Inspiration For Writers

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~ The Daily Routines of Famous Creative People ~

Podio released an interesting info-graphic, outlining the routines of some really impressive creative people. From Picasso to Freud, to Dickens and Mozart, this chart provides some really nifty insight into the habits of these great thinkers. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Although, I don’t think I’ll ever be a morning person like some of these writers!

habitsoffamousthinkers

Stigmata Script Writer’s Prompt: Don’t forget about the Short Story!

Short stories are a great way to get back on track if your writing hasn’t been up to par lately. In some ways they can be more challenging than a long piece of work, as you have to work hard to constrain your ideas into a smaller space. In other ways, writing a good short story or script can give you the confidence you need to tackle that larger piece.

Whenever my productivity starts to falter, I crack the spine of my Idea Journal and sift the pages until I find something that sparks my interest. This is something I’ve picked up again after avoiding my work for the umpteenth time. Whether you’re a writer of prose, non-fiction, or enjoy the craft of screenwriting like I do, this is an awesome trick to get some quick experience under your belt.

.:: TASK ::.

Write a short story in 2500 words or less.

OR

Write a short film script in 3-5 pages or less.

If you’re not sure where to start or need some motivation, pick up a book of short stories, anthologies or watch some short films to get the feel of what you want to say.

When you’ve completed your task, repeat if necessary until you feel confident enough to tackle that larger project you might be avoiding. I promise, after knocking off a few short stories or scripts, you’ll feel like you just drank an energy drink for your craft. It’s an awesome short term confidence boost, amazing practice and a fantastic way to keep up on your skills as a writer. It forces you to be cutthroat with your words, telling the best story within your limitations. In the long run, it will genuinely aid in your editing skills, making that passion project of yours a great piece of art.

Once upon a Time

The War of Art – by Steven Pressfield

“Rule of thumb: The more important a call or action is to our soul’s evolution, the Resistance we will feel toward pursuing it.” – Steven Pressfield

TheWarofArt

This book has changed my life.

From the author of the Legend of Bagger Vance, Steven Pressfield wrote this book as a series of short essays in three major parts. The first third of the book has had the largest impact on my life. For years now I’ve struggled to understand the reason why getting to the blank page has always been so difficult. Finding the motivation to work seems to be the biggest struggle every writer faces. The reason?

Resistance.

What Pressfield gives us in this book, is a path to combat the unseen force that keeps all creative people from reaching their goals. The first portion, Resistance – Defining the Enemy hits very close to home for me. Especially the chapters that deal with procrastination and self doubt. Here is a short excerpt:

“Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance because it’s the easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to write my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to write my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”

The most pernicious aspect of procrastination is that it can become a habit. We don’t just put off our lives today; we put them off till our deathbed. Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. This second, we can turn the tables on Resistance. This second, we can sit down and do our work.” – The War of Art | Pressfield | 23

This guy just gets it. If I was rich, I’d buy every creative person I know a copy of this book and force them to read it. The second I finished, I realized how profoundly resistance had a grip on my life. It takes the form of everything. My inability to say no to junk food. My inability to exercise. My seeking advice from peers in an effort to jumpstart my motivation. Who I have who thank for this, is my old colleague Gavin; who happened to see right through my problem by recommending this book.

The other sections Combating Resistance – Turning Pro, and Beyond Resistance – The Higher Realm are equally as telling about the problems of the creative process. I especially love the ease of his writing style and how matter-of-fact he is with his advice.. Pressfield covers almost every creative problem in this book from diet, sociology, religion, economical issues, climate, and even sex. It’s doubtful that I will suffer from a bout of ‘significant’ writers block again after reading this text.

Writers, do yourselves a favour and buy this book. Do the author a favour and order it online, directly from his website. http://www.stevenpressfield.com/the-war-of-art/


You can

Video

How to build a fictional world by Kate Messner

While out writing this afternoon, I opted to search for a small bit of creative inspiration before starting my work, and I stumbled upon this video featured on TED|ED.

If you aren’t familiar with TED, it’s a non profit organization dedicated to sharing new ideas and thought provoking perspectives. Their “TED TALKS” often provide inspiration in a wide variety of topics. This lesson written and narrated by Kate Messner, walks us through the realms of The Lord of the Rings, The Matrix, and Harry Potter, while providing insight as to how we can best create our own fictional worlds. I thought it was interesting and an idea worth sharing.

Writers – it’s time to talk!

Tori here.

I’m writing this after a bit of writing I’ve just done, and with it I can confirm two things:

1.) TALK ABOUT IT.

I used to be the kind of person that didn’t talk about my work with others, and by that I mean REALLY talk. I didn’t think people would care, or for that matter that I cared enough to put up the effort to relate my writing to others. It’s really sort of redundant, right? If I can’t share my ideas with others, how can I expect to be a successful novelist? After a fairly in-depth conversation I had with a friend of mine recently, I learned how wrong I’ve been about it all.

In this conversation I detailed (albeit broken) specific sections, events, thoughts, etc. from the book I’ve been working on for nearly two years. Over the course of it all I found myself able to hear myself from a third perspective. Not only did I get positive vibes from the listener, but also from myself. Listening to myself name characters, places, and events from my stories was actually thrilling – and quite rewarding. I suddenly realized that I knew my own story better than I thought I did, and in the process I discovered answers to snags in my story that I hadn’t been able to see before.

I remember something an old English teacher of mine used to say about essays – that it’s smart to read your work out loud to yourself, because then you’re more likely to notice spelling/grammatical errors. In this case I say it goes further – - you notice everything.

2.) THINK ABOUT IT.

To follow up said conversation, tonight I had a serious brainstorming session with myself and have been able to decode an error in my novel that’s been plaguing me for some time. I learned that it isn’t enough that a sequence has a purpose, but that you as a writer are excited by it, and furthermore have a message to share. Tonight I found that message, and all I had to do was think… think, think, think.

***

You might notice that the second lesson today had a much shorter detail than the first. That was unintentional, but it plays very much into what I’ve learned of this whole business:

*I’ve spent far too long thinking and stressing over my work alone, trying to unravel answers to little return. In reality, the more time you spend sharing it with others out in the open, the easier it’ll be to spot the answers you’ve been searching for.*

-Tori

5 things Indiana Jones taught me about Writing.

Sometimes to find inspiration, we need to look hard to find the treasure. I’ve been battling a large writer’s block this past few months and in my efforts to crawl out of it, I found that taking a break was very helpful. I treated myself to watching the Indiana Jones series, and I found a few things about each film that got me back in action.
I hope they help your writing as much as they’ve helped mine.

- Daniel

5) You gotta get out of the library.

Indiana: “If you want to be a good archaeologist, you gotta get out of the library”
- Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

I think this is true of all artists. I spent a great deal of my time reading and researching different ways to write my story, but I was getting bogged down with ideas. I put so much pressure on myself that I forgot to get out in the world and live a little. This past month, I made it a point to do a bit of travelling, taking in a bit of culture along the way. This rejuvenated me and helped me get the fresh air experience I’ve been avoiding for months. I have a story about some old historical homes I want to start writing, so I plan to get out and tour some of the turn-of-the-century architecture we have locally. Seeing them first hand will no doubt give me perspective I wouldn’t normally have when writing.

Indiana 1

4) You shouldn’t be in it for the Fortune and Glory.

Men have wasted their lives in the pursuit of riches. Obsessed with trying to do well in several screenwriting competitions, I lost sight of why I wanted to write in the first place. Again, the pressure I put on myself to succeed far outweighed just trying to tell a good story. People obsessed with being the best will lose sight of the things that matter most. The pursuit of a good script should have been my focus, rather than the pursuit of a successful career. Once I dropped the high expectations I had for my future, I could finally concentrate on just writing.

Indiana 2

3) You must choose, but choose wisely.

Much like Mr. Donovan in The Last Crusade who chose a cup that did not realistically represent the holy grail, I too chose to pursue a story that would be way too over-the-top. In my pursuit for a prize, I found that my creative process was no longer fulfilling. Whenever I write something that doesn’t completely suck it comes from a place of heart, rather than trying too hard to impress others. The prestige of wanting to be a great writer consumed me, and I forgot my humble beginnings. Choosing a story that will “fill your cup” is far better than a story that will “decorate your cup.” After all, it’s the substance you need, not the bling.

Indiana 3

2) Friends are a great treasure.

Throughout the Indiana Jones series, Indy relies a great deal on his friends to help him out of danger. I was under the belief that he worked alone, but the evidence is quite the contrary. Keeping your problems to yourself is never a good idea. I kept my writing and emotional problems a secret for several months, which only fuelled the nightmarish fog I was living in. Much like Short Round in the Temple of Doom, my friends helped me snap out of the daze I was in with a little tough love. There isn’t much power in living with absolute solidarity. It only makes you a miserable human being with clouded judgement. Your close friends can offer you a perspective on your own life you wouldn’t have on your own. Bouncing my ideas off of people, and sharing my creative passions with great conversation, I successfully reignited the writing spark I once lost.

Indiana 4

1) Never give up.

Marion: “You’re not the man I knew ten years ago.”
Indiana: “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”
- Raiders of the Lost Ark

Regardless of any situation Dr. Jones is thrust into, he always makes it out alive. Why? He never gives up fighting. He is always looking for an opportunity at every turn. He doesn’t plan either. He goes along with whatever is thrown his way. I think this is a great philosophy to have toward your writing as well. If Indiana Jones gave up when things got tough, he wouldn’t make any grand discoveries. As writers, we always need to find new ways to tackle the same challenges. Leave no stone unturned and leave your fears behind. There’s always a way out of a problem, we just have to look hard enough. Sometimes we have to fight for what we believe in. Sometimes you have to take big risks. Sometimes we have to battle an endless barrage of negativity in order to get ahead. Take a page from Indiana Jones’s book, and never give up. You’ll never know how close you got to a great story if you don’t go looking for it.

Indiana 5

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