Extraordinary cuteness aside, I wanted to share this with you. You, storytellers. You, weavers of imaginary worlds. Little Capucine reminds us of the sheer pleasure there is in allowing stories to appear right before our eyes, without forethought, software, or seminar-approved paradigms and definitely without straining for the best word. Sometimes the thread is all there is and it is good.
Without further adieu, I present Capucine! Via the blog of my cherished friend, novelist Susan Taylor Chehak.
We writers are imagineers. We are seers. We create emotional experiences for tomorrow’s readers, viewers, and listeners through our stories today. Inventor Jay Walker is the curator of the Library of Human Imagination. The private library is his personal monument to human ingenuity — without which we writers would be lost. It is, without doubt, glorious.
This TED talk offers not only an interesting bit of history about the printed book but also Walker’s take on creativity:
So how do we create? [...We] create by surrounding ourselves with stimuli, with human achievement, with history, with the things that drive us and make us human. The passionate discovery, the bones of dinosaurs long gone, the maps of space that we’ve experienced, and ultimately the hallways that stimulate our mind and our imagination.
And though Walker speaks about the TED conference in general, below, his words can be applied to each of us as we create new stories every day:
[It] is all about patterns in the clouds. It’s all about connections. It’s all about seeing things that everybody else has seen before but thinking about them in ways that nobody has thought of them before. And that’s really what discovery and imagination is all about.
Novelists are familiar with NaNoWriMo, the annual personal novel-writing challenge that begins in November. It has fueled many successful projects and bolstered much confidence in its ten years. Now screenwriters have their own personal script-writing challenge: Script Frenzy.
Script Frenzy is an international writing event in which participants take on the challenge of writing 100 pages of scripted material in the month of April. As part of a donation-funded nonprofit, Script Frenzy charges no fee to participate; there are also no valuable prizes awarded or “best” scripts singled out. Every writer who completes the goal of 100 pages is victorious and awe-inspiring and will receive a handsome Script Frenzy Winner’s Certificate and web icon proclaiming this fact.
More people who want you to write! The immediate gain is purely personal. The bigger picture will be what you make it. New writers and seasoned alike, these marathons are a fun way to break your patterns and see what happens. Try it!
Both projects are managed by non-profits so, if you are able, do gift them with a little something to show them you care. Good writing and good luck meeting your own writing challenge if you choose to join the thousands rapid-firing ideas onto paper next month.
Here’s your Friday thought: Expertise can be yours with a simple 10,000 hour investment.
We writers–high-school students to showrunners to Nobel Laureate novelists–certainly know a few things when it comes to creating stories. We make people laugh, we make them cry, and–if we’re lucky– our audience claims our stories as a part of them forever.
Even that phenomenal success does not necessarily mean we may claim the title of “expert”…not in its truest sense, anyway (for there is much room in our culture for casual use of the idea). It doesn’t mean we know all there is to know about our art, our craft. Today’s post is a reminder to seek out that which we DO NOT know in our work and learn more about it. Today. Do it. Just one thing.
Want to know how to become an overnight success? Sure, there are people who, every minute, land in New York, London, and Hollywood’s eager laps and get swooped up into the publicity machine to be lauded as fantastic! A spectacular spectacular! And surely they are all of those things…but perhaps “dazzling” isn’t an all-encompassing definition of success nor expertise.
You need a particular kind of practice— deliberate practice —to develop expertise. When most people practice, they focus on things they already know how to do. Deliberate practice is different. It entails considerable, specific, and sustained efforts to do something you can’t do well—or even at all. Research across domains shows that it is only by working at what you can’t do that you turn into the expert you want to become.
So whoever you are, whatever your accomplishments, keep working. Stay curious. And remember that you will always have learned more than someone else and there is always someone who has learned more than you do. And that’s a great thing.
For more on the subject, check these out online or at your local library:
The talks from the TED 2009 conference are finally out! Here is Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the phenomenally popular Eat, Pray, Love, sharing her thoughts on creativity, on how to protect the artist’s psyche while creation happens, and on how to deal when your public is no longer enamored with your work.
Personally, I’d add a bit that includes in one’s perception of success a few factors that do not rely upon the popular vote. But that’s just me. And hey, who doesn’t adore being adored?