My pearls of writing wisdom are now totally shucked

Now available by clicking here! Or I can drive to your house with a copy...
Now available by clicking here! Or I can drive a copy to your house…

Yesterday afternoon it became official! Any typos that I, my publisher or book editor may have missed are now on their way to the printers, where they will live forever in black and white to haunt me at book festivals, workshops and conventions.

“Hey Mr. Hickson! Will you sign my book on page 50, right above where it says ‘If you want to be a writer, you can never give up dope?'”

All joking aside, after reading through it for the final time before signing off on it for my publisher, I pushed the “send” button feeling truly excited to share this book. While my weekly columns and blog posts are certainly an extension of me, this book is even more personal because it’s an opportunity to take what I’ve learned over the last 16 years and share it directly with other writers (as opposed to just sitting in a bar and mumbling to whoever’s next to me). 

In my acknowledgements, I mention my high school freshman English teacher, Mrs. Phillers, who flunked me out of her college prep class. She did it as a way of getting my attention; she wanted me to take my writing more seriously.

I was devastated when I went to see her.

“You have talent,” she gently told me. “But it’s wasted if you don’t learn the tools. Even a gifted mechanic can’t fix a car if the only tool he knows how to use is a tire gauge. You need to decide if you’re going to take your writing seriously enough to move beyond a tire gauge and some duct tape.”

While writing this book, I thought about her and all the people who have impacted my life as a writer, providing insight, encouragement, opportunity and the occasional push when I needed it most…


This book is a way of expressing my appreciation to these people and, hopefully, giving something back to other writers out there when they need encouragement, insight or the occasional push in the right direction. I wrote it as if it were a one-on-one conversation over a beer or cup of coffee (depending on what time of day we’re having this conversation.) I kept it to 100 pages to avoid feeling like a text book; I wanted it to look inviting and be something that can easily kept next to the keyboard or used to wedge the door open on a hot day. It’s written sequentially, from that first story idea to publication and — echh! — promotion (*blink blink*).

Here’s a look at what’s in it:


I was fortunate enough to have Tom Cherones, the Emmy Award-winning director of “Seinfeld,” read an advanced copy and write a testimonial for the back cover. When he told me he had already incorporated some of the advice I offered into his writing routine — such as actually having a writing routine — I took that as a good sign that the book had turned out as I had intended: As a shameless promotion for myself in the event of a new Seinfeld series.

Oh, ha ha! And helpful to writers, too!

That said, I also want to thank all of YOU for your incredible support of this project, and as a writer in general. I thank the heavens each day for the opportunities I’ve been given and the support I’ve received since that life-changing day when Mrs. Phillers challenged me to get serious.

And no, the irony that I “got serious” by becoming a humor columnist hasn’t escaped me.

Neither has my appreciation for everyone who has shared a laugh with me here or through my columns. I look forward to sharing something just as special with this new book.

— Ned


(To pre-order a signed copy of “Pearls of Writing Wisdom: From 16 shucking years as a columnist,” click HERE.

Orders will be shipped out at the end of September.

An eBook version will be available soon (but they are a lot harder to sign).









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Ned's Blog

I was a journalist, humor columnist, writer and editor at Siuslaw News for 23 years. The next chapter in my own writer’s journey is helping other writers prepare their manuscript for the road ahead. I'm married to the perfect woman, have four great kids, and a tenuous grip on my sanity...

55 thoughts on “My pearls of writing wisdom are now totally shucked”

  1. After countless reading and re-reading, the other day in mine I found “squashed” when I meant “quashed” and “prosperity” when I meant “posterity.” Hopefully people will think I’m just being funny.

    1. Ug… I know there will be something I will cringe at. But probably not as much as a squashed posterior.

      And thanks, Ross 😉 I’m really excited about this one. By the way, I’ll be a mailing you in a bit about some recent developments on my end (nothing posterior-related, I swear…)

  2. Wooohoooo! It’s getting closer and closer. Don’t forget to post the release on The Write Stuff, or even before then, if you want to share the Pre-Order link. (I’m heading over there now, because this is one book I want to SEE on the bookshelf above my computer. (Though it will have to share space with our cat, Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden, who thinks that shelf belongs to him.)

    Congratulations, Ned. Can’t wait to read it!

    1. Lol! Make no mistake, that shelf DOES belong to Harry. But hopefully he’ll allow me to share his space.

      And thanks, Marcia! I’ll take you up on your gracious offer soon 😉

    1. Thanks so much! If you order from the link, I’ll get a chance to sign it before it ships out from the publisher. Just let them know in the request box on the order page 😉

        1. This is the actual book, printed. They ship out Sept. 24 from my publisher 😉 Just ask for it to be signed in the “request” box, and they’ll get it to me before it ships

  3. Congratulations! You know that I’m one of your biggest fans (and not in the Kathy Bates Misery type of way..not really)
    I can’t wait to read your new pearls (I already have some to wear), and I am so blessed and honored to call you a friend. You have helped me with my writing more than you’ll ever know. This book is further testament to your mission to help.
    Happy Launch Week! Let me know if you need some blog space for promotion. I’d be happy to help!

        1. Yep! I’m on the author’s panel Friday with Tom Cherones (“Seinfeld” director and new friend) from 3 to 4:30 p.m., then the festival all day Saturday. The weekend will be fast and furious! Or maybe just fur-less…

          And I’ll be looking forward to your thoughts on the book!

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