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When we heard that multi-platinum hit songwriter Wayne Cohen was a fan of the Visual Thesaurus we gave him a call, quick. Wayne says "the idea of seeing a whole array of possibilities from one word gets my mind moving." How he writes songs for stars like Jennifer Love Hewitt and soul sensation Curtis Stigers got our mind moving, too. So we asked Wayne a few questions about his songwriting craft:

VT: What do you write about in your songs?

Wayne: They're pop songs, so the main topics are love and loss and heartbreak. But I'm also a big fan of "message" songs like the Black Eyed Peas' "Gone Going," a tune about materialism and how people don't appreciate what they have.

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I came across this terrific post on a blog "devoted to all things geek" called Gadgetopia. While this entry's aimed at computer types, if you substitute the word "programming" with "writing," "marketing," "presenting," or any other kind of creative project, I think you'll find it extremely useful. I certainly did. It appeared on 05/14/06. [Editor]

Here's something I've learned: when faced with a programming project, the worst thing you can do is start coding right away.

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Blog Du Jour

Inspired Thinking

These five blogs cover a broad range of ideas and topics but I find the thinking in their entries so lucid and sharp, the lessons learned can be applied to any passion or profession. [Editor]

Creating Passionate Users focuses on "how the brain works and exploiting it for better learning and memory."

Signum sine tinnitus is written by visionary, venture capitalist and Forbes columnist Guy Kawasaki.

Slow Leadership's mantra is "real leadership isn't an instant activity."

Presentation Zen, is about "professional presentation design."

A List Apart is "for people who make websites."

Don't forget: Send us your favorite blogs -- and tell us why you like 'em. Email us.

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Blog Du Jour

Five Designerly Blogs

These are the five blogs that our design director, Tina Roth Eisenberg, checks out every day. Tina's own amazing design blog is Swissmiss.

Coudal's "fresh signals" are addictive. You'll see.

Designobserver. A must see for every graphic designer.

BBlinks. BB always finds the best links.

Advertising/design goodness. Tons of excellent advertising/design related finds

Core 77 is an 'industrial design supersite'. Enough said.

Don't forget: Send us your favorite blogs -- and tell us why you like 'em. Email us.

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Creating Passionate Users is a remarkable blog written by the authors of the best-selling Head First computer book series. They're passionate about studying how the brain works -- and how to exploit it for better learning and memory. This entry appeared on 3/3/06.

The only thing standing between you-as-amateur and you-as-expert is dedication. All that talk about prodigies? We could all be prodigies (or nearly so) if we just put in the time and focused. At least that's what the brain guys are saying. Best of all--it's almost never too late.

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If you have a website -- whether you're a blogger, mom-and-pop or 800-pound orangutan - you think about "user experience." That, of course, is obvious. But ever try to find a phone number on a company's website? How many clicks did it take? Well, maybe not so obvious.

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