ICYI, here are 10 random things about my writing. Why? Why not? Also I thought it might be interesting.
1. My sainted wife Kim has never read a thing I’ve written. Ever. Not the book, the columns, the blog posts … nada. She says living with me is annoying enough. No joke.
2. I can’t write at a desk, but anywhere I can kick back and put my feet up, preferably outdoors.
3. Much of my writing is based on personal opinion and experience. Oftentimes, I start an opinion piece with one viewpoint and, after doing the research, end up drawing a different conclusion. I have never backed off from a controversial topic or viewpoint for any reason. Everything represented as fact is researched from trusted sources like the Wall Street Journal or SEC documents. I never use questionable sources. My reputation means everything to me. Also I don’t want to lose my butt in a libel suit, and truth is an absolute defense against libel.
4. I’ve had three book proposals rejected. Each took me two to three months to complete, and, with the exception of the first, I was represented by a top-notch literary agent each time. It isn’t easy to become a published author.
5. I have written more than 2,000 articles, columns and blog posts over nearly 10 years. Maybe four or five have been kicked back and rewritten.
6. It’s always been difficult for me to organize my thoughts, so focus – being present, in the moment – is key. The enemy is distraction: not just your average run of the mill day-to-day stuff, but major life issues are the worst. That’s the silent killer and I believe the mechanism behind writer’s block.
7. I typically work six days a week, averaging about 10 hours a day. I hardly take any vacations, but when I do, I prefer long weekends of three or four days. Work is among the very few things in life I actually take seriously.
8. I can’t write with music on, which is sad because I love music. But therein lies the rub: it’s too distracting. Natural white noise like a fountain running is fine. Anything else is trouble for me.
9. The best advice I ever got about writing is that it’s all about sitting in the chair. In other words, the discipline to just sit there and write, day in, day out. (From my superagent Carole Jelen.) The most helpful tool? Thesaurus.
10. I edit every column, article and blog post at least once. Publishers generally give it a light copy edit, if that, but some editors are more thorough than others and some of what I write requires more editing than the usual. An editor who can make you sound eloquent and improve the flow without altering the content or the voice is a Godsend to a writer.
Any questions? Go for it.