Useful Apps for Mac and iOS Users

  Ph.D. student Reid Leamaster reviews some useful writing productivity apps, including several for taking notes and organizing information. His latest review is an app called Flowstate, which, if you stop writing before the end of your designated interval erases everything you’ve written. Yes, you’ve read that right. Sounds crazy and coercive to me, but […]

One of the Best Time Management Pieces I’ve Read


  This piece on time management by Jamie Rohrbaugh gets a lot right: “This is the list of priorities I came up with for my life: One-on-one time with God in prayer and personal study. My health and my husband. (I wasn’t married yet, but I was thinking long-term and couldn’t choose between health and […]

How to Live Your Summer Life All Year Long

Janet Fish 
Marzipan from Erice

  Summer is a time for play, but what does your play tell you about the life you’d really like to be living? Many of us, during the summer: Relax Get more athletic Get more sensual (Shakespeare didn’t write A Midwinter Night’s Dream, after all!) Interact more with nature, and Dress more casually and comfortably, […]

Writer’s Block is Always Caused and Curable

This essay by Fairfield University professor Elizabeth Boquet on how her writing productivity suffered when she switched from teaching to administration is a perfect illustration of the principles that: 1) procrastination/writers block/underproductivity are always caused (versus being some kind of intrinsic moral flaw like “laziness” or “lack of discipline”); 2) the causes are always outside […]

In Defense of Self-Help Books

I’m totally loving this Psychology Today post by Deborah Hill Cone on how it’s snobbish to put down self-help literature: I will come clean. At my grimmest moments I would turn again and again to books which helped change my perspective and get “another way of thinking about life” although they might not be the […]

New Parenthood Can Lead to Situational Perfectionism

The "stressed parent" images were too stressing, so here's a beautiful flower intead.

A new parent writes to syndicated advice columnist Carolyn Hax about how stressful it can be: I’m a new mom of a pretty but challenging 6-month-old boy. I am a naturally decisive person; however, the anxiety I’m feeling over making the “right” decisions or providing him the “right” things has been difficult to cope with. […]

Harry Potter and the Boggart Perfectionism

Harry Potter's Patronus: a noble stag

Harry Potter fans recall boggarts as creatures who live in dark household spaces like cupboards and closets and who, when you encounter one, take on the appearance of whatever it is you are most afraid of. In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, there’s a great scene where Professor Lupin and his students provoke […]

I Wish Hilary Mantel Were My Sister II: Manuscript Coherence and Polish Come Late in the Writing Process!

As if Hilary Mantel’s wise words on memoir weren’t enough, she also has something great to say about the writing process itself. In answer to the question, “What’s the best thing about writing a book?” she replies: The moment, at about the three-quarter point, where you see your way right through to the end: as […]

I Wish Hilary Mantel Were My Sister I: Memoir Isn’t Easy


Honestly, I wish Hilary Mantel were my sister. Despite egregiously spelling her name with only one “l”, she is one cool writer. In a New York Times interview she demolishes the naive view that memoir writing is easy: Memoir’s not an easy form. It’s not for beginners, which is unfortunate, as it is where many […]

Six Things You Should Never Say to a Photographer (Or, if You’re a Photographer, Never Say to Yourself!)

Kiska Barking at the Window

by Soraya Rudofsky and Hillary Rettig It’s never easy to be a creator, or creative professional, but in the age of ubiquitous camera-phones, photographers have it particularly rough. Photographers, how often have you heard someone say one of these: 1. “Photography’s easy, because the camera does all the work.” 2. “Photography’s not a real art […]

What Joyful Productivity Looks Like: The “Woodland Trail” Metaphor

Muir Woods Path

Picture your writing (or other work) session as a stroll down a beautiful, sun-dappled woodland path. The path is wide and flat, the air warm and inviting, and on either side of you are banks of friendly plants alive with twittering birds. You’re having a marvelous time, and are moving at a relaxed, yet efficient […]

George Clooney on Mental Backpacks

George Clooney! A few days ago I wrote this piece on how having a mental backpack can slow you down. How could I have forgotten this scene from the great movie Up in the Air? Thanks to Angela Beeching, author of Beyond Talent: Creating a Successful Career in Music for the reminder. Now I’m going […]

Wanted: Reviewers for Japanese edition of 7 Secrets of the Prolific

We’re just about done with the Japanese translation of my new minibook Perfectionism: Defeating the Enemy Within, and are looking for manuscript readers/reviewers. The book is about 30K words long. We’re looking for diverse readers: students, businesspeople, educators, artists, activists, etc. If you’re interested, please email. No compensation, but you’ll get a free copy of […]

The Eroticization of Equality and Social Justice


Note from Hillary: this is a reprint of an article I published elsewhere a few years back that I wanted to archive on this blog. The topic remains timely; thanks for reading!     To begin with, check out the romantic presidential couple at the bottom of the right-hand group of pictures (near the date) […]

Passive-Aggressive Poe


Apropos of nothing in particular…