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 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 →

If you are in midtown Manhattan, try to make your way to 41st Street, between Fifth Avenue and Park Avenue, for a glimpse of delightful expressions about books, writing and life. Known as Library Way, this series of bronze placards calls out notable words from famed authors that include Thomas Jefferson, Ernest Hemingway and Langston Hughes. Click here to read the full catalog of quotes. Once you have finished (if you are moving east to west), you will be rewarded with a view of the impressive main library building and the pair of lions, Patience and Fortitude, that guard the door. Time permitting, go insideRead More →