Learn four key skills to get you started in writing.

So, what happened to your Web site?

I’ll let my hosting company explain why my Web site hasn’t been available the past few days:

Your…webspace has been attacked by criminals. As a consequence of this attack, your webspace has been misused to send Spam.

Just as criminals like these have made lots of things nowadays inconvenient or frustrating, I had to make a few changes to my site for added security.

First, I deleted all user accounts. Most of them were set up in recent days to process SPAM. This may mean that some previously posted comments and subscription were deleted. If one of those is yours, I apologize. I am looking at implementing a different comment system using Facebook. This will add greater security and enable you to link your profile to your comments.

Some pages may still have problems as I repair the site. If you come across such a problem, please send me a direct message on Twitter.

It’s unfortunate that the criminals of the world ruin the fun for everyone. I will continue to work to make the site more useful for you as readers as I make it more secure. Thank you for your patience and understanding.

It’s OK to change your mind

I decided to stop work on a movie script that wasn’t turning out right. It was supposed to be a comedy, but it was becoming too serious, and I was becoming disenchanted with the characters and plot. So, I chose to leave the unfinished script on my hard disk and to pick up another story idea to write.

It’s OK to give up on a writing project that isn’t working. In fact, it’s OK to change your mind on a lot of things.

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Why optimism is practical

I’ve been accused of being overly optimistic. The other day, an engineer asked me for an estimate to complete a document. I told him I would have it ready the next day. He was puzzled. “Are you sure you can really finish it that quickly?” I assured him I could. Not only did I finish the document when I promised, I even finished it early.

This is an example of why I believe optimism is not simply rootless pie-in-the-sky idealism. Optimism is practical. When you believe you can do something, you are motivated to set aside the time and gather the resources necessary to achieve your goal. Here are reasons why optimism is practical and necessary for success.

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An answer to a question

Jason Ross Jordan provided an excellent answer to one of my daily table topic questions:

So, what is a moment when you decided to “go for the gold” in your life?

If you want a daily table topic, follow me on Twitter at @maswriter. To learn how to answer table topics like these and get even more questions, get my new book Mastering Table Topics, available as an eBook at all online bookstores. And whatever you do, go for the gold in your life.

How To Write How Tos

Adding “how to” to a title attracts people to blogs, articles, and books. People usually search the Web for solutions to problems or ways to do things better. So, how do you write a “how to”? Here are some simple steps from my experience writing “how tos” as a technical writer.

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