EppsNet Archive: Writing

Buy a $1.7 Million Mansion for $25


Homeowner selling $1.7M mansion for $25 and ‘compelling’ essay NY Daily News Here in Southern California, $1.7 million doesn’t buy what I’d call a “mansion,” but this is definitely a mansion, almost 4,000 sq.ft. of living space on a one-acre property. Those interested in the house, located in Alberta, Canada and boasting scenic mountain views, must pay a $25 entry fee and submit a one page essay about themselves and why they should win the contest. It can be no longer than 350 words. Read more →

EppsNet Writing Tips: How to Start


A reader asks: I was interested to find out how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do enjoy writing however it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are usually lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Let’s start out assuming that you actually have something to say. If you don’t, that’s okay. Come back later when you do. The sticking point in starting to write is, in my opinion, trying to do two things at once, i.e., figuring out what you want to say and how you want to say it. Take it one step at a time. To start with, write it all down like you’re talking to someone. Don’t edit as you go, e.g., “Is this the best word choice?”,… Read more →

Denis Johnson, 1949-2017


Three rules to write by: Write naked. That means to write what you would never say. Write in blood. As if ink is so precious you can’t waste it. Write in exile, as if you are never going to get home again, and you have to call back every detail. RIP Denis Johnson Read more →

Put the Pen on the Paper


if the pen isn't on the paper, no ink will flow, no words will form. put the pen on the paper. — Kent Beck (@KentBeck) December 30, 2014 Read more →

9 Links


Data Structure Visualizations Good Tech Lead, Bad Tech Lead Google Java Style Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies How to Write a Cover Letter The Landing Page Optimization Guide You Wish You Always Had Selendroid: Selenium for Android UX Axioms by Eric Dahl Yelp’s got style (and the guide to back it up) Read more →

The Lightning-Bug and the Lightning


This picture was taken just after I said to Mark Twain, “The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter — it’s the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning.” And Twain said, “That’s a good one! I’ve got to write that down!” Actually, the Twain statue is just inside the main entrance of Doe Library at UC Berkeley. I asked the nerdy-looking Asian girl at the front desk, “Who’s the guy on the bench?” She stared at me for a second. “Kidding,” I said. “At first, I thought it was Albert Einstein,” she said, “so it doesn’t surprise me when people don’t know.” Read more →

Fame and Fortune Are Within Your Grasp


Select a topic about which you have little information but many prejudices, such as “Whither Modern Youth?” “The Menace of Federal Encroachments on American Freedom,” “The National Association of Manufacturers: A Threat to Democracy,” “Big Unions: A Threat to Free Enterprise,” “What’s Wrong with Modern Women,” “Let’s Cut the Fads and Frills from Education,” or “The South: Yesterday and Today,” and write a one-thousand-word essay consisting solely of sweeping generalizations, broad judgments, and unfounded inferences. Use plenty of “loaded” words. Knock off five points (out of a possible 100) for each verifiable fact used. If you can consistently score 95 or better on all these and other such topics, and your grammar and spelling are plausible, leave your present job. Or quit school. Fame and fortune are within your grasp. — S.I. Hayakawa, Language in Thought and Action Read more →

Better Than Everybody Else


If you would like to write better than everybody else, you have to want to write better than everybody else. You must take an obsessive pride in the smallest details of your craft. — William Zinsser, On Writing Well Replace “write” with whatever it is you want to do better than everybody else. Read more →

Now he would never write the things that he had saved to write until he knew enough to write them well. — Ernest Hemingway, “The Snows of Kilimanjaro”

Selling Typewriters


“My son just finished college last year. He wants to write but he’s selling typewriters until he gets started,” his mother said . . . the woman across the aisle said in a loud voice, “Well that’s nice. Selling typewriters is close to writing. He can go right from one to the other.” — Flannery O’Connor, “Everything That Rises Must Converge” Read more →

Bird by Bird


Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he’d had three months to write. It was due the next day. He was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brother’s shoulder, and said, “Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird.” — Anne Lamott, Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life Read more →

If Stieg Larsson Wrote Don Quixote


The last two novels I’ve read are Don Quixote and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Don Quixote has no plot. Event follows event but it all grows naturally out of character and conditions. The characters are immortal, independent of time and place. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is nothing but plot. It’s a good plot but none of the characters are interesting outside the confines of the story. They certainly have no sense of humor. Cervantes takes 900 pages to allow his two principal characters to reveal themselves through their words and actions. Larsson just blurts everything out: Erika was an organizer who could handle employees with warmth and trust but who at the same time wasn’t afraid of confrontation and could be very tough when necessary. She and Mikael often had differing views and could have healthy arguments, but they also had unwavering confidence in each other,… Read more →

Lester Bangs, 1948-1982


My responsibility as I see it as a critic is not to help a lot of new bands sell their records. It’s to help people who are buying the records to keep from making a purchase that they’re going to get home and hate my guts and the band’s too because it’s a piece of shit. And these critics, most of them, it’s much easier to help the bands, because you get more work that way and every magazine wants to print reviews that say, “This is wonderful, this is great, go out and buy it.” A lot of magazines won’t even print negative reviews. A friend of mine does a record review column in Esquire, and it’s like five positive reviews every time. They don’t want you to say anything that’s bad because they don’t get advertising bucks that way. So it becomes like a facet of your groovy… Read more →

This Year’s Worst Sentence


For the first month of Ricardo and Felicity’s affair, they greeted one another at every stolen rendezvous with a kiss–a lengthy, ravenous kiss, Ricardo lapping and sucking at Felicity’s mouth as if she were a giant cage-mounted water bottle and he were the world’s thirstiest gerbil. — Meet Molly Ringle, the Seattle Writer Who Wrote This Year’s Worst Sentence – Seattle News – The Daily Weekly Read more →

Happy Birthday, Virginia Woolf


So long as you write what you wish to write, that is all that matters. — Virginia Woolf (Jan 25, 1882 – Mar 28, 1941) Read more →

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