The 21st Century Creative: a podcast worth making time for

For the 3rd Monday in a row I’m taking more than an hour to listen to a podcast. I generally have little patience for podcasts; most have a very low signal-to-noise ratio. The 21st Century Creative, hosted by Mark McGuinness of Lateral Action, is all signal, no noise.

His first two guests were Scott Belsky of Behance and 99U, and Steven Pressfield, who doesn’t do interviews anymore—except when he does.

Eschewing the rush rush syndrome everyone thinks is appropriate these days, Mark takes his time, 60 to 90 minutes. Each guest ends the show with an artistic challenge; participate and you can win nifty useful books (and, not incidentally, grow artistically and personally.)

Make time for the 21st Century Creative podcast. Your art deserves it.

Let’s Build a House! (Why Planning will Make Your Writing Life Better)

Fair warning: if you are committed to the spontaneous pantsing version of writing, please don’t read this. You won’t benefit, I won’t benefit. If you’re open to having assumptions challenged, read on. To the end. Don’t read the first 80% and quit or you won’t get the point.

What is a House?

Though wildly different around the world, all houses share certain characteristics. Let’s explore the ins and outs.

  1. Roof — Without a covering, it’s a yard, not a house.
  2. Floor — It may be dirt, but it’s not water or air. If your residents are standing in a pool up to their waist, or swinging in hammocks 30′ aboveground, you’ve built something other than a house.
  3. Privacy — Roof but no walls = carport or equivalent.
  4. Toilet — Yes, in some parts of the world this is not inside the house. If you live in one of those places, you may dispute this requirement.
  5. Services — Electricity. Running water. Drains. See above note for quibbles.
  6. Egress — Without a door suitable for us humans to enter through, it’s not a house, it’s something else.
  7. Lighting — Even if it’s windows and skylights, there’s a way for light to come in.

You may dispute any of these if you choose to live in the house yourself.

If you plan to sell the house, or even sell time using the house (called “renting”) I defy you to leave any of these out and still succeed.

build-a-house
… more … “Let’s Build a House! (Why Planning will Make Your Writing Life Better)”

Guest Post at ‘Bane of Your Resistance’

I made a comment at Rosanne Bane’s blog about letting go of what others thought so I could create better art.

She asked if I’d write a post on the concept.

I did, and it’s live over at Bane of Your Resistance.

Does Your Writing Come From You or Through You?

The HillsideI’ll state right up front that while I believe all art is a divine gift I do not believe in a literal Muse who is responsible for my (or your) art.

But sometimes, it certainly feels like what I create is coming, not from me but through me.

In those moments what arrives in my fingers is closer to the truths I feel than when I’m using my head, obviously and overtly making stuff up.

I once spent a week carefully crafting a complex 7-minute long Arabic trance instrumental. It’s all kinds of fun, and the Little One still loves to listen to it.

Most folks pay little or no attention to it. It has no real depth, no emotional tug.

On the other end of the spectrum is my song The Hillside which, once I realize what these three repeating chords meant, these dead simple chords anyone could play, the song flowed in minutes, all but one word which was supplied by Best Beloved. … more … “Does Your Writing Come From You or Through You?”

Art is Love: The More You Give Away the More You Have

bucket at the wellSince I’ve started a daily routine of writing come what may, I’ve noticed something.

The more ideas I spit out, the more I have.

In the past week, I’ve written 1,000 words a day on the sequel to Through the Fog. Another story forced its way into my head, and I’ve managed 1,000 words a day on that one as well.

The past few Februaries I haven’t participated in February Album Writing Month. But this year I’ve had so man song ideas I can’t bottle them up. Four written and recorded with another well on the way. Since I spend the 3rd week of every 3rd month writing 3 songs with my buddy Terry, I’ll be doing that whether I push for 14 songs at FAWM or not.

The well doesn’t run dry, it refills itself. The more art I create, the more wells up to be created.

Hankering for Hunkering

I need to force myself to take some time off.

I am an obsessive person. Choose your personality type terminology: INFJ, 4 with a 5 wing, or Catalyst. That means I only have two settings: off, and AS MUCH AS THERE IS.

I don’t start a book unless I know I can finish it in one sitting.

When my entire music collection was vinyl, I listened to albums all the way through. I never, ever, skipped songs I didn’t like.

… more … “Hankering for Hunkering”

The Timed-Release Capsule and Growth Through Use; or, Where the Ideas Come From

We ask where great ideas and creativity come from, not because the question itself matters, but because we want to go there in order to find more.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/635810 by OBMonkey http://www.sxc.hu/profile/OBMonkeyReading Steven Pressfield’s take on the question prompted a visceral response with my own beliefs.

We are, in part, Divine, fashioned by a creator to be creators. Thus, creativity is built into us like a time-release capsule.

Except it’s not released by time. You can wait till the cows come home and if you don’t add the activating ingredient to the capsule, it will never release.

… more … “The Timed-Release Capsule and Growth Through Use; or, Where the Ideas Come From”

Standards: Straight Jacket or Guide Posts?

I just read a blog post by an author claiming that Joseph Campbell’s monomyth is overused, and explained how their novel avoided it so as not to sound formulaic.

Except the only difference was, their “hero” wasn’t traditionally heroic. Otherwise, the description was nothing more than an abbreviated version of the same story humans have been telling themselves for millennia.

photo http://www.sxc.hu/photo/310469 by Andy Barton http://www.sxc.hu/profile/RavenMediaBeing “different” by

  1. calling yourself different
  2. pretending that how the human mind works doesn’t apply to you and/or
  3. being ignorant of how language works (Campbell’s “hero” has nothing to do with heroism)

is loopy, wonky, misguided, and just plain wrong.
… more … “Standards: Straight Jacket or Guide Posts?”