How to Meet Your Writing Goals in 2015

by Ethan Gilsdorf

"Being a writer is like having homework every night for the rest of your life," the screenwriter Lawrence Kasdan once said. 

Sometimes being a writer feels like that. It can be hard to stay on track, and keep doing that homework so you can get your writing projects done, when you're up against life's challenges, scheduling difficulties, and other distractions.

Ethan Gilsdorf

The Writing Life

“Write a happier book”: A Q&A with John Cleese, and What He Taught Me About Writing

Actor, writer, performer, and very tall man John Cleese has a new book out So, Anyway..., which hit bookstores last week.

The memoir revisits Cleese’s childhood, school years, and early comic influences that led him down a fortuitous path to radio, TV, and movie success. His accomplishments include being co-founder of the genius comedy troupe Monty Python’s Flying Circus, co-star and co-writer of Fawlty Towers, and writer, co-star, and co-director of the cult film A Fish Called Wanda, among other feathers in his dead parrot, er, cap.

I had the pleasure of speaking with Cleese during one of his stops ...

Ethan Gilsdorf

Why I Should Not Be Blogging Right Now

Another entry in the monthly column, The Freelance Life, by Ethan Gilsdorf, about the trials, tribulations, triumphs—and tips to share—along the path to becoming a freelance writer.

I shouldn’t be blogging now. I shouldn’t be checking my iPhone. I shouldn’t be doing anything but nothing.

You see, I’m on vacation. On an island. I best not reveal where.

Ethan Gilsdorf

Craft Advice Freelance Secrets The Writing Life

Reclaiming the Joy of Writing: Go Random

By Ethan Gilsdorf

I think back to the time when I first began writing seriously. 


It was the summer after I graduated from college. I was free. I was determined. I had the fire in my belly.

Yes, I still needed to learn my craft. As a somewhat naive writer, I didn't know the different between a dactyl and a dangling participle

Ethan Gilsdorf

Craft Advice

How to Promote the &%?*#! Out of Your Book

If you're about to publish a book -- fiction or nonfiction -- you've probably got questions about how to best get the word out. Your publicist will handle some of the tasks, but what can you do on your own?

I'll be offering my seminar "Guerrilla Book Promotion" this Friday, June 7th, 10:30am-1:30pm at Grub Street (Space still available!)

Ethan Gilsdorf

Craft Advice Secret

How To Hook 'Em In The First Graf

[Another entry in the on-going blog "Would We Lie To You?: News from the Non-Fiction Career Lab"]

By Ethan Gilsdorf

Here in the mysterious Non-Fiction Career Lab, located on a secret floating island in Boston Harbor, where we are hatching story ideas and essays, articles and op-eds, book proposals and pitch letters, we have become adept at one thing: hooking the reader.

Ethan Gilsdorf

Craft Advice Secret

Lab Report: We Tried an Experiment and Our Students Made It a Success

[Another entry in the ongoing blog "Would We Lie To You?: News from the Non-Fiction Career Lab"]

by Pagan Kennedy

A year ago, Ethan Gilsdorf and I began to discuss a wildly ambitious idea: Could we invent a new way to teach nonfiction writing?

Because we're working journalists, we both benefit from constant feedback from our agents and editors.

Unfortunately, creative-writing students rarely have a chance to learn from those kinds of encounters with the real world of publishing.

The Non-Fiction Career Lab

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