Tag: creativity

Saying “no” is the best creative thing you ever did for yourself #writing – Quotable Kevin Ashton

Frog with arms crossed and "No" written above his headRead a great article recently from Kevin Ashton, which really is an excerpt from his new book, “How to Fly a Horse  —  The Secret History of Creation, Invention, and Discovery.” In it, he talks about how the most successful people say, “no” and they say it all the time. One of the key points was reframing creativity: Creativity isn’t how much time something takes, but how much it costs.  It is consuming. It is sacrifice. It is giving up time with family, with friends, with this interesting project, or that television show.

“Time is the raw material of creation. Wipe away the magic and myth of creating and all that remains is work: the work of becoming expert through study and practice, the work of finding solutions to problems and problems with those solutions, the work of trial and error, the work of thinking and perfecting, the work of creating.

“Saying “no” has more creative power than ideas, insights and talent combined. No guards time, the thread from which we weave our creations. The math of time is simple: you have less than you think and need more than you know.”

So…how often do YOU say “No?”

 

Check out Kevin’s full article here: http://www.businessinsider.com/successful-creative-people-say-no-2015-1 

 

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Image: The Artist against the World #writing #inspiration

Some creative inspiration for today. A great little image that has resonated with almost every creative I’ve shown it to. It’s a sad commentary on the state of affairs for writers, but it is also a gentle message to “stay strong” and remain true to your own vision.

ArtistVersustheWorld-ChesterColton

Image: Artist drawing with figures surrounding her: troll, critic, censor, whiner, petty…

PS I got this from a creative comics (Independent Creators Connection) Facebook group but would love to be able to credit the original artist. If you know who it is please let me know so I can cite them.

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Guest (Re)Post: Anthony Dobranski – Using your Dreams in Life and Art

Dreamjournal on NightstandAt a recent party with fellow writers, I mentioned my last story had come to me in a dream. People seemed surprised, which I found surprising. Dreams have been essential to me, both in art and in life, and to hear other writers don’t use them is like hearing they don’t use their legs.

Dreams are not messages from beyond or from some benevolence inside oneself. They are a cognitive filing act to help store and retrieve information. This is why dreams are hard to remember. They are not meant to be saved.

My personal belief is that they lay the groundwork of intuition and creativity — the mind connects what you just learned against what you already know and experience, creating associations that allow you cognitive leaps. An unprovable opinion, but it works well for me.

But, just as analyzing urine tells doctors what your organs cannot, dreams contain information you can use. For a writer of the fantastic especially, dream images and scenarios are a rich inspiration. Dreams help with living too. In dreams, you see things you wouldn’t let yourself see in waking life, without a fully functioning you to object to them, to deny them. For one example of many, a dream of a three-way with an ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend fully cured me of any resentment about the breakup. Not that it revealed repressed attractions — only that I had lost sight of the difference between loving, and winning. (And perhaps that there was no love on offer, for me or my successor. At least, that’s how it turned out.)

To get your dreams, you have to do a little work. Spend a couple of weeks trying to remember them on waking, and put down what you do remember. You may have better luck with pen and paper or a voice recording – I think the backlighting of a smartphone or a computer screen scares them away, as does the greater dexterity required to use the device – but, whatever works.

Ponder them. They are your dreams and no one else’s. The reductive vocabulary that says water means money or flying means sex is what charlatans or fools have sold since at least the beginning of writing. Yes I know I’m gathering up Freud and Jung in that — but, seriously, how could it be otherwise? Our individual lives change our mental associations over decades — how could we collectively share them over millennia?

BoschThe story of the dream is the easiest to remember, but there is great value in the setting, the rendering of the dream world itself. Our dream-mind is not just an actor. It directs, it designs sets, it chooses viewpoints. It makes a you in the dream, and another you watching it. It is cast and crew and audience, reader and writer and unwitting subtext. There is knowledge in all of it. I have seen complex visual and verbal meanings in dream settings, even jokes and puns, wholly separate from what seemed to be the story, and as densely encoded as the art of Hieronymous Bosch or Geoff Darrow.

I hope this serves you well. For all my attention to my dreams, I never got to the point of “lucid dreaming,” of taking control of my dreams and acting in them consciously. I don’t know why but it never felt right. I didn’t want my dreams to be a new world; I wanted them to expand my powers in this one.

Reposted from: http://anthonydobranski.com/2015/01/12/use-your-dreams-in-life-and-art/#more-579

Image from Martha Harper Dream Journals.

 

Anthony DobranskiTony – I was born in 1966, 900 years after the Battle of Hastings. Libra and horse. My Polish immigrant parents settled in the Washington DC suburbs. After graduating from Yale and some youthful adventures I worked internationally for America Online in the 1990s.

I live in the city of Washington now, with my family. When not writing I ski, skate, and walk in parks. I want to learn tennis and I want to get a 3-d printer. I read novels but also magazines: news, politics and science. I love movies.

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National Novel Writing Month is Almost Upon Us (#NaNoWriMo)

Are you ready?

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), either you love it or you hate it.  NaNoWriMo is an annual creative writing challenge. It challenges participants to write 50,000 words of a new novel from November 1 until the deadline at 11:59PM on November 30. So approximately 1,667 words per day. The goal of NaNoWriMo is to get people writing and keep them motivated throughout the process.  It turns what is a lonely “some day” project to a social, fun, and interactive activity.  Several NaNo novels have been edited and published. Several NaNo novels are awful but the key concept of shared creative mutually-supportive fun is one that almost everyone who participates enjoys.

According to Wikipedia:

Since 2006, roughly 100 NaNoWriMo novels have been published via traditional publishing houses. Many more have been published by smaller presses or self-published. Some notable titles include:

  • Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, published by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, published by Doubleday
  • Persistence of Memory by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes, published by Delacorte Press
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell, published by St. Martin’s Press
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, published by Dutton Juvenile
  • The Darwin Elevator by Jason M. Hough, published by Del Ray Books

A pretty impressive list.

So far, the vast majority of the Cat Vacuuming Society Writing Group of Northern Virginia (say that fast 3 times) will be participating in some way.  No, not all of us can or will complete a novel, but the idea of committing the month to rededicating ourselves to writing, and using the enthusiasm of NaNoWriMo as a boost is too tempting to ignore.

Rather than just troll the Internet, I decided to go straight to the source – the NaNoWriMo website.  Below is their collection of lovely short articles for Preparing for NaNo Success.  They’re a quick read and should get everyone off to a great start.

Preparing for NaNo Success

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Characters and World-Building

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Plot and Conflict

 

So…let’s do this!  Good luck, everyone.

NaNoWriMoParticipant-2014-Web-Banner

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Video Saturday – John Cleese on “5 Factors To Make Your Life More Creative

Found a lovely gem of a video at Brain Pickings the other day that I had to share.  I’m currently in the midst of a down-cycle in my writing.  No, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a lot of writing to do, quite the contrary.  It means I’m NOT writing.  Unfortunately, I have several pieces due (including this blog post).   In this great snippet John Cleese, actor, comedian, writer and film producer talks about things that encourage creativity.

To be creative, one has to be open. There are 5 things that help you achieve this state and therefore be more creative.

Space  – “You can’t become playful, and therefore creative, if you’re under your usual pressures.”

Time – “It’s not enough to create space; you have to create your space for a specific period of time.”

Time – “Giving your mind as long as possible to come up with something original,” and learning to tolerate the discomfort of pondering time and indecision. Giving yourself the opportunity to not just take the first (and potentially easiest) answer but to continue and then discover a more creative one.

Confidence – “Nothing will stop you being creative so effectively as the fear of making a mistake.”

Humor – “The main evolutionary significance of humor is that it gets us from the closed mode to the open mode quicker than anything else,” and what good is solemnity?

 

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Video Saturday – Four Lessons Creative People Should Embrace from Julie Burstein

Okay, I admit it.  I’m backdating this post to Saturday.  It’s been one heck of a week and with rushing back from Ocean City, Maryland it didn’t get posted.  BUT…Julie Burstein’s TED talk is too good NOT to put up here. Julie is a radio producer, author, and public speaker.  She interviewed many artists, writers, sculptors and many other “creative types” – probing, guiding, and creating public radio programs about them and their work.  All of this culminated in her book Spark: How Creativity Works, which is pretty darn awesome.

In this talk, Burstein identifies four lessons that creative people should embrace (the list I’ll admit I gaacked from Kate Torgovnik who has a great blog post about creativite TED videos that is a definite must-read):

  1. Pay attention to the world around you, and be open to experiences that might change you.
  2. Realize that the best work often comes out of the life experiences that are most difficult.
  3. Get comfortable with the fact that pushing up against a limitation can actually help you find your voice.
  4. Don’t be afraid to explore loss — be it rejection, heartbreak or death — because making beauty out of these things is so powerful.

 

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