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Your Writer’s Voice

Your speaking voice is yours alone. Your writing voice shouldn’t sound like anyone else’s either.
In a previous post, I showed how you can begin to develop a voice, by choosing a passage from an author whose voice appeals to you, copying it and trying to express your own thoughts in that voice. Then you cut [...]

Different Voices

One of the most difficult thing for a writer is finding his or her voice. That is, the manner in which the writer addresses readers, and expresses himself or herself. This can change from book to book, especially if you’re writing something related to your expertise – that is, a nonfiction work.
But how do you [...]

Discovery in Your Writing

Books that really touch people have a sense of wonder and discovery. Even business books. It’s why readers respond to them – the information offers not only a way forward, but also a possibility of discovering something new.
Try to keep a sense of wonder in your writing. This will translate to your readers, and keep [...]

What to Leave Out

You can’t put everything you know into a book. Unless you’re Leo Tolstoy or Marcel Proust or George Eliot.
But if you’re an expert in your field, and writing a book based on your work or the courses you teach, you’ll soon realize that you have too much information that can be easily contained in a [...]

Repurposing Material for a Book

A book is different from a seminar, and your seminar materials might make a good book, but not in the form that you use for your seminar.
In writing your book you may discover that what worked in other contexts – a seminar, for example – might not apply in book form.
Some people who have had [...]

What Makes a Successful Book

No one knows anything, to paraphrase the noted screenwriter William Goldman (“Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” among many others). He was talking about Hollywood, of course, and how impossible it was to predict whether a film would be a hit or a flop.
But he could just as well have been referring to publishing. Or [...]

Give It Away to Gain Readers

To get the attention of potential readers, give away what you write.
If you’re writing a book, share parts of it as you go. A chapter, a few chapters, the whole thing.
People want to see what you’re like (or what your writing is like) before they commit to you. And even if you’ve given away everything, [...]

Writing for Readers or Writing for Clickbait

More and more, newspapers determine how well a reporter does by how well his or her stories do in terms of being clicked through or shared, on whether they rise   to the top of most-viewed stories.
Some news or media organizations judge the popularity of stories, and ultimately, perhaps, their worth, by their clickbait quotient. That [...]

When Not to Pay Attention

We don’t exist in the world alone, but writing is solitary. Even those of us who worked at newspapers, where you didn’t have an office but a desk among desks, knew that to actually write something you had to tune out everything else, and create virtual solitude in a bullpen of nattering reporters.
We couldn’t pay [...]

Routine and Creativity

It’s always good to have a routine. And always good to shake it up.
Creativity thrives on both.
And self-imposed deadlines help writers produce.
Writing to deadline didn’t come naturally to me, but a long career as a reporter for a big newspaper made me able to write to deadline, and now I welcome that challenge. It forces [...]

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