wherewithal press, inc.


Sad but true: “Quick, tossed-off, last-minute additions, typed right before you submit the final manuscript, probably aren’t a good idea, no matter how funny or emotionally powerful you might feel they are at the time of impulsively writing them. Always allow time to come back and read something from a distance.”

Geoff Manaugh

Editing Principle 36: Learn to Code


This past summer we decided to make good on our resolution to learn to code. So we began by taking a class at General Assembly. There’s much more to be said about integrating web design into our editing practice, and soon, but meanwhile here’s a link to the final project: www.horta.co. We took material that didn’t present well…

Recent News…

Wherewithal client Jo Piazza got some love from New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof. We’re moving to DC, figuratively speaking. A fascinating new project focused on wealth, health, and public policy is in the works, and will have us traveling to Capitol Hill. Any suggestions for nearby hotels are much appreciated. The brilliant work Hanna Rose Shell did in…

Editing Principle 35: Referred Pain


There’s a physiological phenomenon in which a problem in one part of the body causes tenderness in a different part. A stressed cervical vertebrae, for instance, may be experienced not as a sore neck but as acute pain in the right shoulder. This is known as “referred pain”; where the source of the pinch and where we feel it are…


“I’m credited with being a director, a producer, cinematographer, and co-writer, but I think the thing that I do is try to figure out what’s in and what’s out. There’s a moment in the Milos Forman film Amadeus where the Emperor critiques Mozart by saying there are ‘too many notes.’ As you write whatever you’re writing, you struggle with more raw material than you have space or time, or more importantly an audience has interest in. And so you will then do what I do every day of my life which is cut and edit and figure out how to have that complexity survive in the service of very challenging narratives, but not have too many notes.”

From this Fast Company interview with Ken Burns: “How to Conquer Your Massive Creative Project the Ken Burns Way”

Editing Principle 34: Try Conversational Assists

May Day

Someone skilled at assists is typically: —Not concerned with delivering the right answers —Okay with saying something underwhelming, so long as it helps someone else arive at a helpful insight —Not worried about being acknowledged for having delivered the right answer, or for saying something clever, or for contributing much of anything to the conversation,…

Regretting the Affiliate Links to Amazon Today

Per this dreary news, I’ll strip the code from Amazon-linked book titles in my posts soon. (I was always ambivalent about inserting them, honestly, but greed and expediency got the better of me.) So please use the links to learn more about the books, but please buy from your favorite independent. More on this strange story from…


“Anyway, your chapter is great. It is definitely YOU but this editor must have really helped because it remains your voice while somehow being tighter…. Is this the first chapter of the book, or an essay alone, or—? I’m really impressed! Will read more.”

A client sent work-in-progress to his daughter; this was her encouraging response.