11 Writing Mistakes That Good Writers Make With Hara Estroff Marano

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TAC Hara Estroff Marano | Writing Mistakes

 

Even good writers make mistakes. How can you avoid these? Robin Colucci discusses 11 of these writing mistakes with Hara Estroff Marano, the Editor at Large of Psychology Today. No matter how good you get at writing, you’ll never master it. There’s always another way to improve. One of the best ways to level up is to be aware of common writing mistakes. The first one is not knowing what you’re writing about. To overcome that, you need to know what your perspective is. How? By distilling your ideas into a headline and subheadline. Do you want to avoid more writing mistakes good writers make? Tune in!

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11 Writing Mistakes That Good Writers Make With Hara Estroff Marano

We are going to talk about something that no matter how many years of experience as a writer you have, nobody ever outgrows the need to learn about how to write better. I have invited now to join us an outstanding person who is going to give us some guidance on the eleven mistakes that good writers make.

Before I introduce her, I want to point out that these are eleven mistakes that good writers make or even good writers make that is such an important distinction because as a writer, I know that no matter how good I get at writing, I’m never going to master it. There’s always another level and way to improve.

I’m delighted to introduce to you, Hara Estroff Marano. She is an award-winning author, journalist, and editor who writes about all aspects of human behavior through a broad cultural lens. Her most recent book, A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting published by Random House, examines the contemporary culture of parenting and documents, how rampant over engagement harms children, and his bad for us all.

She’s also written for publications like the New York Times, New York Magazine, USA TODAY, and Glamour. She is also the editor at large for Psychology Today Magazine, she’s constantly reading the works of experts and editing their work. She’s had enough work across her desk that she knows what she’s talking about. I hope that no matter what your writing level is and how many years of experience you have, I believe that there is tremendous value here for you to receive.

Hara, welcome to the show.

I’m delighted to be here, delighted to talk to other authors and help them.

It’s wonderful to have you and all your incredible wisdom, and experience to share with us. What we talked about as we were thinking about doing this interview was your wonderful list of eleven writing mistakes that good writers make. That is such an important distinction but why don’t you say a little bit about the eleven mistakes good writers make?

Every day I deal with people who are experts in their field and can talk a lot about what they do. When they go to write, they don’t quite pull it off as well as you think they should or could. Over the years, I have observed certain kinds of mistakes that they make repeatedly. I know why by now, what’s going through their heads and partly some of the mistakes are a function of knowing something well and not getting outside their own head to be able to understand what other people need to know, to know what they know.

If the information excites you, it's going to excite someone else. Click To Tweet

It’s a hard track. You have to get outside your own head and I remain surprised by how few people know that. I’m always prized day after day, encounter after encounter, how few people put something down and think from an outsider’s perspective, what does someone need to know to get from A to Z? I will talk about that because that’s one of the big mistakes.

Probably one of the most common mistakes is the higher level or the deeper experience the expert has, the more likely they are to fall into that particular trap because everything seems so obvious.

It’s intuitive to them. I hope I can convey a few pointers on how to correct some of these mistakes.

Let’s get into the juicy good stuff. Where do we begin? What is the first on the list?

Mistake 1: They Don’t Know What They’re Writing About

Number one is going to come as a shopper to everyone because the single most important mistake that good writers make, and this is my phrasing of it, is they don’t know what they are writing about. This is an exaggeration but bribing is helped by knowing what you are writing about. I can’t tell you how many times people will say to me, “I want to write an article about depression.” I say, “What do you want to write about depression?” Depression isn’t an article, it’s a domain.

The traditional way of thinking about it is you have to have an angle on it. You have to have some perspective on it, understand what your perspective is, and communicate with it. The best way to think about it is by distilling your thought about what you want to say into a headline and a sub-headline. Nothing concentrates the mind more than thinking about what you want to say in two sentences.

I can give you a couple of examples. I did an article in 2020. Before COVID-19, there is a very high rate of burnout and suicide among physicians, which is continuing and will continue after the pandemic. The headline I had was The Healers are Hurting. The way I thought about it was, for many of the nation’s physicians, doctoring has become an almost unrecognizable activity and it started way before the pandemic. It’s bad enough that patients are unhappy with the care that they get but the doctors have no idea how to take care of themselves.

That capsulizes the whole idea of the article. Encapsulation was an article about resilience and the title of the article was Designed for Success. The point of the article was summed up in the line. “Resilience is in human nature. Persevering through adversity is not a bug in the software but a feature of the hardware.” How do you do it? How do you start on that path so that you can distill your thoughts?

TAC Hara Estroff Marano | Writing Mistakes
Writing Mistakes: Distill your thought about what you want to say into a headline and a sub-headline.

 

First, I want to say, it’s going to take more time than you think but once you have that, you can manipulate your idea and do a lot of things with it. Here are three things you can do. You can ask yourself how will my idea or my article change the way people think because you are writing to influence people.

Pretend you are at a party in your neighborhood. You are on the back deck of the house of your neighbor. Your neighbor is a lawyer. You’ve got a drink in one hand and the guy asked you, “What are you up to?” You are not going to launch into a fifteen-minute discussion. It’s the statement you would make under those circumstances. As I said, “Think in terms of two sentences.” You should be able to do it in two sentences. The experts could do it in one. You have to be thinking about it for a while and when you think about it, you ought to be able to know what’s the essence of what it’s about.

Mistake 2: They Don’t Say Why It Matters Now

This is not unrelated but mistake number two that good writers make is that they don’t say why it matters now. The now is important. First of all, if a piece doesn’t have urgency, no one is going to touch it. It’s going to be on the bottom of the pile. It will be for that day, that never comes. Any article idea has to capture something related to either something in the culture, development, news element or something that you feel people have to know that will influence the way they handle something. Also, the way something going on generally or very specifically, in a lot of people’s lives. Otherwise, no articles ever going to be commissioned.

Neither will a book, by the way.

How do you do this? How do you understand what the urgency is? You can ask yourself, “Why is it important to tell the story now rather than next year? What’s going on emerging in the culture that this relates to new developments?” The other thing you can ask yourself is, “What will happen if people don’t have this information?” Those are three very trusted and we used to guarantee that you will get at what you need to get up.

Mistake 3: No Element Of Surprise

Number three, there’s no surprise in what they are writing about. I don’t care what you are writing about. It can either be in the insight that you are offering in your article. In the writing, there are needs to be some element of surprise. Otherwise, why bother? Why are you telling people things they already know and language they already have heard before?

You want to wake yourself and your readers up. How do you capture surprise? One way to do it is to catch yourself and think, “What is it that I keep coming back to in this story or about this topic that fascinates me? What is that thing I keep returning to what people ask me? What I’m doing and what is that thing that I explain that I know is going to capture people’s attention?” Another thing you do is to ask yourself, “What’s the most counterintuitive element in what I want to write about?” Simply, don’t ignore yourself. Ask yourself, “What surprises me most about this information?”

I don’t know why people think that they have to disregard their own excitement and response to information because if it excites you, it’s going to excite someone else and that’s important. People have a very mistaken idea that if they are important, they have to be solemn. It’s very critically important to convey the surprise.

Choose a word that has the right feeling and the right emotional tone. Click To Tweet

Mistake 4: DDD (Demonstrate, Don’t Declare)

Mistake number four. This is one of my absolute favorites. It’s what I refer to as DDD. If you look at a manuscript that I’m editing, you will often see DDD in the margins on both sides and DDD stands for, Demonstrate Don’t Declare. This is an article that I edited. It was a very well done article by a psychology professor for an article in Psychology Today.

It’s a witty article, very well done but at one point, the article stated that some psychology wacky ideas out there inadvertently kill people. I said, “Demonstrate that. You can’t expect me to believe that unless you give me what did people die off.” That’s a pretty big generalization. The thing is, people need something specific to grasp onto and that’s what becomes memorable.

Mistake 5: Incomplete Reasoning

Mistake number five is incomplete reasoning. Here’s what I’m going to say before you sit down to write. While you are still outside of the article, before your head is completely in it and you are immersed in specific things, what you should do is think, “What is someone who is not you? What do they need to know to get from point A to point Z in your article? What are the stops along the way?”

About my Healers are Hurting article and doctors burning out and committing suicide to understand why that was the case, there were three very big important things to know. You had to know something about the personality characteristics of physicians, of someone who is going to undergo ten years of training because that’s what medical school takes from the time you enter until the time you are out, cutting us all up.

Something about the personality characteristics, people who are selected into the field and are great characteristics for physicians but have implications for lots of things. You need to know the doctors are sworn to an oath of doing no harm, and no matter what you may think later on in practice, doctors deeply, seriously are sworn to that oath and they take it very seriously.

The other thing you need to know is that contrary to the stereotype of doctors, most physicians nowadays do not work for themselves. They work for an organization. They are employees. As employees, they are often torn between their allegiance to the patient and getting information from the patient, doing no harm, and their responsibility to an employer.

Those are stops along the way that I need to take readers through before the readers can understand and have compassion for the situation that physicians are in that’s causing them to harm themselves. That’s the thinking you have to do with every single article. What does someone need to know to think the way I want them to think about this topic? What do you do? You could ask yourself, “What does someone need to know to get from point A to Z?”

What else you can do is you could pretend you are writing a book or maybe you are writing a book, and you can very simply in 2 or 3 words delineate each of the chapters because each in a book, every chapter is going to advance the story further. That’s what you do in an article on a smaller scale. You are not thinking about a book, just write the barest minimum outline possible, no details. Do a couple of words for each step along the way. It’s another one of my favorites.

TAC Hara Estroff Marano | Writing Mistakes
Writing Mistakes: Write the barest minimum outline possible with no details.

 

Mistake 6: Language In Precision

Number six, language in precision. Language is as important as precision in ice skating. You want to carve a memorable thought into the minds of the reader and you do that through precision in writing. Maybe you were told somewhere along the way that it’s cheating to use the thesaurus. All I can tell you, as if you were ever told that, forget it, thank you.

Thesaurus is great because it pulls together a whole bunch of words relating to your thoughts. The words are close but in different degrees of denotation, connotation, emotional weight, this sound of the words, and enriches your imagination as you are looking at thesaurus. You get lots of choices and very often you could be capturing one idea and get another idea that sends you off in a different direction. Fair game, have a ball, play with the thesaurus.

There is such a difference, that slight connotative difference, that little bit of difference between one word or the other and what it implies. It can change the whole meaning of what you are saying. The difference often lies is in the emotion or the feeling of what the word is conveying.

This is something that I want to dwell on because here’s something that good writers and thinkers need to know that automatically when you have a thought in your head, the thought inside your head is shaped and shaded by feelings that you are not even aware of. You don’t need words to describe those feelings. You have those feelings. Those feelings arise from within you and words aren’t part of it because you have the sensation or the feeling.

What you have to do is understand that people outside of you do not have those sensations and automatic colorization. They have to get them there. It takes a lot of work. You’ve got to export your thoughts with all that color and tone attached to them. As I said, “It’s hard mental work.” You have to slug away at it.

You have to keep digging, “What do I feel and what is this like?” Thesaurus also can help you hear whittle away at whatever the meaning is that feeling that you have in your head. In fact, the thesaurus is very helpful here in suggesting all the possibilities. It can help you narrow your search and to find your exact word to capture what it is that you think the word should be.

I was thinking of a good example because I edited a piece that used this one idea and they share three different words that have different feelings, even though they have pretty much the same definition. Is it haunting, plaguing or stocking you? It’s this feeling of following you but they all have dramatically different connotations and experiences that would be going on emotion.

I’m glad you brought up the word experience because the readers also bring something to this, too. You think of the word haunting and what is someone’s experience with that likely to be. It can be very different and quite negative in fact, from the others. You want to choose a word that’s going to have that right feeling and the right emotional tone, which is going to help add meaning and precision. It’s going to help you deliver what you want to say and create the effect that you want.

Make friends with verbs because they grab the reader and deliver impact. Click To Tweet

How do you do this? Number one, bookmark Thesaurus.com. When you do it, explore all the alternatives that capture one nuance or another of a word, and then select words, follow them, make them your keyword, explore them, go down that path, use them as your search word because they are going to influence. Choose the ones that have exactly the influence and attitude that you want them to have. This is how you move the reader to your point of view. That’s language and position.

Now I’m going to get even more precise because within the world of language precision, let’s get to verbs. The mistake that people make here is that they use wishy-washy verbs, use, be, have, do, yes. It’s taken over in the previous years but these verbs define they have their place but you need to know that as verbs that do the heavy lifting in an article. They move the narrative forward.

You may have been taught in elementary school or junior high school that adjectives are what make writers, writers. I beg to differ, verbs are extremely important. In the modern world, they are particularly important. The verbs are doing the heavy lifting and a lot of writers fail to harness the power of verbs. I want to urge people to make friends with verbs. They grab the reader. They deliver impact and sharpen the picture in the reader’s head. That’s something you want to aim for and they boost precision.

My current favorite word uses the verb and wildly overused is, impact, even worse is impactful. Don’t use the word impact. Specify what the effect is. How do you get to precision in the use of verbs? My number one point of information is that you have to regard verbs as more important than adjectives in telling your story.

If you find yourself using, have, do, make, used, be, show, catch yourself and think how you can be more specific. Use the thesaurus here folks, select those verbs whose sounds and color to the meaning. Symbols and sounds are going to be softer and have a softer effect. There are times when you want to draw on that and create that effect. They are going to create more whomp that this is what you want, and when you want it, this is how you do it through that choice of words.

Mistake 7: Thinking You Have To Begin At The Beginning

We are on to mistake number seven. This is a favorite one of mine. The mistake is that you think you have to begin at the beginning. An article or a book does not have to begin at the beginning of your story. You still have to write a story somewhere in there that goes from A to Z but where you begin your article or your book is likely and often not the beginning of the actual story.

You have to begin somewhere that’s going to capture the reader. You can begin with the quote. You can begin with the most exciting piece of information you have about what you are writing about. You can begin with a powerful example. You want to leave with your strength. I begin an article and it was a very complicated article about nutrition and how Alzheimer’s disease is a lifestyle disorder. I begin the article with two words in large print because that’s the way our art director begins articles in Psychology Today and the two words were, hell no.

Most people would want to know why and what is it that someone feels so strongly about. I’m leading off with a quote and it’s a pretty forceful statement. I very briefly explain that hell no is the answer to the question, even people who have a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease are doomed to develop the disease.

TAC Hara Estroff Marano | Writing Mistakes
Writing Mistakes: Your lead has to be the surprise or intrigue that sets a mystery and motion.

 

The answer by the chief neurologist who opened the country’s first clinic to prevent Alzheimer’s disease is hell no. I transitioned from that explanation into the beginning of the story about nutrition, metabolism, and so on until readers had a pretty clear understanding of what they should do in their everyday life.

What can you do? Remember how you start your story or your first chapter of a book. In journalism, we call it the lead. The lead is not necessarily where your story starts but it’s where the articles start. What you opened with is, as I said, it isn’t necessarily the beginning of your story. Your lead has to be the surprise, intrigue, something that sets a mystery and motion. It could even be the end. Sometimes we are intrigued with things, even when we know the ending.

How many times do you read a story that begins with the death of someone and it goes back to the whole entire article or book goes back to the beginning. Speaking about death, that reminds me of something important in this regard of where you begin. Think of obituaries as a model. What do obituaries do?

If you read the New York Times and other good newspapers, the obituaries spend about the first third or the first half talking about the most interesting things this person did and why they are memorable. Somewhere half of the way down, John Jones was born in whatever it is and begins the narrative of their life. When all else fails, think of the obituary as a model. Don’t make that beginner’s mistake of thinking that you have to begin at the beginning and plot all the way through every detail.

Number 8: Burying The Lead

Another term we use in journalism is don’t bury the lead. What’s that thing that’s going to get people’s attention and make them want to read more? You want to put that right up front.

You bring up a good point because sometimes suddenly, some piece of information opens up and you discover how important it is. There it is on page 31 of whatever you are writing about. What you do is you use that as your lead. It’s perfectly permissible. You go back and construct a short version of that. As your lead, bridge into the beginning of your narrative and more fully expand it, when you get to that proper part in the story where you discover it was the most important part of the story.

Number 9: Cliches

Here we are folks on mistake number nine. This one, I’m sure you come across all the time. Clinging to clichés. The problem with clichés is you are using other people’s thinking. You are not using your own thinking and its mindlessness. You go into this rut that was carved by someone else. Your brain turns off and you fall into that rut.

I want to show you how mindless this could be. This is an article written by a certifiably smart human being. He has lots of credentials, certify that she was smart. The article was about human trafficking. There was a line in the article that said, “The SOS signal, it’s a hand signal. The SOS hand signal gives the anti-trafficking movement, a huge foothold.” It’s like, “What?” How did we get to the point where a hand signal is a foothold?

Aim for the smoothest and easiest flowing in your writing. Click To Tweet

Someone slipped right into that groove of something being a foothold instead of thinking it through and coming up with their own wording, it’s like, “I did a double-take.” It was like, “What? It’s absurd?” I changed it and what else is the SOS hand signal, gives the anti-trafficking movement important visibility.” Is it poetry? No. It wasn’t poetry to start with but it makes a point concisely.

We know what you mean. You can get a mental image of what that is but a strong foothold, “What is that even?”

What do you do? Always aim for a fresh expression of any word and thought. The operative word here is always. You get to see how the mindlessness drags you into absurdity. You don’t want mindlessness in your readers either. You don’t want them to load to sleep in getting into that cliché rut. Do it to keep yourself awake and to figure you’ve got to find a way to keep your readers awake. I’m going to tell you, as I have told you before on so many of these points, it takes mental work. People think, “I could sit down and write.” You can but it takes much more mental work. That’s why God made editors. Is that true?

It’s so true. We are heaven sent.

Mistake 10: Not Putting Article Away For A Day

This is number ten and the mistake that good writers make is that they finish and don’t put their article away for a day, a couple of days, however much time. I always help people aim to finish in advance, a day ahead of your deadline and if you can’t do it a day ahead, from the time you finish your writing, go out and do something physically active. What you need to do is you need to go back and look at it with fresh eyes. You’ve got to do it more than once. I don’t care how good you are. You have to go over it.

What do you do when you grow over it? You are looking for gaps in the story. You want to add drama to places where you discover this is important. I want to give it importance. I want to choose words and I want to lead up to it in a way that people can understand the importance of this event in the life of the character in my article.

It can lead you to clarify, there are many ways you might be clarifying. You might be adding examples. You might be changing the words or you might be doing a little more digging in the thesaurus. You want to clarify your ideas. It’s very important to get them out of your head. You need to chip away. Think of yourself as a Michelangelo sculpting slave. You are chipping away at your work to whittle it down, to get it into that perfect shape. You look at it and you read it over you can get the whole purview of the article and make sure that the whole story is there.

You are going to have to go over it at least once and probably more. I won’t tell you how many times I go on from my thing. I’m not obsessive and not super concerned. I want to make sure that the article captures on the page, what I have in my head. As I said, “Aim to finish at least a day in advance.” If it’s a book, you’ve got to do it more than a day in advance.

TAC Hara Estroff Marano | Writing Mistakes
Writing Mistakes: Mindlessness drags you into absurdity.

 

If you can’t put a good night’s sleep between you and your work, at least put a physical activity because that’s going to shift your brain and you will be able to look very freshly. In reading it over, anything that you stumble over, that’s a sign of a place that needs repair, aside from anything else that you decide you might want to perfect or improve on. If you are reading something over and you suddenly have a question mark or you’ve got to read that twice, don’t let it go. It means whoops puddle, you’ve got to stop and fix it.

I want to add one more thought to that because something I have found to be tremendously effective at catching those things that you are saying is to read it aloud.

When you read aloud, you capture the smoothness and the flow. Of course, you should aim for the smoothest and easiest flowing pathway from beginning to end. You also feel the drama of the words and it takes it out of your head. It gives an objective existence and you can more easily see, hear and feel the defects or the areas of improvement that are there.

I want to add to that too because the other thing I have noticed is a lot of times, especially with people experts who have deep expertise in their field, you can think that you wrote enough to convey the idea but when you are reading it to yourself, your mind is filling in all those blanks automatically. When you hear it aloud, you can hear where you didn’t include some vital piece of information that would help your reader be able to.

As it becomes objective and out there, it becomes easier to see those spots, “I jumped from here to there.”

You know it so well, your mind will fill that in for you.

Number 11: Misuse Of Words

That’s what it does all the time. That’s the real big hazard of people who know a lot about an area. Their mind is filling in. They have to get outside their head to make all kinds of corrections that make a story flow, full, and available to be grasped by other people. In that regard is mistake number eleven, and that’s the misuse of this and that as words.

Before you get into this, from the first time I heard you point that out, it was such a V8 moment for me. Now I can’t stop seeing it and every time I see it, it drives me crazy. Thank you so much because it’s all leading to better writing for me and my clients.

You need to understand how your feelings color things. Click To Tweet

I want to say in that regard, it’s also a mistake very common to smart people who are experts in their field because they know what this is, and where that is often when they write about it. This and that are demonstrative adjectives, this computer, this blouse, this mobile phone, this pen. That’s how they are meant to be used. They are meant to distinguish this one here from that one there.

They are supposed to refer to very specific things but too often, this and that are used instead of the thing. They are used to replace rather than to modify what you are talking about. They become demonstrative pronouns. They wind up as substitutes for what you mean and contribute to the fuzziness of writing an idea. What happens is that people walk away not fully getting what it is that you are writing and it happens far more often than you think.

You get what the writer means but you can’t put it in your own words because the writer never put it in his or her own words. The problem with using this or that is it forces the reader to go back to track backward. You don’t want people going back. You want people moving forward. This and that wind up a substitute for what you mean. They become substitutes for the hard work of specifying and articulating exactly the exact words of what you mean.

Here’s a simple example. The boy’s dog was run over by a car that saddened him. Here’s a way this simple sentence can be improved. The boy’s dog was run over by a car, the loss saddened him. When you are reading that, you get much more power in specifying the loss. It makes it much easier for the reader to feel exactly the same sadness because who can’t relate to a loss.

When you specify, you are increasing the emotional power and the verbal power of whatever it is that you are writing about. You feel lost more. In terms of pointers, I have one to make life simple, banish this and that in your writing categorically. I write in manuscripts constantly. What is this? What is that? What do they refer to? It’s two elements together. It’s getting out of your own head. It’s also doing that mental work of chipping away and being very articulate. As I said, it takes more work than you think it was.

You reminded me of another pet peeve of mine and that is saying there is or there are to open a sentence. It’s not identical but it’s a related vagueness.

It’s passive and vague. Instead of what people should do is construct an active sentence because what’s going to work in that sentence and be the operative element of that sentence is going to be a verb.

It will probably be a specific noun because there is or there are, are hand-waving. What is there? Where is there? Who is there? If you say, “There’s a lot of upset around this,” versus, “People are furious.”

TAC Hara Estroff Marano | Writing Mistakes
Writing Mistakes: Make all the kinds of corrections to make a story complete.

 

You are adding power, having more of an effect on people and it’s shorter. Most often shorter is better. What I do have and maybe we can talk about it some other time, I have tons of things that good writers do. That’s all the mistakes I want to talk about that good writers make over and over again.

This has been informative and I have even gotten some nuggets for myself. Thank you very much. Any final thoughts for this particular area of topic that we didn’t cover that I didn’t ask you about?

I did get in my dig at impactful and impact. I see it happening and these words seem to have taken over the world, especially in business writing. It drives me nuts. The majority of the mistakes that we talked about are the result from people not getting outside the things that are inside and don’t understand how things are colored by their feelings.

You have to bring those to consciousness and articulate them. That’s why it’s much harder work than people imagine. I will sit down and that’s why people face a blank piece of paper, shouldn’t have trouble or a blank screen and have trouble. One of my great pieces of advice that writers and it concern what writers do is begin writing anywhere. I don’t care what it is or if it’s the last line of your story.

Maybe you need dialogue and you want to use some variation of the dialogue, you begin writing there. When you put that into action that takes away the blank page challenge and should give you the energy to be able to get out of your own head to see objectively what it is that you’ve got to get from your head onto a page.

Hara, thank you again for being here on the show and for sharing all these incredible tips and insights.

It’s a pleasure, take care.

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About Hara Estroff Marano

Hara Estroff Marano is an award-winning author, journalist, and editor who writes about all aspects of human behavior through a broad cultural lens. She is Editor at Large of Psychology Today magazine, formerly Editor in Chief.

At Psych Today, Marano has expanded the magazine’s traditional editorial focus beyond individual psychology, going both deeper into the human brain and outward to the bonds between people, as well as exploring the culture at large. Her articles on domestic violence, bullying, and the culture of hyperparenting have garnered numerous awards.

Marano also pens Psych Today’s advice column, Unconventional Wisdom. She is the author of three books. The most recent, A Nation of Wimps: The High Cost of Invasive Parenting (Random House), examines the contemporary culture of parenting and documents how the rampant overmanagement of children is bad for them, for parents, and for the future of the country.

Marano has written for many publications besides Psych Today—The New York Times, New York magazine, Smithsonian, The Wilson Quarterly, The Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The New York Daily News, Ladies Home Journal, Glamour, the American Journal of Play, to name a few. She has also been an executive editor at Family Circle, American Health, and Medical World News. A recent essay is featured in the collection Fast Funny Women (Woodhull Books).

Over the years, Marano has been called on as consultant to some of America’s best-known publications. She also teaches the fine art of article writing to leaders and subject experts and is currently doing so at Yale and privately. Under the auspices of The Mentor Project, she runs workshops on writing and editing. She also takes on select projects as a developmental editor.

Marano frequently speaks to parent, policy, and educational groups on how we are creating the next generation of society.

Marano lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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