Originality Doesn’t Matter | January Series no. 6

I don’t know if there is a single word in the artist community more misunderstood than: originality. Often, artists (or budding-artists) have great ideas, but they toss them away because they tell themselves: “Oh no, there’s no way I can create that. It’s already been done before.

To which I would say: so freaking what?


Debunking the Idea that Your Work Must be Original
– because the simple truth is: your work can’t be original

Let’s just clear something up: nothing is original. Everything has already been done before. Every question has been asked. Humans are still making the same mistakes they made in 1857 (if you think that date isn’t intentional, think again). We’re still repeating history because we can’t seem to get our freaking act together and learn.

So if you are searching for the ONE GREAT IDEA that has never been made in the history of the universe: stop wasting your time. That one, great, original idea? – it doesn’t exist.

But. If by some luck, you did find that ONE GREAT IDEA, you’d still be wasting your time. Because no one is going to care about your idea. Here’s why:

Nobody cares if your work is original, they only care if it speaks. People don’t care if things been done before because they want what’s relatable, human, and known. They want to feel less alone, so they go to art expecting it to pat them on the shoulder and whisper in their ear, “Me too. Me too. Me too.

When people look at a sunset painting, they do not think about how many other sunset paintings there are. What they care about is how they feel when they look at it: does the painting speak?


A Case Study in Un-originality
– Dear Evan Hansen

I remember when everyone was talking about it. They made references to it on twitter, and I saw the sheet music on Instagram. They said it was great. They said it touched their hearts. For whatever reason (and I still don’t know the reason), I never listened to it. That is: until March this year. Now. . .I understand what all the hype was about.

As of writing this post, Waving Through A Window has received 34,528,797 plays on Spotify.

Out of all the thousands of people that were touched by this musical, they weren’t touched because Dear Evan Hansen explored some obscure emotion no one had never heard about. No, people related to it because it was right in their face with every doubt they had ever felt, every question they convinced themselves was too stupid to say out loud. It gave them hope in a way that wasn’t far off. It was right there in front of them. It’s going to be okay and here’s why: you are not alone.

Show me someone* who went to the show and said something like: yeah it was good, but do you know how many other songs have been written about suicide and loss and loneliness? You know, I couldn’t help but think of every person who’s ever told me that my life matters. Blah. I really wish song writers would write something original, for once. Meh. This same, old refrain gets a little repetitive, to be honest.

*i mean, critics
might have, but
they’re not paid
to enjoy art, are they?


I’m not saying that everyone adored Dear Evan Hansen. I have actually come across several people who said it was too depressing. That’s fine. But. This musical touched enough people that, it shows me you don’t have to produce some BIG GREAT story line in order to make a difference. Sometimes it’s the little things that speak. Sometimes they speak louder than big things.


In Conclusion
– I’ll let W.H. Auden say it for me:

“Some writers [or artists] confuse authenticity,
which they ought to always aim at,
with originality, which they should never bother about.”



so go
make authentic art.



|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

What do you think about originality? Have you ever worried that your art wasn’t original enough? Is there something you’ve seen or read that was the complete opposite of “originality” but it still touched you beyond words? Tell me about it.

Spring in Flowers | a photo journal. . .of sorts

A lot of you have asked me to share photos here. But honestly, I’ve been putting it off because well. . .I already share them on Instagram (and sometimes Twitter). And to share them on my blog too. . .idk, it feels a little excessive.

But here.

A selection of spring flowers and loveliness. Enjoy.
Sorry for the ones I’ve already shared on Instagram.
click on the photos
for exposure settings.
It’s my camera’s neat
little feature



“I can only say that I photograph what appears to be aesthetically beautiful
and what I can visualize as a photograph  worth creating
for myself, and I hope, for others.”
|| Ansel Adams



hope your day
is lovely

Moments Without Words

I planned to write this and post it in May. Now what is it? Almost June? So much for life not getting in the way of well. . .life. I wrote a bit about how stressful May has been for me on Instagram already, so I won’t go into it here. But if you missed my blog posts, rest assured that I have another one in the works for next week, and I’ll try not to skip out on you guys without warning again.

It’s just that: I haven’t had the energy for blogging or writing.
You understand, right?
Okay good.

Recently I watched this video about staying present, and wow it blessed me so much. I always knew little, mundane things weren’t really little or mundane. But really: how many times am I not paying attention? how many times am I too busy to notice? In the midst of a stressful, hectic life, there is still time to stop and recognize things that might only happen once in a lifetime. So that’s what I’m trying to do – stay and breathe. Because there’s only this moment, and then it’s gone. Forever.

// Rereading The Storyteller on whim and laughing because I’ve forgotten how much I love this book. // The feeling I get when I’ve forced myself out of a chair, and gone for a run. The air in my lungs, the renewed energy – it’s so much better than sitting still. Like I could take on the world. // Late game nights when you don’t care how stupid you look when you’re laughing so hard you can’t breathe. // Sunrise and hearing birds build nests outside my window. //

Singing at the top of your lungs when nobody’s home. #sorryneighbors

// Growing plants. I never thought I’d be a sucker for little plants (my mom has the gardening thumb), but I guess I am now. I have half dozen in my room and they’re taking over my wall, and I love them. // Going back and listening to music I loved as a teenager and finding that I still love some of it. // Finding old schoolwork in the garage. Remembering how obsessed I was with drawing + how I used to cry over math. //

“The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while the ordinary man takes everything either as a blessing or a curse.”

|| Carlos Castaneda

// Singing with your siblings all the words to Dear Evan Hansen. And laughing because we can’t sing as well as Ben Platt (I mean, we all wish we could, but whatever. . .) // s/o to librarians who comment on the books I’m checking out. And then we have a ten-second conversation about them before I leave. It’s awesome. // Reading Lisa Cron and bookmarking every. single. page. //

Denial, Hidden Figures, The Light Between Oceans

– I have no words for how amazing these films are.

Joe Zambon’s album Love Is has blessed me so much I can’t even say. It’s about love, and what it means to love, and not being afraid of love. I mean, listen to the entire album, but especially this song.

Cause Love will never leave when I retreat
Love will never break the bruised reed
Love doesn’t call me a burden to bear
Love says I’m a gift that’s worth everything
Love embraces me. Love replaces fear
It’s recreating me. Love’s recreating me

|| Joe Zambon, Love’s Embrace

// When Little Brother knows a soundtrack piece so well, that he yells out “key change!” at all the appropriate moments. #proudsister // Helping Little Sister set the table, and she opens the top cabinet like a boss, and I realize that she’s growing up so fast, and that I actually don’t need to help her anymore. //

Little Sister reached up to touch my shoulders and I turned around,
“Hey, how did you get so tall?”
“I’m nine,” she said.

What has been making
you smile lately?
always forward.

Free Soundtrack Suggestions | no. 1

Hey guys,
Hope your May is awesome

Back in April, I asked what kinds of content you’d all like to see here.


#totallycoolwiththeresults *nods*

This is my first soundtrack suggestions post, so feel free to let me know in the comments if you want me to do more like this, or if you’d like me to do a post with more “high-intensity” scores. Whatever you guys think would be cool.

Let’s get into it.

Desert Dancer

I don’t have a ton to say about this score other than it feels like being lifted off the ground and spun around and around. And the cover is amazing.

to start, listen to: Desert Dancer (seriously, my favorite track of the whole thing), Afshin’s theme





I can’t tell you how many time I’ve replayed the main theme. It’s 1:59 of pure bliss, like you’re flying over the expanse of the ocean and the waves are breaking, and you look up at the sun shinning in your face. Bliss and sunlight – that’s what this theme feels like. s/o to Patience for this one.

to start, listen to: Main Theme, Train, Layers Expanding Time, Home is With Me, Arrival





s/o to Abbiee for this one. And it’s one of my all-time favorites. The tracks flow so easily together, almost like there are no gaps at all. It’s just a pleasure to listen to while I’m cooking or working or creating.

to start, listen to: The Test, When You Were Born, Pretty Bird, Mary’s theme, Sunset





You know Lorne Balfe from the collaborations he’s done with Hans Zimmer (Dunkirk, Saints and Strangers), Rubert Gregson-Williams (The Crown), but he’s done some wonderful scores on his own too. I started this one on a whim, and ended up listening all the way through – it’s that good.

to start, listen to: Meeting with Monty, An Unsociable Hour, Meeting with the King, A Cottage by the Sea, The Speech




Wind River

For me, this is a score I’d listen to after the movie, just to bring back the feeling. To remind me of frigid cold and snow, and running barefoot across the snow. Also. . .the cover is gorgeous too.

to start, listen to: Snow Wolf, Tell Me What it Is, See You Tomorrow, Survive or Surrender




Far From the Madding Crowd

Believe it or not, this is the score that introduced me to The Village. I was listening to the Opening on YouTube and someone in the comments mentioned how similar it was to The Gravel Road (so obviously I went and listened to it). It’s on my list to ask him if he was inspired by The Village when he composed this score.

to start, listen to: Opening (props if you listen to The Gravel Road after), Spring Sheep Dip, Troy Swims Out, Oak Leaves, End Credits




The Mountain Between Us

When you think of Ramin Djawadi, you probably think of heavy, dark, epic-style music like The Game of Thrones, or Dracula. But this one doesn’t sound like anything he’s done before, and I absolutely LOVE IT.

to start, listen to: The Mountain Between Us – then, the entire thing.




|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

Tell me your favorite soundtrack(s) • Have you listened to any of these before?Would you like more “soundtrack suggestion” posts in the future?

Is Photography Art?

I’m actually not sure if I’m qualified to talk about this, because until very recently, I never even considered the question – is photography art? But sometimes I get lots of thoughts about something and well. . .writing is where I go to sort it all out.

Welcome to the chaos.

I used to think, it doesn’t matter what people think about photography, because I’m going to do it anyway. And that’s a good thing, I guess. If I worry too much about if what I’m doing is “art” then I might stop. And that isn’t a good thing. Creativity isn’t about perfection, after all. It’s about following your curiosity.


I have been reading a lot photography books lately, and absorbing a lot of Ansel Adams. I’ve flipped through South With Endurance (which I highly recommend because it’s marvelous). I watched a Netflix series following photographers around the world as they photographed cultures and exotic animals. I learned the photography world is so much bigger than my little space and my little camera.


Why Photography Isn’t Art
– or can’t be, according to some

Because photography is such a broad medium, it leaves a lot of room for confusion when it comes to defining exactly what photography is. An art? A science? A reflection of reality? All of the above?

Some say that photography can’t be an art because it’s so accessible. Cameras are available to anyone who wants one, and even if you don’t want to carry around an extra piece – your cell phone doubles as a camera (remember when the iPhone 7+ came out and everyone was chatting about its photo quality?). Editing turns into a quick tap, and viola! – it’s good enough for Instagram. In theory, we could all call ourselvesphotographers.” Right?

Others say that photography isn’t art because of repeatability: the ability to make exact replicas of any photo, many times over. On the flip side, you couldn’t do that with, say, a painting. To copy a painting, you’d actually have to “paint” another copy. But even if you did that, your “copy” still wouldn’t be exactly the same as the original.

Even the “copy” is unique – something you can never do with photography. You don’t have to go out and take the same picture again. You can just make another one.

Repeatability applies to film photography as well as digital. Granted, it is more work to produce a print in the darkroom than it is to replicate a JPEG, but it’s still the same concept. You can imagine how widespread “repeatability” is for digital photography.

I can’t cover every variation here, but if you’re interested
here are a few articles + videos I found wildly helpful.

The Line Between Art and Photography | an A+ explanation of repeatability
Is Photography an Art Form?
Photography is Not Creative | he uses the word “creative” instead of “art”, but his point is excellent all the same.
Harold Feinstein :: Is Photography Art? | Harold’s answer to the question is the best part of this episode.


Photography is Different that Other Art Forms
– but that doesn’t mean it can’t be art

Technology has made photography feel cheap. Too easy – like anyone can pick up an iPhone and become Instagram famous. It’s certainly easy to say that photographs have become “too common” to be art. I agree with anyone who says that the digital age has blurred the lines between “art” and “whatever it is we call people doing – which they say is art.”

The overabundance of photos does diminish the individual image. Photographers have to work harder to create something unique and unforgettable if they want to “make it.” Not to mention that it’s harder to “sell” photographs nowadays unless you work for a magazine, do weddings or something.

I don’t, however, think you can lump all photography into one box and say: none of this is art because photography too common!

Let’s have an example, shall we?

Ansel Adams:
– master of the darkroom
– one of the greatest landscape photographers
– discovered the Zone System (which I have still yet to full understand)
– his prints still sell for millions

As I read his books, one common thread I found was the emphasis he put on visualization. On seeing what a photograph will look like before you shoot it, and then framing decision you make around that so you create the exact “look” you visualized.

This was news to me, and something I hadn’t thought much about. My photography is almost never pre-planned, instead it goes something like: if I think it looks pretty, I shoot it.

Maybe that works sometimes – and it certainly produces pretty photos. What this method is not, however, a recipe for timeless, expressive photographs. Think about the greatest photographers: Ansel Adams, Stephen Dupont (this is my opinion here), Frank Hurley, and others. Their work is unforgettable, isn’t it? But why?


Think about these photos: What is it about them that draws you?

Here’s what: it’s emotionEmotion – plain and simple. Sure, there might be a dozen other factors involved: eye-catching composition, proper exposure, visually-pleasing/interesting subject. But emotion, in the end, is what allows them to have a life beyond their technical slices. < < < That I think, might be what separates photography as "art” and photography as a “pretty photo.”

Porter says it best:

“The essential quality of a photograph is the emotional impact that it carries,
which is a measure of the author’s success in translating into photographic
terms his own emotional response to the subject.”
|| Eliot Porter

After all, isn’t this why art matters to us? The assurance that we are not alone, that we do not die alone, that something matters, that life is beautiful? Art speaks: either emotionally or aesthetically.

There is photography that speaks, just look at the photos above. So we can’t lump all photography together, just like we can’t lump all books together because we dislike YA. There are different genres of photography, just like there are different genres of books or music or whatever.


So. . .

Not every photography genre is art.
Not every photograph is art.

I’m not saying that photography isn’t creative (I absolutely believe it is). Creating things is creative – whether that’s painting or music or writing. It certainly takes creativity to put together a bookstagram photo or a flat lay. But it is “art“? Eh, I don’t think so.

. . . .

So. These are my preliminary thoughts on a matter. I really do apologize if they are jumpy or random, as I’m not 100% fluent in what everyone has to say about photography as an art. This is just what I’ve seen and read and heard. *shrugs*



|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

What do you think “art” is? • Do you think photography can be art, or no? What photography genre can’t be art, in your opinion?
Let’s chat!

How to Make Your Internet Hiatus More Effective

There has been a lot of talk on the blogsphere lately (at least in my circle) about internet breaks and hiatuses. The balance between real life and online life is something I’m crazy passionate about, so I thought I’d write something for those of you who’ve decided to go on breaks (or. . .if you’re thinking about it for the future).

1. turn off Wi-fi

Wi-Fi make the internet hard to escape because it’s always there, waiting for you to use it. Turning it off removes that urge to check Pinterest with every spare minute you have. You can take your laptop into another room, and work on whatever you need to do without having connection at your fingertips. It’ll make your internet break 100x easier, I promise.

if you’ve never turned off
your Wi-Fi before, here’s
an article that
explains it for you


2. delete social media apps off your phone

Unless you have rock-solid self-control, or are one of those people who can mentally decide something and 100% follow through with it, you shouldn’t kid yourself about cheating on your hiatus. My mom has this phrase she likes to quote all the time: “out of sight, out of mind.” < < < it’s good advice.

3. have a sibling or a friend change your passwords

Does anyone else have this problem? You decide to take a social media break, you stick it out for a day or so, and then you fall right back into your old habits. You want to kick yourself because you feel like a lazy human with zero self-control.

Me too.

Changing your passwords removes that temptation. You can’t cheat even if you want to. So ask your brothers (or better yet, your mom because she’d probably be 110% okay with locking you out of your social media. lol) to change your passwords to something they’d only know, and tell them they have to keep it a secret from you. #everyonewins

4. make a list of things you’re going to do instead of social media

Often we don’t realize how much time social media sucks out of our day, so cutting it out completely creates a void that feels like “free time.” That’s why it’s helpful to make a list of things you’re going to do when you feel like turning on your computer. Make a long list, so you have plenty of things to choose from. And don’t forget to add those necessary, boring tasks that need to get done too.

Things like:
– working out
– drinking water
– going for walks
– cleaning your house
– catching up on neglected mail


5. pick something to study

Depending on the purpose of your hiatus, this may or may not apply. If your purpose is to rest and refocus because you feel overwhelmed, you might want to make yourself tea and read a book. But if you’ve fallen behind on real life + creative work because social media is taking up all your time, then your focus will be productivity instead.

Last time I took an internet hiatus, I did so because I felt my photography wasn’t where it should be, and it had been a while since I did any serious study in that field. I gave myself an entire week to read photography books, and it helped so much! I learned a lot of new things (some of them will be coming to the blog soon), and I know I’ll continue to do these kind of focussed-study-breaks in the future.

. . . .

I know one thing: work is easier without distractions. This applies to education, creative work, and everyday tasks. Social media + the internet can be just another cheap + filler thing that sucks away time better spent elsewhere.

I love being a creative person and I love my work. But sometimes I don’t really want to put in the effort it takes to grow and learn new things. I’d rather be productively avoiding work, then actually be doing work. < < < < that’s when I know I need a hiatus.

I hope this
is helpful to you.

|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

Have you ever taken an internet hiatus? • What was the experience like?Can you think of anything else else to add to this list?

My Day In 10 Pictures | a tag by Lydia

A long time ago, I added this tag to the list I keep titled something like, “post ideas I’d like to do. . .someday. . .maybe.” So last week when I opened up that list looking for ideas, I was surprised to find that I had been tagged over three months ago! I read about bloggers apologizing for being late at doing tags, and you know what? – now, I know what it’s like to be the late one. (so sorry Lydia).

Today is March 25th, but these photos weren’t taken today because getting photos off my camera is a long process that invokes Dropbox + hours of editing with a cup of coffee and music. But. . .they were all taken within a short time of each other and they’re all accurate reflections of my typical Sunday.


Sunday | 3.25.18


0600 / Mornings are my favorite time of day. I love the feeling of getting up before everyone else and sitting quiet with a cup of coffee until the sun rises.

0630 / Sunday is the day when I comment on all your blogs. I like setting aside one day of the week to “batch comment” because then I don’t have to worry about it throughout the week.

0655 / Time to feed the goats. sometimes I can hold them off until 0700, but it’s not happening today. They’re starting to wake the neighborhood. The day is warm, so I run barefoot to the shed and toss their hay over the fence. I catch the last of the sunrise before I go back inside.

0800 / turn off laptop. make bed. rinse out coffee cup. chores.

0845 / breakfast.



1200 / Lunch. Seriously, the best part of being an adult is cooking your own food.

1500 / Feed the goats again. Help Brothers with homework. Write my to-do list. Sit and study for a while because I have a pile of photography books to go through.

I’m currently reading:
– Digital Landscape Photography | Michael Frye
– Understanding RAW Photography | David Taylor
– The Blood Race | K.A. Emmons (I finished it already, but still. . .)


#shamelessplug –
Kate is a stellar person
and you really should read
her book bc it’s amazing.

1600 / Working out is not a habit I like making, but it’s a necessary one, so. . .
earbuds in.
running shoes off.
2 miles. stretch.
(POI has some high-intensity tracks for running, just FYI)



1740 / Almost time to start dinner, and like most days, I turn on music while I cook.
(I listen to a lot of soundtracks, guys, I’m sorry).

1830 / dinner + sunset. My house faces west, so the lighting while I get dinner on is amazing. And it’s been raining nearly ever day this week, so the clouds are rolling in and making beautiful shapes.

1855 / dinner. clean up. family devotions. shower.

2000 / (publish this blog post) work on a project in front of Netflix #notprocrastinatingjustmultitasking

2100 / lights out.


What I learned was: a). this harder than it looks. b). Taking photos (and only ten), and setting them within a theme (your day) – it’s the recipe for a great photography project. So I really, really appreciate the tag, Lydia, and I hope you liked it. 😉


hope your week
is lovely.
postscript #1 – all photos
(except the header)
are mine.


|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

What’s on your weekend routine? • Are you a morning person or a night person?

Wired for Story | a smallish book review

I was originally going to make this a twitter thread or something,
but I decided that since I haven’t done a book review in a while,
this is the perfect time to write another one.

I heard about Wired for Story from Abbie, and since I have a habit of picking up books recommended by people I know on the internet, I went out and picked up this one. Even though I am not writing fiction at the moment, I was still interested to read Cron’s perspective on storytelling.

I have read quite a few “writing books” over the years. But this one is in my favorite’s list for two reasons:

A. it’s helpful. wildly so.
B. it’s straight-up honest.

It’s is the kind of book that has something helpful on every page. The ideas build on each other so much that you want to underline the whole thing at once. It has scope and details, and practical examples – and a lot, a lot of “writer myth” corrections. Cron really knows what she’s talking about.

Let’s get into it.


What is Story?
– and why people are the best judges of what story is.

I love that storytelling is at least as old as humans are. I love that, with the exception of very few people, most of us would grab a novel over a history book. And that, give us writers a very important task: to write stories that ignite the spark that sits doormat inside each of us.

Knowing why and what triggers these sparks is what Wired for Story is all about.

Think about your favorite book or film – how did it make you feel? Alive and inspired? Or maybe it struck you so hard in the chest that you wondered if you’d ever be able to breathe? All those feelings you felt were because your brain is wired to understand and embrace a good story.

But if you can recognize “good storytelling” you absolutely can recognize “bad storytelling.” Even if you can’t explain why it’s bad, you just know. It just doesn’t “feel right;” it doesn’t hit the right triggers; it feels fake and uncommitted.

Wired for Story is all about identifying what your brain expects a “good story” to be, and how you can use this information to write better stories. In each chapter, Cron tackles a specific cognitive secret, and then shows you how it applies to storytelling – your story. She approaches every angle of storytelling from the perspective of your reader. This was especially interesting to me, because a lot of writer books focus on the writer. But Cron showed me that the best thing you can do is write with your reader in mind.

So what exactly is story?

“A story is how what happens affects someone who is trying to achieve
what turns out to be a difficult goal, and how he or she changes as a result.”
|| Wired for Story, pg. 11


Writing is Algebra
– or, why you need to learn what makes a good story

As with every form of art, there are two parts equally important. There’s the fire and the algebra. Fire is the passion behind the craft, the sleepless nights, the motivation. But algebra is the how, the technical, the rules – it’s learning the why behind whatever it is that captivates you.

This is so so important for writers because you aren’t just writing for yourself. You are writing to be read someday. And if your readers cannot connect with your story because you didn’t study algebra, you will miss out on one of the greatest opportunities a writer can have – the chance make something that impacts people.

I want to briefly talk about some of the key points in Wired for Story that really struck me.



My favorite point she makes about characters is this: Characters need a believable reason for everything they do, everything they say, and every thought they think. And that reason must be believable or else the reader feels cheated.

For example: you would never allow your pacifist city-girl to shoot a man in cold blood, just because the plot demands that she get arrested so she can meet her long lost father in prison by the end of the book.



Most, I’d say, would define plot as: what happens in the story. But Cron argues that traditional definitions of plot leave out a critical part of storytelling – the characters. She defines plot this way: what happens to the character and how he/she changes as a result.

That sounds like the definition of story, doesn’t it?

When you only define plot as what happens in the story – without the characters – it feels disconnected and stale. There’s a bunch of things happening (and maybe they are epic, high-stake kinds of things), but the reader can’t make sense of it because it doesn’t feel organic or natural – meaning: not connected to the the characters. The story doesn’t change the characters, or maybe it changes them in ways that don’t make sense (which is why you have to get the character right, first before you can work on plot).

The plot should only make sense from the perspective of the character’s inner desires, thoughts and actions – not the other way around. Plot should never dictate what a character should think or do or say. Stories with plot that indicates what a character should think, do or say (this is called putting plot before character) never work because the reader knows, deep inside, that he/she character would never do/say that.

Readers will demand a reason behind very action and consequence in your story. They will not be satisfied with shortcuts, because they are wired (gosh, I have used that word too much today) to see the meaning behind everything. They will not want to read about how a middle-aged man survives an earthquake, they will want know what that earthquake cost him.

Did he change?
How did he react?
What did he lose?

The way I see it: plot and character are almost interchangeable. If the plot can only reflect the character’s inner desires, thoughts, and actions – then plot is something like the verse that says, “as a man thinks, so is he.” (also: what he does)


But! I’m not a writer!
– you should still read this book

Here’s the thing: you will encounter “bad storytelling” in your lifetime – whether or not you’re a writer. Chances are, you’ve already encountered it.

You know, the character who cheated on that other character even though she was in love with his best friend? Or the character who said something contradictory to what he said two episodes ago? Or the villain who you can’t imagine that he’d carry that kind of motive?

So wouldn’t you like to understand why your brain instinctively knows what bad storytelling is? Wouldn’t you like to know why that character’s motivation/actions didn’t set with you?

I would. I love the feeling when I understand the why behind something.

In February, I finished a TV series right around the time that I read Wired for Story. Now. The show is good. I liked it. But I couldn’t shake the feeling that writers weren’t being true to the characters, even though I understood why things happened the way they did. It disappointed me sometimes because, I thought the characters deserved better.

Reading Wired for Story really, really gave me a lot of perspective about the mistakes writers make, and the shortcuts they take in storytelling. I realized why I wasn’t connecting with the story as much as I would have liked to. And once I understood that, I started thinking of ways I could improve the plot based on what I thought the characters should have done. So my brain was working to overcome what I was watching, and turn it into something else.

My point is: once you know what storytelling mistakes look like, you’ll see them everywhere. You’ll know exactly why your favorite books resonate with you the way they do. You’ll understand the shortcuts made in movies. And most of all: you’ll understand that storytelling is hard, hard work.

Read this book.


What This Book Taught Me
– because lessons are good, am I right?

just a couple of things. . .

1) story is less about a “big, grand idea” and more about patterns, conflict, and change
2) writing is a demanding profession, not for the faint-of-heart
3) story is an art, yes, but it is also a science and if you what to get it right, you need to understand it
4) writing is communication. you should always write with your reader in mind
5) all readers subconsciously ask questions, and if you learn to anticipate those questions
and answer them, you will write better stories.*
6) writing is more about the details you leave out, than the details you put in

*questions like:
What is the point?
Why should I care?
Why does she feel that way?
What does it matter, anyway?



hope your week is lovely.
postscript #1 – and just so you know, Abbie
gives excellent writing book suggestions.
postscript #2 – all photos (except the header)
are mine.


|| Let’s Have a Conversation ||

Well, have you read Wired for Story • (if not, Abbie’s and my opinions should be enough to convince you). • What’s your favorite writing book and why?

#TheBetterHumanProject | your photos! + blog tag

Once upon a time (at the start of my January Series, actually), Abigail Lennah left me a comment with an idea – a really cool idea. So we sat together (virtually okay, because we live in two separate states) and planned out a way to let all of you into the idea. #TheBetterHumanProject is the result.

If you haven’t read about it – here’s my twitter thread from a couple weeks ago. And since I promised to feature your photos on my blog, that’s what today’s post is.


Keira | Resilience

Resilience isn’t something I’m good at. I stop when things get hard because I grew up in a culture where success and comfort are valued more than endurance.

I’m not talking about “you tripped on the soccer field” kind of resilience. Or the resilience it takes to get through math class. I’m talking about the kind of resilience where the only way out is through. The resilience it takes to survive a war, or being alone. That force inside you that says, I will not back down. I will not give up.

So. I want to get better at doing things I admire in others. To become the definition of resilience, “able to recoil of spring back into shape after bending, stretching or being compressed.”



Hanne | Aware

As part of #TheBetterHumanProject, I’m making my word AWARE. I want to be more aware of myself: to take care of myself when I need it, to understand my own needs when I need it, to see when I’ve crossed limits. I also want to be more aware of others: of their needs, of their feelings, of their time. Lastly, I want to be more aware of God. I want to see when He is moving, I want to see when He needs me to move, and I want to see when He wants me to wait.



Abigail | Perspective

Something I always strive to do and tell others is to gain perspectives— the ones in ourselves, our friends, or even those whose thoughts and opinions may highly differ from ours. Everyday, I constantly remind myself the situation is not black and white. Gray areas exist and are so much bigger than what we could comprehend.

Sometimes we look for things, too, and may not see what we may want to look for! But just hold on. Things look monochrome, but from this, we can perceive depth. We can perceive and gain understanding. We can perceive and hold out knowing one day, amidst all of the clash everything, there is more to life than meets the eye. So look around. Can you see it yet?



#The Better Human Project, blog tag
– our effort to see if anyone else wants to participate

At first, our idea was limited to social media, but we didn’t really get the response we’d hoped for. Then Abigail asked me if we wanted to branch out and make it a blog tag. She thought some of you might be more interested in a blog tag vs. a post on social media.

I said, let’s do it!

The idea is the same. You write a word/phrase on a piece of paper. Then you take a photo of that paper and then write a paragraph (or longer, if you wish) explaining what your word/phrase means to you and how it reminds you to be a better human.

For social media, you would hold the paper over your face and take a photo with it. But I thought we could branch out from that, and allow you guys to come up with your own creative ideas to display your photo. You could. . .pair it with your coffee, hold it over a creative background, tack it to your gallery wall, write it in your bullet journal – whatever you want.

here are the guidelines in a simple list:

1). write a word/phrase on a piece of paper
2). take a photo with that paper – as creatively as you wish
3). write in your blog post what your word/phrase means to you
+ how it reminds you to be a better human
4). add #TheBetterHumanProject somewhere in the title of your post
5). link back to this blog post, when you mention this tag

For social media, we wanted it to look cohesive, so we asked that you edit your photo b/w. But since this is a blog tag, feel free to edit your photos however it best fits your blogging style.

Please do let us know if you decide to do the tag! Abigail and I would love to read your thoughts and leave comments. I use twitter a lot, but instagram works too, if that’s better for you. Abigail can be reached on her blog, and her twitter.


One Last Thing…

You guys know how much I love aesthetics, right? So I put together a collection of ideas for how you could aesthetically display your piece of paper. Enjoy.


postscript #1 – all collage photos are via pinterest,
I do not own any of them.
postscript #2 – I am taking an internet + blogging
break for a while. I should be back the
middle of March (give
or take a few days)


Introducing The Hardworking Creative | an interview with Hailey Hudson

Today’s post is special for two reasons.

1). it’s Thursday (and you know I never post on Thursdays, lol)
2). I’m participating in a blog tour for Hailey Husdon’s new brand – The Hardworking Creative.

So. . . what exactly is THC?

The Hardworking Creative is dedicated to equipping creatives with the tools they need to be successful. A website for creative living, and working.

“. . . [it’s] a place where creatives are celebrated. Whether you’re a writer, painter, filmmaker, graphic designer, violinist, dancer, actor, you name it – if you pride yourself on both your creativity and your work ethic, then you are welcome here. If you’re looking for your people, you’ve found them. ”
|| THC, mission statement


I’m so excited to interview Hailey, and
celebrate with her the launch of THC!

Tell us a little about yourself. Your hobbies? Dreams? Goals? How long have you been an artist?

I’m a nineteen-year-old author, blogger, and freelance writer from the mountains of north Georgia. If I’m not writing, I’m working for a nonprofit that tutors kids or coaching 8U softball. My hobbies include reading, working out, and obsessing over Broadway; my dreams and goals include becoming a bestselling YA/MG author, expanding my freelance client base as much as possible, and having a positive impact on the lives of hopefully hundreds of younger girls. I’ve been an artist for well over ten years—ever since I started writing “stories,” dancing, and playing the piano when I was little.


How long have you been writing? Do you hope to turn your writing into a career?

I’ve been writing fiction since I was in elementary school, and my freelancing career began in late 2016. I’m so grateful that I’m slowly turning my freelance writing (primarily fitness writing) into a full-time career, and I’m working hard on doing the same with my fiction! It would be such a dream come true to support myself solely by getting up each day and writing stories.


What inspired the idea for THC? What do you hope will come of it?

This website came about because I wanted to find my people. I’m proud to consider myself a hardworking creative—but I didn’t think I had many friends who could be called the same. So I started looking. I discovered that I knew more hardworking creatives than I thought, and I decided that I wanted to create more opportunities for collaboration with them. I want THC to give young creatives the tools they need to make it. This means content talking about advertising, money, and branding—all of the things that I needed someone to tell me a couple of years ago, but no one did. An ebook is coming soon, and maybe some merchandise; and eventually I’d love to have a job board on THC to help young creatives find reputable online jobs in their field.

How/why did you choose the name “Hardworking Creative”?

I chose the name “Hardworking Creative” because so many people these days seem to focus on just the creative side of things—which is great. But you can have all the creative talent in the world and still go absolutely nowhere: if you want to accomplish something, you have to work for it. So I hope to inspire young creatives to put in the elbow grease that’s necessary to make their dreams become their reality.


Are you looking for more artists to become involved? If so, how can they?

Yes! If someone is interested in being interviewed as a hardworking creative, they can let me know via the contact form on the site—I won’t be able to fit everyone in since it’s only one interview a month, but I plan on creating other opportunities associated with THC that everyone can be involved with.


Where can people follow you?

Instagram: @haileyh412
Twitter: @haileyh412
Facebook: Hailey Hudson
Blog: Now All I Know is Grace


Where can people follow THC?

Instagram: @thehardworkingcreative
Twitter: @thc_creative
Facebook: The Hardworking Creative


Hailey Hudson is a young author, blogger, and freelance writer from the mountains of north Georgia. She loves coaching softball, obsessing over Broadway, and playing with Sophie–her beagle puppy. Find her at her personal blog or at The Hardworking Creative.


Be sure to head over to THC, and
wish Hailey a successful launch day!