In a recently reposted essay, Joel Friedlander of book design fame extols the virtues of utilizing snappy photographs to grab readers’ interest. I heartily concur. In my eleven years of blogging at Pension Risk Matters, followed by Good Risk Governance Pays and now I Paint With Words, I have included an image in nearly every write-up. A visual can sometimes be more evocative of an idea or feeling than words alone. A selection can enhance the central message even when it’s not directly related to the subject at hand. To reinforce my commentary about building trust, I embedded an illustration of a giraffe atop an elephant with the latter walking acrossRead More →

Many authors are told to write about their personal experiences. Others advocate for good research as a substitute for “been there, done that.” Whatever your philosophy, most agree that writing about the human heart makes sense. There are universal traits that transcend borders and inspire and engage. Kindness, fear and love are just a few examples. Sometimes the process of getting words on paper may be less about selling a work and instead helping someone cope or celebrate. That’s my reason for writing tonight. I am sad and wanted to express myself by reflecting on the loss of a good and decent man. One dayRead More →

As I explain in “Goal Setting With the Help of An Accountability Buddy” (December 29, 2016), there are real advantages of having someone regularly push you to stay on track. I’ve never worked with a creative partner this way so I welcomed the idea when a friend asked me if we could goal-set together. Having had our first weekly call this Monday, here are my thoughts: Creating my “to do” list to share with someone else takes time but it forces me to seriously reflect about macro and micro objectives, decide how many hours I ought to allocate to each activity and rank what has to get done first. It feels good to be able toRead More →

If you have yet to see La La Land with Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, consider a trip to the cinema for an entertaining tale of two young people with Hollywood dreams. Set to music, the film is visually appealing and a nice throwback to the Fred Astaire – Ginger Rogers type productions of yore. The stars, box office draws both, convince the audience to root for them as they seek fame and fortune. Their path is not easy. We watch the protagonists realize their share of hard knocks and disappointments. Yet they triumph … sort of.  (Stop reading here to avoid SPOILERS.) By taking risks, they both end up with undeniable careerRead More →

During the last year, my research about the science of happiness and gratitude, along with my related analysis of what publishers are buying, suggests that stories about dogs and cats continue to be big business in the literary world. They are pop culture and movie favorites too. Although my debut inspirational gift book, soon to hit shelves in January 2017, is not exclusively centered on Fluffy and Rover, I’m excited that some of my pages reflect the sweetness of beloved pets. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (“ASPCA“) estimates that 40 to 50 percent of U.S. households include 70 to 80Read More →

If you like psychological thrillers and have yet to see The Fall, grab the popcorn and prepare to be glued to your sofa. After broadcasting its third season in the United Kingdom, this tantalizing BBC produced crime show is now available to Netflix streaming customers. Created by entertainment guru Allan Cubitt, The Fall takes the viewer on a bumpy ride for seventeen episodes as Gillian Anderson (starring as a senior police investigator) tries to capture a killer (played brilliantly by Jamie Dornan) and then, once caught, make sure he is punished with a long jail term. In between the chase and the search for justice,Read More →

In the last few months, I’ve been getting a crash course in independent publishing from idea generation to distribution. Candidly, the process is considerably more work than I anticipated but I am excited about the feedback from beta testers and the continued validation about potential readership appeal. I will report much more about what I’ve learned as my first of several books gets closer to a launch in early 2017. For now, I offer three observations: Writing for profit is a serious business. One should have a good idea, investigate competitors and figure out how the final book should be priced, marketed and sold. ForRead More →

I’ve been longing to attend a “Save the Cat” screenwriting workshop for many months. I’d heard great things about this disciplined approach to storytelling. I was not disappointed. The content was developed by the late Blake Snyder, billed as “one of Hollywood’s most successful spec screenwriters” and author of several popular “how to” books. My instructor was Ben Frahm, likewise a screenwriter with an impressive track record in the entertainment business. I have more to learn about creating a “beat sheet” that translates a three act piece into fifteen key events to ensure drama, pacing and appeal. I am still reading books and articles aboutRead More →

As many writers, musicians and artists attest, getting started is the key to giving voice to your desire to inspire others. If you don’t begin somewhere, you’ll never move forward. As I discovered this evening during dinner with a good friend, a fellow yoga student is walking this walk in a big way. Meet Dr. Mark J. Schiff – painter, credentialed restorative dentist and a true role model when it comes to the “just do it” philosophy. As Mark explains in an interview, his encounter with artists while traveling in California in the early 2000’s was the jump start for a blossoming career as anRead More →