Let’s get digital

Let's Get Digital
Let me hear your body talk, your body talk
Let me hear your body talk

And my favourite Instagram account of the moment – @paleyphoto from Matthieu Paley. I am lapping up all of his road trip photos – driving around India with two kids in a van, inspiring.


David Lynch on creativity

David Lynch

“Negativity is the enemy to creativity. So if you want more ideas flowing, happiness in the doing, happiness in the doing, happiness in the doing. I love, capital L-O-V-E, building a thing that ultimately has to feel correct before it’s finished, and that feeling correct is like a drug. It’s like a thing that kicks you and makes you feel so good, You almost pass out. You fall off your feet.”

– David Lynch, to Melena Ryzik of the New York Times

Do You Ever Get Talker’s Block?

No one ever gets talker’s block. No one wakes up in the morning, discovers he has nothing to say and sits quietly, for days or weeks, until the muse hits, until the moment is right, until all the craziness in his life has died down.

Why then, is writer’s block endemic?

The reason we don’t get talker’s block is that we’re in the habit of talking without a lot of concern for whether or not our inane blather will come back to haunt us. Talk is cheap. Talk is ephemeral. Talk can be easily denied.

We talk poorly and then, eventually (or sometimes), we talk smart. We get better at talking precisely because we talk. We see what works and what doesn’t, and if we’re insightful, do more of what works. How can one get talker’s block after all this practice?

Writer’s block isn’t hard to cure.

Just write poorly. Continue to write poorly, in public, until you can write better.

– the marvelous Seth Godin, writing about the myth of writer’s block .

Career advice

Work You Do While You Procrastinate

Thoughtful career advice from designer Jessica Hische, illustrated smartly by Chris Piascik. Isn’t it lovely?

My procrastination techniques include – making coffee, organising my room, planning exotic holidays, writing fiction, watching Come Dine With Me while writing up notes… It’s all an endlessly inspiring loop though. Writing is my passion, and whether that manifests as writing perfume reviews (check!), crafting websites at a digital agency (check!), or noodling away at a cookbook (one day!) – it’s all good. Knowing what I really love to do is a real blessing. How do you guys while the hours away?

{via Fancy! NZ Design Blog}

Write all the time


When you sit down to write, is that what you do? Just say, “Okay, I’m starting a book” and then sit down and keep writing until it’s done? Do you take breaks? Do you ever get writer’s block?

No. No writer’s block. Never had it. Don’t believe in it. Doesn’t exist. I don’t buy that one.

Ernest Hemingway said it… If you’ve got writer’s block, write one sentence. And if you can write one, you can write two. If you can write two, you can write three. If you’ve written three, you have a paragraph. There’s just no such thing as writer’s block.

I work all the time. I write all the time. No days off, not for any reason. I get up in the morning and I start at it, get into the afternoon, I work out. I work at it at night. I work on it until I go to bed at eleven. I keep a notebook by my table and I write in the middle of the night sometimes. Sometimes I’ll write from maybe 4AM to 6AM and go back to bed, but I write all the time. And I always have. That’s the way I’ve always done it.

No More “Shoulds”

Emily Christensen - Filly

“I dropped out of law school when I was twenty-four and returned to my hometown of Santa Cruz, California. I did not have a plan but I did have a promise: no more “shoulds”. I was determined to follow my heart wherever it wanted to go.

In the following years I worked as a bicycle messenger, learned to garden, fell in love, sold my car and for the first time felt truly competent and at home in my own skin. I began to notice and be taken with my own physicality: the crook of my arm holding the shovel, my thighs tightening as I pedaled, my hands strong and stained by the day. These were common moments when function was unexpectedly beautiful. This, I determined, was a form of beauty I needed to capture and express.

So I began to make things, with metal, with wood, and eventually with fabric. And here, where the practical and the precious come together, was where my heart led me. I enrolled at the California College of the Arts in San Francisco for clothing design. Two years later I started Filly.”

– Emily Christensen, who makes beautiful, conscientious clothes under the label Filly.
Her house is pretty too.

[via Royal Quiet Deluxe]

Slow down

I read this quote today while researching a hunch I had about the link between social media and gambling. It’s about Facebook:

“I don’t really like it,” he said.  “It seems to me that people who are on a lot are denying a couple things.  They’re making time not exist – the speed of it, the instant back and forth.  And, they’re denying that people grow apart.”

Like matrons flirting with one armed bandits, I find myself increasingly refreshing the page, hoping for a little red pop-up, a reward for being witty, interesting or cute. To be honest, I feel like a rat who gets a pellet for pushing the correct buttons. No matter how much praise I get, I still want more, and I want it now. Do the words mean anything to me, or is it just the thrill of the red bubble?

From now on, I want to concentrate on slowing down. When I travel, I prefer to linger, enjoying the passage of time and the ‘I wish things would never end’ sentiment (I’m the only girl I know who hass spent 10 days straight in Bangkok, not going to the islands). Why not apply this chrono-appreciation to the every day? Learn to savour the slow things in life…

The other point about cultivating dead friendships struck me too. Perhaps we should appreciate them as flowers, and accept sometimes they’ll wither away. Again, if they’re worth saving, we should take our time in reviving them, using love and face to face interaction.

With those fresh thoughts in my head, here are several beautiful things that are slow, delightful and worth taking time over:

Bread rising…

Weekend sleep-ins…

Train travel…

Processing film and printing photos


Reading books…


Walking or even rambling…

Brewing your own ginger beer

Let’s take our time?

A Bookshelf For Writers

I’ve been sorting my bookshelves out, culling and returning books. For years I have organized spines by colour, but a change of mood saw me rearrange everything thematically. It was there in the new non-fiction section I discovered that alongside more fashion/design/photography books than is sensible for flatting, I also own a massive horde of books on writing. Despite a lot of chafe, there are some real gems on my bookshelf, concerning both the technical and holistic side of scribbling.

As I always enjoy peeping at other people’s ‘professional’ bookshelves – “Oh so that’s how designers keep their souls intact!” – I thought I would share my favourite books on writing with you.

Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life : Anne Lamott

The advice is simple – just do it bird by bird. One little part at a time. This is super advice for your choice of horrid essays, magazine articles that don’t research themselves, poems (stanza by stanza) or the great American novel. The book is divided into short chapters with a view to encourage clarity, energy and fearlessness in your writing. Lamott is also a very funny woman, who has a charmingly deft way of characterising everyone she knows; from random women she meets while dress shopping, to her son Sam.

A Writer’s Book of Days : Judy Reeves

A Writer’s Book Of Days (subtitled ‘A Spirited Companion & Lively Muse for the Writing Life‘) is a yearlong program of sorts.  Each date has a specific topic suggestion, accompanied by thoughts on writer’s block, the quirks and idiosyncrasies of published authors, and expectation management. Despite the title (and naff design) I feel Book Of Days is more on the practical rather than spiritual side of things. I have to admit, hefty helpings of Miller and Kerouac helped give it credibility to me as a literary snob. If you’re stuck, don’t know where to start or just need a daily kick in the pants, this is a good book to pick up.

Ogilvy on Advertising : David Ogilvy

To give you an idea of this book’s age, the author’s picture depicts Ogilvy thoughtfully puffing on a pipe inside his office. No matter, despite the age of the book, the lessons are timeless. Ogilvy lays out the foundations of good advertising, laying out the basics of salesmanship and how writing must work to achieve the end goal, profit. For example, sex sells, but only if it’s relevant to the product – cook tops and nudity don’t mix. The ads featured are shockingly outmoded, but are wonderful to learn from (and look at – think lots of eighties boobs).

Need proof that Ogilvy’s rules still apply? Andy Maslen has picked out elements of Ogilvy’s wisdom that work for the web.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within : Natalie Goldberg

Writing Down The Bones focuses on writing as a spiritual practice (Goldberg is a Zen Buddhist) but goes down nicely, like a cup of Matcha green tea. My favourite chapter is on Composting – the process of composting your thoughts, letting the good stuff eventuate from the pile of matter. This notion is something I refer to almost daily since I first read the book a few year ago (you can read it here for free). Another thing this book taught me was to be specific. Learn the names of things and use them fastidiously; orecchiette not pasta, affenpinscher not puppy.

On Writing : Stephen King

Who knew old King was a coke-head? Not I, but that’s just one part of King’s story. A biographical tale mixed in with advice, On Writing is an inspiring tale of how you can make it from nothing, lose it all and come back again. The practical side of the book is truly wonderful, you’re learning from a master who will give you the blade to sharpen your dialogue as pointy as vampire fangs and cut excellent deals once you gain the attention of publishers. My copy is a trashy little trade paperback, and as you can see from the photographs, it’s been well loved.