Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear by Elizabeth Gilbert [Book]

I first saw mention of Big Magic: Creative Living Beyond Fear in some magazine I was reading. There were several writing and creativity books mentioned and I quickly requested those I hadn’t previously read from my local library. What I hadn’t noticed, until I started reading the book was that it was written by Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat Pray Love. This often happens to me. I don’t recognize famous people out in public or important people in a company or government. It is just not something I am attuned to. In this case, I might not even have started to the read the book had I known more about the author. Sometimes coming to a new resource “cold” allow you to take in important lessons without any preconceptions.

One big thing I agree with Gilbert on is that writing — like many creative pursuits — is indeed magic. Whether I have been writing, performing music, singing with a choir, performing solo or walking onstage in the play or musical, there is something amazingly magical in what results. Thinking that creativity is magic doesn’t mean that it is unattainable for everyone, though, only that we have to treat creativity as something that is special and — most importantly — something that everyone should experience, as often as possible, in their lives. 

Big Magic isn’t a book about writing, with special exercises, meditations, or prescriptions. Rather it is a book about having and coping with a creative life. Creativity is always seen as something special — found only in select others — and this can lead to our own denial of its power and rewards and our own abilities. In a section entitled Permission, Gilbert says that we should all be “entitled”. This is a loaded word these days, but the fact is, we should all feel entitled to engage in creativity throughout our lives, regardless of what others might say or do or how much they try to dissuade us. Creativity is a certain, inalienable right, like those others laid out in the Declaration of Independence. In fact, I consider it one large part of “the pursuit of happiness” that Jefferson gave such importance.

One of the most important lessons Gilbert imparts is one that many creatives might not want to hear. She says that, in most cases, you shouldn’t depend on or expect your creativity to support you financially. In fact, she thinks this is one of the best ways to kill of your creativity entirely. If you expect your music or poetry or photography to support you, you quickly turn the magical into drudgery. What you once loved to do becomes a hateful burden and if allowed to continue, will kill your desire to create. 

Sure, some lucky few might be able to support themselves from their creativity, but most will not. In fact, she says, “with rare exceptions, creative fields make for crap careers. (They make for crap careers, that is, if you define a “career” as something that provides for your financially in a fair and foreseeable manner, which is a pretty reasonable definition of a career.)”

No matter how successful you may become, there will still be aspects of any job that you hate — the bureaucracy, the finances, the constant travel and more. On the other hand, Gilbert says, “Creative living can be an amazing vocation, if you have the love and courage and persistence to see it that way.” For myself, I often say, “Love your creativity, but don’t necessarily expect for it to love you back.” There is much to be gained from creativity, but money not be the most abundant nor important.

Big Magic is divided into short, easily consumable, sections — more like a collection of essays, although unlike some similar books, it holds together well as a complete book, too. You can read it from cover to cover, as I did, or jump from essay to another as your mood — and your creative need — strikes you.

Come to Big Magic to help you understand and better manage your own creative life. Creativity is never an easy path, as either vocation or avocation, but it is amazing and something that everyone should experience in some way. Like most things in life, though, having a guide along a strange and confusing path is always more helpful than we might like to admit. Consider Big Magic one such guide in your creative life. Now, head out on your own creative journey.

Other books by Elizabeth Gilbert

See more of her books on Amazon

* A portion of each sale from Amazon.com directly supports our blogs
** Many of these books may be available from your local library. Check it out! 
** 74 copies of Big Magic are available to check out from the Los Angeles Public Library 


Noted: @Unsplash Provide Thousands of @CreativeCommons Images for Free

This is quite an amazing resource. It is so large it is almost difficult to contemplate how to make the best use of it. A search for coffee turns up 407 amazing photos on all aspects of coffee. Yikes! You could lose a lot of time in this collection, but also create some interesting stuff for your own web sites and projects — Douglas
Piotr miazga 119426Sylwia bartyzel 87907Thought catalog 188056
 

Starting or Restarting Your Web Site or Blog — New Media Tips #44

Over the last several weeks I have been consulting with clients who — perhaps as part of the typical New Year’s Resolution — called me in to help them start their website or blog. In most cases, they’ve had a website or blog for a long time, bit they’ve never really gotten the hang of using it to its best advantage. I would love to say this uncommon, but many of my clients are in just such a situation.

If you want to be part of the online world, and use it to your advantage, it does take time and energy. It doesn’t just do itself. Sure, you could hire someone to do it for you, but I have found that the best blogs and websites are curated by their owners. In some ways, they resemble your favorite little boutique — filled with little knick knacks that perfectly reflect the owners.  Sure, you could hire someone to do it for you, but I have found that the best blogs and websites are curated by their owners. In some ways, they resemble your favorite little boutique — filled with little knick knacks that perfectly reflect the owner’s interests and personalities.

Sure, you could hire someone to do it for you, but I have found that the best blogs and websites are curated by their owners. In some ways, they resemble your favorite little boutique — filled with little knick knacks that perfectly reflect the owner’s interests and personalities. Even more, I think the act of curating your own blog helps to develop a sense of why you should blog more often and how to develop more content for your blog.

Where to start?

Using my clients as an example, here are a few places to start when you want to get blogging again.

First, locate and notate all your login IDs and passwords. Time clouds our memories, so it may be necessary to reset passwords using the usual “Forgot Your Password” links on the various sites. If you can’t remember your password within a few attempts, simply reset it and choose a new password.

Once you have a new password, consider using a password service like Lastpass.com to store your passwords. You don’t want to have to go searching for login information — or change your password again in the future.

In most cases, here are some basic passwords you will need to get re-started:

  • Web Site Hosting (could be Dreamhost.com, GoDaddy.com, Bluehost.com or others)

This login information allows you to access the settings for your web hosting service, domain name and, in some cases, email addresses.

  • Blogging Software (could be WordPress.com, a locally installed version of WordPress, Blogger, Tumblr.com or others

This allows you to log into your blog, edit past posts, add new posts, upload photos, etc.

  • FTP (File Transfer Protocol)

FTP is a service which allows you to upload or download files from your website — operating much like copying files on your own computer. This allows you to upload photos, audio, video or PDF files. This is especially important if you want to share media files for podcasts, as they have to located on a web server before they an be shared as part of a blog post.

Usually, these three couplets of information are enough to allow you to get back to work. If you need further assistance, you may need to contact your service providers. It really isn’t that difficult to reset your password and such and get everything you need to get you blogging again.

Next Time: Figuring out what you want to share on your blog


Need more help? Add a comment using the “Leave a Comment” link below, contact me on New Media Interchange on Facebook or email at douglas@welchwrite.com

 

Noted: WordPress 4.7.1 Security Release Available, Immediate Update Recommended via Search Engine Journal

WordPress 4.7.1 Security Release Available, Immediate Update Recommended

Read WordPress 4.7.1 Security Release Available, Immediate Update Recommended

A security release for all previous versions WordPress is now available, which the company strongly recommends all users upgrade to immediately.

The previous version of WordPress, version 4.7, has been downloaded over 10 million times since being released last month. However, it didn’t come without its flaws.

Specifically, the release addresses eight security issues affecting WordPress versions 4.7 and earlier:

[…]

WordPress 4.5 “Coleman” Released – Upgrade Today

wordpress-logo-textonly-rgb

The lastest verison of the WordPress Blogging Engine, called “Coleman” in honor of jazz saxophonist Colman Hawkins, is now available for download and installation from the WordPress site. You can also easily existing installations in a few clicks, following the links in your dashboard.

This new version brings a host of updates and improvements including in-line link editing, formatting shortcuts, smart image sizing and more.

Watch this short introduction to “Coleman”


You can find a detailed listing of all the updates in the blog post, WordPress 4.5 “Coleman”, on WordPress.org.

 

 

Noted: WordPress launches its Mac app with all of the crucial publishing tools in place

WordPress Mac app

Noted: Beyond Blogging: Why Content Creators Are Making Mugs, Sweaters, And Moisturizer via Fast Company

Beyond Blogging: Why Content Creators Are Making Mugs, Sweaters, And Moisturizer via Fast Company

 Beyond Blogging: Why Content Creators Are Making Mugs, Sweaters, And Moisturizer via Fast Company

Sweaters, mugs, and wall hooks. These are not products one typically associates with bloggers. In fact, blogging and hawking wares does not seem like a natural fit, exactly.

But bloggers often feel the desire to move beyond the two-dimensional landscape of their websites and create physical products. Take John and Sherry Petersik of Young House Love who designed quirky wall hooks sold by Target, Kendi Skeen of Kendi Everyday, who set up her own brick and mortar boutique or lifestyle blog The Everygirl, which creates tumblers and mugs emblazoned with inspirational quotes. (Oh, and let’s not forget Gwyneth Paltrow’s foray into selling overpriced sweaters on her blog, Goop.) It seems easy enough to jump from editorial to creating real life products, but is it?

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

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Noted: Rise of the museum Twitter bots via Kottke

Rise of the museum Twitter bots via Kottke

Rise of the museum Twitter bots via Kottke

John Emerson has compiled a list of Twitter accounts that periodically tweet out images from the online collections of some of the world’s best museums, including the Met, the Tate, the Rijksmuseum, and MoMA.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

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Video: New Media 101: Perfect is good. Done is better! from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Part of the New Media 101/Blogging 101 series…

A quick clip from this 45 minute presentation — The Why, What and How of Blogging.

Watch the entire presentation

New Media 101: Perfect is good. Done is better! from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

 

Transcript:

What I will say, though, and I have to deal with this with podcasters and video a lot, is that the “P” word comes up — Perfection. They want it to be perfect before it ever sees the light of day. it will never be perfect. We all know, perfect does not exist. It is a great goal. It is a great brass ring out there that we constantly keep grabbing for. We are never going to get there. And unfortunately, what happens is, in reaching for that brass ring all the time, they never do anything. They totally abandon all the benefits they might get from all forms of new media — whether its blogging or podcasting, whatever — waiting for perfection. And I always say — I have a theater degree, that’s the degree I graduated college with. I worked in the costume shop as part of my theater degree. And we had a costume designer who was very fond of saying, “Perfect is good. Done is better! The actor has to go on stage wearing something. So if that stitch isn’t quite right, you know what? We’ll pin it. They have to go out there now.” That is something I took to heart back in the early 80’s when I was in college. Yeah, perfection is something we reach for, knowing we’ll never get there, but up until the point — we search for perfection up until the point where it prevents us from actually doing something. So, that is the balance you have to strike. You have to find that balance of “it’s not perfect, but it’s good enough. It presents my ideas clearly enough and to just try to avoid the analysis paralysis of “it’s not good enough. It’s not good enough,” and work around that because that is a very common problem that we run into.


 Enjoy this video? Consider a donation via PayPal to support further new media demos, talks, videos, and podcasts.


Previously on New Media 101/Blogging 101:

More information on Douglas E. Welch and Careers in New Media:

Video: New Media 101: Blogs as a place for your stuff from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Part of the New Media 101/Blogging 101 series…

A quick clip from this 45 minute presentation — The Why, What and How of Blogging.

Watch the entire presentation

Video: New Media 101: Blogs as a place for your stuff from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Transcript:

The other thing you can do with blogging, too, is blogs give you — is anyone familiar with George Carlin — they give you “a place for your stuff.” Too often, with our web sites, it’s like “Oh, I want to put up these photos but I have to figure out how to a make a gallery page and I’ve got to format all the pictures and …” Now, you don’t. With a blog, a blog gives you a ready-made place — and by typing to other services on the Internet like Flickr for photo sharing, and YouTube for video sharing, whatever — you suddenly now have the ability to put something up on YouTube — a little short video you took. You take that little embed code that they give you. How many people have seen the embed code there? You hop over to your blog and go, paste. Publish. That video is now on your web site. It’s now on your blog and everybody can read it. It’s not that hard. This is what I try to reinforce with people all the time. It’s not that difficult. It’s not that hard and I hope that if you dive into this, I hope that you will see that, by using these others services. The Internet world has become so much simpler over the last even 5 years compared to what we had to face early on of — I mentioned ftp and command lines — Oh, I need to upload this so ftp (space) login and ok — it was, if not difficult, it was cumbersome. Nowadays, especially with the advent of blogs, it is so much easier, because all these sites exist. YouTube and Flickr and Picasa and other sites that simply say, “Oh, ok, you sent your content up to us, that’s great. Where do you want to use that?” I want to us it there and I want to use it here and I want to use it here and I want to use it on Facebook and…you can put it everywhere from that one source.


 Enjoy this video? Consider a donation via PayPal to support further new media demos, talks, videos, and podcasts.

 

 


Previously on New Media 101/Blogging 101:

More information on Douglas E. Welch and Careers in New Media:

Video: New Media 101: Effective Reblogging from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Part of the New Media 101/Blogging 101 series…

A quick clip from this 45 minute presentation — The Why, What and How of Blogging.

Watch the entire presentation

New Media 101: Effective Reblogging from from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

 

Transcript:

The other thing that is great about blogs — you should be reading other blogs as well, which a lot of you probably are, whether you realize you’re reading a blog or not, you probably are. One of the great things you can do is, what we call, reblog and that doesn’t simply putting that blog post on your blog and saying, “Hey, isn’t this net!” I don’t care necessarily about that blog post you’re putting up there. Yes, the information is interesting — the reason you put it on your blog is to give me your take on that information — taking a news story of the day and giving me your, unique thoughts and ideas about that topic. If you look at my blog, you’ll often see I do tend to reblog fairly frequently, but I try to my darndest to make sure I have a good paragraph up top that explains my thoughts about why this was important and interesting to me and what my thoughts are about that particular topic. Why it caught my eye and why I put it in my blog to share with all my readers. 


 Enjoy this video? Consider a donation via PayPal to support further new media demos, talks, videos, and podcasts.


Previously on New Media 101/Blogging 101:

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Software: WordPress 4.0 Now Available for Upgrade on all your sites

I saw notice today that the latest version of WordPress is now available for install on all my WordPress sites (and most likely, yours too). I have been working my way through all 6 blogs, upgrading plugins, themes, etc as necessary and haven’t seen any issues.

Here is a video outlining all the changes and new features.

`Software: WordPress 4.0 Now Available for Upgrade on all your sites

Visit the WordPress Codex for complete and detailed information

News/Opinion: I decide what has value to me! — Just say NO to filtered feeds on Facebook, Twitter, et al!

Facebook, Twitter and other services seem to think that they know what you want to see in your social media streams more than you do.

(See Twitter CFO says a Facebook-style filtered feed is coming, whether you like it or not)

They’re wrong!

While they might try to sell this as a way to make your streams better and easier to use, the benefit lies entirely with them. By shaping streams they control the message, the trends, the advertising, everything.

I see stream shaping as very similar to cable television services that refuse to offer ala carte selection of channels. It is better for their business to force users into “packages” but much, much worse for customers. They use exclusivity and and pricing to force customers to choose all or nothing in their entertainment choices. Do we really want our social media streams being controlled in the same way.

Facebook Twitter

Facebook, Twitter and others need to keep their hands (and supposedly intelligent software) off my social media streams. I will decide what is important to me. I will decide who I want to follow and read. I will decide what has value and interest to me, not them.

If they can’t provide this then I will choose some other source that can. In fact, I can see a very large opening for social media sites that specifically DON’T try to monitor, manipulate and monetize my stream to their advantage.

Facebook has already shown how they will manipulate News Feeds to their advantage in the name of money and control — forcing businesses to “Promote” their posts if they want them seen at all, even though individuals have specificaly said they want to receive those message by Liking and otherwise subscribing to pages and individuals.

Are we really destined to go down the same scarcity-based, authoritarian systems we have lived with for a hundred years, from newspapers, to radio, to television? The Internet’s promise is one of openness, personal control and egalitarianism. Methods like shaped stream and filtered feeds have no place on an open Internet. They are methods from a bygone era, not what we should expect, or accept, from 21st Century companies.

 

Video: New Media 101: Capturing the Content You Already Have from from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Part of the New Media 101/Blogging 101 series…

A quick clip from this 45 minute presentation — The Why, What and How of Blogging.

Watch the entire presentation

Transcript:

A lot of the pushback I get on blogging from people is “It’s too much work. I can’t add all that work. Oh my god, I’ve got to update every day. I can’t do that. That’s too much extra work” And I tell them, it isn’t extra work. Your goal is to simply capture what you are already doing. The fact is, each and every one of us creates content every single hour of every single day. The trouble is, for most of that content, we throw it away. We don’t capture it. We dont’ sit down and write a 4, 5 sentence paragraph of “Wow. I had this problem and this is how I solved it” — and post that to the blog. It just evaporates. This is why people think, “Oh gosh, it’s so much extra work. I have to sit down and look at the blank page and write.” Which is probably secondary to standing up in front of people as one of the biggest fears that a lot of people have. “What do you mean I’ve go to write? I’ve got to write a paragraph. Oh my god, I can’t do that.” The fact is you’re already doing it. What you need to do is capture it. And that means, capturing a 4 to 5 to 6 sentence paragraph of how you solved a particular problem you were faced with today. How you addressed a particular issue for a client.


 Enjoy this video? Consider a donation via PayPal to support further new media demos, talks, videos, and podcasts.


 

Previously on New Media 101/Blogging 101:

More information on Douglas E. Welch and Careers in New Media:

Noted: Twitter Now Shows You Exactly How Many People See Your Tweets — And It’s Mesmerizing via Business Insider

Twitter Now Shows You Exactly How Many People See Your Tweets — And It’s Mesmerizing via Business Insider

Twitter Now Shows You Exactly How Many People See Your Tweets — And It's Mesmerizing via Business Insider

Twitter has released its Twitter analytics dashboard to all users, and it’s completely awesome. (Here’s Twitter’s official guide on how it works.)

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

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Video: New Media 101: Gain permission to enter people’s lives from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Part of the New Media 101/Blogging 101 series…

A quick clip from this 45 minute presentation — The Why, What and How of Blogging.

Watch the entire presentation

New Media 101: Gain permission to enter people's lives from The What, Why and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Transcript:

Your goal in having a blog, in having a podcast, in having a web site, is to gain people’s permission to speak to them on a regular basis. This does not mean spamming them and hoping they read your message. This is getting their permission. One of the adjuncts of a blog is — there is this thing called an RSS feed. Have people heard of RSS feeds? it’s basically a machine-readable version of your web site — of your blog that automatically gets updated that people can then subscribe to in an RSS reader. It sort of looks like an email program. It’s an RSS reader that can then tell them whenever you publish something new. They don’t have to come to your web site saying, “Is there new information? Is there new information? Is there new information?” It comes to them. What that means is, that’s one way for them to give you their permission to you for you to come into their life whenever you have anything interesting to say. Which I always add on, please make sure you have something interesting to say. That’s actually less of a criteria — less of a stumbling block — than you might think.

 

Previously on New Media 101/Blogging 101:

More information on Douglas E. Welch and Careers in New Media:

Video: New Media 101: What do you blog about? from The Why, What and How of Blogging with Douglas E. Welch

Part of the New Media 101/Blogging 101 series…

A quick clip from this 45 minute presentation — The Why, What and How of Blogging.

Watch the entire presentation

 

Transcript:

What do you blog? It sounds ridiculous. It sounds a little silly, but the fact is — everything. By that I mean, everything that means something to your clients. First of all, one of the craziest rules about the Internet, which goes totally against modern mainstream mass media is — you actually no idea who your audience is. You can’t say — you may say, “Aw, I’m going to target males 25 to 35 with this much income.” It doesn’t really matter, because these days, outside of mass media, your audience had to find you — going back to the search engines again. It’s your job to put stuff out there so that people can stumble upon you. There’s actually a web site called StumbleUpon you might played around with a little bit. It is by putting your information out there that you allow people to stumble upon you. You want to get your message out there so that when people are searching on accounting, up you pop. When they’re talking to a friend, their friend will say “Oh here’s a great web site I found about that and pass that along. 

 

Previously on New Media 101/Blogging 101:

More information on Douglas E. Welch and Careers in New Media:

Video: New Media 101: Where should you “advertise”? from “The What, Why and How of Blogging” with Douglas E. Welch

Part of the New Media 101/Blogging 101 series…

A quick clip from this 45 minute presentation — The Why, What and How of Blogging.

Watch the entire presentation

Video: New Media 101: Where should you
 

Transcript:

We talk about advertising a lot in the podcasting world and the blogging world and the web world and I often use the analogy of if you are, you have an alpaca farm up in Northern California and you make the world’s best, finest alpaca yarns. Where should you be spending your advertising dollars? Are you going spend your advertising dollars during CSI at 9 o’clock on CBS where less than 1% of the audience wants to hear your message? Or are you better off advertising on a knitting blog or a knitting podcast of which there are probably at least 35 of them a last count I saw in the iTunes Podcast Directory – where 99% of the people want to hear your message. That’s what the power of blogging, the power of web sites, the power of New Media brings to you. it’s talking to the people who want to hear your message. In fact, through the search engines, they’re seeking you out. They’re coming to your site saying, “Oh, they do accounting consulting. They do computer consulting. They do life coaching. Through a search engine they found your web site. The trouble is, your web site has to be out there telling people that’s what you do so that the search engine find you and presents your results to these people so that they can then come to your web site. 

 

Previously on New Media 101/Blogging 101:

More information on Douglas E. Welch and Careers in New Media:

Noted: WordPress 3.9.2 Security Release Out, Immediate Update Recommended via Search Engine Journal

WordPress 3.9.2 Security Release Out, Immediate Update Recommended via Search Engine Journal

WordPress 3.9.2 Security Release Out, Immediate Update Recommended via Search Engine Journal

WordPress 3.9.2 has just been rolled out as a security release for all previous versions. WordPress strongly recommends that you update your sites immediately.

This release fixes a possible denial of service issue in PHP’s XML processing, reported by Nir Goldshlager of the Salesforce.com Product Security Team. It was fixed by Michael Adams and Andrew Nacin of the WordPress security team and David Rothstein of the Drupal security team. This is the first time our two projects have coordinated joint security releases.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

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Noted: Google’s HTML5 Web Designer Gets Animation Tools, Deeper AdWords And DoubleClick Integrations via TechCrunch

Google’s HTML5 Web Designer Gets Animation Tools, Deeper AdWords And DoubleClick Integrations via TechCrunch

Google’s HTML5 Web Designer Gets Animation Tools, Deeper AdWords And DoubleClick Integrations via TechCrunch

Last September, Google launched Web Designer, a free tool for Mac, Windows and Linux that makes it easy for anybody to build interactive HTML5 sites and ads. Since its launch, Web Designer got a couple of minor updates, but today’s release is the first major update in a long time and brings quite a few new features to the software.

The company says that ads built with Web Designer have now been seen over 2.5 billion times. The majority of users (72%) are outside of the U.S. and 20% are returning users.

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“Noted” items are particularly good finds from my daily reading which I share via all my social media accounts.

Find more Noted items here