Category: Creative Writing

Writing, Houses & Hot Dogs: A Love Story

There were greasy hot dogs on the counter. Four of them. Naked and un-bunned, flopping around inside a glass Tupperware dish for all the world to see. I had many questions, including “are these for sale” and also “where are the onions,” but perhaps the biggest question I had was: WHO PUTS HOT DOGS IN THE FRAME WHEN TAKING A PHOTO FOR ZILLOW? Zillow, as in, the real estate website where other people look at photos and decide if they

read more...

The Three-Word Trick for Giving Your Content an Insta-Boner (Ooohhh, She Said The B Word!)

By “insta-boner,” of course I mean something much more polite, like “oomph.” But who uses the word “oomph” these days? It’s completely out of the question. So, I thought I’d go with boner. There we have it, I’ve officially topped myself in the vulgar department. But, hey, this is how you write for the Internet: you grab people’s eyeballs and jiggle ’em around a little bit. AS WE WERE SAYING, writing something that other humans don’t want to vomit all

read more...

The All-New Rules for Writing Magnificent Shit on the Internet

Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. Trust your own voice. AND ALSO… Stop putting “I think” before your opinion. It weakens your impact and makes you sound like a wee little lass at the big kid’s table, hedging and softening. Ditto prefacing your thoughts with, “in my opinion.” We already

read more...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA MISSION STATEMENTS. (Really?)

The other day I saw a Twitter bio that said something to the effect of: We craft effective solutions for your design needs. And I wanted to kill myself. Like, just up and off myself on the spot. This old-school, “mission statement-esque” language has no place in a modern context. Effective is already the expectation. Solutions are why everyone’s in business. And what are my “needs,” anyway? You’re talking but you’re saying nothing. We need you to be human. Don’t

read more...

#WRITINGTIP: Action Verbs When You Need Someone to ACT

Here’s a handy tip for writing headlines that inspire action: Start your headline with an action verb. (GENIUS, AM I RIGHT?)   When you need to fighter pilot your to-do list… vs Fighter pilot your to-do list.   Makes sense, doesn’t it? To inspire action, use action words. (And yes, “fighter pilot” is a verb I just made up, because we like fresh-feeling, high-wattage words. Don’t be afraid to invent your own verbs as long as the meaning is clear!)

read more...

Writing Problems Are Idea Problems In Disguise

When your idea isn’t clear, you know what you do? Cover it up with blabber. Adjectives. Flowery words that try to compensate for the fact that you don’t actually know what you’re talking about (yetttt). But good ideas stand on their own. If you’re having trouble writing about it, your writing may not be the problem. Go back to the idea, and start there. Because if you can’t say it in one sentence, you’ll never be able to say it

read more...

How to Be Interesting As Hell On Paper

Agency. It was one of the first things my book editor said to me. “These parts need more agency.” And I obviously said: Like the CIA? And she said: Shoot me. And I said: Is that a CIA joke? So while furiously drinking wine and researching this new writing foe—agency—I had been delighted to discover that this wasn’t some kind of polite euphemism to tell me that I was an absolute shit writer. But, it was a problem. Because lacking

read more...

A Dead Simple Way to Write a Creative Bio (Without Crying) (Or Wall Punching) (Awkward, You Guys)

Most people dread introducing themselves in general, but ask someone to introduce themselves in writing, and you’ve just added another unwelcome layer of pressure: Now you’ve got to WRITE WELL ON TOP OF IT. And, you know, say witty things. That you’re committing to paper. While being judged by everyone who reads it. Because isn’t that what reading really is? A bunch of strangers JUDGING YOU. So how do you do it in a way that: a) Doesn’t sound braggy

read more...

Poets & Killers Get Rich

There are two groups of people: Poets & killers. The poets are running around with their heart placed firmly on their sleeve, hoping that if they do authentic work, it’ll sell itself. The killers, on the other hand, are running around selling everything, none of which is actually authentic, nor genuine, nor useful. (We call these people “scam artists.”) Yet, neither one of these groups is going to make it. Truth is, you might be as authentic as they come,

read more...

How to Stop Writing With a Stick Up Your Ass

One of the things I get asked about forty hundred times a day (besides whether or not I know there’s a hair sprouting from my chin) is this: Where’s the line between personality and unprofessional? Because apparently I’m known for walking the line between mental inspiration and mental institution—as every writer worth their weight should. But here’s what I hear every time someone asks me that question: “I’m not as boring a boob as I seem, but from all those

read more...