Category: Creative Writing

This Etiquette Consultant Needed a New About Page: Here’s How I’d Make People Scream to Work With Her

HEY, KITTY CAT—and welcome to Middle Finger Fridays! I’m featuring a new creator every Friday who’s out there SMOKIN’ it—and highlighting what I think they’re doing really, really right—as well as one or two things they can do even better to make that money. ? Today, we’re hollering at an accomplished etiquette consultant in London who who is the QUEEN of media and PR—but (!) what happens when they get to your website and feel zero connection? The name of

How to Stop Writing With a Stick Up Your Rump: A Foolproof Way to Add More Personality Without Being Unprofessional

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: “I’m not as boring as I seem on paper, but from all those years in corporate America / Catholic school / working as a mad scientist, my writing is feeling a little…constipated.” You might even commit the crime of talking in the third person (“Jane Doe has extensive experience in creating high-level

Does Your Writing Suffer from Overthinking? 3 Signs You Need to Trust Your Voice More—And Outside Opinions Less

You know when you sit down to write and your brain sort of feels kind of…constipated? (I’m all about that classy imagery.) You finally manage to put a sentence on the screen, but then you backspace over the word “fucking”—because if you say “fucking,” no one will take you seriously—but then you retype the same word, wondering if you were to use such a word, whether it would come across as self-assured and bold, or lowball and crass? You decide to leave

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

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

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


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

#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!)

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

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