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 →

When I first taught university-level business courses, I regularly asked students to analyze a company’s financial health and write a cogent research report. After a few semesters of putting my red marking pens to work, I grew frustrated with poor grammar, inconsistent logic and otherwise sloppy work from dozens of individuals. Whenever I received an assignment that read too well, my first task was to run blocks of text through a plagiarism checker. With great disappointment, few literate papers passed the test. Many students cheated by having someone else do their work entirely or extracting full pages of words from published professionals. Eventually I insistedRead More →

For the last year, I’ve been reading books and attending events about writing technique, how to market one’s book, what to look for in a contract, how to work with an agent and much more. After a whirlwind week at ThrillerFest 2016 during which many of these topics were addressed, I’ve decided that a writer has to do it all, especially if one is contemplating self-publishing one or more books. Even if an individual has an agent and/or is publishing with a traditional firm, my view is that it is still smart to inform yourself about topics such as intellectual property rights, cost-effective ways toRead More →

I finally got a chance to watch the biopic about screenwriter and author Dalton Trumbo and am glad I did. Bryan Cranston served his real life model well by portraying this Hollywood blacklist member as a man of principle. While I disdain communism for lots of reasons, I do believe in free speech and understand that the politically charged era of the late 1940’s was beyond difficult for many who were ousted for their views. Regardless of one’s philosophy, an aspiring writer can readily look to this prolific artist for lessons about perseverance and discipline. According to Biography.com, Dalton Trumbo was “one of the mostRead More →

National Teacher Appreciation Day on May 3 was a nice reminder of the many individuals who generously shared their wisdom and knowledge with me. One gentleman in particular comes to mind. In charge of my high school Advanced Placement English class, Dr. Graham taught his students about the ups and downs of creative writing. Under his guidance, we had opportunities to stretch our talents as authors, poets and playwrights without the kind of reprisal that might discourage beginners. His feedback was always positive even when it was negative. I realize that now even though I did not always appreciate his candor back then. Still, he must have seenRead More →

I’ve been practicing yoga for a decade and try to take class four or five times each week. As my schedule permits, I bike, hike or lift weights. I used to think of exercise as a time sink but try now to think of physical activity as an important part of my daily routine. Getting stronger is a terrific benefit but something that happened slowly with interim bouts of frustration. Not every day is a walk in the park. To the contrary, there are days when I drag myself to the gym or the yoga studio because I am tired or pressed to meet aRead More →