Category Archives: productivity
A day of putoffedness
I just noticed that I want a new default font on this program. I can’t move ahead with my day of extreme productivity (cool that I italicized it) until I change my default font.
I mean, it’s an expression of who I am and in 2020, it’s absolutely all about me.
So, what do I think?
And do I want to bold it?
And god forbid, what font size do I want?
I might need a day to work through this and move my day of extreme productivity to tomorrow and keep today as my day of extreme angst over more important issues. (Still deserving of italics, I see.)
Yep, the life of a listless, shiftless writer is not an easy one. No one seems to understand that.
So I guess I am here on this earth to share that ugly truth with the world.
4 simple ways to have a great idea–Richard St. John
I enjoyed this five-minute TED talk by Richard St. John. In it, he draws on lessons from Richard Branson, singer Sam Smith, Google co-founder Larry Page, Botox-pioneer Dr. Jean Carruthers, and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.
It speaks to those of us putting words to screen, paint on canvas, plans to paper, and everything in between. For some, the ideas aren’t new, but who doesn’t need a few reminders every once in awhile?
Some favorite quotes:
“Ears are wifi for ideas.”
“EyeQ often wins over IQ.”
“When a really great dream shows up, grab it.”
Today I’m sharing an insightful 2014 piece by Jon Brooks entitled Quentin Tarantino’s Telepathic Writing Technique.
It is packed with concepts and ideas that I hadn’t before run across.
Brooks introduced me to ‘mirror neurons’, which “fire both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another.” [Wikipedia]
Okay, where does Quentin Tarantino come in?
From Tarantino’s 2013 Oscar acceptance speech: “You guys [friends] don’t realize how important you are to my process. I don’t want input; I don’t want you to tell me if I’m doing anything wrong. Heavens forbid. But, I write a scene and I think I’ve heard it as much as I can, but then when I read it to you – I don’t give it to you to read, I read it – but when I read it to you, I hear it through your ears. And it lets me know I’m on the right track.”
As he reads, then, Tarantino’s mirror neurons fire and he picks up the listeners’ reactions to his work.
What does that mean for the rest of us who are not quite chalking up multiple Oscars?
Take that one extra step beyond reading your work aloud–find an audience who follows the rule of: No feedback, please! Brooks justifies this rule with his observation that people often don’t effectively express their impressions and misguided feedback may well lead you to the toss the whole project.
Brooks closes with this: “You want to know what you think about your work as a first-time reader, not someone else.”
Considering our current pandemic conditions, you may be relegated to telepathic writing over the phone. Hey, it’s called playing the cards we’re dealt, right?
I also tried recording a piece of my writing aloud–and then listening to that recording. I’m not sure if that recreated the mirror-neurons experience, but I will try it again. It does add some distance between yourself and your work.
So, give it a try.
Let me know how telepathic writing worked for you.
Curation Corner: Austin Kleon’s approach to first drafts
He asks himself this question…
And since I’m curating, bravo to Tim Denning for rounding up these writing tips from Austin Kleon.
Curation Corner: toasted-cheese.com
Picked up on this interesting site via my weekly Internet Scout Report.
This link takes you to its calendar of writing topics/prompts, but check out the other menu items as well, including the Writer’s Excuse Bingo, which strikes me as potential Zoom meeting fodder for your writers group.
[Note: Ignore the ‘Resources’ menu item. Lots of dead ends there.]
Curation Corner: Check out WritingRoutines.com
Whoa…the 100 Interviews page alone abounds with lessons and insights from successful writers, researchers, and award-winners.
Some favorite topics covered:
- The trap of calling yourself a ‘writer’ [Neil Pasricha]
- Drawing to Spark Writiing [Dana Simpson]
- Carving out distraction-free creative blocks [Dr. Michael Greger]
- Declaring a ‘shut-down’ time [KJ Dell’Antonia]
- How to be indistractable [Nir Eyal]
Just think of the self-customized online course you could create this site.
And if you’re in a writers group, this is tailor-made or a fun and informative Zoom meeting.
Curation Corner: You Can’t Write What You Wouldn’t Read
The latest from Jon Winokur’s Advice to Writers blog. Also, excerpted in The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing
The most important thing is you can’t write what you wouldn’t read for pleasure. It’s a mistake to analyze the market thinking you can write whatever is hot. You can’t say you’re going to write romance when you don’t even like it. You need to write what you would read if you expect anybody else to read it. And you have to be driven. You have to have the three D’s: drive, discipline and desire. If you’re missing any one of those three, you can have all the talent in the world, but it’s going to be really hard to get anything done. — Nora Roberts
Become an idea machine
This is a post from my other blog and it is just as applicable here.
Become an idea machine
The power of warming up
So, here is a warmup for my discussion of ‘warmup’.
It’s a quick brain dump [not my favorite term, by the way] to get some ideas rolling.
It might be a typed list, since I’m currently [obviously] on my laptop, but it might evolve into a mind map in my codex.
But it’s something that gives me a starting point and it dodges the ol’ blank white paper/blank idea-less mind syndrome.
Get ideas flowing
Don’t stop yourself. Don’t edit yourself.
Get some momentum. It can help you achieve flow.
Sometimes it takes a few minutes, 50 or more words, but it is rarely a waste of time.
It often clears your mind of other distractions.
It reminds you that you have ‘shown up for work’, so that’s a reward in itself.
It just hit me that ‘warmup’ is such a nebulous unclear term that writing about it can be a little dry, but I’m forging ahead.
It loosens your muscles and it reminds you that, by warming up, you are striking out against ‘perfectionism’, so that’s another reward.
This is a practice that yields plenty of benefits and I think it’s worth making it a ‘habit’, one that shakes the cobwebs out of your brain. Right now, I feel like sketching two brains…one filled with cobwebs and then one—after warming up—with just a few wisps of cobweb.
I’m still going on this warmup about warmups. This is almost getting weird, isn’t it?
As I write this, I’m starting to get a vision of what an ideal warmup session might look like. It might well include a fresh cup of coffee and both analog and digital tools nearby. I wouldn’t want to be cooped up in a windowless room. And I would want some creativity books [a future post] nearby if I do get stuck. And I might even make a poster with some warmup criteria and prompts listed to keep me on track. Yeah, I like this. And I wouldn’t have reached that poster idea unless I had reached that ‘ideal warmup session’ idea, which had resulted from the previous 250 words.
Wow…what a warmup session on ‘a discussion of warmups’.