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Tag / Writing

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 […]

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, […]

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 […]

Keep typing

David Carr, the New York Times writer on the media beat, died suddenly last night. He had a distinctive voice, literally, with a gravelly edge and a sharp bite to it. But his voice as a writer was just as distinctive and bold and authentic. His advice to writers, and creators of any sort, is […]

Laura Hillenbrand on using obstacles as fuel

I enjoyed this feature in the New York Times by Wil S. Hylton on author Laura Hillenbrand, who has written two great books, Seabiscuit and Unbroken. Hillenbrand suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome and is mostly homebound with intense episodes of vertigo. She cannot travel to do research or interview her subjects, but she’s turned what […]

Claim your place on the internet

Everyone should claim their place on the internet. Go grab the URL of your choice for just a few bucks a year and own your online identity.* Why not? We are living in the future! The internet offers the chance to express and connect in a way humans have never been able to before. Don’t sit […]

Epictetus on choices and living artfully

My wife put a lamp by the deeply cushioned chair in our bedroom last night to make a new reading spot in our house, and I gave it a go. I sat down to read from an actual book, made from paper. It was my hardcover copy of The Art of Living, Sharon Lebell’s collection […]

The end (of the year) is near: The ten week challenge

The end is near. Ten weeks till December 31. The year is in wind down mode. But how can you gear up for a strong finish, so you can look back on 2014 as a remarkable year in your life? Ten weeks is enough time to build a habit, to craft a routine, to hone a system. Me, […]

John Gruber tells the Daring Fireball story

Daring Fireball is a daily must-read for me. And John Gruber has one of the most consistently distinctive and quote-worthy takes on Apple and all things tech. I’m a fan and have a couple of Daring Fireball t-shirts I wear proudly. (I’m normally a plain-t kind of guy, so it’s a big deal for me […]

Putting the work in

“When writing, I adhere to the old adage that if you want to get hit by a train you better go stand on the track. There’s no substitute for just putting the work in and writing with a very concerted, focused effort. At the end of the day it all comes down to synthesizing a […]

You will live more curiously if you write

A great post from a couple of years ago from James Somers that Chris Guillebeau pointed to recently – More people should write – with a challenge to all to take up a creative habit: That’s the promise: you will live more curiously if you write. You will become a scientist, if not of the natural […]

Maddux and heartbreak and writing with movement

This long feature on SB Nation by Jeremy Collins – Thirteen Ways of Looking at Greg Maddux – is beautifully written and heartbreaking. Yes, it’s about Greg Maddux, my favorite baseball player and one of the most enigmatic, masterful athletes of our generation. But it’s mostly about the author coming to terms with the tragic loss […]

A poem begins with a lump in the throat

I found this thought from Frost in a lovely video rendition of Debbie Millman’s Fail Safe essay and speech. That “lump in the throat” we experience when confronted with wonder or heartache or an epiphany of some sort is the call to expression. Ignore it too often and the lumps stop showing up.

Style + substance

Form AND function. Both should be remarkable. Quality content can get lost in poor delivery. Details matter. Presentation matters. I love how Apple cares as much about the package design as they do about the hardware and software engineering of their products. Tweaking the details of a design often leads to new insights in the […]

Try to be alive

via @Parislemon This was Hemingway’s advice on writing, but it works for advice on living an excellent life as well. I went home for lunch today and had a bite of watermelon while thinking about this quotation. As I was trying to really taste it like Hemingway suggests, I bit my tongue. (I won’t try […]

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