Be good at two things

Cartoonist and former ad copywriter Hugh MacLeod sent out an excellent newsletter about being good at two things. In it, he spells out the reasons why we should be knowledgeable in two areas in order to maximize our unique career potential. When you’re very good at “n”, there are probably thousands of people who are […]

No hard feelings: Embracing emotions at work

Authors and experienced designers Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy have collaborated on a book that offers strategies and guidance on how to deal with toxic workplace culture. Entitled No Hard Feelings: The Secret Power of Embracing Emotions at Work, the book implores us to detach ourselves from the seriousness of work and pursue a […]

‘A dragon day is a day when you refill your creative well’

4. Everyone needs a dragon day. In the middle of my burned-out period of the challenge, I started sculpting little dragons out of clay, just for fun. I did this on Sundays, which is my permanent day off from painting (thirty-in-thirty challenge or not, I still wasn’t planning to paint on Sunday). When I was talking […]

At a crossroads

Waiting for confirmation begets a wish washy answer. The solution is never what you want to hear. Fence-sitters are the first ones to capitulate to the doubting disease. Debate decreases their likeliness of action. What if instead of a tip-toe in, we pursued our beliefs despite our ambivalence. As Eleanor Roosevelt once implored us, “Be […]

A simple way to set your focus for the day

Although you can download all the productivity apps in the world (and I have), no app will make you care about what you have to do like the Rule of 3. The rule is dead simple: 1. At the beginning of every day, mentally fast-forward to the end of the day, and ask yourself: When […]

‘Even with an entire dictionary in one’s head, one eventually comes to the end of words’

“Every sentence is a wispy net, capturing a few flecks of meaning. The sun shines without vocabulary. The salmon has no name for the urge that drives it upstream. The newborn groping for the nipple knows hunger long before it knows a single word. Even with an entire dictionary in one’s head, one eventually comes […]

Ursula K. Le Guin’s writing habits

What is your ideal writing routine? For novelist Ursula K. Le Guin, it was all about writing in the morning, reading in the afternoon, and playing at night. Criss-crossing such experiences throughout the day was a boon to her creativity. Through a process of production, consumption, and rest, she built a proper system for keeping […]

‘The enemy is our chattering brain’

Don’t prepare. Begin. Remember, our enemy is not lack of preparation; it’s not the difficulty of the project or the state of the marketplace or the emptiness of our bank account. The enemy is Resistance. The enemy is our chattering brain, which, if we give it so much as a nanosecond, will start producing excuses, […]

19th century algae prints by Anna Atkins

These algae prints were misattributed for more than a century before art historian Larry Schaaf discovered that they were the work of British botanist Anna Atkins. As a pioneer of cyanotype photograms, a process in which sunlight (not a camera) imprints over objects on a piece of coated paper, Atkins produced the blueprints for a […]

‘Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence’

Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. The desire and ability to press on has and always will solve the problems of the human race and divide those who achieve from those who might have been. Ralph Waldo Emerson

‘Start the next one today’

I remember rolling the last page out and adding it to the stack that was the finished manuscript. Nobody knew I was done. Nobody cared. But I knew. I felt like a dragon I’d been fighting all my life had just dropped dead at my feet and gasped out its last sulfuric breath.   Rest […]

‘I’d rather have average art and survival’

I know that I stopped thinking about extreme grief as the sole vehicle for great art when the grief started to take people with it. And I get it. The tortured artist is the artist that gets remembered for all time, particularly if they if they either perish or overcome. But the truth is that […]

‘All human activity is prompted by desire’

All human activity is prompted by desire. There is a wholly fallacious theory advanced by some earnest moralists to the effect that it is possible to resist desire in the interests of duty and moral principle. I say this is fallacious, not because no man ever acts from a sense of duty, but because duty […]

Cal Newport’s Digital Minimalism

I’m looking forward to reading Cal Newport’s new book Digital Minimalism before my face falls off from the screen glare.  A philosophy of technology use in which you focus your online time in a small number of carefully selected and optimized activities that strongly support things you value, and then happily miss out on everything […]

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