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My Absurd Claim about Writing (3 of 3)

Do you prefer any particular music or silence while you write? I find my productivity sometimes goes up when I’ve got the right music and the right cadence. Which phase I’m in determines what kind of music. Sometimes I will just shut everything … [Read more]

A Simple Way to Get People to Believe Your Big Claim

Another way to get people to buy into your claim is to explain the mechanism behind it. For example, let’s say a fitness trainer makes the claim that in just 14 minutes a day customers can add muscle to every inch of their body. Notice what is … [Read more]

When Not to Use Someone’s Name in a Headline

One popular headline writing technique on the market involves inserting famous people's names into the headlines. For example: Richard Branson's Guide to Surviving an Amish Bathhouse The Most Controversial Feng Shui Designs by Barry … [Read more]

Is This the Proper Response to Fame?

Our anticipation and response to fame should mirror the anticipation and response of the ancient acolyte to a visitation from the gods. During the new moon the acolyte enters the temple, dons the vest, lights the incense, and prepares the … [Read more]

What the End of the World Can Teach Us about Being Specific

Imagine it's late afternoon, Sunday. You are curled beneath an afghan, still bloated from the fried fish you inhaled for lunch. You are sleeping heavily. Until your doorbell erupts. You shuffle to the front door and open it. An autumn thunderstorm … [Read more]

Gimpy Web Copy? Use This 4-Step Formula to Make It Killer

Do you want a simple, sticky formula that turns your listless copy into something that rivets attention, stokes desire, and gets action? If you said "yes," then the 4 Ps is what you are after. Let’s start with an example. Here's a short ad … [Read more]

Introducing My New Podcast: Rough Draft

And then there was the podcast: Rough Draft. Essential writing advice you need to succeed online, in about four minutes a day, four days a week. It's a sequential show. A journey. I start from the very beginning and work through principles and … [Read more]

How My Admiration for Maria Popova Turned into Jealousy (but Not for Long)

If you don't know who Maria Popova is ... shame on you. She's the founder and curator of Brain Pickings ... one of the few blogs catalogued into the Library of Congress. That blog is a bottomless source of curiosities. And for any writer, a … [Read more]

How to Be More Successful When You Ask a Favor

While Enlightenment-era thinkers would like you to believe otherwise, we are not as rational as we think we are. Books like Irrational Exuberance, Emotional Intelligence, and Descartes’ Error teach us that even the most analytical among us make … [Read more]

What In the World Is Wrong with These Bloggers?

I'm about a month late to this party. Oh well. It's still important to address. On January 28, 2015, Andrew Sullivan announced his retirement from blogging. For those who don't know, Andrew Sullivan is the grandfather of political … [Read more]