Hello, students at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research! Your teacher (whose name I do not know, but on my blog she uses the intriguing screen name of “Kazakhnomad”) asked me to write to you. My name is John Shore. I make a living writing books. Writing is a great way to make a living, because it means you get to sit on your rear end all day. I live in the city of San Diego. If you are… Read more

A couple of readers were kind enough to ask me to elaborate on a point I made in My Last, Best 10 Tips On How To Make It As A Writer, about how talking and writing are “exact opposite uses of the language.” So here’s my case for why, even though it seems like being a good talker would make you a good writer, writing is, in fact, no more like talking than mime is like opera: Spoken language is very… Read more

Take it seriously. It’s just about impossible to make a living writing, so doing so means Fanatical Focus. When I decided to start making a living a writing, I wrote (for free, for all kinds of local publications) every night after work for four to six hours, and throughout every weekend. Six months into that I was offered my first job as an editor; three months after that, I was making a great living as the main entertainment features writer for (then) new website of the San… Read more

First of all, I want to again thank everyone who wrote to express their sympathy for … well, what I wrote in My Stepmother Passed Away. I’m going to wait a day or two to see if any more such comments come in; I’ll then gather them into a single document and mail them to my father. He’ll cry to read them, I know. So again let me thank you all for the role you’ve played and will play yet in my family’s processing of this… Read more

This morning my father called from across the country to tell me that his wife of 40 years — my stepmother since I was 10 — had passed away. The chemotherapy for her cancer proved too much. This woman was the first person who ever showed me what real work is. She had been raised as poor as poor gets in northern rural Minnesota; farm people who dig at ice and pray it grows food. At 15 she ran away… Read more

I’ve been astounded by how many people have read my “How To Make a Living Writing,” and “How To Make a Living Writing, Part Two.” The tone and tenor of the comments left on those posts is truly gratifying. (I wish I had more time to respond to them, but lately I’ve been eyeball deep in a 60,000 book that’s due in about a week [!] and has been devouring my time like the Cookie Monster on a mallomar.) You know what’s weird?… Read more

This is a continuation–Part Two, as it were–of my recent post, “How To Make a Living Writing.” Part Three of this mini-series is Writing: Don’t Get Me Started. (A quick note to the reader who asked what I meant by incoming freelance work being “clean and useable.” Those aren’t industry terms, or anything: I only meant to describe work submitted to an editor that’s … well, clean: no typos, no weird formatting or attachments, has a good title and subtitle (that’s the dream!), is… Read more

Decide if you really want to make a living writing. If your primary interest in writing is to give expression to your innermost thoughts and feelings, and you don’t really care if anyone reads your stuff or not, that’s a beautiful thing. But if your goal is to have great numbers of people pay money in order to read what you write, that’s a whole other universe. Most people would say they only want to write for themselves, when what they really want is… Read more

Do you remember where you were when you first thought that America going to war in Iraq might not be such a bad idea after all? When it struck you, for the very first time, that maybe it was something we should do? That weirdly exhilerating moment came for me on February 5, 2003, when Colin Powell made his case before the U.N. Security Council about how certain it was that Saddam Hussein had huge numbers of weapons of mass destruction that he was just itching… Read more

My New Year’s resolution this year is to take over the world. Whoo-hoo! I can hardly wait! By this time next year, I should be fully installed as Supreme Ruler of the World. (I’m also leaning toward the title of “The People’s King,” but we’ll see.) I’ve been meaning to take over the world for quite some time now, but with shopping and chores and all I’ve struggled to find the time. This year I’ll find the time. This year it… Read more




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