tl;dr

We live in an era where people will spend days of their lives – hours at a time – to watch a box set or series of movies. We spend hours listening to podcasts. We still read novels. Long isn’t a problem; “too” is. So if “too” means “It would have been better for the people it was made for…

Neil Gaiman on character, motivation and plot

The next [building block of story] is the characters. Who are they? What do they want? I’m going to harp on a lot about what characters want. I’m going to harp on about what characters want because over and over again you’ll find that when you’re plotting, when you’re putting something together, it’s the only question that opens the door…

The process

This is the process: Do some work. Just start. Work on it until the excitement of fresh ideas crumbles on contact with reality into the funk of “Why am I even bothering?” Recognise that this is part of the process – and that learning to get through it is quite possibly the key to success. Make something that’s so-so. Edit,…

The practice school

This is the PRACTICE school of writing. Like running, the more you do it, the better you get at it. Some days you don’t want to run and you resist every step of three miles, but you do it anyway. You practice whether you want to or not. You don’t wait around for inspiration and a deep desire to run.…

Tim Ferriss on negotiation, using writing to think, specialisation and some other stuff

These brief videos are worth watching: On negotiation On using writing to help you think On “vanity metrics” and creating worthwhile content On specialisation vs being a generalist

Ben Dreyer on Good Writing and the Nonrules of English

Here’s rather a long extract – one I heartily agree with – to wet your whistle. Then go and get the book. I have nothing against rules. They’re indispensable when playing Monopoly or gin rummy, and their observance can go a long way toward improving a ride on the subway. The rule of law? Big fan. The English language, though,…

Recommendation: Dreyer’s English

I could spend a long time typing out great lines from this book: it’s helpful, funny, and contains just the right amount of snark.* If you like books on writing and style or – especially – if you’ve never read one, you should read this. *As you’ll see tomorrow.

Responsive (3): Good tone

Outside a close circle of family and friends, the voice you respond in is rarely (just) your own – it’s also the voice of your project or organisation, or of your department or team. These means that these questions about your tone of voice apply to the groups you’re speaking for too. As far as it lies with you, how…