It's hard to believe 2018 has already come and gone. So with 2019 here, it's time to do that age-old favorite: make a confession. 

Wait, you mean resolutions, right? Well, not really.

Whenever a new year comes around, we are quick to make lists of what we want to change in the year ahead. We make big - and small - life-altering goals that we hope and pray will come to fruition in the year ahead. And though I'm no stranger to doing such a thing, I thought it might be good to look at the year behind me too. Where did I "miss the mark" on my creative goals? Was I following my own advice? The advice of others? Turns out I have some work to do (don't we all?). 

There were certainly some wins and some misses from 2018. So in this episode, I take a closer look at where things went well and not-so-well as I look ahead to take on 2019. 

Here's a breakdown of what to expect:

2018 "Wins"

  • Podcast still alive
  • New logo
  • Downloads only increasing
  • Journaling
  • Reading more

2018 "Misses": 

  • Missed launch date - The Shadow Of Mars
    • 1st reason: I backed myself into a corner creatively
    • 2nd reason: Not at peace with product
  • Less interviews

 2019 "Looking Ahead": 

  • Re-purposing The Writer’s Lens - storytelling is paramount
  • Guests (new and old) 
  • Keep cultivating good habits 
  • Hitting that Deadline for The Shadow Of Mars

 

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What is a digital footprint

In part 3 of this "Pens of Steel" group discussion, we wrap up our conversation about digital voices and what each of us is doing in our pursuits to hone our unique digital footprints. 

As this is part three, be sure to check out our earlier discussions (if you haven't already) by clicking the links below.

Part 1: What Is A Digital Voice?

Part 2: Competing In The Sea Of Digital Voices

 

Brian Del Turco, owner/operator of LifeVoiceQuest

Website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/

Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/

 

Willie Scott, co-founder of Better Than Blended and T.K.I. Publishing

Website: https://betterthanblended.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterthanblended/?hl=en

 

Brent Mclaughlin, writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.mclaughlin

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To bring in the new year, here's something a little different from The Writer's Lens. This episode deals entirely with soundbites from each of my various interviews. And though there are plenty of other good nuggets from the full interviews, these clips were pieced together around a common theme: what's it like to be a creative who is looking to hone his or her voice and garner an audience. 

Perhaps this is something you are looking to hone in 2019? And beyond? These voices, and other guests I plan to have on this program, will be speaking into these areas so stay tuned in 2019 for more! And stay up to date by subscribing to The Writer's Lens.   

Links to the full interviews: 

YouTube Channel (audio and video)

Podcast Channel (audio only)

 

Guests on The Writer's Lens 

- Willie and Rachel Scott, Co-founders of Better Than Blended and TKI Publishing

- Darrick Dean, Fantasy author; Among The Shadows

- Daniel Luketic, Entrepreneur 

- Dr. Robert Snyder, Author of various children's books, war veteran, and speaker

- Brent Mclaughlin, Writer

- Immanuel Mullen, Co-founder at TheStoryIs

- Colleen Ward, Owner at Colleen Ward Studio

- Brian Del Turco, Jesus Smart: The PodcastSubstanceTV, and owner at LifeVoiceQuest

- Kay Smith, Content creator and art teacher

 

 

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The Lord of the Rings is a fantasy tale that has inspired millions. Its story of good versus evil transcends generations. And it uses rather unconventional forms to do it: with fictional beings like hobbits, dwarves, and elves. 

But there are men and women in this fantasy too. And orcs. And goblins. And trees that talk and walk. And...racism? Wait...what

Last month, I came across an article on the Internet that caught my attention. A fellow science fiction writer was being interviewed for a podcast and when the topic of Tolkien's classic came up, the author went on to say that the Lord of the Rings has "hard to miss" themes of racism throughout. Considering how I'd never heard this claim before, I did some research and found that there have been others who have felt the same way (not a lot, but they are out there if you look). So I did what any social media personality with a platform would do: I did an episode detailing what I thought of this accusation.

Because this is a serious thing to say. Not just because the Lord of the Rings has birthed an entire genre or because it made millions at the box office - it's because of the nature of the claim. It touches deeply on sacred grounds. And if tossed around flippantly, we run the risk of being short-sighted on what could be considered "racist" and what is not. 

So, is Tolkien's work racist? Enclosed in this episode are my thoughts on that matter as well as why I felt the need to address it. 

 

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The Internet is a sea of voices and narratives. 

In part 2 of this group discussion special, the Pens continue the dialogue on "what is a digital voice" - while transitioning into another frequently asked question: how do we compete with so many other messages? Should we be focused on beating other voices? Or should we just focus on our own message? 

Jump back in with Part 2 and just in case you missed Part 1, you're in luck - you can click here to check it out and get back up to speed.

And for more info on the rest of the group, here are some links below: 

Brian Del Turco, owner / operator of LifeVoiceQuest

Website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/

Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/

 

Willie Scott, co-founder of Better Than Blended and T.K.I. Publishing

Website: https://betterthanblended.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterthanblended/?hl=en

 

Brent Mclaughlin, writer

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.mclaughlin

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Welcome to the Rise of Digital Voices! 

In case you didn't already know, the Internet is FILLED with competing messages. Thanks to the onset of social media platforms, more people than ever have the ability to share their unique voice with the rest of the world. And in doing so, can create online communities where similar minds (and interests) can congregate. To share ideas. To share insights. To share individual stories. 

This is the Age of Digital Voices - a time when the gatekeepers of information have been usurped by the end user. 

In this very special episode of The Writer's Lens, I sit down with three other creative voices: Brian Del Turco of Jesus Smart: The Podcast and owner/operator of LifeVoiceQuest; Willie Scott co-founder of Better Than Blended and TKI Publishing; and Brent Mclaughlin, aspiring writer. These three gentlemen make up our Cleveland creative group otherwise known as the "Pens of Steel" and for the first time, we are recording our conversation concerning this growing phenomenon of the social media landscape. 

This will be the first of a three-part discussion on the topic so stay tuned for more to follow in the coming weeks. 

And for more info on my fellow conversationalists, here are some links below: 

Brian Del Turco

Website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/

Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/

 

Willie Scott

Website: https://betterthanblended.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/betterthanblended/?hl=en

 

Brent Mclaughlin

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/brent.mclaughlin

 

 

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What does it do for us when we finish what we start? If you're the type of person that struggles with unfinished projects, then maybe you are in need of a morale boost. Or a gentle reminder of what you feel strongly about. Something to kickstart the juices and make it to the finish line. 

Or perhaps on an even deeper level, maybe your unique message just isn't clear yet. 

In my case, finishing a book is what I aim to do. Not an easy task; not something one does in a weekend. For writing a book can feel like running a marathon. But here's something to remember: we aren't alone in our pursuits. 

In this episode, I talk in depth about the things we can learn about ourselves as we work through our passion projects. And how there's a unique voice each of us can cultivate by bringing that message to completion. 

Website: www.jclfaltot.com 

Facebook: J.C.L. Faltot

Instagram: The Writer's Lens 

 

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Kay Smith worked for 13 years at a reputable marketing firm in Cleveland, OH. And though she loved her work, Kay began to feel something tugging her in a new direction. A tug strong enough to make her consider leaving her established career behind and start anew - in art education.

But, it wasn't a completely foreign space. Kay had always held a strong interest in art, even as a little girl. And with some proper coaching and encouragement early in life, she fostered that passion. Kay is a wife and mother of four children so leaving a steady job was not an easy feat.

In this interview, I talk with Kay about her transition from her corporate office space to her new office space. And how her faith in God has enabled her to discover what it is that makes us all creative; how we can cultivate that creative spark; and ultimately use our gifts to help others.

For more on Kay, you can check out the links below:

Instagram: www.instagram.com/k.smith.art

Website: www.katherinesmithstudio.com

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Anxiety plagues more people today than ever, it seems. We live in a fast-paced society with ever advancing technology. And as complex and impressive as our brains are, we can only take so much. 

That's why the need to be focused and free of distraction is imperative - not just as a creative but as anyone who wants to be productive. In that way, we can work at our best. At our utmost capacity, which sounds like a simple thing to do. Actually executing it though? That's another battle entirely. 

This is the first half of a two-part discussion on anxiety. And how anxiety affects our creative pursuits. 

Website: www.jclfaltot.com

Books: here

 

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Welcome to Part 2 of my conversation with Brian Del Turco, the voice of Jesus Smart: the Podcast, one-half the voice of SubstanceTV, and owner of LifeVoiceQuest Publishing.

Brian is a believer in emerging voices. He has a high interest in helping people find their voice in publishing, developing their own platforms and digging deeper into the #Narrative and #Content wars. Both of which are areas of major interest for me as well. 

You can find more of that in our first conversation.  

In the second half of our dialogue, Brian and I go deeper. This time we talk about how creative pursuits can foster not only our personal lives, but our relationships too. How we must guard our time wisely. And the importance of communicating our messages clearly; as a clear message commands presence. 

For more on Brian, you can check him out at the links below: 

LifeVoiceQuest website: http://www.lifevoicequest.com/ 

Jesus Smart: The Podcast: http://www.jesussmart.com/ 

SubstanceTV: https://www.substancetv.org/ 

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