Sound off: Advice from the Web


While you relax and enjoy your well-deserved Sunday morning rituals, here’s some advice culled from the internet on a writing, creativity, motivation and process. While your sipping orange juice, some exotic tea, a coffee confection or plain old milk, let your mind consider these tidbits and store them away for future reference.

Here’s a new way to look at your writing from The New Yorker, a piece entitled, Omission: Choosing What to Leave out:

Writing is selection. Just to start a piece of writing you have to choose one word and only one from more than a million in the language. Now keep going. What is your next word? Your next sentence, paragraph, section, chapter? Your next ball of fact. You select what goes in and you decide what stays out. At base you have only one criterion: If something interests you, it goes in—if not, it stays out. That’s a crude way to assess things, but it’s all you’ve got. Forget market research. Never market-research your writing. Write on subjects in which you have enough interest on your own to see you through all the stops, starts, hesitations, and other impediments along the way. – John McPhee

What can you leave out? What will you include? This article definitely got my creative juices flowing. Our readers can’t read between the lines if we tell them everthing. We need to omit some things to draw those lines for them to read between.

What to do when you’re too tired to be creative and how to keep that from happening. From and

Half of the real problem of exhaustion comes from distraction. The problem is not being too tired. The problem is having a divided mind…

Most of us probably have a dozen different projects going on at the same time — or worse, left ignored. This saps our confidence that we can do new work well (or completely). It keeps us from reaching the creative focus needed to get into the flow states that make work fun.

The solution I’ve found? If I want real momentum in starting something, I have to finish something. I can only start from where I left off, so I begin by fulfilling the goals or obligations I’ve left halfway to completion. – James L. Walpole

James goes on to give tips on how to avoid a “divided mind” whose confidence is sapped by too many unfinished projects. It’s a quick read centered around an interesting premise. I don’t know about you, but I need to finish some projects so they can stop interfering with news ones!

Serial publication anyone? I’m not the only one whose tried it. For anyone who has or is thinking about giving it a try, this one’s for you. Tom Farr explains how serial publication via blog posts gave Andy Weir, author of The Martian, its start.

[If you haven’t read The Martian drop what you’re doing right now and get on that. It’s a fantastic read. I finished it yesterday; I couldn’t put it down. R.C. Bray narrated and he brought Mark Watney to life with wit and verve. I especially enjoyed the science bits; they were so entertaining!]

From Tom Farr’s post on entitled, The Value of Practicing in Public:
Why Serializing a Novel in a Medium Publication Makes Sense. While his article discusses publishing on, he makes excellent points that are independent of the platform about the benefits of “practicing in public” as he terms it.

Get ready for the start of the work week with 77 productivity hacks courtesy of Thomas Oppong, author of Building Smarter Habits. Load up and bookmark his latest article, 77 Ways To Increase Your Productivity (Not Your Hours). Here’s a sneak peak at some of the ways his article covers:

36. The more you control the calendar, the easier it is to make room for the unexpected.

37. Set a time for each of your tasks and work to keep the schedule.

38. Effort is often wasted when people don’t have a clear path to success.

39. Try a shorter, more realistic to-do list that leaves room for unexpected projects.

I’ll be putting those hacks to work for me when I hit the office on Monday morning, especially #51 (no meetings after 4 pm) and # 77 (no meetings longer than 30 minutes) boss permitting of course.

However you end up spending your Sunday, enjoy it!