Penmonkey Get Up, Get Coffee…

We all have our collections of books on writing or photography designed to inspire and educate us. For writing, for me, it’s the three pillars:  Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott, On Writing by Stephen King, and Zen and the Art of Writing by Ray Bradbury. For photography, it’s Hot Shoe Diaries by JoeMcNally.

Now, I add a new set to the list: Everything on the websites/ebooks/blogs of  Chuck Wendig and Kristine Kathryn Rusch. In their own ways, through their writing and commentaries, they give an in-the trenches view of the craft and art of writing.  Following them is like joining a war correspondent, camera in hand, as the great conflicts of the world are traversed in painful, stunning detail. I can’t recommend their works enough. And I encourage you to support their efforts with ebook purchases and site donations.

For photographers, I can’t recommend David Hobby’s original Strobist.Com website and Michael Zelbel’s SmokingStrobes enough.  David Hobby started a revolution when he used his photojournalist experience to recreate studio lights on-location with a new generation of high-powered flashes. He and Joe McNally went on the “Flashbus” tour together to spread the word about how to create beautiful light with portable strobes, a few bits of lighting gel, and practice.  Michael’s site, though, has some of the funniest and most enthusiastic how-to videos I’ve ever seen. Watch one of his videos and you’ll be infected with the sheer joy he takes from his work.

It is hard to get up in the morning, drag oneself to work and try to survive on crumbs of creativity you sneak through the day. It’s exhausting. Let these authors and photographers help add a little espresso shot to your day.

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