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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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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New York City: Riding the Subway into the Sky


His puffy red coat pressed close against my ratty corduroy jacket; I could almost believe I heard a sigh coming from his sleeves, as I crowded into the tiny space beside him. It was an early morning on the D train, running express over the bridge to Manhattan; I’d won the daily joust for a seat and was watching others spar for a clear space to stand, for room enough to check their phones as soon as the train went above ground because G-d forbid we miss anything even for a moment. I clutched my backpack on my lap and unzipped it, taking out a mint-green paperback, dog-eared and broken-spined.

The boy beside me glanced.

As the fireman said:
Don’t book a room over the fifth floor
in any hotel in New York.
They have ladders that will reach further
but no one will climb them.

New York is full…

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The Most Important Page on Your Author Website (Plus a Chance at a Freebie Consultation)

Live to Write - Write to Live

all about me notHello, there.

How are you? Good? Good.

I’d like to talk with you for a minute about what is probably the most important page on your writer/author website: The About Page.

The About Page may seem like a fairly run-of-the-mill page, but it’s statistically one of the most frequently visited pages on a site. No matter where people enter your site (your home page, a blog post, your books page, etc.) there’s a pretty good chance that they will also take a look at your About Page. Is your About Page doing its job?

A while back, I wrote a post for my marketing blog: How to Write an About Page – 5 Steps to Get It Right. The post is a bit of a rant, but I prefer to think of it as a loving intervention. In it, I explain – in detail and with common mistakes &…

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