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links for 2010-03-09

09 Mar
  • we're all dying in increments. I don't mind people knowing what I look like, but I don't want them thinking I'm dying…It may be, the more interviews you've done, the more you appreciate a good one. I knew exactly what he started with, and I could see where he ended, and he can be proud of the piece.
    I mentioned that it was sort of a relief to have that full-page photo of my face. Yes, I winced. What I hated most was that my hair was so neatly combed. Running it that big was good journalism. It made you want to read the article.
    I studiously avoid looking at myself in a mirror. It would not be productive. If we think we have physical imperfections, obsessing about them is only destructive. Low self-esteem involves imagining the worst that other people can think about you. That means they're living upstairs in the rent-free room.
  • Some images to avoid are laughing children (demented looking children are okay), birds, pictures of ranch land, and angels. You should be okay with most other animals…except for horses. If there are high heels on the cover, it’s chick lit. And almost all chick lit books have high heels on them…A good image is shadowy male figures out of focus. Don’t ask me why…
    It’s not as much what the blurbs say as who wrote them. Publisher’s Weekly blurbs every goddamn book, so disregard them. Authors of stature you can usually trust…What I would not trust, however, is a blurb by a completely unrelated writer…
    Book descriptions read a lot like ad copy. So here is a little glossary of commonly used words:
    “twenty-something” – boring character who frets about dates and clothing
    “frothy” – insubstantial
    “a homecoming” – melodrama
    “saga” or “epic” – not edited properly
    “hilarious” – will make you smirk once or twice
    “dazzling” – it’s hard to tell. It’s in every book’s description
  • I hope this book helps readers to rethink their assumptions about other people. If you begin with the premise that human beings are fundamentally passive and inert—that but for the threat of a stick or the enticement of carrot, they wouldn’t do much—that points you toward one set of policies and practices. But if you begin with another…assumption—that it’s our nature to be active and engaged—that leads you down a very different road, one that’s actually more effective…
    Do you have any rules for writing?
    1. Show up.
    2. Write every day.
    3. Don’t do anything else until you’ve written five hundred words.
    4. Move.
    5. Once you’ve produced a semi-credible draft of a section or chapter, have someone read it to you aloud. Hearing your words will make you rethink—and sometimes regret—them.
    6. Remember that writing, though solitary, is also social. You’re making a promise to readers. Honor that promise.
    7. These rules work for me. Your mileage may vary.
  • (my computer) is the one thing in my house that enables me to earn a crust, so to say I am territorial about it is something of an understatement…to knock my computer out of action would render me pretty useless.
    So, here are my seven golden survival tips.
    1. Earmark another computer for the kids to use.
    2. Close the door.
    3. Introduce strict times about when they can and can't use your computer.
    4. Keep them away from your most pristine (but hopefully not your only) laptop.
    5. Manage time.
    6. Back up everything.
    7. Give them an even bigger screen. Get a pile of DVDs and sit 'em in front of the telly. And buy yourself a pair of noise-reducing headphones. And if that fails, bribe them with Gummi Bears.
  • Being available to your boss and co-workers is part of your job. But the most creative and important work you do requires total focus and attention for an extended period of time…Time blocking is a technique that sets the stage for that to happen.
    When you've got a project that requires deep thinking, block out hour-long "meetings" with yourself to devote your full attention to it. During your time block, forward the phone to voicemail, shut down Microsoft Outlook, silence your Blackberry, and if you have to, leave your desk with the materials you need and focus solely on the task at hand…
    Time blocking works best when you've got a discrete, single task or project that involves deep engagement, like research, number crunching, brainstorming, or writing. Set a definite start and end time when you don't have other meetings to attend. Commit to coming out of a single time block with a specific task accomplished.
  • "In order that people may be happy in their work, these three things are needed: They must be fit for it. They must not do too much of it. And they must have a sense of success in it."
    –John Ruskin
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Posted by on March 9, 2010 in Links

 

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