Posted by: Liz Massey | May 20, 2008

Surf’s Up: May 20, 2008

Nine rules for an innovative workplace, safety tips for practicing musicians and a continuing saga of how my writing friend got his novel published are the links of the week gleaned from the creative blog-o-sphere.

1. Multimedia journalism instructor Mindy McAdams alerted me to a great post over at GigaOM’s Found Read blog. It’s a summary of an interview The McKinsey Quarterly did with Pixar director Brad Bird on the parallels between overseeing the production of an animated feature and developing new product ideas or technology breakthroughs.

The nine insights in the Found Read blog are priceless and ring true to me, especially the first two: “herd your black sheep” (give your unheard malcontents a chance to test their ideas) and “perfect is the enemy of innovation” (in which Bird had to “shake the purist” out of his artists and help them understand that quick-and-dirty solutions are sometimes what’s needed to finish a job).

2. Christina the Trombonista has started a new blog, The Summerglen Files, chronicling her life as a professional musician in Raleigh, North Carolina. Recently, she posted a link to her monthly newsletter and its feature on how to practice in a healthy way.

Christina’s tips are simple, but as someone with several family members and close friends whose professional music careers were derailed by overly-intense practice regimens, I think the article is a wonderful reminder to aspiring musicians and their teachers to treat their bodies the way they would if their practices were athletic workouts–because, in the end, they are.

3. Finally, for literary inspiration, visit Bill Konigsberg’s blog Waldorf To Your Astoria as he tells the five-year saga of how his young adult novel, “Out of the Pocket,” came to be published.

The series (which begins here) has a little bit of everything: love, sex, ambition, book revisions, tension, forgetful editors and waiting to be picked up by an agent (as a client!).

Seriously, Bill’s story serves as a reminder to not give up on your creative projects when you encounter rejection, and to keep finding ways to improve what you create and let the world know about it.

(Disclosure: Bill has written for me in my day job at the university magazine, as well as at a previous magazine that I edited. He’s a great writer and a fun guy!)



  1. Thanks so much for featuring my practice tips in your post! Keep up the great work; I really enjoy reading your blog.

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