Y is home from college for the rest of the summer and tells me he wants a job. So I tell him my server has 25 years of posts on it and I lost some, so I need him to go on the Wayback Machine and find them.

“What did you lose?”

“My hypertexts.”


“Hypertexts are stories that deconstruct patriarchal tropes of self-discovery and I’m famous for writing them.”

“If you were really famous, you’d have a much longer Wikipedia page.” Read more

Why is no one wondering why Netflix paid so much money? I’m surprised. It seems so obvious to me, so I haven’t said anything, but it’s one day before the show starts and I have to say it now so everyone knows I was right.

Before I tell you what’s in the Netflix movie, I want to acknowledge that I have a history of being incompetent at breaking news. For example, Alexis Ohanian accidentally told me that he sold Reddit before he told anyone else. I didn’t realize how big it was and I broke the news, buried in paragraph five of an umpteenth blog post about how to manage your career. Then I had no idea why it was catapulted to the top post on Reddit.

I also accidentally broke the news that Obama would win Iowa propelled by millennials. This is the thing about being right about that though — I was already writing trend pieces about millennials every day.

Anyway, media outlets didn’t pay attention to the part where I said that I was in Iowa visiting my brother and had never seen a caucus before in my life. Reporters starting putting me on tons of interviews for the news and I didn’t realize that I predicted Hilary to win the New Hampshire primary after she had already lost.

I did that on live TV. Whatever. Breaking news is hard business.

That didn’t deter me from running five blocks to go see Will and Kate the minute they arrived in Boston.

Unfortunately the only news I could break is that it’s totally annoying to make everyone listen to a speech about how we are all standing on stolen ground before we can see Will and Kate. It’s too much. If the Americans can have 200 years of over-the-top racism and still bitch about British racism when Will and Kate get here, then I think it might just be the end of royal family goodwill tourism.

But still, William and Kate looked adorable in their matching outfits. I am not reporting this though. I saw it secondhand from all the press pictures of them gallivanting around Boston. I am no good at breaking news, but I am great at patterns — I have looked at every outfit Kate has worn since she got engaged and they do not ever dress like twins.

Which brings me back to what’s in the Netflix documentary. I wasn’t going to scream about how I’m right until I saw Will and Kate being all matchy-matchy.

Look, Harry needs two very big things to reveal in order to get a big deal from Netflix and a big deal from his book publisher. These are two places that know what is worth paying for and what isn’t. The trick to figuring out it out is knowing Netflix has the smaller of the two big things, because the book is coming out after the show.

Harry and Meghan are going on and on about how the royal family didn’t protect Meghan from the press. Because it’s true. William had an affair with Kate’s friend. It was going on for awhile, but there was a handshake agreement between the royal family and the British press to not write about it.

But press outside England wrote about it, so then the British press did too. The royal family went ballistic, so the British press retracted, but it was too late. A Scottish journalist who worked at the newspaper refused to removed it from his Twitter, saying everyone in the media knew about the affair and he’s Scottish so the injunction doesn’t apply and the London press is pathetic in the way they kowtow to the royal family.

Fine. Press outside England covered the story. And it still blew over.

But while the hullabaloo was happening, Meghan and Harry got engaged and the PR team for the royal family tried to distract people by throwing Meghan to the press.

I actually thought it was so obvious that everyone must know this, but no one is writing about it. In the eyes of the royal family, it was way better to have Meghan and Harry take a hit than Will and Kate, because Will and Kate’s marriage is the future of the monarchy.

I feel like, okay, fine. I get it. The royal family acts as a unit, protects the crown.

And William and Kate look so adorable in their matching outfits that how can you not root for the monarchy? If we were the future ruler of a commonwealth who among us would not have a dalliance with the marchioness next door? Whatever. No one cares. Because it’s relatable.

Meanwhile Harry and Meghan are whining and whinging that we don’t have enough empathy for them about being thrown to the wolves but it’s because they have made us so sick of them. Which means the rest of their documentary is filled with literal stock images because they have pretty much nothing else to say except Will cheated boohoo.

Here is where I have empathy for Meghan and Harry. I know what it’s like to be bad at breaking news. And they are really, really bad at breaking news.

As we sat down to dinner last night, my son said, “Look. Kobe died.”

I looked at the phone screen. My first thought was: he was so young and oh my gosh his daughter. My next thought was: the rape.

I have never stopped thinking about the night Kobe raped a 19-year-old woman while she was working at his hotel. Read more

writing course

Unlimited editing for a full year! Plus weekly videos and emails from me and many opportunities to receive feedback from the whole group. The course is $1550.

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Writers work best with an external deadline. We don’t realize it, but our definition of a successful writer means someone has attained external deadlines: Journalists have an editor, authors have a publication date, comedy writers have a showtime, publicists have a boss.

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Self-discipline to write regularly and the self-confidence that follows. Knowing you are writing well is one of the best ways to get yourself to write. And we’ll reach that point by working together.

When I started writing, it was sporadic. I didn’t like that I didn’t know if what I was writing was good or bad. I thought it might be good. But I didn’t trust myself. I wanted outside affirmation.

I turned a corner when I realized that receiving consistent feedback from a seasoned writer made my own writing better and better each week. And the experience made me want to write regularly so I could get feedback: no writing meant no feedback for that week.

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One of the best methods for figuring out what you should be doing with your life is to think about times you have totally loved what you were doing. One of my favorite jobs was giving lectures about writing at Brown, Harvard, Boston University, and University of Paris. Read more

One reason I have achieved so much in my own career is that I’ve taken shortcuts. For example, I played professional beach volleyball without learning how to play indoor sixes very well—I can really only play doubles, which is what people play on the sand. But it allowed me to skip a lot of years of indoor volleyball training and still play pro.

I’m always fascinated by people who find shortcuts. Tim Ferriss is a shortcut taker, but he totally annoys me because he pretends his shortcuts don’t mean he still had to do hard work. One of the reasons I was initially attracted to the Farmer is that he is good at knowing what shortcuts to take and he values hard work.

Just last week, in fact, he moved his pigs to a new barn, where they will be able to mix with the cattle herd. It’s not something anyone in our area does, but he had a hunch it would work, and now he manages one herd instead of two. I love that I’m learning the rules of farming by watching the Farmer cut corners.

In lists of the most common New Year’s resolutions, most are career-related. So I thought I’d take a look at the most common things people tell me they want to do, and I’d tell you shortcuts to getting to that goal. Because I’m pretty good at learning the rules and then figuring out how to work around them. This still means you have to do some hard work, of course, but it’s a smarter way to spend your energy and still get to what you want. Read more

Melissa is back. She stole my purse.

But first, before she stole my purse, she opened my mail.

I walked into the kitchen and I said, “Hey, you opened my mail.”

“No I didn't.

“What's this? What's this opened envelope that is addressed to me?”

“Oh. That? I didn't think you counted that as mail.”

“What does it count as?”

“I knew it was from an author. I could just tell from the expensive stationary. So I thought it was like getting a book in the mail from a publisher. And you told me I could open those if I was looking for something to read.”

“No. It's mail.”

“No. It's not. Look. It's from Jon Acuff.”

Read more

I wake up Wednesday at 4am to a phone call: The Guardian, in London, asking for an interview about my miscarriage twitter. Then a half-hour later, an Irish radio station. And then the phone kept ringing.

I tell Now Magazine (I think it's basically People magazine for the UK audience) to call back after I got the kids off to school. I ask my housemanager to come early because I can’t handle the sleep deprivation and the early-morning interviews and school lunches all in one morning.

I block out the morning to write a thousand-word essay for the Guardian to justify tweeting about my miscarriage. Which the Guardian wants done in the next 20 hours.

Now magazine wants to know if they can send a photographer to take a photo of my kids.


Or the Farmer?


What about if their faces are blurred?

No. (But this at least makes the Farmer laugh.) Read more

The best writers in the history of the world are graduating from college, right now. So everyone can just shut up about how no one can write anymore.

Newsflash: No one could write in the Middle Ages, when the good writers wrote in Latin and everyone else spoke colloquial languages like French and English, which priests told them were too lame for real writing.

It's the same situation today in that the best way to have a population of good writers is for people to write constantly, in the language that is theirs, so that they are great at expressing themselves.

People do good writing every day, in social media—when they write a note on someone's Facebook wall, when they post a caption to a photo on flickr, or when they post a comment in a group on Brazen Careerist.

The people who are complaining that no one can write anymore are the same ones who are stressed about information overload. This is not a coincidence. Information is changing, the flow of ideas is changing, and written communication is changing with it. Information overload is the feeling of not being able to deal with this change. Young people do not feel information overload, which is another sign that they are excellent writers for the new millennium: They can process and communicate new ideas at the new pace. Read more

People always ask me to answer questions on my blog. So I am sort of going to answer questions. Questions I hate (that I have edited to save people from the trauma I probably caused David Dellifield):

Email number one: The obnoxious reference check

[Name redacted] is applying for a position at our company and listed you as a reference. I was hoping that you could complete the brief questionnaire attached to this email to provide your feedback. Thank you in advance for your help, and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

This email is from InvestorGuide.com. Let me tell you something: That questionnaire was not brief. It was about ten essay questions and then insanely inapplicable multiple choice questions.

This company is ridiculous for sending an onerous questionnaire to references. For one thing, it puts me in a bad spot because I loved working with the guy who gave my name as a reference, so I want to give him a good report, so I have no choice but to fill out the BS questions and try to have a good attitude.

The other reason the company should not send a form like this is they look incompetent. Not just for destroying the relationships potential new hires have with their references, but also for not being able to make hiring decisions without asking a third-party if the candidate is professional. Seriously. Open your eyes in the interview, guys. Read more