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Creativity NJRWA


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Creativity Presentation New Jersey Romance Writers

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Creativity NJRWA

  1. 1. It’s the act of making new connections between old ideas. What Is Creative Process?
  2. 2. Except for video excerpts, it’s available at You Can Download This
  3. 3. What Is Holding You Back? YOU
  4. 4. The Creative Process for Writers
  5. 5. The Creative Process for Writers
  6. 6. How do you think? Are you a perception (process) or a judging (results) person? Are you a big picture or detail person? How do your create? Your Creative Process
  7. 7. What is your pathological need? Are you a heart or mind person? How do you sabotage yourself? How courageous are you? Your Creative Process
  8. 8. A detail person needs to ‘see’ the big picture: aka collage? A big picture person needs to ‘see’ the details: aka story grid. Jenny Crusie uses collages because she is good with details but needs to ‘see’ the big picture. I use an Excel spreadsheet for every book that I fill out as I write the book because I am terrible with details. Details vs. Big Picture
  9. 9. Focusing too much the on strategic goal & making it a job Being a perfectionist Getting too caught up in business side Trapping ourselves with a brand we don’t want Creative Blocks
  10. 10. Breathe. Slow down and breath Do something physical Embrace not knowing Keep track of dreams Have your catastrophe plan Try something different Creative Openings
  11. 11. Apply to yourself and others, including characters in your book. So you can understand the differences in people. Archetypes. Profiling Myers-Briggs. Templates
  12. 12. Male linear thinking. Female circular thinking. Big picture thinking. Detail thinking. Aka pantser vs a planner. Which leads to profiling yourself. Archetypes & Creativity.
  13. 13. “Because writing is such a solitary, inwardly-directed job, a woman writer really has to carve out a space for herself to work. Which means she has to take it seriously. As John Gardner once said: ‘If you believe that what you’re doing isn’t important, you’re right’.” ~Dennis Palumbo
  14. 14. Where Do I Find The Time?
  15. 15. Profile yourself for 24 hours. Ask yourself if this is the type of person who will succeed as a writer?
  16. 16. INTP= Architect ENTP= Inventor INTJ= Scientist ENTJ= Field Marshall INFP= Questor ENFP= Journalist INFJ= Author ENJF= Pedagogue ESJF= Seller ISFJ= Conservator ESFP= Entertainer ISFP= Artist ESTJ= Administrator ISTJ= Trustee ESTP= Promoter ISTP= Artisan Myers-Briggs Types
  17. 17. Understand what you are, but also focus on what you aren’t. What is the opposite of your type? For example, INFJ is labeled author, and the least common of the 16 character types. If you are an INFJ, what aren’t you? ESTP= promoter. This is a big problem for a lot of writers. Myers-Briggs
  18. 18. The last letter of the Myers-Briggs is either a J (judging) or a P (perception) J types like to have matters settled. Finished. P types like to have matters open. In progress. If you have trouble finishing a book, you probably are a P. If you rush through a book, you probably are a J. Are you writing a book or writing to finish Results vs Process
  19. 19. How you organize your daily life-- this is how you will instinctively organize your book. If you outline, do you outline just plot, or do you outline characters? If you’re a pantser, how much rewriting do you do? Is your rewriting focused on plot or character? Consider front-loading the part of the book that is your weakest writing. Outlining
  20. 20. A dream with an external visible outcome that is written down with an end date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action becomes reality. Goals-- What
  21. 21. Most writers are desperate to get published Once published, they’re desperate to sell the next book. Then the next. Or they’re under contract to deliver the next book, then the next, and . . . Most writers don’t have a strategic goal Strategic Goals.
  22. 22. “If you don’t know where you’re going, you’re liable to end up somewhere else.” ~Casey Stengel
  23. 23. I want to be a NY Times best-selling author in 5 years. I want to write my memoir for my grandchildren. I want to write part-time simply because it is a hobby. I want to get published within 2 years. I want to have my book in print within 6 months. I want to write a book that will help people with -----. Strategic Goals Can Be Anything.
  24. 24. I’ll do anything to achieve my writing goal, except don’t ask me to do . . . . .?
  25. 25. PLOT
  26. 26. CONFLICT: The Fuel of Your Story
  27. 27. Basic Story Dynamic The Protagonist (the character who owns the story) struggles with . . . The Antagonist (the character who if removed will cause the conflict and story to collapse) because both must achieve their concrete, specific . . . Goals (the external thing they are each trying desperately to get, not necessarily the same thing)
  28. 28. CONFLICT: EXERCISE ONE What does your protagonist want most? (Must be a concrete, external thing) Do not confuse goal with motivation!
  29. 29. CONFLICT: EXERCISE TWO What does your antagonist want most? (Must be a concrete, external thing)
  30. 30. CONFLICT: EXERCISE THREE What is stopping your protagonist from getting what he/she wants most? What is stopping your antagonist from getting what he/she wants most?
  31. 31. The Conflict Box A way of diagraming your protagonist, antagonist, goals, and conflict. You can have conflict because: Protagonist and antagonist want the same thing. Protagonist and antagonist want different things, but achieving one goal causes conflict with the other’s goal.
  32. 32. Conflict Box Protagonist Conflict Protagonist Goal Antagonist Goal Antagonist Conflict
  33. 33. Conflict Box: Same Goals •Agnes wants to keep her house, which she bought from Brenda. •Brenda wants to steal back the house she just sold to Agnes Keep HOUSE Get HOUSE Back Protagonist Conflict Antagonist Conflict
  34. 34. Conflict Box: Conflict Someone is trying to steal the house from her! Someone won’t let her steal the house back! Keep HOUSE Get HOUSE Back A G N E S B R E N D A GOAL CONFLICT
  35. 35. Conflict Box: Same Goal • To see if your conflict is inescapable: Draw a line from Agnes’ goal to Brenda’s Conflict. If Agnes is causing Brenda’s conflict, you’re halfway there. • Then draw a line from Brenda’s goal to Agnes’ conflict. If Brenda is causing Agnes’ conflict, you have a conflict lock. Keep HOUSE Get HOUSE Back Someone won’t let her steal the house back! Someone is trying to steal the house from her! A G N E S B R E N D A GOAL CONFLICT
  36. 36. Conflict Box: Different Goals KILL whoever is killing young girls KILL the daughters of the men who betrayed him Protagonist Conflict Antagonist Conflict •Gant wants to find out who is kidnapping and killing young girls. •The Sniper wants revenge for being betrayed.
  37. 37. Conflict Box: Conflict KILL whoever is killing young girls KILL the daughters of the men who betrayed him Another Girl is killed, kidnapped. Someone is closing in on him, trying to stop him. •Gant wants to find out who is kidnapping and killing young girls. •The Sniper wants revenge for being betrayed.
  38. 38. Conflict Box: Conflict KILL whoever is killing young girls KILL the daughters of the men who betrayed him Another Girl is killed, kidnapped. Someone is closing in on him, trying to stop him. •Gant wants to find out who is kidnapping and killing young girls. •The Sniper wants revenge for being betrayed.
  39. 39. The Craft Of Writing You start with an Original Idea. You figure out your protagonist, antagonist, and core conflict (conflict lock.) Remember to stay open-minded to possibilities. So now you . . .
  40. 40. Research Research your characters. Research your setting (place & time). Research your plot. Research produces possibilities.
  41. 41. Book Dissection It’s been done before. Learn from the experts. Do a story break down, focusing on narrative structure. Everything in a story is done for a purpose. Do a scene break down, focusing on purpose. How are you going to be different?
  42. 42. If you aren’t where you want to be, you must change. Change isn’t just thinking differently, but the 1st step of change is to think differently. Make is externally imposed. Become is internally motivated. The successful become. Change
  43. 43. What step of change do you believe you have the most trouble with? Moment Of Enlightenment? Decision? Sustained Action?
  44. 44. Most people think sustained action is their weakest part of change. Remember, though, you only get to sustained action if the other two have occurred. Look back on when you changed in your life. What was the hardest part? Change
  45. 45. Denial Anger Bargaining Depression Acceptance Emotional Stages of Change These are also the stages of the editorial process
  46. 46. Johnny Cash Pitching
  47. 47. He tried even though the odds of rejection were high. He walked in the door, even though he was afraid. He went even though his wife didn’t think he had it. He stayed after being rejected. He asked questions. Even though he was angry, he was respectful. He listened. He used his PLATFORM and tried again. He used his real self and mined his emotions. He conquered his FEAR. He CHANGED. What Did Johnny Cash Do?
  48. 48. The Creative Process for Writers
  49. 49. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~Anais Nin
  50. 50. Are you better at character (heart) or plot (mind)? You need both for an effective story. You must address whatever you are weak at. Merge them. Character becomes plot. Are You A Heart or Mind Person?
  51. 51. Why are you writing? What message are you trying to communicate? What is your blind spot as a writer? As a person? What Is Your Pathological Need?
  52. 52. Looking at previous questions, you can see the areas where you are weak. The number one way we sabotage ourselves is through our fears. How Do You Sabotage Yourself?
  53. 53. Blind Spot Needs produce blind spots. Everyone has blind spots. As an author, make sure you know yours. Strongest defenses are built around the blind spot. Therefore . . . Often the blind spot is the part of character thought to be the strongest. Denial defends blinds spot and justifies needs.
  54. 54. Pathological Need In a moment of crisis, what is the driving force? It is a need, not a want. Every need has a corresponding flaw.
  55. 55. Trait Need Flaw • Loyal • Adventurous • Altruistic • Tolerant • Decisive • Realistic • Competitive • Idealistic • To be trusted • To have change • To be loved • To have no conflict • To be in charge • To be balanced • To achieve goals • To be the best • Gullible • Unreliable • Submissive • No conviction • Impetuous • Outer control • Overlook cost • Naive
  56. 56. The Creative Process for Writers
  57. 57. Fear of failure Fear of success Fear of rejection Fear of starting Fear of finishing Fear of revealing too much about ourselves Fear of criticism Fears of Writers
  58. 58. Fear of making the wrong decision Fear of having hit one’s peak Fear of making a mistake Fear of not being good enough Fear of the business Fear of having regrets Fears of Writers
  59. 59. The first step is to rip away the denial. Fear exists. Look at what you think is your greatest strength and turn it around. Most fear is subconscious-- you will likely need help finding the true root. Dealing With Fear
  60. 60. We bend our lives around our fears. Your fear won’t change things-- it has no power--it won’t keep the plane flying Fear can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Dealing With Fear
  61. 61. Many writers and artists have difficulty internalizing their accomplishments We look to external things like luck and contacts as the reason for our successes We feel like we are ‘fooling’ everyone The more success someone has, the greater this feeling The Impostor Syndrome
  62. 62. Many writers/artists feel like a fraud “I still think People will find out that I’m really not very talented. I’m not very good. It’s all been a big sham.” Michelle Pfeiffer “Sometimes I wake up before going off to a shoot, and I think, I can’t do this: I’m a fraud. They’re going to fire me. I’m Fat. I’m ugly...” Kate Winslet. Everyone has doubts The Impostor Syndrome
  63. 63. The more you agree with the statements on the following slides, the greater your imposter syndrome. The Impostor Syndrome
  64. 64. I can give the impression I am more competent than I really am. I often compare myself to those around me and consider them more intelligent than I am. I get discouraged if I’m not the ‘best’ in an endeavor. The Impostor Syndrome
  65. 65. I hate being evaluated by others. If someone gives me praise for something I’ve accomplished, it makes me fear that I won’t live up to his or her expectations in the future. I’ve achieved my current position via luck and/or being in the right place at the right time. The Impostor Syndrome
  66. 66. Incidents where I made mistakes or failed come more readily to mind than times when I was successful When I finish a manuscript, I usually feel like I could have done so much better. When someone compliments me, I feel uncomfortable. The Impostor Syndrome
  67. 67. I’m afraid others will find out my lack of knowledge/expertise. When I start a new manuscript, I’m afraid I won’t be able to finish it, even though I’ve already finished X number of manuscripts. The Impostor Syndrome
  68. 68. Women tend to agree more with IS statements than men. Women tend to believe that intelligence is a fixed trait that cannot be improved over time. Women who feel like impostors tend to seek favorable comparisons with their peers. The Impostor Syndrome
  69. 69. Men who feel like impostors tend to avoid comparisons with their peers. Often, they work harder so other people won’t think them incapable or dumb. They get angry because they are afraid. Or we start a war. The Impostor Syndrome
  70. 70. Focus on positive feedback Weed out your parent’s voice in your head if negative Be aware of using self-deprecation as a social strategy How To Get Over The Impostor Syndrome
  71. 71. Don’t knock yourself—others are more than willing to do it for you Internalize your accomplishments Read your own resume How To Get Over The Impostor Syndrome
  72. 72. Post your strategic goal “I love me wall” How To Get Over The Impostor Syndrome
  73. 73. People generally only post good news. You don’t know the real story or situation. People lie and exaggerate. You’re not them. You are unique. Impostor Syndrome and the Internet
  74. 74. Stop blocking yourself. Rejection is an opportunity. Failure is an opportunity. Impostor Syndrome
  75. 75. Seinfeld and the blowhole episode. Trust your subconscious. Access all the floors of your brain. Do not edit first drafts. Impostor Syndrome
  76. 76. Acknowledge it is exists. Define what you really fear, often the blind spot. Factor it in, both positively and negatively. Open and honest communication reduces anxiety and fear. Trust reduces anxiety and fear. Find your blind spots. Recognize which of the three steps of change is your weakest. Overcoming Fear
  77. 77. The state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger with self-possession, confidence, and resolution, The ability to do something that frightens one. Strength in the face of pain or grief. What is Courage?
  78. 78. Expand your comfort zone into your courage zone. Courage is acting in the face of fear. Your strongest emotional defenses are around your greatest weaknesses. Often what we think is our strongest character strength is our weakest. As writers, most of us must fight being an introvert. Courage
  79. 79. “Have no fear of perfection-- you’ll never reach it.” ~Dali.
  80. 80. Every day try to do something that you dislike doing, but need to do. Action is the only way to grow courage. If you’re introverted, talk to a stranger every day. If you’re a practical person, do something intuitive every day. Do the opposite of your Myers-Briggs character. Overcoming Fear
  81. 81. You can’t separate your writing from you, the writer Living with fear is ultimately worse than confronting it Attack the ambush Overcoming Fear
  82. 82. Overcoming Fear
  83. 83. Know the rule Have a good reason for breaking the rule Take responsibility for breaking the rule The 3 Rules of Rule-Breaking
  84. 84. You can’t separate your writing from you, the writer Put long-term goals ahead of short-term goals Write what you know- maybe write what you are afraid to know. Lean into fear-- kaizen Be curious about your fear-- it’s a cave- but treasure could be inside Take action. Overcoming Fear
  85. 85. We are bleeding onto the page. We’re writing them instead of living them in some cases— and that’s a good thing! Reality is often boring. Suspension of disbelief in ourselves! We’re Writing Our Dreams and Fantasies
  86. 86. Is perseverance more important than talent? Statistically born out by: weight loss, AA, Black Belts, getting published, Death & Dying, etc.. Many people are wanna-be’s. Cannot do three steps on own. Can’t get through five stages on own. The 5% Rule
  87. 87. Is talent or perseverance more important? Science has too long focused on intelligence & talent as determiners of success. And it’s not. Strategic Goals: GRIT
  88. 88. 1869 Galton-- Hereditary Genius: ‘ability combined with zeal & capacity for hard work’ trumps talent. Duckworth study on Grit: West Point: Grit was determining factor of Beast Barracks success. Special Forces Q-Course Strategic Goals: GRIT
  89. 89. “80% of success is showing up.” Again and again. Jim Carrey and the Hollywood Sign Strategic Goals: GRIT
  90. 90. • The Three Hardest Words • Willingness to Surrender • Buridan’s Ass • When we have too many options, we don’t focus on the ones we should • Close doors A Growth Mindset
  91. 91. MRIs show people with fixed mindsets had more activity when receiving positive feedback. When they got feedback on what could be done better, there was little activity. Growth mindset people were the opposite. Welcome new ways of thinking. A Growth Mindset
  92. 92. Setting a specific long-term goal and doing whatever it takes until the goal has been achieved. The Key To Success
  93. 93. “Talent is less important in film- making than patience. If you really want your films to say something that you hope is unique, then patience and stamina, thick skin and a kind of stupidity, a mule-like stupidity, is what you really need.” ~Terry Gilliam