the most of it.

My Best Writing Tip

28 Dec

This is a small door.

Make it easy to walk in the door. You are competing for people’s attention. That means that you have to go up against giants like Facebook, Coke, Nike, YouTube  HBO, etc. They have more resources, but the rules are the same for everyone. Grab their attention. Tell a compelling story. Give them something they didn’t have before.

WHAT NOT TO DO: Hawthorne said, “Good reading is hard writing,” so take some more time and write less. Don’t follow the academics (I am one) and believe that you have to write a lot, use technical words, and ensure that you’ve covered every argument. Writing is a conversation between the author and the reader. Make sure it’s an inviting one.

Tom Wolfe who wrote in his introduction to the New Journalism, “Why should the reader be expected to just lie flat and let these people come tromping through as if his mind were a subway turnstile.”