Identifying Your Photographic Inspiration and Style

The Daily Post

Today’s technology makes the creation of a photograph a trivial thing. With the rapid improvement of cameras within mobile devices in the last decade, we are rarely without the ability to take photographs of the minutiae of our daily lives. We can share images with others with the tap of a button, and the feedback in the form of likes and comments is addictive. With the trivialization of photography in an age of selfies, latte art, sunsets, and vintage color filters (all of which I love, if I’m being honest), some of the heart and art of the craft seems to be getting lost. As a photographer, do you take the time to identify and understand what really excites you when you find it in front of your lens? If not, do you wish to start?

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” —…

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on the advice of Nick’s father


Whenever I begin to compare my life to that of someone else, I’m reminded of Nick Carraway’s line at the beginning of Gatsby: In my younger and more vulnerable years, my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since. “Whenever you feel like criticizing anyone,” he told me, “just remember that all the people in this world haven’t had the advantages you’ve had.”

I’m using the concept rather loosely, less in the way Fitzgerald intended and more along the lines of considering each of us comes from a different place. It has nothing really to do with having, or the lack of “advantages”, and everything to do with point of view.
Each of us is raised with a certain set of values based on our environment and the life experiences of the people who raised us. We take those values and adapt them…

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Weekend Edition: Love Your Mistakes Plus Good Reads and Writing Tips

Live to Write - Write to Live

It’s All Part of the Process

Wise Owl says, "There are no mistakes (only happy accidents)!" (Lovely altar to mistakes compliments of my sweet and creative friend Kristin Cutaia) Wise Owl says, “There are no mistakes (just happy accidents)!” (Image of a lovely “altar to mistakes” compliments of my sweet and creative neighbor, Kristin Cutaia)

Earlier this week, my friend Emma (fellow writer, mama, and – unlike me – a woman with a very chic style) shared an excerpt from an interview with Mike Patton of the band Faith No More. I am not cool enough to be an aficionado about Faith No More, but I loved the theme of the sound byte Emma shared: the value of making mistakes. Here’s a snippet:

But all the mistakes are little tiny little technical things, anyway, like, I shouldn’t have sung that that way, or, Oh, I was flat there. It’s not like, Oh, I shouldn’t have made this record. Because I feel like even if maybe I don’t like a particular record, it…

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Life is in the margins

William Pearse | pinklightsabre


People go to blogger conferences for about as many reasons as people blog. I went to the first one hosted by WordPress in Portland a few weeks ago with the simple goal of being inspired, and learning how to navigate Portland by bus, without a phone.

I had to leave early, but knew I’d gotten my money’s worth. On the drive back to Seattle I stopped twice at Rest Areas to write, to remind myself why I blog here, and the question of What’s Beyond.

On the first night, they had a mixer at the hotel in downtown Portland. I stopped at a bar beforehand and met a librarian who asked what I was doing there: I told her a blogger conference and she laughed, and asked what do they talk about at blogger conferences: blogging?

She was there for a librarian’s conference, on Day 3 with another day to…

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Not Good Enough: Confronting Gendered Self-Doubt by Stephanie Sylverne

Chicago Literati

Two years ago, while my grandmother was dying of cancer, I discovered she’d once had a calligraphy piece in an exhibition at the Newberry Library, an independent research institution in Chicago. She didn’t tell me this herself; I happened to find an old brochure from the event with her name listed as an exhibitor.

How could she neglect to mention this? Being part of a Newberry exhibition is definitely a brag-worthy accomplishment. Plus I’d started working on an historical novel that featured the library rather prominently, and was also based quite a bit on her family’s past, so the connection was sort of serendipitous.

I asked her where the piece was. I wanted to take it home and add it to the shrine of her artwork that was steadily collecting in my house. “Oh, that. I gave that away a long time ago,” she told me.

“You gave it away?…

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Waiting for Transformation by Cecily Berberat

Chicago Literati

The Disney dream factory has done it again. Despite audible groans over remake upon remake upon remake and a disheartening number of references to that condescending and gender normative term, “chick flick,” Kenneth Branagh’s live action Cinderella waltzed its way to box office victory this past month. The film’s continued profits approach the $400 million mark according to, who also confirmed Disney’s greedy plans to transform two to four more of its fairy tale mainstays into live action moneymakers. Large numbers beget large numbers and there’s no great mystery to the powerhouse marketing and distribution success bankrolled by Disney’s own bottomless pockets. The critical backlash to the Cinderella story, and Branagh’s most recent rendering of it, also fails to surprise. This newest Cinderella is too passive. She’s not ambitious or opinionated enough. She’s not smart enough and her waist is too small. Is she wearing a corset? Of course…

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HOW To Finish Your Damn Book


At the beginning of this year I wrote a post for that treasure trove of writing and publishing information,, about why you should finish your damn book. You can read that post here. It proved really popular. So popular that it seems to me like a lot of you are in the same place I was until last summer: wanting nothing more than to have finished your book, but finding yourself doing everything but writing it.

It’s all well and good for me to tell you why you should finish your book (nutshell: a finished book is the one thing everyone who ever got published/successfully self-published has in common) but how do you do it? How do you overcome procrastination? How do you finish your damn book?

I only know what worked for me, but maybe you’ll find something in there that works for you. Let’s see…


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