This page gathers material from my blog that might be of special interest to writers. Fellow writers, I hope you find something helpful here. (More information about this page here.)
What Henry James’s story “The Private Life” tells us about writers and book tours.
Leonardo da Vinci’s epic procrastination and the practical use of procrastination as a sign that your work (rather than yourself) may be dull.
Looking over the numbers of prolific artists and innovators reinforces the basic rule: Creativity is a function of the quantity of work produced.
Meet St. Francis de Sales, patron saint of writers and journalists.
Why would a bustling Starbucks be conducive to writing? It may be an antidote to procrastination.
Creativity is not about making something out of nothing. It is about making something new out of old things. To create, you must remix.
A few rules for a novelist (or any artist, presumably) struggling to get a new project started.
What the creation of Doctorow’s protagonist suggests about writing method.
A day in the life of Gustave Flaubert as he meticulously composes Madame Bovary.
What an ancient law of whaling teaches about story ideas.
The doldrums between books is a dangerous, depressing time for a writer.
The earthy, sensuous craft of making shoes vs. the ethereal art of writing books.
A homeless man isn’t the only Starbucks customer with invisible friends.
Lessons for creatives from two famous circles, Giotto’s O and the enso of Japanese calligraphy.
The pleasures and anxieties of writing in a genre.
Economist David Galenson posits that there are two types of writers: experimenters, a group that includes Dickens, Twain, and Virginia Woolf; and visionaries, such as Melville, Fitzgerald, and Hemingway.
A good but not great movie from 1965 is a reminder how short-lived most art is.
Buzz Bissinger vents his self-doubt on Twitter.
Finishing one book, starting another.
Why I use a ten-year-old, slow, WiFi-free ThinkPad: it’s the perfect writer’s computer.
A peek into the process of one of one of my favorite writers, Ian McEwan.
Writing is a form of play, which is not to say it is easy.
Dickens’ notes are a rare opportunity for a young writer to watch a master at work.
In 1839, 27-year-old Charles Dickens was already a superstar. Then he did a strange thing: he applied to law school.
Finding the closing words to a novel can be a tricky business.
The unease of publishing a book that is flawed.
Seth Godin advises: What you do for a living is ship.
The struggle to name my third novel, which would ultimately be called “Defending Jacob.”
As a deadline looms, an update on a novel in progress.
I usually avoid words-per-day quotas, but with a deadline looming I had to try.
Maugham at his writing desk (photo)
A postcard from the pre-blog era
John Updike’s son writes a eulogy for his father
Crime novels are easier to write than literary ones. So what?
All writers are both makers and managers. The trick is to keep the two roles separate.
Graham Greene’s remarkable writing method.
What happened to two famous writers who fell silent?
Being dropped by one English publisher is humbling, being picked up by another is inspiring.
Philip Roth discusses his writing process (video)
After weeks of futility, a breakthrough on a stubborn scene
Are MFA programs to blame for all the dull books out there?
The best computer for writers isn’t a computer at all.
Cory Doctorow on getting your work done without quitting the internet cold-turkey.
Writers get stuck for a reason: the mind is working on a problem.
Why I reluctantly started blogging, after years of resisting. (This is the first post I ever wrote for this blog.)