I’ve had the book On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser on my shelf since my pre-law school journalism days. That is, I’ve had it on my shelf for a while. I don’t remember who gave it to me, but I do remember how it made me feel.
It made me feel like I could be a better writer.
Did you see the first season of Top Chef? It was hosted by someone widely criticized for not bringing insight to food. That person was quickly replaced by renowned chef Padma Lakshmi. What about Food Network Star? Where contestants compete for their own show judge equally on their cooking and presentation skills?
The host change in Top Chef and the emphasis on descriptive skills on Food Network Star demonstrate how vital it is for these shows to be able to not just make food, but describe it.
All Twitter posts must consist of 140 characters or less. And a “story” is defined as “an account of imaginary or real people and events told for entertainment” or “an account of past events in someone’s life or in the evolution of something.”
Let’s fill Twitter with stories!
There are many reasons you may have taken a break from your future novel: You’re waiting to hear back from prospective agents. You’re transitioning after a major life event. You were simply too in the weeds and needed to take a step back.
But once you step away, it can be hard to figure out how to start writing your book . . . again.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned about writers, it’s that we hate public speaking. Sure, public speaking tips are helpful—but we’d rather not have to give a speech in the first place.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned about publishing, it’s that you’d better be able to speak publicly. It’s essential for pitching your book, sitting on panels, leading author talks, and more. One of my journalist friends was even asked to give an actual commencement speech to our high school!