There’s a reason we write “thank you” notes and love letters by hand.

I write the rough draft of almost everything by hand: fiction, client work, this post, all my notes.

This week, after watching the first episode of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s Hemingway, I reread some of Hemingway on Writing. In it, he says that writing by hand makes it easier to improve your writing.

He writes:

When you start to write you get all the kick and the reader gets none. So you might as well use a typewriter because it is that much easier and you…

This is where I call bullshit. CARRIE NEVER READS!

Fresh out of shows to binge, my girlfriend and I are watching Sex and the City all the way through.

It’s my first time watching the whole thing (okay, maybe second) and her chance to brush up on the one or two lines she doesn’t know by heart.

She’s a writer too. So as we watch, we’ve had a running commentary going about the show's writing (way better in seasons 1–4) and how writing is depicted in the show.

We’ve put together a list of writing Dos and Don’ts based on…

An excerpt from my father’s memoir — Make Peace or Die: A Life of Service, Leadership, and Nightmares — in which he asks to be sent to war.

In November, 1951, Charles U. Daly was at Quantico training to lead a Marine rifle platoon and thinking the Korean War would be over before he got a chance to fight in it. Then “Frozen Chosin” happened…

The Boat Leaves Wednesday

June 1950–February 1951

“In war, as in prostitution, amateurs are often better than professionals.”

— Napoleon Bonaparte

On June 25, 1950, we got our national emergency.

At dawn that morning, the (North) Korean People’s Army surged over the…

Last year, Jocko Willink featured a conversation with my father and an early draft of Make Peace or Die on episode 196 of his podcast.

Dad describes the experience in the epilogue :

In the summer of 2019, I sat down with retired Navy SEAL and bestselling author Jocko Willink, as a guest on his podcast. He read from my manuscript and we talked about my life and about war. A chilling moment was when he read the line about the time I asked my father when the memories of war will fade.

I said that they don’t fade.


The last days of the French summer that wasn’t

Strasbourg, France: As France cautiously adjusts to the new normal, one summer tradition is ideally suited to social distancing guidelines: outdoor dining and drinking on terraces. Outdoor seating has long been a mainstay of the French dining experience. But as the country entered the first phase of its deconfinement from COVID-19 this June, it became a necessity and a matter of business survival. Restaurants with terraces were the first to be allowed to open, just in time for summer. The tourists are fewer this year and tended to be mostly French…

Looking back at some of these drafts, I wish I had used the energy I spent writing them to document my journey rather than describe a destination I hadn’t even reached.

I currently have 44 unpublished drafts in Medium. I was browsing through them today to find something to post when I decided to write about the words I abandon.

The topics of those posts I never posted are all over the place — one’s about what it’s like to feel homesick for barbeque while living in Europe, another explains why I read about atrocities, and there are about a…

“You can be cautious or you can be creative, but there’s no such thing as a cautious creative..” -George Lois

I assume you’ve read Bird-by-Bird, The Elements of Style, and Stephen King’s On Writing, (all of which are incredible) so they aren’t on this list.

Here are seven unsung gems that have made me a better writer.

Photo by Charles Daly

Damn Good Advice (For People with Talent!) by George Lois
Lois was one of the founders of advertising’s creative revolution in the 1960s and has been called “the real Don Draper” a comparison he hates.

Some of his advice is ad-industry and copywriting…

Yesterday I wrote about getting back in the habit of writing every day. One of the most powerful ways to build that habit is to track your writing.

It’s simple: Keep a record of everything you write today. Do it every day for a week and see what you get done. Darren Hardy writes about the benefits of this practice in The Compound Effect,

“When you track (your habits) with this awareness, you’ll find yourself showing up in your life very differently.”

Here’s what I wrote today.

  • A 900 word rough draft of a post for a client.
  • 3 A4…

3 pages every day is 1,095 pages per year

This morning I woke up at 6:00, brewed my coffee, and wrote three pages of fiction by hand. It was my first time writing fiction in over a month. I felt like shit, not just because it was early but because I knew that If I had kept up this habit, the novel I’m working on would be done by now.

Getting back to work on the novel means accepting that today is all I have. …

Christophe Boutes left school and became a baker to fund his musical education. Baking by morning, and studying music by day and night, he made two dreams come true.

Christophe Boutes takes fresh Baguettes out of the oven, April 11, 2019, Mougins, France (photo/Charles Daly)

His La Mouginoise des pains Mougins has been featured in the Gault et Millau guide four years running, and he appeared on the TV show, “Le Meilleur Boulanger de France, “ (The Best Baker in France.)

Charles Daly

B2B Copywriter. Co-author of Make Peace or Die: a Life of Service, Leadership, and Nightmares (my dad’s memoir).

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