Great Sites for Creative Types

The Louisiana Channel on YouTube
The “other” part of my writing life has to do with arts
writing, and while I’ve truly enjoyed studying handmade artwork by the more than
70 artists I’ve interviewed for magazines and web content, I’ve had to develop
a hard and fast rule about email lists as a result. Lest I want to receive
dozens of e-newsletters a day, I typically unsubscribe
to more lists in any given year than I ever subscribe
to. Clearly, people I’ve overlapped with professionally are signing me up
without permission—which may be fair, or may not be (Phil Hollows of Feedblitz
will tell you that adding people without permission is not only spammy, it’s

Maintaining this filter has forced me to consider what I
actually want and expect from an eblast. Preferences are going to vary, but I
suspect a common denominator may look something like this: we want to be
informed and/or inspired, we want to feel part of a pertinent conversation, and
we only want to hear about direct sales/asks every once in a blue moon. I try
to follow the 80/20 rule in my use of social media and eblasts (my “eblasts”
are simply this blog, mailed twice a month as a list of 4 posts, to subscribers
who opt-in using the sidebar on the left). This means that 4 out of 5 times, I’m sharing something interesting or pertinent or inspiring, and only 1 out of 5 times am I asking people to take direct action toward something.

Here are a few that I currently subscribe to, or have
enjoyed regularly in the past:

  • Austin Kleon’s
    weekly wrap-up is a very short list of 10 things he wants to share with others,
    from his musings and encounters throughout the week. Ranging from music to
    lectures to printmaking to film, rarely does a week go by when at least one of
    those links isn’t something that excites and informs me.
  • Patricia
    Ann McNair
    offers a daily photo and sometimes the start of a first line, as
    a free journal prompt for her following of writers.
  • Brian Castner
    writes about war, books, ebola, parenting, snow, and everything in between. He
    doesn’t post often, but when he does, I want to be sure not to miss out. His
    email subscription widget (at the bottom of his page) assures I won’t miss a
    post, and I don’t have to check his site all the time in order to be in the
  • David
    esteemed The Quivering Pen blog—I can’t say enough. For book
    lovers, for pay-it-forward thinkers, for lovers of literature. David is the
    cat’s meow, and so are his writing and sense of community spirit. There’s a
    reason is tagline is “book evangelism.” Weekly eblasts with links, good content,
    book giveaways, and more—sign up on the right sidebar of his page.

And while these aren’t technically eblasts, there are a few
YouTube channels I subscribe to. Each time a new video is posted (not very
often), I have my settings arranged so that I receive an email with the link to
the new content. Here’s who I’m currently digging:

  • The Louisiana
    —I found this by accident, and love their literature videos. Short,
    professional, and deep.
  • Sakyong Miphan
    ’s YouTube Channel—timely, rich, Shambhala Buddhist-inspired
    snippets of insight (with the occasional full-length lecture thrown in) that
    I’ve followed for over a decade.
  • A channel hosted by snakeBISHOP,
    which appears largely inactive, but the archives are worth scanning. Especially
    helpful with regard to the creative process for visual artists.

Feel free to list your own
favorite e-newsletters or YouTube channels in the comments. I found many of
these by recommendation and would love to know what readers of The Writing Life
enjoy most.

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