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Be wholly alive

Author William Saroyan’s advice to writers (which is good advice for non-writers, too): “Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when […]

The happy discoverer

“When I begin a poem I don’t know—I don’t want a poem that I can tell was written toward a good ending… You’ve got to be the happy discoverer of your ends.” –Robert Frost Just get going without concern for the precision of your ending point. It’s in the going and the doing that you […]

Writing that moves: Posnanski makes like Maddux

My morning in this lovely AirBnB cottage near Venice Beach has been made reading a couple of Joe Posnanski’s pieces. (This west coast time zone had me up early, watching my kids sleep as we continue on our California vacation.) Posnanski is a sportswriter, but it’s his stuff about fatherhood and family that gets to […]

My next computer: iPad Pro

I’ve been an iPad guy since the first version was announced in 2010. I loved it immediately and used it mostly for reading, but also for writing. It was just supplemental, though, to my iPhone and the two iMacs I had—one at the office and the other at home. The home iMac is old now […]

Billy Collins on finding your voice

The poet Billy Collins was speaking at a White House poetry student workshop and was asked about “finding your voice”. Here’s a portion of his response as shared by Austin Kleon: Your voice has an external source. It is not lying within you. It is lying in other people’s poetry. It is lying on the […]

Robert Frost on writing that doesn’t work

No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader. No surprise in the writer, no surprise in the reader. –Robert Frost via Darren Rowse Write what’s real for you, what moves you and what delights and confounds you. Reveal yourself, to the point of discomfort if necessary. Be direct and clear and true, but […]

Flipping your mindset

I took a seminar style freshman English course in college. There were just twelve students, and we sat around a conference table with Professor Patterson, a distinguished teacher who was in his final year before retirement.  We had an eight page paper due every week. I don’t think I had a paper that long due […]

Paul Graham’s writing advice

Paul Graham has simple advice on improving your writing: write like you talk. If you simply manage to write in spoken language, you’ll be ahead of 95% of writers. And it’s so easy to do: just don’t let a sentence through unless it’s the way you’d say it to a friend. Don’t overthink it or […]

The bonus of making art for intrinsic rewards

I’ve taken a little break from writing over a long weekend of family fun and travel.  In general I’ve been more inconsistent with posting here recently. I’ve fallen off the daily pace I had set for myself.  I write regularly more for my own benefit than for others. It’s a challenging discipline that helps me […]

Saturday morning links

Here are some articles I found online this week that are worth reading: We Call This Home: Reflections from Three Years of Backpacking Around The World – Walter Chang lived frugally for a year and endured a job he didn’t love to save for a year-long backpacking trip that ended up turning into a three […]

Daily express

I just returned from a quick beach getaway with my wife’s family. I took a few days off from posting on this site while I was gone, and I came home to an email from a friend wondering if everything was okay. He was used to me posting something daily. How nice that he was […]

The encouragement of noticers

My friend Alex was a student on my staff a couple of years ago when he came to me and asked why I, at that time, posted on this site so infrequently. I was surprised he was aware I even had this blog, much less that he cared how often I wrote. But he challenged […]

On Writing Well, on living well

The author William Zinsser died recently, and his obituary in the New York Times prompted me to start reading his highly acclaimed book, On Writing Well. The book had been recommended by several writers I respect, including John Gruber of my favorite Apple web site, Daring Fireball. The book begins with a firm exhortation to […]

Steinbeck’s writing advice: Your audience is one single reader

Here is just a bit of author John Steinbeck’s advice on writing, taken from a Paris Review interview: It is usual that the moment you write for publication—I mean one of course—one stiffens in exactly the same way one does when one is being photographed. The simplest way to overcome this is to write it to someone, […]

Hiatus

My wife and I are headed out for a week-long adventure and a much needed getaway for just the two of us. As excited as we are for a vacation together, we are truly sad to leave our kids for a week. We’ve never been apart from them for more than a few days. This […]

Apple’s event: MacBook thoughts

I took a day off today. My kids are on spring break, and my wife is out of town for work. Daddy-daughter day included plenty of play time, a trip to the movies (Spongebob… meh), dinner out, and a grocery run. Yet, somehow, I was able to take in the entire live-stream of Apple’s product […]

Art & Fear: The ceramics class and quantity before quality

This story from the book Art & Fear by David Bayles and Ted Orland popped up in a favorite technology blog yesterday: The ceramics teacher announced on opening day that he was dividing the class into two groups. All those on the left side of the studio, he said, would be graded solely on the quantity […]

Just keep scrolling

Rands in Repose linked to Michael Sippey who linked to Anil Dash’s post from last fall, 15 Lessons From 15 Years of Blogging and this particular insight: The scroll is your friend. If you write a bad post or something you don’t like, just post again. If you write something great that you’re really proud of and […]

The value of sharing your thinking

From Seth Godin today: There’s a lot to admire about the common-sense advice, “If you don’t have anything worth saying, don’t say anything.” On the other hand, one reason we often find ourselves with nothing much to say is that we’ve already decided that it’s safer and easier to say nothing. If you’ve fallen into […]

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