Blog Archives

Scholars Talk Writing: Sam Wineburg

Sam Wineburg, a professor of education and, by courtesy, of history at Stanford University, emailed himself into my life when he sent me a brief request: “No beating around the bush: Do you do any freelance consulting — i.e., looking

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Better Angels of Our Writing

I am always shocked when academics complain about being copy-edited, as if the marks that come back on their manuscripts were pesky flies that should be shooed away. My experience of receiving editing, both substantively and line by line, is that

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Scholars Talk Writing: Anthony Grafton

Every time I walk to and from my office I pass a big poster for the Writers’ Center at my university. The poster features an oversize photo of Ernest Hemingway, and next to it, in proud and arrogant type, the

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Challenges of Writing “I”

Iused to cry at weddings. Mostly now I find myself cringing. I miss the days when a tottering officiant spouted a bunch of canned pablum and all the bride and groom had to do was say, “I do.” Instead we

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

How to Talk to A Writer

There are some friends I avoid when I’m trying to write a book. Unaccustomed to being around writers or academics, these friends don’t seem to get how the whole messy process of producing something of publishable quality works. They are

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Presenting Without A Net

In an ideal world, whenever I was invited to give a talk or a lecture, it would go something like this: I would spend a few weeks thinking about what I wanted to say. After a sufficient percolation period, I

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Mamas, Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Writers

Asked if he thought he had evolved as a writer, Patrick Modiano, the most recent Nobel laureate in literature said, “No, not really. The feeling of dissatisfaction with every book remains just as alive. I had a longtime recurring dream:

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

“It’s Really Good But…”

I’m at the kind of cocktail party where no one looks at you when they’re talking. Even your friends cast a restless gaze over your shoulder, trying to see who else is there, figuring out if a pass to get

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

The Habits of Highly Productive Writers

Many writers I know love Joyce Carol Oates—some even refer to her as JCO, as if she were a brand as recognizable as CBS or BMW. But just as often, the mention of her name is met by groans and

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

Write a Book and Become an Employee of Your Former Self

I recently had a chance to catch up with Niko Pfund, president of Oxford University Press. In another life, 25 years ago, I was a young editor at the press and Pfund was an editorial assistant. Besides reminiscing about those days,

Posted in The Chronicle of Higher Education

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