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Welcome, and let me guess: You’re a creative human, and you like to make stuff. But you struggle with: time management, motivation, grammar, character development, bad moods, slow progress, no progress, crap metaphors, reader engagement, metrics, technology, group critique, originality, self critique, laziness, branding, publishing, starting things, and finishing things.

Me, too. But: I’ve been making the writing life work (and pay) for a decade. Like you, I wage constant battle with assorted writing bugaboos. Some days, I think I’m terribly brilliant. And other days, I suspect I am just plain terrible. But always, I take damned good notes. And I’m sharing them here.

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Fix Yourself: A Self-Editing Checklist for Writers

I lurk around a number of fantastic Facebook pages geared toward writers and editors, and, really, you should, too. Truth be told, I’ve stumbled upon some active and very practically helpful communities of other writers/editors this way.

One group I particularly like is called Ask a Book Editor. It does exactly what you think it does: provide writers with advice. It’s also a forum for editors to exchange ideas and discuss the vagaries of copy and developmental editing.

A fantastic thread on self-editing came up the other week, and I decided to compile all the wonderful advice editors had offered to writers about how and what to edit in their own work. Now, it shall live forever on the Internet!

Click below to download the PDF:

Self-Editing Checklist for Writers

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TC Productivity Tip: The Big Bite

We’re in a cultural moment of compulsive solopreneurship, gigging, and freelancing, and this makes the current national obsession with Productivity and its many tools, hacks, and schools pretty unsurprising.

Work faster! Work smarter! Work better! Work harder! Those are the ascendant goals for every independent contractor, creatively inclined or not, and, really, when you’re paying your own way through the world without the cushion of a salary or benefits or sick leave, it’s wise to pay close attention to how much you’re getting done and how efficiently you’re doing it.

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What Would the Cool Kids Do? On Creative Envy and the Definitive Value of Shouting into Voids

You can’t escape the Cool Kids.

Sorry. You can’t. No matter how old you get, no matter the profession you choose, no matter how far from your hometown you travel, there they’ll be—outpacing you, outmaneuvering you, outshining you, and doing it all with the kind of purposeful ease that makes averagely gifted bystanders want to punch granite.

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Wanna Define Writing Success on Your Own Terms? Ask Yourself One Magic Question.

About four years ago, out of a desire to clarify a few longer-term writing goals, I hired a creative career coach to take me through a few visioning sessions.

As we sat together on the floor of my office one sunny Tuesday, sketching out a visual map of my deepest writerly desires, I earnestly announced that I believed I had something important to teach other people, and that I felt I could best achieve this through the written word.

She listened carefully, and then she posed to me what I have come to think of as the Magic Question. At the time, though, it felt less magical and more like an upper cut straight to the guts: “Why does it matter if other people read your work?”

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Bringing the Pain: Why Writing Well Hurts

“Eliminate things until you cry.”

-Unknown

Ever noticed how painful writing is?

I don’t mean the bodily act of it, although that definitely smarts, especially around the eyeballs, neck, and shoulders. (FWIW, yoga and stretching are shockingly beneficial for those committed to sedentary creative pursuits, as is learning to stop craning your neck forward like a horny turtle every time you get excited over a particular bit of prose dancing across your screen.)

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