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The 3 Short-Term Challenges Writers Should Consider

Most authors, like myself, have had grand ambitions about their writing. Let me see if I can guess yours correctly.

You’ve always had long-term ambitions of being published by well-respected publications around the globe, getting your name “out there,” and nailing down some highly valued clients in the process. 

Did I guess right?

While I’ve personally milestoned many of these ambitions to date by working for some high-profile search engine optimization (SEO) companies, agencies, and publications in the past and present, I am in no way satisfied by just sitting on my hands or sleeping on a win—I want them all on my resume. 

Now who said being ambitious was a crime, eh? 

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Why Every Writer Needs to Audit Their Past Work

As a writer, what do you do after you have penned and even published a piece of writing? Whether you write publicly or privately, you often want to move on to a new creation and leave the written work behind you.

After all, you have accomplished the uphill task of creating the content. So why not let that work belong to the people or die somewhere in the corner of the internet?

Or, if you are like me, allow it to gather dust in your archives, then later give it a new home in the trash can. Never to look at it again, while convincing yourself that only greatness lies ahead of you with a new piece.

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Cathy Erway

Writers’ Rough Drafts – Episode #61 With Cathy Erway

Or listen on: iTunes| Stitcher| Spotify| Google Play| Download

Cathy Erway is an award-winning writer and blogger, author, and radio host. Starting in 2006, she faced the same dilemma many other New Yorkers have faced—how do I afford to eat in this city while living in this city? For two years, she blogged her recipes, experiments, and experiences on her blog “Not Eating Out in New York.” Eventually, she wrote her first book about the experience, The Art of Eating In: How I Learned to Stop Spending and Love the Stove. 

Continuing to write about food and culture, she’s picked up bylines in publications like Eater, The Huffington Post, The New York Times, Grub Street, and TASTE magazine—the latter of which published her James Beard award-winning piece “The Subtle Thrills of Cold Chicken Salad.” Wanting to merge her love for culture and her love for food more, she explored her family’s cooking heritage and published the book The Food of Taiwan: Recipes from the Beautiful Island, cheekily marketing it with the phrase “It’s not just about bubble tea.” 

When she’s not experimenting in the kitchen or pouring thoughts and ideas into words on her laptop, Cathy hosts the radio show “Eat Your Words” on Heritage Radio Network and the podcast “Self Evident” in partnership with the New York Media Center. She also co-founded the regular supper club at the Hapa Kitchen, so we know she eats out at least a little more regularly these days!

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ambiguity in writing

“Milk Drinkers Are Turning to Powder”: How To Avoid Ambiguity in Your Writing

Miners refuse to work after death.

Squad helps dog bite victim.

Iraqi head seeks arms.

As the article headline and the sentences above indicate, ambiguity in writing—a sentence that can have multiple meanings—can have a thoroughly humorous effect.

If you write comedy, or if you try to come up with a cheeky headline for your article, then ambiguity in writing is your friend. But ambiguity isn’t just about headlines and comedy.

To name a few examples, if you’re a blogger tackling a social issue, if you’re a journalist covering important events, or if you’re a nonfiction author preparing a book on climate change, you would want to avoid ambiguity in your writing. Inadvertent ambiguity can harm your text, by having a humorous effect that can be thoroughly destabilizing in an otherwise factual narrative.

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