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Great Tool: Personalized Twitter News Publishing & The Creative Entrepreneur Daily [Press][Gratitude]

Wake up, grab a cup of coffee and cozy up to your very own personalized virtual twitter newspaper.

Mmm...a morning cup of coffee with your virtual twitter-sourced newspaper.

Mmm...a morning cup of coffee with your virtual twitter-sourced newspaper. (Photo by Ballistik_Coffee_Boy, courtesy of Creative Commons)

Tara Agacayak‘s got a great twitter-sourced compilation of the day’s best info on creativity. You can create your own daily newspaper by linking to your social networks and publishing online with the click of a button via scans your network’s posts and gleans only the ones you want according to the keyword search of your interest to create a virtual and personalized newspaper.

Why not put together your own daily “newspaper” focused on a specific interest from your twitter contacts? It’s a great way to digest info from your twitter-verse without just scrolling through a boring twitter feed.

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I love seeing my CreativeLife posts and media sourced INTO her “Daily”! In this recent version, it includes my short video of female bloggers from the 2011 BlogHer conference answering the question, “What does living the Creative Life mean to you?”.

Thanks, Tara for the Creative shout-outs!

Do you have a more creative way to get your twitter and social networking information these days?


The 12 Must-Read Blogs That Feed My Creative Life [Oh. That’s Good.]

We are constantly bombarded with information. Mobile info, social media stuff, TV/DVR/Netflix, books (there’s still books?), those magazines I’m too ashamed to subscribe to but that I still pick up in the checkout line….


Beat that information overload! I use my trusty RSS FEED/BLOG reader via There are others out there, but I love how it integrates with my Gmail account.

Here is a rundown of the ONLY blogs I read nearly every day to feed my CreativeLife podcast.  They are standouts in a crowded field of creativity, writing, and inspiration blogs.  They leave me feeling less overwhelmed and a little more enlightened.


1. Tiny Buddha @ – “Simple wisdom for complex lives”

Tiny Buddha is just that: bite-sized messages of peace. The design is simple and clear. They always deliver thought-provoking and concise blogs that remind me to take a breath and take it easy on myself. Blog post examples include, “How to Deal with Criticism Well: 25 Reasons to Embrace It” and “3 Things Tweens Teach Us About Living and Enjoying Life.”

2. White Hot Truth with Danielle LaPorte @ – “Because self-realization rocks”

Danielle LaPorte has an amazing way of putting things.  Her words snap, crackle and pop off the screen.  She uses fun and active language to cut to the heart of the matter.  The posts are often short, full of mental exclamations and always passionate.  Her fierce and sparkly personality comes through when she talks serious personal growth topics, for instance, “why self-improvement makes you neurotic.”

3. Brain Pickings @ – “A discovery engine for interestingness”

Brain Pickings is an extremely thoughtful and tightly-edited weekly newsletter that is consistently packed with compelling ideas and creativity resources. Their roundups on great street art books, must-see TED Talks, and the most current ideas in all things creative keep me coming back for more. It was through Brain Pickings that I discovered the “Holstee Manifesto” that hangs above my home office, spurring me to really “seize the day.” Check it out on the roundup of the best manifestos below.

4. Pick the Brain @ – ” website dedicated to self improvement with a focus on personal productivity, motivation, and self education”

I always find myself bookmarking the articles on Pick the Brain to keep me thinking clearly and motivated, even in the face of self-doubt and all that other stuff that happens when you figure out creative projects.

5. 168 Hours: You Have More Time Than You Think @

Laura consistently presents great tips on how we can make the most out of the 168 hours that we have in a week.  One standout post has been her list of 100 dreams.  That idea is definitely on my agenda.

6. The Artist’s Road @ – “Creativity, writing, and an art-committed life”

Patrick Ross provides comprehensivve weekly roundups of the best tweets and online posts on creativity. A really great service! There’s always something unexpected in his roundups.  He’s a Master’s of Fine Arts (MFA) writing student right now and it’s great to track his process on his blog. This example of his post is a roundup of the books every writer needs to read, which apparently, has garnered an avalanche of hits. Of course, he blogs about that process too!

7. Dose of Creativity @ – “Musings on all things creative sprinkled with inspired hints and tips.”

Love their 30-Day Creativity Challenge! Creativity can happen in big and small ways.  There’s always something new on this site about moving forward our creative process.

8. Presentation Zen @ – “blog on issues related to professional presentation design”

I love the level of expertise this blog dives into. They hit all angles of what it takes to present information in a compelling way. This applies to graphic presentations and storytelling. I particularly liked this post on “Storytelling Lessons from Bill Cosby.” A nice breakdown of Cosby’s communication wisdom.

9. Copyblogger @ – “Online marketing that works.”

Copyblogger is the ultimate in quick tips on writing for the web.  There’s a strong marketing bent, as you’d expect from a site title that’s a play on the word “copywriter.”  But this site is unparalleled in squeezing quick and concise tips on the best ways to create online content.  A popular post, for instance, is “7 Ways to Improve Your Writing…Right Now.”  They also have a great series of posts JUST on writing headlines. Very high-quality site.

10 . Pintame El Dia @ – an artist’s life

This Spanish artist’s blog about her artistic life is bilingual and a breath of fresh air. Esti lives in Bilbao and exercises enormous restraint in her poetic summaries that accompany beautifully taken photographic slices of her life. I also have a crush on her art – full of simple lines and contemplative mostly female characters. Take a step into her world.

11. Design for Mankind @ – “corner of the Internet where Awesome hangs out”

Artwork, design, photography and Erin’s fashion. Visual eye candy. Always colorful and stimulating. Though I’m not a visual artist, Erin’s presentations give me a nice ocular jolt every time I scroll through.

12. Good Magazine @ – “the integrated media platform for people who want to live well and do good”

What started out as simply a magazine has evolved to be a movement for bright ideas that help make good things happen in the world. Culture, art, politics, and activism come together in a tightly designed presentation of the latest innovations that are making our lives better. I especially appreciate their graphic representations of complex policy and social issues via their “infographics.”

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Report from a Comic-Con Virgin: Goal-Setting for Creatives+She-Ra! [San Diego Comic Con 2011]

No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.“―Yoda to Luke

Comic-Con 2011: Lego Storm Trooper

What goals did Lego need to set to put THIS statue together? Comic-Con 2011

I imagine my first experience at Comic-Con was much like the first time an infant goes to Toys R Us – an overwhelming sensory wallpaper of noise, color and shiny stimuli.

What do I want to grab at?  Everything looks like it’s jumping out at me!  The crowd flow is mindlessly taking me down the aisles the way mommy and daddy insist on carrying me through the store without my consent! The bathroom is two football fields away! Ooops. I think I pooped my pants.

I decided this is the year I would volunteer a day to help my friend Ryan at his blacklava booth at Comic-Con. Sell some Asian American gear to the inevitable droves of yellows and browns who’d be at this “Nerd Thanksgiving!” Experience the pop art convention first-hand!  The pageantry!  The freaky costumes!  The overpriced soda!  Sell product and take a few spins among the spectacle.

To say Comic-Con is “big” is missing the point.  Comic-Con is the clown-car of “big.” If Comic-Con was a brightly-colored VW bug with daisies and happy faces on the doors, each vendor and artist would be a floppy-footed clown unreasonably stuffed inside – just way too much colorful delightfulness to squeeze into one place…it almost becomes sad…the way most clowns leave people feeling.

My CreativeLife Companion in Crime with the Goal-Setting Handout

My CreativeLife Companion in Crime with the Goal-Setting Handout

Goal-Setting for Creative Types Workshop

A highlight of the day was the workshop my friend and I attended called “Goal-Setting for Creative Types” given by the self-described “Tony Robbins of Geeks,” Douglas Neff.

Yeah. I could’ve spent that same timeslot at the Twilight workshop, ogling the very mortal incarnation of the vampires.  But nay.  I’m on a mission to live MY creative life…not the creative life of half-skilled, porcelain-skinned actors.

Neff’s workshop was concise and understandable.  He used great Comic-Con friendly examples to explain the “Ten Magic Coins to Collect on Your Path to Success”  (Lord of the Rings and comic book references galore).  He opened by asking who in the room wanted to eventually be on the OTHER side of the workshop table presenting at Comic-Con.  Nearly everyone raised their hand.  All those creative aspirations in just that one big room! Boggles the mind!  There are some really great details in his materials.  But an overview is just as interesting. Here’s the skinny from Douglas Neff of Toucan Learning Systems (

  1. There is no magic.
  2. Make it specific.
  3. Make it measurable.
  4. Make it attainable.
  5. Get some help. (Coach.  Cheerleader. Scorekeeper [what I’d like to call Quality Control])
  6. One step at a time.
  7. Play to your strengths.
  8. Do your homework.
  9. Know your Nemesis.
  10. Never ever ever give up.
Douglas Neff: Goal-Setting for Creatives presenter at Comic-Con 2011

Douglas Neff: Goal-Setting for Creatives presenter at Comic-Con 2011

What I appreciate about Neff’s list is that it goes beyond the typical SMART goals (Strategic, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, TimeBound).   Creatives are often operating without much structure. Neff’s list go beyond SMARTly-considered goals to identify other important factors we need to set us up for success.

One such factor for success is the need to get appropriate help.  He broke “help” down into three roles: Coach, Cheerleader, and Scorekeeper.  Each role should be done by separate people.  The Coach holds you accountable to the work.  The Cheerleader is supportive, positive and encouraging.  And the Scorekeeper is in charge of quality control feedback on the content itself.  I like it!  I’ll use it.

Another key idea: you must produce results.  That was really the overall framework above and beyond the 10 items on the list.  You need 1) Talent, 2) Craft, and 3) Results.  The ability to consistently produce good to great work requires an ethic of practicing the craft.  It requires getting sh*t done.  Making the stuff.  And Neff emphasized making these goals do-able.  Hearing this talk really gelled in my brain what I need to do to get my “results”-driven creativity going.  Here it is.  I shall declare it to the internet-world:

  • I will write 5, 8-minute comedic monologues.
  • I will create 3 versions of my Asian American teen book idea. They’ll be short little zines.

There.  Take that, Results!

She-Ra: Princess of Power! She lives! And she lives…IN ME.

He-Man and She-Ra at Comic-Con 2011

"by the power of greyskull!" I used to think I was She-Ra.

She-Ra: Princess of Power.  She always looked flawless.  She kicked ass. And never sullied her perfectly flirty white skirt.  It doesn’t hurt that she has super human strength and a cool winged unicorn, Swift Wind.

She-Ra was in the flesh at Comic-Con! I had to take a picture of her, in front of the larger than life He-Man statue.  I watched both shows religiously as a kid, one of the many cartoons that helped this little immigrant girl from Taiwan learn English! I used to tell the exact time to my mom while she was in the kitchen strictly by knowing where the cartoons were in their story arc and commercial breaks.  Yes. It was a sickness.

Penny from Inspector Gadget

She was smart and crafty! And Penny rhymes with Jenny. 🙂

This reminded me of the other great cartoon role models that I had as a child.  My female role models growing up were mostly blondes.  And mostly cartoon characters (I have since attempted to de-colonize my mind).  In addition to She-Ra, I loved Penny from Inspector Gadget and Jem. Jem was just fashionable and fun.  She inspired me to wear black capri leggings underneath a flouncy short skirt to school in the 4th grade.

I loved Penny’s intelligence and craftiness. She was so courageous and righteous!  Always willing to get to the bottom of the wrong-doings and solving the crimes for Inspector Gadget while, ergh, protecting the Inspector’s ego by not letting him know she was behind it all.  I also really really wanted a little compu-book like she had.

blacklava booth at Comic-Con 2011

Thanks to Ryan Suda of blacklava for letting us help out with the booth!

Oh. And Hi to Lonnie Millsap (Rollyhead Publishing) and Friend at Keith Knight‘s booth (K-Chronicles and (th)ink) at Comic-Con! Was great to meet you all! (Lonnie has a book launch in Venice, CA this Saturday night! It’s called “I Hate My Job!” Ha! You had me at hello, book title!)

Lonnie Millsap at Keith Knight booth at Comic-Con!

Lonnie Millsap at Keith Knight booth at Comic-Con!


Written while listening to Little Dragon’s “Ritual Union” and the rest of the album.

Also David Banner & Ninth Wonder’s “Death of a Pop Star” album (Diamonds on My Pinky)

I tried suicide but the gun wasn’t working… bang It’s the same damn thing Boys clubs hoes while they building PF Changs
Look at ya pinky ring if your souls on it mane Yeah we really ballin dead souls on the hand
But i’m from Mississippi where you let ya nuts hang
And the white folks let my ancestors do the same

Congratulate Me: My Individual Health Insurance Just Kicked In

I feel complete.

Being “self-employed” is quite a new thing for me.  Key milestone #1: Purchasing my own individual health and dental plan.

Curious about it yourself in California?  I use Kaiser (and have in the past).  I’m no expert but word on the street is that Kaiser is good at supporting preventive medicine (especially for fortunate folks like me who are in relative good health).

Bacon S'more in Joshua Tree, 2011. Good for health.

Bacon S'more in Joshua Tree, 2011. Good for health.

Other options that my freelancing-type friends have used include Blue Shield type individual plans.   There is also a UNION for freelancers! It looks like it has been around for a while.  Unfortunately for me, they seem more New York-centric (with no group insurance deal for a Southern California yours truly).

In lieu of a national healthcare system like other “civilized,” “first-world”countries, getting a little something like this is really the only other option.

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