Can Restraints Keep Creativity Alive?

In this video from The 99 Percent, creativity expert Scott Belsky discusses some decidedly uncreative ways to keep ideas alive and moving forward.

How to Avoid the Idea Generation Trap suggests compromise, restraint, planning, and discipline.  The suggestions aren’t as sexy and exciting as the pursuit of new ideas, but they could be helpful in avoiding what he calls the “idea plateau” and in keeping us focused on a project to its completion.

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Your Brain on Write is a series of posts exploring scientific, psychological
and cognitive aspects of writing and creativity. Click here to see additional posts in the series.

Resources: The 99 Percent, Scott Belsky, The Daily Post

6+ Prompts for Writers Who Make the Time

Every Tuesday at 9 pm EST, writers who find it difficult making time to write join together for an hour of silent writing. Writing for a specific and set amount of time is not only satisfying, it helps in building a consistent and rewarding writing life.

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers, but it was created especially for those who find it hard to put aside distractions for their craft.  To participate,  join us tonight at 9 EST on Twitter or Facebook.

You can work on your own project or use one of the writing exercises below.

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Oak Grove Day Dream”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  6. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

The 9 pm PST retreat is open by request.  If you’re interested in this session, please leave a comment here.

For more information on tonight’s retreat, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post

Monday Motivator: Ray Bradbury

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The Monday Motivator is a quote posted each week to encourage, inspire, and motivate writers of all skill levels and across genres.  If you have a favorite quote to share, let me know and I’ll post it here.  Click here to see past Monday Motivators.

Resources: Ray Bradbury, The Daily Post

A Thousand Words: Oak Grove Day Dream

Creative Commons image by oddsock on Flickr. Some rights reserved.

A Thousand Words is a photo prompt posted every Sunday.  Maybe the image will inspire you to write a short story, a poem, or a blog post.  Whatever your response, I hope the picture inspires you to some sort of creative zen.

If you write something based on the image, feel free to share a link in the comments section.   Also feel free to use the photo on your blog, just be sure to give proper credit, which I will always include in the post or the caption.

Resources: Creative Commons, Flickr, The Daily Post

Finally, A Use for All Those Phone Books

How many phone books do you get a year?

How many do you use?

When we moved into this house there were eight gigantic phone books and four small ones sitting on a closet shelf.  The shelf was sagging under the weight.  Two days after our phone service was turned on, another two or three books were delivered.

I don’t know about you, but I haven’t used a phone book in years.  Everything’s online!  Maybe it’s time for those businesses trying to make a buck with their version of the Yellow Pages to rethink their business model.  Enough with the dead trees already.

On the positive side, phone books don’t have to be a complete waste.  Like any other book, they can be modified into something useful and fun.  This week’s Once A Book project turns an old phone book into a pen and pencil holder.

Chica at the ChicaAndJo.com, posted this tutorial on how to Recycle a phone book into a pen organizer. The tutorial has photos to help with the process, and although there are a lot of steps, it seems straight forward.  It’s a great way to do something useful with these dinosaurs, but if you’re feeling more ambitious (and have a lot of phone books), here’s an option.

Joking aside, the phone books are not just a nuisance in the closet.  They use too many resources: paper, ink, gas for delivery, for something that most people toss directly into recycling, or worse, the trash.  To stop delivery, visit Yellow Pages Go Green.

Resources: Once A Book, ChicaAndJo.com, Yellow Pages Go Green, The Daily Post.

For ‘Tolkien Reading Day,’ a Favorite Quote

As someone with a strong sense of wanderlust, the second line of this quote always meant something special to me.  I heard it long before I became familiar with J.R.R.Tolkien or The Lord of the Rings, but when I found out Tolkien wrote it in The Fellowship of the Ring, I smile and thought, Yeah, that makes sense.

In honor of Tolkien Reading Day 2011, I’m happy to share a few of his words.

Resources: The Tolkien Society, Playdura on Flickr, The Daily Post

Deciding on Weight Loss

Shortly after taking on the challenge to write a blog post every day for a year, I took on the challenge to lose weight.  It wasn’t a New Year’s resolution because I don’t believe in those.  I decided to do it because my weight was bothering me more every day.  In the five or six years since my last weight loss effort, I gained back almost all the weight I’d lost, I stopped exercising, and I felt awful, mentally and physically.

I felt worse than awful.  I felt desperate, defeated, and hopeless.  I’ve had a weight problem all my life.  I’ve lost upwards of 70 pounds twice.  I have (slowly) run close to a hundred races, including the NYC Marathon back in 1997.

I know how to lose weight.  I know how to exercise.  I know how to eat healthfully.  I know how much I hate being overweight.  I know all this stuff and yet there’s a switch in my head that turns off and a little voice says, Nope, not gonna do it.

Period.  End of story.  Good night.

Except it’s not the end of the story because if I’m not actively losing weight, I’m actively gaining it.  There’s no middle ground for me.  And so on January 11, I dragged myself back to Weight Watchers, the only program that has worked for me.  I signed up, got all my program materials, and started counting points.

That was 18 pounds ago, and although there are many pounds lying in wait (in weight?), I feel like I’ve done the hardest part.  I got started.

Now that I’ve started, I have to say that Weight Watchers makes it easy to keep going.  The new Points Plus program is wonderful.  It’s easy, flexible and most importantly it works.  I’m not getting any spokesperson $$ for this, so I won’t go on, but I will say, I’m a believer.

I’m also a believer in exercise, although you’d never know it by my actions in the last few years.  To get myself kick started, I participated in a 12-week boot camp program.  That was amazing.  I hated every minute of it, but I loved every minute of it, too, if that makes any sense.  What I liked most was the structured workout that helped show me how strong I am and how much I’m capable of.

In the midst of boot camp, I started running again.  I’m training with an online program called Couch to 5K (C25K).  The website says it has “helped thousands of new runners get off the couch and onto the roads, running 3 miles in just two months.”

Once again, I hate every minute of it, except the last one when I’m finished.  Then I L-O-V-E it!

I know there are many miles and many pounds to go.  I’m slowly learning that I won’t ever be able to “eat like a normal person.”  I don’t think there is such a thing as “eat like a normal person.”  We all have our quirks about food.  For now that little switch in my head is staying on and the voice is quiet, but I’m learning  I’m in control of that.  It’s not some mystical, magical mumbo jumbo that leads to success.  It’s a daily decision.  Sometimes it’s a minute by minute decision.  I’m hopeful that I’m learning enough now, while the going seems easy, to keep making the right choices when (if) the slog sets in.

Resources: Weight Watchers, Couch to 5K, mini true on Flickr, The Daily Post


7 Writing Prompts and Some Motivation

Every Tuesday at 9 pm EST, writers who find it difficult making time to write join together for an hour of silent writing.

The Silent Writers online writing retreat is open to all writers who want to commit a minimum of one hour to writing.  If you’re interested in participating, join us tonight at 9 EST on Twitter or Facebook.

You can work on your own project or use one of the writing exercises below.

  1. From PW.org:Fiction and Poetry prompts
  2. From Verbal VerbosityThe 100 Words Challenge Prompt
  3. From me: A photo prompt, “Bubbling Over”
  4. From Mama’s Losin’ ItFive Writing Prompts
  5. From Writer’s Digest: Writing Prompts (10 pages of them!)
  6. From @Selorian on Twitter:#storystarters
  7. From Plinky: Quickie questions to ponder

While catching up on my RSS reading this week, I found Keeping Motivated Daily by Elizabeth Spann Craig.  The post talks about staying motivated by finding the joy of writing in the writing itself.  She shares words of wisdom for all writers, struggling or not.

If you visit Elizabeth’s blog, Mystery Writing is Murder, plan on spending some time.   Her posts are filled with great information and useful advice.

For more information on tonight’s retreat, visit the Silent Writers Collective.

Resources:  The Daily Post