On doing the work

Occasionally aspiring writers ask me how I got my first romance published. I tell them that it began as a project — an assignment, really — that a colleague suggested I do when I told her that my agent liked the mystery I had submitted to her but thought the romance between the two main…

The problem with perfectionism

I’ve taught college off and on for many years, usually English and writing classes. I remember a particular student who seemed very lively and intelligent but the essays she turned in were merely competent. She was the typical “C” student. She could string together sentences without committing too many grammatical atrocities, and she could spell…

Why you do your work

When I first began training in the martial arts, I trained for lots of reasons. Because I wanted to lose weight and get into shape. Because I wanted to be able to fend off a mugger on the college campus where I was a graduate student. Because I wanted to earn my yellow belt and…

How we name things

I know a lot of people who are writers and reporters, and recently I’ve been hearing them say things like, “It’s easy churning out copy for this client” or “I can churn this project out in a day, how much should I charge?” I’m sure I’ve used that phrase myself, especially as regards work that…