The Writing Life

Crowdfunding and other forms of creative financing

Crowdfunding allows fundraisers to solicit micro-donations to fund creative or philanthropic projects. (As opposed to crowdsourcing, which is drawing ideas from different sources.)
13 ways to get your journalism project crowdfunded (Laura Shin, Poynter, 5/​31/​13)
Using Patreon and YouTube to Grow a Writing Career: Q&A with Jay Swanson (Jane Friedman's interview, 10-30-17) "It’s a natural call to action within the vlog, and one that I think can be credited with doubling the growth rate of Patreon." As of 11-5-17 the fantasy novelist is earning $362 a month with 71 patrons. "It’s grown by 20% per month since I re-launched the vlog, and as October comes to a close it’s grown by over 40% in this month alone....People wanted to support me, but I wasn’t giving them much in return. Enter my vlog, and my two biggest Patrons joining just to support me for making it. This was a turning point in realizing what I had on offer in my vlog was not only something people valued, but was significantly easier to get people on board than for my writing. Don’t believe me? Try asking a stranger to read your book sometime, then ask them to check out a YouTube video. There’s a stark difference in the response."
How a Christmas Present Gave Harper Lee the Time to Write To Kill a Mockingbird (Joseph Crespino, LitHub, 5-8-18) On the origins of an American classic, thanks to Michael and Joy Brown.
A recipe for successfully crowdfunding journalism in 2015 (Joellen Easton, NiemanLab, Feb 2015)
Why pay attention to crowdfunded journalism? (Ruth McCambridge, Nonprofit Quarterly, 2-2-16)
A short guide to crowdfunding journalism (Ernst-Jan Pfauth, Medium, 4-16-15)
Notes from My Suicide by Kenneth Rosen. Published on The Big Roundtable, a crowdfunding site that publishes narrative nonfiction (longform) online. Two months after publication it had been downloaded by 22,000 readers, who had paid a total of $2,000 to the author, who received many notes thanking him for writing that story.
Business Crowdfunding VS Charitable Crowdfunding (Jason Vissers, MerchantMaverick, 7-24-17)
The Difference Between Crowdtilt and Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and other Crowdfunding sites (Salvador Briggman, CrowdCrux--Crowdfunding PR). Differences in level of fundraising, fees for use of their crowdfunding platform and credit card processing, etc.)
10 Lessons Learned From the Radiotopia Crowdfunding Campaign (Josh Stearns, Idea Lab, PBS, 12-3-14)
The Pros and Cons of Using Kickstarter to Fundraise (Philip Neustrom, Idea Lab, PBS, 11-5-10)
Kickstarter Case Study: Robin Sloan Writes a Book (Diana Kimball, KickStarter blog, 8-16-12) See also Tips (Kickstarter)
Kickstarter adds new categories: Journalism and Crafts
Fairstreet Community Funding Advice for Writers & Journalists (Jason Boog, GalleyCat, 5-9-13)
The Guardian promotes some investigative stories funded by Kickstarter.

Crowdfunding sites

GoFundMe, a "fundraising site for personal causes and life-events," which I found through this fundraising video and story about a child with a rare disease.
Patreon (recurring funding for artists and creators) Creators receive millions of dollars each month in support from their patrons (crowdfunding for the literary world). Read My Pubslush Experience ((How one author got to NY Comic Con with the help of Pubslush) About Claribel Ortega. “Pubslush is more than just a crowdfunding platform,” said Amanda, “it’s a community of readers, writers and publishers and it can really help get books in the hands of readers at an earlier phase.” (community-funded reporting--"not accepting pitches at this time, July 2014)
Fundable (crowdfunding for small businesses)
Razoo (online fundraising for nonprofits and causes)
EquityNet (business funding through investors)
See Merchant Maverick's evaluations of these and other crowdfunding sites.

Crowdfunding platforms for journalists (Catalina Albeanu,, 11-21-14)'s list of crowdfunding platforms with independent journalists, writers, photographers and filmmakers in mind, especially in UK: Uncoverage, Beacon, Contributoria, Sponsume, Patreon, TubeStart, CrowdNews, Newspryng.
Beacon (crowdfunding journalism) Y Combinator-Backed Beacon Offers A New Approach To Crowdfunding Journalism (Anthony Ha, TechCrunch, 2-12-14)
Fresh from Ferguson Fellowship, Beacon eyes new projects ( Benjamin Mullin, Poynter, 2-12-14)

When should you use Kickstarter, Indiegogo, or Crowdtilt? (social cause and event fundraising)
Patreon. Be a patron of the arts. Support and engage with the creators you love.
Uncoverage. Back a journalist. Make news.
Crowdfunding etiquette: How to give wisely (Kate Dailey, BBC News Magazine, 12-28-12)
Retrospective collection of Kal cartoons from The Economist (the goal was $20,000, to self-publish the collection; they collected $100,219, from 1,462 backers)
Tiny Spark . Kickstarter funded this investigative radio initiative.
Beacon Reader (fund one writer for $5 a month; get access to every story on Beacon)
Banyan Project (news co-op structure--a new business model for web journalism), described by Tom Stites (
Tanja Aitamurto on crowdfunding and the future of narrative journalism (Andrea Pitzer, Nieman Storyboard 1-16-10).
Crowdfunding Authors' Books Could Save Publishing (Jason Hesse, Forbes, 9-30-14)
Unbound (UK) Authors pitch their books. You choose which books get written. (How it works.)
Students turn to crowdfunding to pay tuition (Korah Addo, St. Louis Post-Dispatch 8-11-14) "GoFundMe charges all donors 5 percent and payment processing fees....Other sites, such as GradSave and, are set up as online savings accounts where extended family can contribute to a child’s future college costs, sometimes taking advantage of tax benefits reserved for donations."
Bobsourcing (Seth Godin). "When we rely on the crowd, we get deniability. The organizer doesn't have to ask anyone specifically, and the individual is easily off the hook. "

Fund Me or Fraud Me? Crowdfunding Scams Are on the Rise (ConsumerReports)
Crowdfunding Fraud: How Big is the Threat? (CJ Cornell and Charles Luzar , Crowdfund Insider, 3-20-14)
The Feds Take Action Against Crowdfunding Fraud, and It's About Time (Rick Cohen, Nonprofit Quarterly, 7-2-15) Crowdfunding is largely the unregulated Wild West, requiring donors to protect themselves from fraud and deception, but the Federal Trade Commission landed hard on the Kickstarter crowdfunding platform. It may be just what the doctor ordered to protect people donating to odd and sundry products and companies pitched on Kickstarter, Indiegogo, and others. "As Jack Karsten and Darrell West note in a Brookings blog posting, a crowdfunding platform for raising capital 'allows an entrepreneur to bypass traditional financing, which benefits small projects that would not otherwise qualify for a loan or venture capital investment.' Th at is partly the theory behind the Obama Administration’s endorsement of the equity crowdfunding provisions in the JOBS Act, providing capital to entrepreneurs for products that may not turn a profit for a very long time, but capital in which the investors simply want and expect a reward such as a trinket or copy of the product rather than an equity ownership stake in the company."
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Writers' offices and workspaces

' • Inside the Writer's Studio (Kevin Nance, Chicago Tribune). Photogallery of workspaces of Christine Sneed, Scott Turow, Audrey Niffenegger, Rebecca Skloot at her walking desk, Edward Kelsey Moore, Jonathan Eig, and Kathleen Rooney)
The Writer’s Room (NY Times Magazine, 2-14-14).Five writers (Colson Whitehead, Douglas Coupland, Mona Simpson, Joyce Carol Oates, and Roddy Doyle) explain how the right space can unlock the mind and let the words flow.
Mary Caperton Morton's Natural habitat (a mobile home-made teardrop trailer--do watch the video!)
100+ Famous Authors and Their Writing Spaces (Jared A. Brock, The Writers Cooperative, 1-8-18, with photos)
Writers' rooms (The Guardian-- a series to make you weep with envy)
Robin Marantz Henig's office (Natural Habitat, produced by TheOPENNotebook). Do the video tour. A great place for small gatherings, partly because of the host.
Nat Hentoff's office as he leaves the Voice, after 50 years , as shown in Clyde Haberman's story about Hentoff (THIS is an office I can identify with)\
Meanwhile, back at the ranch: Larry McMurtry's Private Library (Nieman Storyboard, scroll down, and salivate)
Andrew Curry's Natural Habitat (a standup desk with a great view). Go here for more Natural Habitat features.
An orderly office? That's personal (Sara Rimer on custom solutions to office clutter, NY Times, 3-25-09)
Natural Habitat: Cassandra Willyard Video of the office of this Brooklyn-based freelancer after a makeover (The Open Notebook, a site for science writers). Not enough? Check out before-and-after photos of her office makeover.
The Rooms Where Writers Work (Kate Guadagnino, NY Times Magazine, 8-16-17)
Space of the Week: A Life in the Stacks (Wendy Goodman, a slideshow that makes me feel much less guilty, 6-23-11)
Romance writer Brenda Coulter's office
Typewriter sculpture (our own decor)
Where I Write: Fantasy & Science Fiction Authors in Their Creative Spaces
40 Inspiring Workspaces of the Famously Creative (BuzzFeedDIY). Go Alexander Calder! And OH how I envy Nigella Lawson's bookshelves (and yet, look at the stacks on the floor).
Inspiration Lives on Where Writers Dwelled (Pamela Redmond Safran, NY Times, 2-22-08)
The Writers Workbench: Home Office (Robert Elisberg, HuffPost Tech, 9-20-12). All the techie equipment in one writer's office.
Apartment Therapy
Pinterest on "Small Space Solutions"
Cabin Porn (inspirational photographs of small living spaces)
Tokyo: A Certain Style by Kyoichi Tsuzuki
Space: Japanese Design Solutions for Compact Living by Michael Freeman
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Critique groups and writing workshops

Getting pecked to death:Are critique groups worth it? (P.J. Parrish, Kill Zone, 5-14-13)
What Makes a Critique Group Work? (Jordan Dane, Kill Zone, 11-7-13)
How to use beta readers
Embarking Together on Solitary Journeys (Hilma Wolitzer, NY Times, 1-31-2000) The proliferation of writers' workshops in this country raises that old question: Can creative writing be taught? The best answer I've ever heard is Wallace Stegner's two-parter: "1. It can be done. 2. It can't be done to everybody." "But there's a place in the classroom for other interested parties who, in their ardent analysis of one another's writing, become much better readers. And God knows we can always use more of them."
In Praise of Writing Workshops [delete: and Editing Tips] (Necee Regis, Beyond the Margins,, 9-18-12 -- on the value of just listening, when it's your turn to have your novel critiqued. Illustrates a way of showing what you've deleted, which is sometimes interesting--and a way used sometimes to comment ironically on the thoughts you've censored.)
Why a writing workshop did more for my preaching than a preaching conference (Teri McDowell Ott, The Christian Century, 11-5-13)
Amherst Writers & Artists (WRA) Method , Pat Schneider's popular approach to running a writers workshop. Read more about it in her book Writing Alone and with Others
The Writing Workshop Glossary (Amy Klein, Opinionator, NY Times 6-2-14) So when you are asked, “What does the character want?” what your workshop means is, “Your story is boring.”
Review of online writers groups, critique groups, and communities. Squidoo comments on such sites as Scribophile (an online critique group), (a community for sharing), The Write Idea (Helen Whittaker's forum), Authonomy (see Squidoo member Rikleigh's guide to using Authonomy), and Inkpop (for teen writers).
The Nature of Writer Group Critique on Author Salon ( An excellent set of guidelines for critiquing. See also Four categories that define "coverage" (aspects of market value, structure, characters, and narrative development).
How to Cope with Critiquing (Rich Hamper, including advice on how to critique)
How to Respond to a Request for a Writing Critique (Mark Nichol, DailyWritingTips 6-4-11)
Critique and Discussion Groups (several helpful articles and links,
Scribophile (a social writing workshop and writers' community, with online critique groups)
Writing Retreats Aren't Just for Writing (Kim, What Women Write, 11-12-10)
The Writing & Critique Group Survival Guide: How to Make Revisions, Self-Edit, and Give and Receive Feedback by Becky Levine (Writers Digest Books)
Can Critique Groups Do More Harm than Good? (Kristen Lamb's blog)
Critique rules (Fiction Writers of Central Arkansas)
Critique Circle (a site for writers to meet and work--listed on Preditors & Editors page on Writing Workshops
Forward Motion for Writers, where you can sign up for Critique Circles or Roving Crits. First, read Fiction and Critiques How-To
Preditors & Editors page on Writing Workshops
Online Writing Workshops for Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror (OWW) , highly recommended by P&E.
Critters Workshop ( Workshops, a large, well-organized online writers' workshop for serious writers of science fiction, fantasy, or horror). Here are pages on Crittering novels (getting a novel critiqued) and on Formatting for Critters. Recommended by P&E.
The Internet Writing Workshop (a critique group for many genres and a discussion list for writing related topics)
Critique and discussion groups (
Critique Circle
Local and regional U.S. writers organizations (including critique groups)
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The Love Carousel: Literary Speed Dating at Housing Works in SoHo (J.T. Price, The Millions, 9-5-13). "Each participant found at the entrance a neon green envelope, including a library card in manila sleeve for taking notes on each “date,” and a name tag featuring the handle of a character from a favorite book. These would be our pseudonyms for the night. Each date would last an almost militantly enforced four minutes. A single case of lingering could cause the entire caterpillar crawl to go legs up. There was to be no lingering. Lingering is for books."

Mark Twain's Top 10 Writing Tips (ThoughtCo.) "Don't let fluff and flowers and verbosity creep in." See #9: Twain really understands the writing process. (Hat tip: Lynne Lamberg, my steady tipster.)
Money Changes Everything: Twenty-Two Writers Tackle the Last Taboo with Tales of Sudden Windfalls, Staggering Debts, and Other Surprising Turns of Fortune bu Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappel

Music to Write By: 10 Top Authors Share Their Secrets for Summoning the Muse (Steve Silberman, PLOS blogs, 11-15-12)

Can I make a living as a writer?

As a poet, generally, no. You'll have better luck as a novelist as people more likely to pay good money for a novel than for a poem, but fiction is very much a crap shoot. With nonfiction, you're more likely to be able to pay the rent and put food on the table, and if you choose a field like technical writing, business writing, or speechwriting, and you're good at it, have expertise in fields with few experts, have credentials and a good track record, and live in an area where there's high demand for writing, you can make a very good living. If what you want is to be rich, your odds are better if you choose another field. But if writing comes at all easy to you, and you develop marketable skills, it's a very interesting way to spend a life.

As is probably true in any line of work, the most satisfying jobs are not always the ones that pay well, and it's very hard to predict what will satisfy and what will pay well! Once when I was giving a talk to a writer's group about writing and editing in the Washington DC area, I got a big laugh of acknowledgement when I said that "the more boring the work, the more you can charge," because that is generally true. (Food and travel writing and book reviewing tend to pay little and technical writing tends to pay more, for example.) But as a result of that talk, I got one of the least boring, most interesting, most lucrative projects of my career.

Mind you, after working eight years in book publishing, and except for one year working as an editor for an energy consulting firm in DC in the 1970s, when energy was a hot topic, I have worked freelance fulltime for several decades. Is it easy? Not always, but for someone who has trouble getting up early it was a natural path. The one thing you MUST do if you choose to write freelance is to start a retirement fund early and invest in it regularly, as you must create your own pension fund. I also formed many friendships with other freelance journalists by joining the American Society of Journalists & Authors (ASJA). Novelists I have known have typically taken on gigs in nonwriting-related areas so that their creative writing juices aren't burnt out at the end of the day -- plus which working for a detective firm or an animal shelter (etc.) provides richer material for the fiction.

As any writer will tell you, sometimes we take on projects just because we love them, and know the psychic satisfaction will be high. Sometimes we take on work because we like who we will be working with or for. Occasionally everything comes together and we get paid well for work that is satisfying, for publishers or clients who are a dream to work with, writing for an audience we really care about. May you all find such work! May all your editors know what they are doing and do it respectfully, may all your writers turn in compelling and clean copy, and may we all play well in the sandbox!

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Writers talk about money

“The truth is that I do want I want to do,” novelist Walter Mosley told Clayton Moore, Mystery Strumpet on Bookslut. “If I want to write a political monograph, I write a political monograph and someone publishes it. No, it doesn’t sell like a traditional mystery, but I don’t care. I don’t write for that reason. If you want to make money, you should go into real estate, you know what I mean? If your love is writing books, that’s a passion that’s way outside of the umbrella of income.”

Why Writers Are Opening Up About Money (or the Lack Thereof) (Anna North, OpTalk, NY Times 7-21-14). Many items that follow came from links in that interesting article.
Getting Paid to Write as Myself: How a Freelance Writer Makes a Living (Nicole Dieker, The Billfold, 7-10-14) "It turns out that when you get paid to write as yourself, instead of as 'anonymous copywriter #5972,' you get a lot more money. . . .'Being Nicole Dieker' also means spending more time working with editors and invoices and building relationships and the sorts of things that an anonymous person doesn’t have to deal with." See also her advice to new freelance writers.
The Struggling Writer: Gissing Had It Right (George Packer, NY Times, 10-13-91) "In fact the notion of literature as a steady livelihood now seems pretty absurd. We don't have millions of people grubbing a living as writers (though someone has to fill the magazine racks and produce the 48,000 books churned out every year). Instead, every 25th American is writing a novel in his spare time. Instead of "New Grub Street" 's hacks and mercenaries, we have a huge population of workshop attenders and "Writer's Market" readers who send stories to magazines read exclusively by other would-be writers and once every few years see one accepted. We have graphomania. But far from being producers of a commodity, this population is utterly cut off from the commercial life of the country. Writing has become one of the higher forms of recreation in a leisure society."
The Price of Writing (Jennifer Niesslein, Between the Lines, Creative Nonfiction, Issue #57, Fall 2015) There are three $ realms in the publishing industry. On the "lowest rung" are people don't get paid, are often published on the web, and may produce wonderful material. On the second rung are pubs "with honest-to-god print issues," often nonprofits, with modest salaries for editors and modest pay for writers. "On the top rung, advertisers pay most of the magazine’s bills. This is where you’ll find the glossies—ranging from The New Yorker to O—as well as websites with corporate backing, where the editors and writers both get paid. Not as much as they used to—print advertising is the first budget cut a lot of businesses make when money gets tight—but still....Each writer, it seems to me, has to cobble together her own moral code of which rung or rungs she’s willing to work with."
The Writing Class (Jaswinder Bolina, Poetry Magazine, 11-12-14) On privilege, the AWP-industrial complex, and why poetry doesn’t seem to matter. "Economists and accountants might make raw distinctions between the classes based on objective metrics such as net worth or income—the 1 percent versus the 99 percent, for instance—but class consciousness might be better defined by the kinds of choices we feel permitted to make. Where the working classes are regularly forced to take pragmatic action out of necessity, the privileged are allowed to act on desire. My parents’ money, modest as it was and still is, did more than pay for the things I needed. It allowed me to want things they couldn’t afford to want themselves."
The Business of Being a Writer by Jane Friedman
The Billfold
How Much My Novel Cost Me by Emily Gould ( 2-24-14) After getting an advance of $200,000 for her yet-to-be-written novel, which sold 8,000 copies, she began running out of money. "So much of the money we spend—or I spend, anyway—is predicated on decisions made once and then forgotten, payments that are automated or habits so ingrained they may as well be automated. You think you’ll tackle the habits first—'I’ll stop buying bottled water and fancy cups of coffee'—but actually the habits are the last to go." Delightfully frank and self-revealing writing, excerpted from MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction, edited by Chad Harbach
Money Changes Everything: Twenty-Two Writers Tackle the Last Taboo with Tales of Sudden Windfalls, Staggering Debts, and Other Surprising Turns of Fortune by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappel
Authors' incomes collapse to 'abject' levels (Alison Flood, The Guardian, 7-8-14) ALCS survey finds median annual earnings for professional writers have fallen to £11,000, 29% down since 2005
How much should I charge? (various authors, on Writers and Editors)
Who Pays Writers? We Asked the Editors (Jane Friedman & Manjula Martin, Scratch magazine, talk with Nicole Cliffe, Dan Kois, Alexis Madrigal) "What do web editors actually do? How do they set writers’ fees? What are they looking for in a pitch and an editorial relationship? Scratch invited web editors from Slate, The Atlantic, and The Toast to talk openly about fees, pitching, and other controversial issues in online journalism (including how to pronounce 'gif')."
“Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from (Ann Bauer, Salon, 1-25-15) The truth is, my husband’s hefty salary makes my life as a writer easy. Pretending otherwise doesn’t help anyone.
Scratch, a digital magazine for writers, about Writing + money + life. (Subscription $20 and worth it.)
How much to charge as a publishing professional and how to calculate effective hourly rate, your productivity rate (various authors, Writers and Editors)
When People Write for Free, Who Pays? (Cord Jefferson, Gawker, 3-8-13)
The Secret Life of an Obsessive Airbnb Host (George Tzortzis, Narratively, 5-22-14). Determined to quit his tired government job, one D.C. office drone saves $25,000 by renting his apartment nightly and secretly sleeping on the office floor. Things don't go quite as planned but he is able to quit his job and try the life of a freelance copywriter and copy editor.
How the Recession Reshaped the Economy, in 255 Charts (The Upshot)
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My Writers Circle (online community)
Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing by Margaret Atwood. An ambitious inquiry into the art of writing and an unprecedented insider’s view of the writer’s universe, from the beloved author of The Handmaid’s Tale.
19 Writing Tips from Writers and Editors for the New Yorker (Grace Bellow, BuzzFeed, 3-12-14) Secrets on reporting and storytelling from some of the best in the business. Here's Evan Ratliff: "I don't think it's feasible to work a full-time job and be able to do this type of reporting. You set aside two hours on Monday and make a bunch of calls. You get one person, and they start calling you back over the next couple of days, and you're doing other things. So it really requires dedicated time. To me, that's one of the dilemmas of longform magazine writing. It's really done best by staff writers and freelancers who dedicate all of their time to it. It's a job that you have to be doing all the time. Then the question of getting paid enough to compensate for that time is the one that everyone deals with in some way or another."
"Organizing the Writing Life" Day 1: The Maximum-Efficiency Desk (Kristin Gorki's "Write now is good" blog)
The Paris Review Interviews (sampling from an amazing series of interviews with prominent authors, made available online by a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts and the generous support of Richard and Jeanne Fisher)
Playing the Odds (Melissa Yancy, Glimmer Train) Good things and bad things are going to happen to you. Focus on what's important, not on how other writers are doing better or worse than you.
Plot Twist: Philip Carlo, true crime writer with Lou Gehrig's disease, is working on his memoir. His deadline: his own death.
Poet Mark Doty (on receiving the $50,000 Whiting Award) speaks movingly about why writers write--what writers want out of writing--and about how insecure they generally feel about their writing (Critical Mass, NBCC blog)
The Power of Maybe: Processing Criticism (Kevin Fenton, guest blogging on The Loft's Writer's Block)
Q&A Archives (C-Span) (podcasts and video of a gazillion wonderful interviews)

Query Letters: How to Lose Agents & Infuriate Editors (Sally Wiener Grotta, Wordsmiths 12-7-06)

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. Introversion is about how you respond to (or need) external stimulation.

Tools for writers and editors

Evernote (an application that allows you to take notes or capture anything from drawings to web clippings -- and you can then search for them on your laptop, cell phone, smart phone, or other digital devices. Allows you to gather and share project notes, story ideas, images, text, favorite websites, and so on. See tutorials: Command & Control: Essential Evernote Shortcuts, and Evernote Tutorial (David A. Cox, youTube video, 41 mins.) and Evernote Tips: The 11 Amazing Features That Make Using Evernote So Freaking Awesome (Scott Bradley video), How To Create Your Own Calendar In Evernote (also Scott Bradley), and Work Smarter with Evernote. Mastering the Basics: Organizing with notebooks & tags (Joshua Zerkel, EverNote video 54 mins.)

EndNote (the industry standard software tool for publishing and managing bibliographies, citations and references on the Windows and Macintosh desktop--not to be confused with EverNote). See Endnote's quick reference guide.

Express Scribe Transcription Software A typist can install it on their computer and control audio playback using a transcription foot pedal or keyboard (with 'hot' keys). This transcribing software also offers valuable features for typists including variable speed playback, multi-channel control, playing video, file management, and more.

Scrivener, a word processing program that is also a management system for documents, notes, and metadata. Purchase and download software via links below and I get a small commission. Scrivener has a steep learning curve, and you cannot save "Track Changes" within it, but it is apparently useful for organizing a book or project. Some tips on using:
---Scrivener and the Editorial Process (Jamie Todd Rubin, 10-26-12)
---Scrivener 2 for Mac (software download at Amazon)
---Scrivener for PC
Scrivener lets you write text in small or large chunks, and in any order--and import images or research files that sit next to your text (as reference material), eliminating the need to switch back and forth between windows. Useful for writing books, say some authors. Possibly helpful: Scrivener Coach (on Facebook).
---Learn Scrivener Fast (Joseph Michael's awesome quick tutorials in video)
---Joanne Penn's video tips for using Scrivener to use your fiction or nonfiction book. You can download her PDF slides from her Writing Tips presentation.. See also 8 Ways Scrivener Will Help You Become A Proficient Writer Overnight. "For my first book, I used MS Word and it was a nightmare to cut and paste everything, as I’m not a linear writer. When I discovered Scrivener, the world became a better place! Then I discovered I could use it to publish in Kindle and ePub formats. "
---Using Scrivener Collections to Organize Your Novel Project (and other takes on Scrivener, Well-Storied)
---Retrieving a Backup File in Scrivener (Tech Tools for Writers)

Dragon NaturallySpeaking

LiveScribe Echo (8 GB Echo Smartpen). There are also 2 GB, 4 GB, and 6 GB SmartPens.) A genuinely helpful recorder-pen-and-paper combination for capturing and reviewing notes from lectures and interviews, and, using those notes, to find a particular point in audio recording. Its special features (a microphone for recording audio, a speaker for playing back recording, and a camera in the tip of the ballpoint pen, which queues up with that point in audio. As you review your notes, tap one word from part of the interview you didn't catch and it plays back audio from that point. Watch/​listen to this C/​Net review. It is smart enough to know when you start a new page. It's expensive, however. In addition to the basic equipment you must purchase special notebooks on which to write, plus cartridges that are smaller than usual (easy to lose and you must replace them more often); and you have to charge it daily. If you tend to lose pens, this could be an expensive proposition. (Great gift for a college student.)
• Alternatives to the LiveScribe SmartPen as note-taking devices include SoundNote (iPad's note-taking device), Notability, and AudioNote, a notepad and voice recorder you can download to your PC.
PDF Creator. PDFCreator is a tool to create PDF files from nearly any Windows application: If you can print a document, you can use this tool--say you have a text that you want to send as a PDF instead of a Word file. See C=Net's writeup , and you can download the software there.

Stamps for PDF proofreading (Louise Harnby's explanation and links) "If you have to edit a lot of PDFs in Windows, it will rock your editing world."
Keyboard shortcuts for proofreading PDFs (Adrienne Montgomerie scieditor, 11-15-12)
Cute PDF. Cute PDF Writer (convert any printable document into a PDF); Custom PDF converter; CutePDF Professional; and Cute PDFEditor (free).
AutoHotKey for Editors (explained by Molly Ivers Brower)

EventBrite (a fairly robust way of selling tickets --to an event, a webinar, a seminar, etc.)

60+ Awesome, Free Tools for Modern Storytellers ( For example, NewsDiffs tracks changes in articles after publication (in digital formats)
Google Alerts. See Molly Ives Brower, Use Google Alerts to keep up with your titles and authors
Google Ngram Viewer (excellent for viewing usage of a word, phrase, name, etc., over time). Wired story, The Pitfalls of Using Google Ngram to Study Language explains how it works and where its bias lies.
Online Tools and Web 2.0 Applications (Kathy Schrock's Guide to Everything)
Overcoming procrastination. Resources on getting things done.
The best apps, communities & tools for writers and journalists (The Next Web, 9-29-12)
Multitasking your e-services with ifttt. This If-Then productivity software lets you double-task. For example, if you send an email, ifttt also saves it as a note in Evernote; if you tweet something, it saves the tweet in a tweet file. Here are some ifttt recipes
The 80 Best Tools for Writers in 2016 (GlobalEnglishEditing)
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Computer security

What Journalists Need to Know About Password Managers (Yael Grauer, Business Journalism, 6-13-18) Reporters should view password management software and tools marketing themselves as next-generation solutions with skepticism, and dig in deeper to see how these new technologies will address any drawbacks that have been documented and exposed.
How to Change the Default Password on a Network Router (Bradley Mitchell, Lifewire, 9-13-17)

A 9-step guide to prepare for GDPR compliance (Javvad Malik, Information Management, 9-21-17) n May 2018, the General Data Privacy Regulation will take effect, significantly altering the way organizations handle and store data. GDPR applies to all organizations that control or process data within the EU as well as those that control or process data related to EU residents. The comprehensive regulation is primarily intended to strengthen security and privacy protections around individual data, which it enforces by subjecting organizations to stricter requirements, adding new requirements – such as breach notification – and increasing fines on organizations that fail to comply.
The Best Online Backup Services for 2016 (Michael Muchmore, PC Magazine, 2-24-16)
How protected is your online privacy and what steps can you take for data protection (elsewhere on this site)
The Difference Between Antivirus and Anti-Malware (and Which to Use) (Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 8-21-13) "Antivirus is a confusing matter: it's called antivirus, but there are tons of other types of malware out there. those programs also scan for spyware, adware, and other threats? Here's how to make heads or tails of it all, and which tools you can trust to keep your PC clean."
What’s the Difference Between Viruses, Trojans, Worms, and Other Malware? (How-to Geek, Lifehacker, 6-10-10) Viruses wreak havoc on your files. Spyware steals your information without your knowledge, scareware holds your PC hostage until you pay a ransom, trojan horses install a backdoor, and computer worms use the network to send copies of themselves to other PCs.
What is Malware and How to Defend Against It? (Kaspersky) Malware, short for "malicious software," refers to a type of computer program designed to infect a legitimate user's computer and inflict harm on it in multiple ways. Malware can infect computers and devices in several ways and comes in a number of forms, just a few of which include viruses, worms, Trojans, spyware and more. It's vital that all users know how to recognize and protect themselves from malware in all of its forms.
Baseline publications produced by the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT) ) Documents to help you with everything from setting up your first computer to understanding the nuances of emerging threats.
Security Primers published by the MS-ISAC (Center for Internt Security)
How to avoid getting hacked when shopping online (Seth Rosenblatt, C/​Net, 12-16-14)
Malware: what it is and how to prevent it (Adam Baratz, Ars Technica 11-11-04)
How to Stay Safe on Public Wi-Fi Networks (Whitson Gordon, Lifehacker, 11-14-14)
Online privacy (many resources, including the next two)
What Is VPN For? VPN Benefits Explained (Claudio R., Anonymster, 1-18-17) A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is basically a series of computers networked together over the Internet, so you bypass the server of your ISP (internet service provider), so that nobody can snoop into your personal affairs. Explains how VPN encryption and protocols work and how they can protect your internet connection. Reviews best VPN systems.
KeePassX (a free, open source, cross-platform password manager)
Cheap Tricks: The Low Cost of Internet Harassment (Julie Angwin, Pro Publica, 11-9-17) Most tech companies have policies against working with hate websites. Yet a ProPublica survey found that PayPal, Stripe, Newsmax and others help keep more than half of the most-visited extremist sites in business.
How to Stay Safe While Online (Chiron, Gizmo, 6-9-14)
5 online backup services keep your data clean (Brian Nadel, Computerworld, 2-6-12)
Top 10 Simple Things Every Computer User Should Know How to Do (Whitson Gordon. Lifehacker, 9-8-12)
Big-name sites hit by rash of malicious ads spreading crypto ransomware (Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 3-15-16)
URLs, Authors, & Viruses (Rich Adin, The Business of Editing, An American Editor, 11-13-13)
Backing Up Is Easy to Do (Rich Adin, An American Editor, 5-7-14).
Free CyberCrime Resources for the Justice Professional: An Interview with Ben Spear (Justice Clearinghouse,
Playing It Safe (Rich Adin, on Sandboxie, Cryptlocker (Crilock) Ransomware, and Startpage).
Soaring price of Bitcoin prompts CryptoLocker ransomware price break
You’re infected—if you want to see your data again, pay us $300 in Bitcoins (Dan Goodin, Ars Technica 10-17-13)
How to Harden Your Browser Against Malware and Privacy Concerns (Chiron, Gizmo, 11-26-14)
Top 10 iPhone Security Tips (PDF, Kunjan Shah, White Paper, McAfee)
Hack Your Life in One Day: A Beginner's Guide to Enhanced Productivity (Whitson Gordon, Lifehacker, 12-18-12).
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Writers sharing workspaces

Writers working alone, together

Writing Alone, Together (Bonnie Tsui, Draft, Opinionator, NY Times, 7-7-14) What does it mean to write in fellowship? "An unheralded plus of the shared writing space is the joy of not talking about writing."
A Cubicle for You and Your Muse (Liesl Schillinger, NY Times, 10-9-05)
In a D.C. writers room, scribes find motivation (Emily Wax, Washington Post, 12-25-12)
CoworkingBoston (coworking space, but not just writers)
The Grotto (the San Francisco Writers' Grotto, an office for the creative, self-employed people who by definition don’t need to punch a clock. From its beginnings, it’s been a place where narrative artists–writers, filmmakers and the like–welcome the discipline of structure in their work lives, and build a community of peers)
Toronto Writers Centre
Writers Junction (an affordable shared workspace for writers in Santa Monica, CA)
The Writers WorkSpace (a membership-based work and meeting space for writers of all genres in Chicago)
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Location independence

Life Remotely – Redefining Travel While Living and Working Anywhere (Martha Retallick, FreelanceSwitch, 8-1-12). Ever dreamed of hitting the road and picking up interesting freelancing gigs along the way? Imagine it. Finishing a client project in Rio. Or landing one in Paris.
The Realities of a Location Independent Life (Jennifer Miller, BootsnAll, 12-11-13)
6 Things You Can Start Today to Build A Life Working from Anywhere (Lea Woodward, Location Independent
Guide to Working on the Road (BootsnAll)
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Cruise lecturing

So You Want to Be a Cruise Ship Lecturer? (Cruise Critic's practical advice)
Enrichment lecturers (Princess Cruises)
The Secret Life of a Cruise Ship Lecturer (Peter Mandel, HuffPost, 9-11-12) on misadventures in this line of work
Is This the World's Best Job? (William Romey, WSJ, 3-19-01) Life as a cruise-ship lecturer can indeed be a fantasy -- if you don't mind a few surprises and lots of work
Cruising Through Retirement (PDF, Sixth Star, pitch to those in career transition from being in the Foreign Service)
Cruise Ships Troll for Lecturers Who'll Keep Passengers Hooked (Andrea Sachs, Washington Post, 1-18-09)
Cruise ship lectures: The confessions of a professional on the high seas (John Carter, Daily Mail, 1-20-10 on offering light entertainment rather than erudition)
The Complete Guide To Conducting Seminars At Sea by Mary Long (published in 1999, a guide to getting free cruises, not a guide to paid lecturing)
SpeakerNet News compilation of response to query "Have you spoken on cruises?
Lauretta Blake's links (The Working Vacation, Inc.)
Sixth Star (agency for cruise ship enrichment programs)
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Active sitting

(dealing with the problem of sitting too much)

The Posture Guru of Silicon Valley (Amy Schoenfeld, NY Times, 5-11-13). Soothing back pain by learning how to sit again. (Click here for illustration of proper and improper posture.)
Ask Well: Help for the Deskbound (Tara Parker-Pope, 1-15-13). Provides links to purveyors of ergonomic chairs.
FitDesk X1 Folding Exercise Bike with Sliding Desk Platform
FitDesk v2.0 Desk Exercise Bike with Massage Bar (get V2.0, not the original version) You assemble this bike desk; the table holds laptop up to 14 inches.
Reasons Not to Stretch (Gretchen Reynolds, Well, NY Times, 4-3-13). Dynamic warmups (like leg kicking) before your fitness training is better than static pre-workout stretching. (The rules have changed!)
Active sitting vs. static sitting (Ingrid Holm, Varier)
How Sitting All Day Is Damaging Your Body and How You Can Counteract It (Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker, 1-26-12)
8 Steps to a Pain-Free Back: Natural Posture Solutions for Pain in the Back, Neck, Shoulder, Hip, Knee, and Foot by Esther Gokhale and Susan Adams
Ergonomic chairs (Sitbetter, who we have no experience with -- but you can see a big selection of types and prices here)
Esther Gokhale talk at Google (YouTube video, includes tips on seated techniques) Click along right on other videos of her demonstrating and explaining ways of preventing back pain. She's a gifted presenter.
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Standing and Adjustable-Height Desks and Walkstations

"Sitting is the new smoking."
Standing for long periods is not an instant fix, if you're not doing it ergonomically, says a colleague. It takes some getting used to, even some coaching. You have to have proper posture, shift your weight as needed, and engage your core in a new way. You can't slump

My Standing Desk Experience, One Week Later (Jamie Todd Rubin, 8-21-12)
17 Great Authors Who Wrote While Standing (Jared A. Brock, The Writing Cooperative, 1-15-18)
Standing Desks Are on the Rise (Jim Carlton, WSJ, 8-31-11)
Workplace interventions for reducing sitting time at work (Cochrane Review) "The quality of evidence was very low to low for most interventions mainly because studies were very poorly designed and because they had very few participants. We conclude that at present there is very low quality evidence that sit-stand desks can reduce sitting at work at the short term."
Improving My Health with A Standing Desk (Mary, A Merry Life, 6-29-11). A counter can work!
Experts: Sitting All Day Is Dangerous CBS 2's Dr. Max Gomez reports: "Doctors say sitting all day could be as risky as smoking."
Who Made That Standing Desk? (Daniel Engber, NY Times, 3-20-14) "While the dangers of sitting are well documented, says Alan Hedge, professor of human factors and ergonomics at Cornell University, too much time on your feet may cause a different set of health problems..."
Varidesk. "The Varidesk," says colleague Kathy Evans, “is sturdy, well balanced, well engineered, and easy to use. It’s heavy, as in 50 pounds, and this gives it stability. No installation; it just sits on your desk. Very little effort to put the thing up and down. To change position, I just stand up and squeeze two levers on the outsides of the desk, and it comes right up. It’s sort of spring loaded, and it pops up gently, with 11 possible positions to click it into. Since I literally sit all day, this has been a godsend. (I also recommend a rubber mat to stand on, which you can buy from them or elsewhere.)"
Treadmill Desks And The Benefits Of 'Walking Alive' (Susan Orlean, New Yorker, 5-15-13). Orlean spent years trying to find the right desk chair. She considered a pricy museum-worthy chair, a kneeling chair and a yoga ball before ditching the seat altogether for a treadmill desk — and discovering the health benefits of moving at work. Read also: The Walking Alive (Susan Orlean, New Yorker, 5-10-13)
The Steelcase Walkstation . In a story for CMA Magazine ("Let Your People Move"), Jane Langille writes: "Invented by the Mayo Clinic’s James A. Levine, MD, PhD, in collaboration with Steelcase, a walkstation can help burn up to 2,100 calories a week. It can also cut fatigue by two-thirds and improve mental clarity." (Cost: $4,000 to $4500.)
The Best Standing Desks (Mark Lucach, The Wirecutter, 8-29-13) The best full-sized standing desk is Terra by NextDesk. Excellent explanations of what to look for and why. "Adjustable-height desks are best, because the antidote to sitting is not standing, it’s moving."
The Stir Kinetic Smart Desk, from veterans of Apple, Ideo, NASA, and Disney, adjusts heights and tracks your habits in an effort to help you work smarter and healthier. Watch the video, or read Christina Chaey's story (9-26-13). The Stir Kinetic, not yet available for pre-order, is expected to sell for $3,890.
Wallsprout (Adjust-to-your-Height Standing Desk Converters). At $275 to $350, these are a good deal. My friend Steve Taravella wrote his book about character actress Mary Wickes on a Wallsprout 1200; he has used it for 4 years and "can't imagine returning to a conventional sitting position."
The Two Best Standing Desks for Any Budget (Whitson Gordon, Lifehacker, 9-4-13)
Ditch Your Office Chair for a New Standing Desk (Mark Lukach, The Wirecutter, Wired, 5-31-12, featuring The Kangaroo Pro Junior)
Build Your Own Sturdy, Good-Looking Standing Desk for Less Than $25 (Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 6-20-12).
Ergo Desktop (home of the Kangaroo Adjustable Height Desk)
How Can I Convince My Boss to Let Me Try a Standing Desk? (Alan Henry, Lifehacker, 7-16-12)
Standing Desks (Uncaged Ergonomics), of which they say this is the best version ($125). Affordably convert any table to an ergonomic sit-stand desk.
6 Desks to Save You from Death By Sitting, slide show on how six different desks lined up, price-wise and otherwise, part of Get Up, Stand Up, For Your Life: Can Standing Desks Fight Sitting Disease?, part of "" by Kate Tayler, Forbeswoman, 8-2-12
Become a Stand-Up Guy: The History, Benefits, and Use of Standing Desks (Brett and Kate McKay, The Art of Manliness, 7-5-11). From Thomas Jefferson to Ernest Hemingway and more (illustrated).
Safco Muv Stand-up Adjustable Height Workstation (solid and inexpensive--reviewed in Wired article )
Safco Muv 35-Inch Workstation Adjustable Height
Signature Executive 2.0 Treadmill Desk (on sale for only $3290)
TreadDesk (another treadmill desk, this one under $3,000 and praised on a writers' Facebook discussion of staying healthy while overworked)
Sit and Stand Height Adjustable Desk (Ergo, elegant in cherry, and expensive)
Geek Desks
My $47 collapsible standing desk (Josh Earl)
NewHeights Electric Sit to Stand Desk w/​ Push Button Height Adjustment
Desktop Elevator (place it on top of your desk) from OIC Innovations
Kangaroo Junior (Ergo Desktop)
Cassandra Willyard's Natural Habitat
Anthro Height Adjustable Solutions (electric and manual lift desks-- see especially Steve's Station Sit-Stand Desk, elegant, expensive, several models
Herman Miller's Up-and-Down Desk (Apartment Therapy)
Pro-Line Elecric Height-Adjustable Workstation (
sitbetter (ergonomic chairs of all types)
These Cycling Desks Charge Your Phone--And Your Muscles--While You Work (Adele Peters, Fast Company, 8-4-14) At the office or airport, 30 minutes of easy pedaling on a WeBike will get you a full iPhone charge and keep you fit. Cost: $13,000+
A computer to use lying down (from Japan, the Super Gorone desk). I link to it but have no idea if it's any good--it's just a great idea for certain situations!

And on a similar note, consider these for elevating your laptop:
mStand Laptop Stand (raises your notebook screen height 5.9 inches for better ergonomics and tilts it to bring the screen closer and improve airflow around laptop)
Griffin Technology GC16034 Elevator Laptop Stand (holds your portable computer safely at just the right height to match external monitors and to save your aching neck). Says designer Robin B., "lifted my MacBook up in the air so I could push it back and have the full extended keyboard out in front on my desk. This helped my wrists and back."

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On writing and the writing life

Abraham Verghese, author of ‘Cutting for Stone,’ describes his writing life (Washington Post 12-9-11). Loved his novel Cutting for Stone
ADHD, Journalism, and the Nightmare of Finding Manna in the Desert (William Gray, Talking Writing, 4-11-11)
The Agony and the Ecstasy of Taking Author Photos (Tom Rachman, Literary Hub, 3-19-18) "Stressing about an author photo isn’t just vanity. It’s also about career survival, given that the spoils of fiction are meager, and accrue to the few. Writing novels is often a business of lionized old lions and bright young debutants, with prairies of middle-aged mid-listers between. An author’s image—not beautiful necessarily, but of striking looks—helps the sales package."
Alone, With Words. Why writers can’t live to please their readers. (Jed Perl, The New Republic,6-9-10)
An Easy Way to Increase Creativity. Why thinking about distant things can make us more creative. (Oren Shapira and Nira Liberman, Scientific American 7-21-09)

As Good as It Gets: Nominations for Best Film About a Writer (Roger Rosenblatt, Sunday Book Review, NY Times, 2-22-13).
• His nominations (read the article to get his rationale): “The Third Man” (1949), “Starting Out in the Evening” (2007), and “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” (1961).
• His sentimental favorite: “Bullets Over Broadway” (1994).
• His runners-up: “The Front,” about Hollywood blacklisting; Woody Allen’s “Deconstructing Harry”; “Stranger Than Fiction"; “Shadowlands”; “Barton Fink”; “Adaptation”; the creepy “Secret Window”; the scary “Misery”; and “Limitless,” starring Bradley Cooper.
• "Writers, with the exception of that movie I saw as a kid," writes Rosenblatt, 'are variously crazy (Jack Nicholson in “The Shining”), reckless (Michael Douglas in “Wonder Boys”), cranky (Van Johnson in “23 Paces to Baker Street”), self-destructive (Ray Milland in “The Lost Weekend”), without principle (William Holden in “Sunset Boulevard”) and/​or flailing (Paul Giamatti in “Sideways”). '
• Rosenblatt doesn't include films about journalists, because they are tethered to institutions, but does list these films as best in that subgenre: “Citizen Kane,” “The Year of Living Dangerously,” “It Happened One Night,” “Foreign Correspondent.”
Any good movies about writers missing from this list?
One I can think of: Jay Parini's "The Last Station," about the last year of Tolstoy's life.

Baird Harper, Writing Advice (Glimmer Train). How writing is like fishing, and the importance of bringing a sandwich.

The Book of My Enemy Has Been Remaindered. Clive James' classic poem about about literary schadenfreude, as posted by Dwight Garner on the NY Times Paper Cuts blog about books.

Boxers, Briefs and Books. John Grisham's op-ed piece on what hard work writing is, one theme of the forthcoming collection Don’t Quit Your Day Job: Acclaimed Authors and the Day Jobs They Quit, ed. by Sonny Brewer (with stories by Grisham, Pat Conroy, Rick Bragg, and many other authors).

Daily Rituals: How Artists Create (and Avoid Creating) Their Art (Michelle Aldredge, Gwarlingo, 9-25-13)

Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Currey.
Willard Spiegelman reviews the book, "Habit Their Way" (WSJ, 6-7-13): This guide to artists' and writers' daily regimens explains how, where and with what pen to create a masterpiece. Examples: "The painter Chuck Close says, 'Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work.' " John Cheever's is surely one of the strangest rituals. This book started as the blog Daily Routines.

Diaries and letters. Yours Ever: People and Their Letters , edited by Thomas Mallon (which Carolyn See calls a "crazy quilt" collection with no discernible organizing principle, but "one of those perfect Christmas gifts to give to bachelor uncles or friends who aimlessly hang around.") By the man who published A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries. Writers well-represented in both volumes.

Don’t Poke the Editor: Six Deadly Don’ts (and Dos) for Dealing with Editors (Susan J. Morris, Omnivoracious, 8-20-12)

Edmund Wilson Regrets (delightful "no thanks" postcard on William Landay's site)

The Elaine's That I Knew by Brian McDonald (Opinion, NY Times, 5-26-11, Elaine's last day in business), author of Last Call at Elaine's: A Journey from One Side of the Bar to the Other. (Not the only book about Elaine Kaufman's famed night spot. See also Everyone Comes to Elaine's: Forty Years of Movie Stars, All-Stars, Literary Lions, Financial Scions, Top Cops, Politicians, and Power Brokers at the Legendary Hot Spot by A.E. Hotchner.

Elizabeth Gilbert: Your elusive creative genius (a TED Talk, 2-9-09, as muses on the impossible things we expect from artists and geniuses) . She shares the radical idea that, instead of the rare person "being" a genius, all of us "have" a genius.

Examined Lives by Phyllis Rose (American Scholar, Autumn 2013). "You cannot be a good writer if you have not been a good reader, and I would say that a writer’s responsiveness to other writers, whether discussed or held private, is the thing without which literary merit cannot exist."
Famous writers' keynote addresses at Whiting Awards Examples from the transcripts: "People consume a diet of novelty that would have driven their ancestors into the madhouse."--Saul Bellow
"You're a lucky girl, you know, that these books are in the living room, more on the table than on the shelf like in some people's houses."--Grace Paley
"In Shakespeare’s day, seeing emotions carried to the extreme helped audiences find the proper limits for their own lives."--John Guare
The Fear Never Gets Any Easier (Chuck Wendig talking about the fear all authors experience)
From punishing to pleasurable: How cursive writing is looping back into our hearts (Karen Heller, Washington Post, 9-5-18) Cursive "was declared moribund, if not dead, after it was shredded from the Common Core in most states, including Connecticut....By the mid-aughts, only 15 percent of SAT essays were submitted in script. Today, many adults utilize a mash-up of cursive and print that often can be deciphered only by the author." Frustrated that interns who could decipher handwriting on museum documents, Brigid Guertin launched "cursive camp." Children and parents flocked to it. Now "experts are finding more to recommend about pencil and ink. Handwriting - print or cursive - increases development in three areas of the brain, according to a 2012 study, and "may facilitate reading acquisition in young children." "Where is cursive really, really big? Christian home schooling and places like Louisiana." But also the New York City schools, which last year encouraged, but didn’t mandate, teaching script.

50 Things I Know About Making Stuff (Eric Maierson, Medium)

The Golden Age for Writers . . . is right now (Stephen Marche, Esquire, 11-26-12). I can think of several ways in which the opposite might be argued (it's easier to get published, but not to make a living at it), but this is food for thought. See other opinions under comments on Abigail Kunitz's post on the Gotham Ghostwriters blogg [sic], Writer Poll: Are We in a Golden Age of Writing?

Health insurance, freelancers, and the Affordable Care Act (Writers and Editors blog, 8-22-13). Includes links to information about health and liability insurance for freelancers and writers.

How the Literary Class System Is Impoverishing Literature (LorraineBerry, LitHub, 12-4-15) On the Systemic Economic Barriers to Being a Writer. '...very little has been explicitly articulated about the exclusion of the great American underclass, that perpetually poor group on the bottom tier of society that includes all races/​genders/​creeds. And as we winnow out opportunities for art about poverty, we lose so much potential for change. [It is] not so much about money as it is about class, about being born into a system that tells you it is all right to do something artistic. But for those on the outside of that system “being artistic” is seen as throwing away your one chance to make something of yourself. And even when you make something of yourself, there can be a stigma about being “disloyal” to your class.'

How to Be a Second-Time Author (Kathi Lipp, guest post on Rachelle Gardner's blog, 2-18-09)

How to Succeed as an Author: Give Up on Writing. The rancid smell of 21st century literary success. (Lionel Shriver, author of We Need to Talk About Kevin, essay for The New Republic, 10-24-13) "When does a novelist write novels? Writing the books themselves gets fit in here and there, like making time for taking out the trash before bed. I have grown perversely nostalgic for my previous commercial failure—when my focus was pure, and the books were still fun to write, even if nobody read them."

How to Write a Great Novel (Alexandra Alter, WSJ, 11-13-09). From writing in the bathroom (Junot Díaz) to dressing in character (Nicholson Baker), 11 top authors share their methods for getting the story on the page.

Is the Bohemian Dead? (Katie Roiphe, Slate, 5-8-13). In her new memoir, Country Girl, Edna O’Brien recalls when writers were drunk, brawling, and fabulous. Facebook: Once, writers were drunken brawlers. Now they are married and cook a lovely risotto.

Roy Peter Clark's gems on writing
The Short Sentence as Gospel Truth (Roy Peter Clark, Opinionator, NY Times, 9-7-13). "Express your most powerful thought in the shortest sentence." The "short sentence gains power from its proximity to longer sentences," as an example from Orwell illustrates. Look at all the comments he gets!
---How to Write Short: Word Craft for Fast Times
---Thirty Tools for Writers (Clark, Poynter, 6-18-02)
---Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer (the book)
---Five oddest places (real, not virtual) where I’ve found story ideas (guest post on Words by Webb, 9-19-11)
---Skepticism: The Antidote to ‘Truthiness’ in American Government and Media
---Roy Peter Clark on “the power of the parts” for storytelling (Andrea Pitzer, Nieman Storyboard, 11-9-10). A summary of something you can watch on video here. He's an entertaining lecturer, accordion and all.
---The Glamour of Grammar (Poynter, the article that gradually became the book) Followed by What the Big Bopper Taught Me About Grammar (5-1-08)
---The Glamour of Grammar: A Guide to the Magic and Mystery of Practical English. You can get a sense of it from this review (Ammon Shea, NY Times Book Review 8-20-10)

7 Things We Can Learn From Jerry Seinfeld About Writing (Justin Cox, Writing Cooperative, 4-19-18) "I consumed all 59 episodes of "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in three weeks. Throughout the show, a theme emerged: Comedians are writers at the core....The best writing advice we can learn from Jerry Seinfeld is to write often. About nothing, if necessary."

Vladimir Nabokov on Writing, Reading, and the Three Qualities a Great Storyteller Must Have (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings) "There are three points of view from which a writer can be considered: he may be considered as a storyteller, as a teacher, and as an enchanter. A major writer combines these three — storyteller, teacher, enchanter — but it is the enchanter in him that predominates and makes him a major writer."

Web-Based Creativity: Can Working in Virtual Communities Be More Effective Than Face-to-Face Cooperation? (Science News, Science Daily, 10-5-2010)

Well-designed authors' websites (look at column along left side)

What do bad writers and toddlers have in common? (Megan Sharma, PR Daily, 5-15-18) Self-absorption, resistance to change.
What Writers Must Do: 'Love People' (Joe Fassler, The Atlantic, 6-3-14). Author Rupert Thomson says a Yevgeny Yevtushenko poem taught him the value of risk. "You can’t choose who to love, or how—but if you remain open to experience, love will teach you a great deal about yourself, and can help lead you in the right direction."
Someone said to W. H. Auden, “Is it true that you can only write what you know? And he said, “Yes, but you can only know what you know once you’ve written it.”

When I broke down at work, I realised I was responsible for my own wellbeing (Jess Phillips, The Guardian, 3-30-16) Previously, I had allowed everything to leak into everything else....Before my burnout, I felt time management was somehow inapplicable to me. Now my attitude has changed, and I have developed a daily question for myself: “What matters most today and how am I going to realise my priorities?” ... Wellbeing demands time, although we often tell ourselves we just don’t have it. I now try to establish with others what I’m not prepared to make time for. "

When Writers Speak: Why Good Writers Can Be Bad Conversationalists (Arthur Krystal, New York Times Book Review, 9-27-09)

Writers on Writing, a weekly radio program hosted by Barbara DeMarco-Barrett (author of Pen on Fire: A Busy Woman's Guide to Igniting the Writer Within) and Marrie Stone, interviewing writers, poets and literary agents. You can download and listen to podcasts.

The Writer’s Technique in Thirteen Theses: Walter Benjamin’s Timeless Advice on Writing (Maria Popova, Brain Pickings) Examples: “The more circumspectly you delay writing down an idea, the more maturely developed it will be on surrendering itself.” "Let no thought pass incognito, and keep your notebook as strictly as the authorities keep their register of aliens."

Writing Links & Links for Writers (Sal Towse) Lots of links. Browse away.

The Writing Show (Paula B, podcasts of information and inspiration for writers) (many helpful articles on a wide variety of topics)

Writing habits of successful authors I have known (Alan Rinzler)

Writing My Way to a New Self (Hana Schank, Opinionator, NY Times, 3-21-15) "Now, instead of having to call editors or sources, one could simply email them. And while on the phone I was awkward and stiff, in email I was my charming inner self. The phone meant talking, but email meant writing, and writing was something I could do."

"Every work of literature has both a situation and a story. The situation is the context or circumstance, sometimes the plot; the story is the emotional experience that preoccupies the writer: the insight, the wisdom, the thing one has come to say."
~Vivian Gornick, The Situation and the Story

"I believe in not quite knowing. A writer needs to be doubtful, questioning. I write out of curiosity and bewilderment...I've learned a lot I could not have learned if I were not a writer."
~ William Trevor

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“People ask me, ‘Why do you write about food, and eating and drinking? Why don’t you write about the struggle for power and security, about love, the way others do?’. . . The easiest answer is to say that, like most other humans, I am hungry. But there is more than that. It seems to me that our three basic needs for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it. . . There is communion of more than our bodies when bread is broken and wine drunk.”
~ M.F.K. Fisher, The Gastronomical Me

The lives of writers and editors
(in books)

Some books to get you going:

• Maria Arana, ed., The Writing Life: Writers on How They Think and Work (a collection from Washington Post Book World)
• Diana Athill's memoirs: Instead of a Letter: A Memoir (her life from birth to 42, featuring a major romantic disappointment which led her to devote herself to her career); After a Funeral (frankly writing about an unusual domestic arrangement, among other things); Somewhere Towards the End (about that period late in life when there is a "falling away" and one is preoccupied with thoughts of death--one of the stronger of her memoirs), and Stet: An Editor's Life (about her fifty years working with legendary publisher Andre Deutsch and with such authors as Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Brian Moore, V.S. Naipaul, Jean Rhys, Mordecai Richler, Philip Roth, and John Updike). If you think you are underpaid, this may (or may not) make you feel better. Love this passage on procrastination, from Instead of a Letter: A Memoir: "It was at school that my secret sin was first brought into the open: Laziness. I was considered a clever girl, but lazy. It has been with me ever since, and the guilt I feel about it assures me that it is a sin, not an inability. It takes the form of an immense weight of inertia at the prospect of any activity that does not positively attract me: a weight that can literally paralyse my moral sense.... I slide off sideways, almost unconsciously, into doing something else, which I like doing.... So often have I proved that this form of self-indulgence ends by making my life less agreeable rather than more so that my inability to control it almost frightens me; but that I should ever get the better of it now seems, alas, most unlikely."
• Margaret Atwood, Negotiating with the Dead: A Writer on Writing
• Annie Dillard, The Writing Life (1990)
• Natalie Goldberg, Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within (1986)
• Jack Hart, A Writer's Coach: An Editor's Guide to Words That Work
• Stephen King, On Writing (2002)
• Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life (1995)
Reading Through the Notes for Peter Matthiessen’s Would-Be Autobiography Jeff Wheelwright on the Life and Underrated Writing of His Adventuring Uncle (LitHub, 6-21-18)
•· The New York Times, and Darnton, John (introduction). Writers on Writing: Collected Essays from The New York Times, New York Times (2002)
• Tan, Amy. The Opposite of Fate: Memories of a Writing Life
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The lives of writers and editors
(in articles)

The Writer's Process (Hallie Cantor, New Yorker, 5-29-17) Tongue in cheek and right on target.
Writing When on the Autism Spectrum (Kelly Brenner, The Open Notebook, National Association of Science Writers, 10-9-18) 'I have always had an aversion to talking on the phone, but I didn’t understand why—until earlier this year. In April, I found out that I am on the autism spectrum. The diagnosis explained why I have to mentally prepare myself before answering the phone and why, most of the time, I swipe “reject” instead....Perhaps one of the biggest challenges facing autistic writers is “autistic burnout,” a term we use to describe what happens when we become overwhelmed and exhausted. Neurotypicals suffer burnout too, of course, but autistic burnout comes from a different place. It develops from sensory overload, or the stress and anxiety that comes with trying to fit into a neurotypical world.' Excellent overview and practical advice for writers on the autism spectrum and for editors working with them.
Eat, Pray, Love, Get Rich, Write a Novel No One Expects (Steve Almond's interesting profile of Elizabeth Gilbert, NY Times Magazine, 9-18-13). And here are her Thoughts on Writing (on her website, where I sought in vain a picture of her office, which sounded interesting).
What It Means to Be a Writer—and to Emerge as a Writer Guest post on Jan Friedman's site by Albert Flynn DeSilver (@​PoetAlbert), author of Writing as a Path to Awakening: A Year to Becoming an Excellent Writer and Living an Awakened Life
50 Blogs for Mastering the Art, Craft, and Business of Writing (Freewrite, 10-3-18)
creativity is overrated (David Moldawer, The Maven Game, April 2018) "There I go with one of my disingenuous, clickbait subject lines again...Working with creative people sucks. They can’t turn it off. They can’t organize or prioritize. It’s one new idea after the other—mostly bad. You’re a giant tube worm at the bottom of the ocean next to a hydrothermal vent. Sure, you might starve without that hot, sulphuric flow of ideas bubbling nearby, but you have to keep your distance if you’re going to get anything done.”
10 Odd Stories Behind Famous Authors’ Nom de Plumes (Kim Parker, Flavorwire, 4-7-12)

Diana Athill, a legendary editor in British literary publishing, has been the subject of a couple of interesting articles: In Life’s Latest Chapter, Feeling Free Again (Sarah Lyall on Diana Athill, at 91, feeling liberated in an "old person's home," NY Times 10-10-10) and The unrivalled Diana Athill (Ian Jack, The Guardian, 10-31-09. "A bestseller at 91, she forged the modern memoir.")
New Yorker profiles
‘You Stink,’ He Explained (Joseph Epstein, Commentary, 11-10-15). The unending deliciousness of literary rivalries, a who-hates-whom of feuds between authors, and aspersions cast, by way of reviewing Literary Rivals: Feuds and Antagonisms in the World of Books by Richard Bradford.

Jack Handey Is the Envy of Every Comedy Writer in America (Dan Cois, NY Times Magazine, 7-16-13). Handey is best known as the writer and performer of “Deep Thoughts,” a series of quasi-philosophical cracked aphorisms that ran on “Saturday Night Live” from 1991 to 1998. ..."The archetypal Jack Handey sketch is about Frankenstein, or flying saucers, or a cat who, for some reason, can drive a car. 'Little-boy stuff,' Handey explained."

Penelope Fitzgerald: The Whole Story? (Hermione Lee on a biographer and novelist who succeeded despite more hard blows in life than most of us could bear up under and still write so well and so much)
Ten Superstitions of Writers and Artists (Ellen Weinstein, Paris Review, 4-13-18)
25 Famous Authors With Learning Disabilities (Wide Open Education, Bachelors DegreeOnline)
P. G. Wodehouse: A Life in Letters by P.G. Wodehouse, edited by Sophie Ratcliffe. Reviewed delightfully here: Yours Ever, Plum: The Letters and Life of P.G. Wodehouse (Christopher Buckley, The Daily Beast and Newsweek, 1-28-13).

Family Secrets: On Matthew Spender’s ‘A House in St. John’s Wood' (Matt Seidel, The Millions, 11-19-15). An account of the straight son's memoir of the father's gay love affairs and the mother's fear that the son would expose the family secrets, which he does in A House in St John's Wood: In Search of My Parents

Suicidal Thoughts: The Creative Lives and Tragic Deaths of a Prince and a Pauper (Nancy Spiller, Los Angeles Review of Books, 12-30-14) Comic Robin Williams and novelist Les Plesko, one wildly successful and the other not, both took their lives. Spiller writes persuasively about what might make creative people more susceptible to dark thoughts that they act on. Among important points made: “We accept the disease model of substance abuse,” Palumbo says. “Depression is still considered a weakness. We’re more likely to say we’re suffering from alcohol or drug abuse, rather than panic attacks and suicidal thoughts. People are still afraid of mental illness.”
Robin Williams' widow: 'It was not depression' that killed him (Nigel M. Smith, The Guardian, 11-3-15) Susan Williams gives first interview since her husband’s death last year and reveals the actor had a debilitating brain disease called Lewy body dementia
How Doing Nothing at 5 a.m. Gets Me Through the Day (Abigail Rasminsky, HealthLine, 4-30-18) I was experiencing my life without the nagging sense of having to produce and succeed and run, run, run.
Is There Anybody Out There? (Abigail Rasminsky, Lenny, 5-11-18) I’m a crowdsourcer. Should I learn to make decisions on my own? Whenever I had a decision to make — should I get bangs? Should I break up with my boyfriend? — I started in on my ask-advice-from-every-human-being-I-know routine. My uncle would say, reassuringly, “Don’t worry, Ab, you’re just making the rounds.” He’d call it my “process.”
Writers Write, Right? (Jo Eberhardt, Writer Unboxed, 5-6-18) Take time off!
The Scandal behind "The Scandal of Scientology" (Paulette Cooper) "You may not believe this, but you can write something that some group doesn't approve of and then have a quarter of your life almost ruined. I know because it happened to me."

Sweet Home Mississippi (Richard Grant, Sunday Review, NY Times, 11-7-15) "Sometimes living in Mississippi makes us want to weep and scream and rush back to the familiar. But Mariah has a library job here now, and we have no plans to leave. Mississippi is such a deep, strange, complicated, interesting place that we often feel ruined for living anywhere else."

25 Legendary Literary Feuds, Ranked (Emily Temple, Literary Hub, 2-16-18)
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Procrastination (aka writer's block),
creativity, and time and effort management

“. . . anyone can do any amount of work, provided it isn’t the work he is supposed to be doing at that moment.” — Robert Benchley, in Chips Off the Old Benchley, 1949
On Writer’s Block: Advice from Twelve Writers (Writers at Work, Paris Review, 3-19-18)
Facing Writers Block (David Alan Lucas, Melanie Lucas, and others, Write Pack Radio podcast, 9-9-18) Some writers say it doesn’t exist, others do, and even psychologist have looked into it and show that it can take a long time to break through. An excellent discussion of what writer's block is and how to deal with it. Here's a book they talk about in passing: The Chunky Method Handbook: Your Step-by-Step Plan to WRITE THAT BOOK Even When Life Gets in the Way by Allie Pleiter.
Make Your Writing Anxiety Disappear By Thinking Small (Jane Anne Staw on Jane Friedman's blog, 4-10-18) "[T]hinking about the entire book, or even the whole essay, caused a surge of anxiety. So I learned to think small and focus on the current sentence I was composing, or at most, on the current paragraph....Later, when I was writing more fluidly, I moved from one paragraph to one whole page before I allowed myself to read over what I had written and revise."
Writers Block: 13 Strategies That Work (Freewrite, 6-14-18)
The Midnight Disease: The Drive to Write, Writer's Block, and the Creative Brain by Alice Weaver Flaherty. Why is it that some writers struggle for months to come up with the perfect sentence or phrase while others, hunched over a keyboard deep into the night, seem unable to stop writing? In The Midnight Disease, neurologist Alice W. Flaherty explores the mysteries of literary creativity: the drive to write, what sparks it, and what extinguishes it. She draws on intriguing examples from medical case studies and from the lives of writers, from Franz Kafka to Anne Lamott, from Sylvia Plath to Stephen King. Flaherty herself has grappled with episodes of compulsive writing (hypergraphia) followed by writer's block. As one reader writes,"It's not only about the disorder; it uses the disorder to explain a process."
Creative People Say No (Kevin Ashton, Medium, 3-18-13) '“No” makes us aloof, boring, impolite, unfriendly, selfish, anti-social, uncaring, lonely and an arsenal of other insults. But “no” is the button that keeps us on.' From How to Fly a Horse: The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery. “[How to Fly a Horse] takes on creation’s most pernicious clichés. . . . [Ashton] arrives at his theories by dint of his own hard work. . . . Being a genius is hard work. But that spark is in all of us.” —The Washington Post
How I Wrote My Novel in Two Years and Other Accounting Tricks (Rachel Heng, Glimmer Train). Some of us count only time spent at the computer to be writing. Heng realized, after the fact: "Many of my creative breakthroughs happened on my evening commute home or while sitting in a meeting room or walking through the fifteenth overpriced wedding venue that week. All those other commitments took time away from the actual writing, but what I'm realising now is they also gave my subconscious the room to figure out characters and worlds and plot problems. All the time I thought of as 'wasted' had never been wasted after all. Everything goes into writing, everything is writing."
12 key steps for getting unstuck as a writer (Susan Breen, The Writer, 9-4-18) Trapped in the middle of your manuscript? Here’s how to move forward.
How setting a schedule can make you less productive (Selin A Malkoc, The Conversation, 6-19-18) The presence of an upcoming activity seems to have shrunk how much time people felt they had to do something. Scheduling can backfire.
The Secret to My Productivity, Or: Thoughts About Luxury and Privilege (Jane Friedman, 12-7-15) "There’s one big reason I’m productive. I have the luxury of time, to do exactly what I please, with little or no responsibility to anything (or anyone) except to myself and my own self-fulfillment."
The Neuroscience & Psychology of Procrastination, and How to Overcome It (Josh Jones, Open Culture, Aug. 2016)
10 Books That Were Written on a Bet (Patricja Okuniewska, Electric Lit, 9-11-17) These unforgettable books and stories wouldn’t have existed without a wager. No. 4: "The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. "We can’t help but think that Dostoyevsky was referring to himself in the title of this novel. Ironically enough, the prolific Russian writer used the writing of this book to dig his way out of some steep gambling debts. The terms of the wager were that if he didn’t finish the novel within a few months, he would have to hand over the publishing rights and royalties for all of his other novels — which as you can imagine, is a lot. Thankfully, Dostoyevsky completed the book in time, appropriately reflecting the dangers of compulsive gambling."
Writing Your Way Out of Writer’s Block (NY Book Editors) Ten tips for getting out of the weeds and back to your writing.
On Not Writing a Book Right Now (Chandra Manning, Chronicle of Higher Education, 5-14-17)
How long did it take to write the world's most famous books?< (PrinterInks) "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde" took Stevenson 6 days. Tolkien's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy took 16 years. In between here's a range to make yourself feel more normal--or not.
How Long Did it Take to Write the World’s Most Famous Books?
The Art of Structured Procrastination. Do Less, Deceive Yourself, and Succeed Long Term. by John Perry. As described on Open Culture: "Perry’s approach is unorthodox. It involves creating a to-do list with theoretically important tasks at the top, and less important tasks at the bottom. The trick is to procrastinate by avoiding the theoretically important tasks (that’s what procrastinators do) but at least knock off many secondary and tertiary tasks in the process. The approach involves “constantly perpetrating a pyramid scheme on oneself” and essentially “using one character flaw to offset the bad effects of another.” It’s unconventional, to be sure. But Andreesen seems to think it’s a great way to get things done. " "Do less. Think more." "Procrastination is the thief of time."
The Messy Minds of Creative People (Scott Barry Kaufman, Beautiful Minds, Scientific American, 12-24-14) Three superfactors -- elasticity, divergence, and convergence --differ in importance depending on the stage of the creative process. And while it’s true that the creative process is messy, ...two broad classes of processes work in cooperation to lead to high levels of creativity: Generation and Selection. Check out other pieces in the Beautiful Minds blog for "insights into intelligence, creativity, and the mind."
The 7 Secrets of the Prolific: The Definitive Guide to Overcoming Procrastination, Perfectionism, and Writer's Block by Hillary Rettig. Check out her website.
To do great work, embrace your limits (Dan Blank, pitching a mastermind group, but thoughtful comments about procrastination.
Do You Manage Your “To-Do” List, Or Does It Manage You? (Daphne Gray-Grant's improved system for to-do lists, on The Well-Fed Writer blog, 5-1-14)
15 Ways to Overcome Procrastination and Get Stuff Done (infographic, Catherine Clifford, Entrepreneur, 12-6-14)
Hit the Reset Button in Your Brain (Daniel J. Levitin, Opinion, NY Times, 8-9-14) "Our brains have two dominant modes of attention: the task-positive network and the task-negative network....The task-positive network is active when you’re actively engaged in a task, focused on it, and undistracted; neuroscientists have taken to calling it the central executive. The task-negative network is active when your mind is wandering; this is the daydreaming mode. These two attentional networks operate like a seesaw in the brain: when one is active the other is not.....A third component of the attentional system, the attentional filter, helps to orient our attention, to tell us what to pay attention to and what we can safely ignore. This undoubtedly evolved to alert us to predators and other dangerous situations. The constant flow of information from Twitter, Facebook, Vine, Instagram, text messages and the like engages that system, and we find ourselves not sustaining attention on any one thing for very long — the curse of the information age."
Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance by Rosanne Bane
Understanding Writing Blocks by Keith Hjortshoj
The real reasons you procrastinate — and how to stop (Ana Swanson, Wonkblog, WaPo, 4-27-16)
Procrastinating? Try This Trick (Jennifer Polk) "Halve it, then halve it again"
Procrastination Research Group (Tim Pychyl)
Reporter turns in article about procrastination on time Rebecca Jacobson, PBS News, 2-26-14) Why we procrastinate (is it genes or environment, including distractions like the Internet?) and what to do about it, if we do so chronically.
Holy procrastinating pigeons! (Robin Abrahams, Social behavior in all its guises, 8-11-11). Here's a link to her talk on "The Emily Rooney Show"
The Dutch-Elm Disease of Creative Minds (Mark O'Connell, NY Times, 12-6-13) "Self-doubt can be a powerful ally in the battle against bad writing. It can also be a powerful obstacle to writing anything at all."
More on beating procrastination (Robin Abrahams, Social behavior in all its guises, 8-12-11)
The Holy Trinity of Inactivity: How Boredom, Distraction, and Procrastination Are Vital to Healthy Living (Thorin Klosowski, Lifehacker, 7-19-12)
"It's All in My Head" (Jessica Winter, Slate, 5-14-08). Did Truman Capote and Ralph Ellison have writer's block—or were they just chronic procrastinators? Some writers have trouble getting started; some just "can't finish the job to their satisfaction."
July Mirand'a short video on avoiding the pitfalls of procrastination
Avoiding Writing Paralysis Due To Over-Analysis (James Scott Bell, Kill Zone, 8-2-15)
Feeling Creatively Blocked? Try Consciously Procrastinating (Trina Rimmer, 9-21-11)
15 Techniques for Efficient Time-Management (Custom Writing)
Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity by David Allen. For overview, see A Guide to Getting Things Done (Robert Andrews, Wired, 7-12-05) "A call to arms for webheads who want to accomplish more tasks in less time."
Productivity Tips from the Experts (Stephanie Chandler, Nonfiction Authors Association, 5-23-18) See also her infographic: 19 Actionable Writing Tips (11-28-17)
Getting Things Done: A Massive GTD Resource List (Zen Habits) (Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work)
• “From now on I hope always to stay alert, to educate myself as best I can. But lacking this, in Future I will relaxedly turn back to my secret mind to see what it has observed when I thought I was sitting this one out. We never sit anything out. We are cups, constantly and quietly being filled. The trick is, knowing how to tip ourselves over and let the beautiful stuff out. ” ~ novelist Ray Bradbury
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Connect with other writers (and editors)

Links to writers groups, critique groups, and communities (some online)

In pain and with nowhere to go, homeless patients find respite in a writing group (Megan Thielking, STAT, 7-7-17) At a respite house for the homeless, a creative writing group gives patients a chance to tell their stories with dignity and humanity. "There is surprising evidence that reflective writing can reduce pain," tweets Atul Gawande.
You Can't Create Alone: On Fostering Literary Community (Chris Mackenzie Jones, The Millions, 3-26-18) How do you find and establish literary community and connection? There seem to be four common pieces of advice: Be active, be present, be kind, and be giving. Jones is author of Behind the Book: Eleven Authors on Their Path to Publication
Your No. 1 Secret Weapon: Writing Communities (Katrin Schumann on Jane Friedman's blog, 1-2-19) How to connect with other writers in critique groups, professional programs ("more costly and expensive"), writers residencies, community events, volunteering, writers festivals and conferences (her top recommendation).
Writers conferences, workshops, residencies, and retreats plus book fairs, festivals, and writers colonies.
Absolute Write (MacAllister Stone's Water Cooler, where writers exchange tips, share experiences) (online community for authors, writers, poets, and their readers)
Backspace, The Writer's Place (writers helping writers navigate the often confusing world of Big Publishing)
The Best Time I Went To E.R. Without Insurance While Attending A Conference Inspired By A Facebook Group I Started (Anna Fitzpatrick, The Hairpin, 3-31-15). Indirectly about Binders Full of Women Writers (a not-so-secret, but closed, Facebook group).
Beyond the Margins (online sounding board for writers who met, taught, workshopped or otherwise communicated through Grub Street, a nonprofit creative writing center in Boston)
Black Writers Reunion & Conference
Conferences, workshops, and other learning places
Crime fiction organizations and conventions (Overbooked) (Breaking crime news, cold cases, missing people, and more from Nancy Grace)
CrimeThruTime (Yahoo discussion group on historical mysteries, authors and readers)
Critique groups and writing workshops
Editors and copyeditors
11 Top Writing Communities You Should Join and Why (NY Book Editors) Explains what's great about Absolute Write Water Cooler, AgentQuery Connect (online social networking community for the publishing industry), Bookrix, Critique Circle, Critters Writers Workshop, Figment, Hatrack River Writers Workshop, MIBBA, NaNoWriMo, The Next Big Writer, The Reddit Writer's Group (or rather, two subreddits).
Fiction writers
Fiction Factor forum
Field Report (this is a writing contest, for "true life" stories, which some of my life-story writing students find addictive)
How to Visit the Graves of 75 Famous Writers (Emily Temple, Lit Hub, 3-26-18)
Illustrators and media professionals
JacketFlap (social networking community for published authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults)
Journalists' organizations
Kitchen Tables and Regional Get-Togethers (International Women's Writing Guild)
Local and regional U.S. groups for writers and editors
Meetup groups for writers(check out those near your zip code) and the Meetup HQ Blog (to learn about other meetup groups with your special interests)
Murder Must Advertise (online discussions on best ways to promote mysteries)
Mystery Readers International, reading groups
Nothing Binding (social networking for writers, authors, and readers)
Online writing communities--blogs, forums, conferences, and other groups (
Open Salon (a social content site for writers, photographers, and artists, where everyone blogs or comments on what others blog)
Red Room (a social media site that connects readers with authors)
Science and medical writers
Scribophile (a social writing workshop and writer's community, with online critique groups)
Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), regional groups and gatherings
Sisters in Crime (Internet chapter) (sniff: disbanding in December 2010)
Specialty writing(network with fellow automotive writers, cat writers, dog writers, horse writers, food writers, outdoor writers, songwriters, sportswriters, travel writers, Web writers, wine writers) (a Q&A site for authors, editors, reviewers, professional writers, and aspiring writers -- with a http:/​/​​faq
The Stiletto Gang. Women writers on a mission to bring mystery, humor, and high heels to the world) • a href="" target="_blank">Technical writers
Therapists Wired to Write (Sarah Kershaw, NY Times, 6-3-09, on a group of therapists who form a creative writing group to help each other write about themselves, their work, and their patients -- and the last is the tricky part)
Today's Writing Community (appears to emphasize poems and stories, with discussion groups and an archive of many articles and author interviews)
Washington Biography Group (WBG), meets once a month, Monday evenings, in Washington DC
The Well (Whole Earth 'Lectronic Link), one of the oldest virtual communities still in operation. See Wikipedia description and history and Katie Hafner's piece, The Epic Saga of The Well (Wired, 5-1-97) and Salon sells The WELL to its members (Wendy M. Grossman, The Guardian, 9-27-12). Online community will not need a marketing plan – it already has more than 2,500 subscribers.
What Women Write. See, for example, this blog and conversation about writing retreats and critique groups: Writing Retreats Aren't Just for Writing
Women's National Book Association (WNBA) (national organization, with chapters in major cities, of people who work with and value books, including writers, editors, librarians, teachers, and publishing professionals)
Writer-L (a paid-subscription listserv for writers of narrative nonfiction). After many years of activity this listserv finally ceased publication.
The Writer's Block (Scriptorium's message board), an online writing community where writers can post their work, get reviews, befriend other writers, etc.
The Writer's Chat Room
The Writers Circle (connect with other writers, on Facebook)
Writer Unboxed (blog about the craft and business of genre fiction)
Writing Communities(Writer's Digest's best websites for 2008) has, among other things, an impressive set of Links to Online Resources for Writers, including Links to Critique Groups and Discussion Groups
Young Writers Online (a community forum)
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"Your manuscript is both good and original, but the part that is good is not original, and the part that is original is not good." ~ Samuel Johnson

The Most-Rejected Books of All Time (Of the Ones That Were Eventually Published) (Emily Temple, LitHub, 12-22-17) This includes a lot of books that did very well once they were published, so take heart.
Literary Rejections (bestsellers that were initially rejected). Interesting rejection story? Submit a blog post to Stories of Rejection. A more helpful feature on that site is Interviews with industry professionals who explain publishing as a business and offering helpful advice on the submissions process.
Rejection Letters: The Publishers Who Got It Embarrassingly Wrong... (slideshow, Alice Vincent, HuffPost, 11-7-12). I particularly like the one that ends, "You'd have a decent book if you'd get rid of that Gatsby character."
'Fight for what you believe in': How best-selling authors battled rejection ( Rebecca Ruiz and Vidya Rao, Today Books). Featured authors: James Patterson (turned down by 31 publishers), Samantha Shannon (rejected by ten agents), Mary Higgins Clark, Rebecca Skloot.
The Resilient Writer: Tales of Rejection and Triumph by 23 Top Authors by Catherine Wald
The Rejection Connection (Dan Schulman, The Village Voice, 7-11-06) Stories that almost made the New Yorker's Talk of the Town page.
Rejection letter for Ursula LeGuin's "Left Hand of Darkness"
The Rejection (Marcia Aldrich, Kenyon Review, Nov/​Dec 2016) On receiving a needlessly harsh rejection to a poetry journal.
My First 400 Queries Were Rejected: How I Persevered and Got an Agent & Book Deal (Laura Drake, Writer's Digest, 8-20-2013)
Always Act Like a Professional (Behler Blog, 9-12-16) Rejection hurts, but that doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to fire off a “you suck” email after receiving a rejection.
Bizarre Publishing Stories of 24 Famous Authors
What Distinguishes a “Real Writer” From “Someone Who Writes” (Regina Barreca, Psychology Today, Snow White Doesn't Live Here Anymore column, 7-22-14) Folks in publishing send letters gushing about work they’re about to reject. Don't save the letter or quote it to other people. It's a form letter. It's publishing's version of "It's me, not you."
Skin Deep (Snap Judgment, "Gratitude 2016). It’s days before the big dance at Camp Discovery...and there’s a problem, a few problems. And the kids at this Discovery Camp (where all the participants have a skin disease, but at this camp feel normal, because it's a "bully-free zone") are more used to rejection than your average camper. Which is why what happens at the dance is surprisingly emotional (also for those listening).
On Dealing with Rejection (Jennifer Lawler, on Dollars and Deadlines, 8-30-13)
On Rejections (Jeannette de Beauvoir, Beyond the Elements of Style, 6-26-12). Putting you in the publisher's place.
5 Reasons You May Be Getting Rejections--Thoughts from the Editor's Side of the Desk (Jennifer Lawler, on Dollars and Deadlines, 5-25-13)
30 famous authors whose works were rejected (repeatedly, and sometimes rudely) by publishers (
Famous Authors’ Harshest Rejection Letters (Romy Oltuski Flavorwire, 11-17-11)
Thanks but no thanks: famous authors' rejection letters (Sarah Crown, The Guardian, 11-30-11)
Rotten Rejections: A Literary Companion, ed. Andre Bernard
Pushcart's Complete Rotten Reviews and Rejections: A History of Insult, A Solace to Writers (ed. Andre Bernard and Bill Henderson)
Feel better because so many successful writers were also rejected, often many times
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“Sponsored” by my husband: Why it’s a problem that writers never talk about where their money comes from (Ann Bauer, Salon, 1-25-15) "The truth is, my husband's hefty salary makes my life as a writer easy. Pretending otherwise doesn't help anyone."

The Surprising Early Jobs of Our Favorite Famous Authors (Online PhD programs)

Talking Writing, an online monthly literary magazine that supports writers and those interested in literature by encouraging creative discussion of the writing process. Follow on Twitter

Ten Habits of Highly Creative People (Scott Barry Kaufman, Carolyn Gregoire, Greater Good, 1-20-16)

Ten rules of writing, the Guardian collection of essays by many authors (Part 1: Elmore Leonard, Diana Athill, Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Helen Dunmore, Geoff Dyer, Anne Enright, Richard Ford, Jonathan Franzen, Esther Freud, Neil Gaiman, David Hare, PD James, AL Kennedy). And here's Part 2 (Hilary Mantel, Michael Moorcock, Michael Morpurgo, Andrew Motion, Joyce Carol Oates, Annie Proulx, Philip Pullman, Ian Rankin, Will Self, Helen Simpson, Zadie Smith, Colm Tóibín, Rose Tremain, Sarah Waters, Jeanette Winterson)

Things Writers Can Do Instead of Writing (Patricia Stoltey, 7-23-09)

13 Writers Who Grew to Hate Their Own Books (Emily Temple, Literary Hug, 1-29-18) Among them, Ian Fleming, The Spy Who Loved Me (1962); Anthony Burgess, A Clockwork Orange (1962); Jeanette Winterson, Boating for Beginners (1985); Annie Proulx, Close Range: Wyoming Stories (1999, because of one story: "Brokeback"; Stephen King (as Richard Bachman), Rage (1977); Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace (1867) Peter Benchley, Jaws (1974). "Benchley deeply regretted the shark-paranoia that he spawned with his work. In fact, after the book was published, he became a shark conservationist and sought to educate people about the animals and their very slim threat to humans."
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Ray Bradbury Offers 12 Essential Writing Tips and Explains Why Literature Saves Civilization (Open Culture, 6-6-12). On Bradbury's passing, Open Culture brought together some of the science fiction master's bon mots (a couple of videos and several links).

What Kind of Writer Are You: Cook or Baker? (Anna North, LitHub, 6-28-16) "People who know about food often say you’re either a cook or a baker; either you enjoy the freedom of putting together a savory meal to your own particular specifications, or you like the structure required for making sweets."

Writers on Writing (New York Times--a complete archive of the Writers on Writing column, a series in which writers explore literary themes)
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