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Often, I’m asked my advice for people who are just starting out as writers. My response is always the same. Conjuring my inner-Hemingway (and paraphrasing him), I say, “Just write one true sentence. Then write another. When you have no more true sentences for the day, stop.” What I mean by that is write something simple without flourish that gets your ideas out of your head and onto the paper.

I then follow up that advice with another great piece of advice I picked up from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. Write shitty first drafts. Great writing, I tell people, comes in the editing, not the actual writing. If you’ve been writing for a while, this is nothing new to you. But I find for many people, this is unsatisfying. For some reason, people never want to hear that writing is hard work that takes years to get good at—if you get good at it at all.

Those thoughts lead us into our top-5 posts for the month of September. And while they may or may not be “good” (I leave that up to you dear reader), they are certainly read. Enjoy some posts you may have missed, and while you’re at it, post up your advice for beginning writers in the comments.

**As a side note, apologies for missing my post last week. I was in Seattle at a conference. I took only my iPad and was able to get much work done well and efficiently, with the exception of my scheduled post, which is a good follow-up to our most-read post for last month.**

How My iPad (Maybe) Makes Me a Better Writer

Building Your Platform: Tips from a Top Publicist

How to Impress a Potential Client Before First Contact (Part II)

Five Must Have Productivity Tools for Writers

Dealing with Sickness

[Photo by ilike]


Bestselling Ghosts: September 2010

by Ed on September 30, 2010

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It’s scary how consistently there are three books written with the help of credited ghostwriters on the New York Times Hardcover Nonfiction Bestseller list. Here are this month’s:

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How My iPad (Maybe) Makes Me a Better Writer

by Jake September 20, 2010
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So, I bought an iPad last week. To be honest I’m still trying to figure out if that was a good idea. Unlike most blogs I’ve seen examining the iPad for a writer, I’m not writing this post on my iPad. In fact, I can think of nothing more maddening than writing long form documents [...]

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Building Your Business…and Pursuing Your Passions

by Jake September 13, 2010
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I’m still digesting Joey’s post from last week, “The Ghost Materializes“. Thankfully, on Friday morning, I was able to get together to hang out with both Joey and Ed over a cup of coffee. It was a great time to catch up on what’s going on in each other’s lives and work, and to discuss [...]

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The Ghost Materializes

by Joey September 9, 2010
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I haven’t been sick and I haven’t forgotten to write my posts, but yes, it’s been more than two weeks since my last post. There are a few small reasons I’ve been paralyzed and unmotivated to post and one really big reason.

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Dealing with Sickness

by Jake September 6, 2010
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It was quite a morning at the Johnson house this morning. First, my four-year old son, Liam, woke up with a tummy ache and proceeded to throw up at 5 a.m. Then my wife told me she had a raging headache and asked me to take our seven-month old, Dylan, for the morning so that she could [...]

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In a Nutshell: Loglines for Ghostwriters?

by Ed September 3, 2010
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This post was inspired by a review I read about a book called Not Quite What I Was Planning: Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure.
The review begins:
Once asked to write a full story in six words, legend has it that novelist Ernest Hemingway responded: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
In this spirit of simple [...]

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The Cult of Simple Writing

by Jake August 30, 2010
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For a long time I read a lot of the writing blogs out there. For the most part, they’re helpful. But there’s one trend I see that’s beginning to bug me—The Cult of Simple Writing.
Seems like everywhere you go, people are preaching the mantra of simple writing. Keep it clean. Function over form. Pace over [...]

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Bestselling Ghosts: August 2010

by Ed August 27, 2010
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This month, four of our fellow ghostwriters have made the New York Times Bestseller List for Hardcover Nonfiction with full cover credit:

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The Importance of Outlining

by Jake August 23, 2010
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The process of ghostwriting a book is a long and complicated one. Even for a veteran writer, each new project begins with trepidation. In our business and preparation, it’s easy to forget that for many of our clients, this is their first time working on a book project. If the feeling of being overwhelmed affects us [...]

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