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Showing posts from March, 2011

10 Creativity Lessons from George Carlin (Part Two)

Last time, I began to share the lessons I learned from George Carlin's "Last Words". Some of the more concrete advice, such as "know what your accountants are doing with your money" and "don't fry your brains with drugs and alcohol", while important, did not move me as much as the ideas he had about comedy and writing as an art. So today, I will continue...  "All I really need to know (about writing) I learned from George Carlin."
Express Yourself Writing is one thing, but writing to express your own truth is another. Last time, I had mentioned the idea of "paying your dues" in order to get to the where want to be with your work. That may include ghost writing for blogs or books that don't really interest you that much, or editing loads of other people's copy instead of writing your own. While this is true, if you are the type who strives to do a good job no matter the task at hand, you may become successful at thes…

10 Creativity Lessons from George Carlin (Part One)

A year before George Carlin died, he appeared on The View. Like most writers, whenever anyone within earshot starts discussing the creative process, I pay attention. In the first few minutes of this interview, Carlin explained the influence a mindset shift had on his work: he said he had transformed from a "comedian who wrote his own material" to a "writer who performed his own material". He felt this reflected a maturity in his work, and he was able to delve deeper into his subject matter.
Of course, his subject matter has been controversial for years (even prompting a case that went to the U.S. Supreme Court), but whether you loved or hated him, you can't deny that his voice touched the hearts, minds, and funny bones of many. I recently finished his book, "Last Words", which was published after he died. I suppose it's technically an autobiography, and you gain an understanding of how his views were formed from an early age. However, with my &quo…

Until You Become The Next Stephen King...

... or Danielle Steele...
Many of us believe that we are destined to become world famous and financially secure novelists. I say, keep aiming for that goal. It is better to aim high and miss, than shoot low and make it. But until that day comes, what should you do about one of those things in the way, The JOB?
Excuse Editor Tip: The Day Job Is Valuable to the Night Writer
The J.O.B.
It's the place you have to go, because you haven't written THE great American novel yet, or you have, and it just isn't selling like it should. Yet. So. You have a job.

If you think you don't like your job, use that as inspiration to work harder on your writing when you have the chance. Oh, that reminds me. You do have the chance to write! That may be related to the job you have. Try and re-frame your dislike into gratefulness. Part of the reason you can write is because you are not spending your time looking for employment or worrying that you don't have income. Not having to worry abou…

What To Do While Your Ideas Are Simmering

Earlier this month, I was discussing my own creative process with another writer. We talked a bit about where ideas come from, and the difficulty, at times, of getting those ideas onto the page. For the rest of the day, I thought about how much of my own writing works, and I'm sure it's true for many other writers-- I allow an idea to make its way back and forth, to and fro, in my mind, until it finally (hopefully) makes its way to tangible prose. The trick is: don't let it stick there for too long, and don't use that as an excuse to avoid work on that project.

Excuse Editor Tip: It's fine to let an idea simmer, as long as you are preparing the rest of the meal.
The Simmer

I read the newspaper everyday, not just to be informed, but to find ideas. Sometimes, I will go directly from the crinkle of the news to the flat freshness of my own journal page, inspired to write about something I'd just read. Often, the idea stays right there. But because I've written it …