Try giving you writing the “Marie Kondo” treatment

A few years ago, my husband and I moved out of a house that we had lived in for over 25 years. …

Need something to write about? Consider failure.

banana peel on white background

As children, we learn by trial and error. We fall, get up, and try again. Sometimes the mistakes are painful. We learn not to tug the cat’s tail or grab at hot pans on the stove.

We continue to learn from our mistakes as we grow. Remember your first full-time…

Being brief has benefits, but brings its own challenges

How long should a how-to (prescriptive nonfiction) book be? 100 pages? 200 pages? A quick read? A deep dive?

There’s no single correct answer.

  • If you’re publishing traditionally, your publisher might have ideas about length, as it affects their pricing.
  • Some subjects demand a lengthy treatment-there’s a lot to cover.

3 reasons to invest time in upgrading your email habits

Paper airplanes on a yellow background, from crumpled to well-formed

Our crowded inboxes drive us nuts. We resent their intrusion on our lives and the pull they have on our attention when we’re trying to work.

Then we get frustrated when other people don’t respond to the emails we send them.

Plenty of people think that email is broken. In…

How many words do you look at each day? Think of all the text that you encounter: emails, Slack messages, news headlines, LinkedIn or Facebook posts, reports, books, articles, and more.

found that Americans saw or listened to an average of 100K words each day. …

A book review

As a prolific nonfiction reader, I ask two questions of each new book I encounter:

  1. Will I enjoy reading it?
  2. Will any of the ideas stay with me? Will the book earn a permanent place not only on my bookshelf, but in my mind?

I can usually answer the first…

How audiobooks change as as readers, and as writers

black headphones on top of a bunch of books. (Depositphoto)

A few years ago, ebooks were a hot topic of debate among the bookish. Were ebooks destroying our attention and killing the publishing industry? Or were they making books more accessible and increasing readership?

Now the buzz is about audiobooks.

What’s the most important attribute for a writer?

Facility with words, creativity, imagination, even empathy — all of these are important. They can be cultivated. The hardest thing to learn and live is the most important.

We need patience to build the skills …

… to write the book


“Why is it that we understand playing the cello will require work, but we attribute writing to the magic of inspiration?”

Ann Patchett, “The Getaway Car”

Want to become a better writer? Forget sitting around waiting for inspiration. You’re going to have to practice. …

Lessons in the cumulate power of practice

A person’s hand, writing with pen in a journal on a wood table

On January 1, 2021, I opened a brand new journal, picked up a favorite pen, and wrote a simple anecdote about my first Zoom New Year’s Eve party the night before.

This was the first step in a prolonged experiment: What would happen if I wrote a story or anecdote…

Anne Janzer

Author, Writing Coach: Writing about Marketing, Technology, and Writing Itself (very meta).

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