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The Creative Process for Writers 10-24-2017


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Presentation for Writers Digest Conference. How do we go from being crafts-people to artists? How do we create? These all go to our process.

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The Creative Process for Writers 10-24-2017

  1. 1. The Creative Process for Writers
  2. 2. • How do we think? • How do we create? • Process takes us from craft to art. • Initially we create subconsciously; the more we move process to our conscious mind, the better we can create. Your Creative Process
  3. 3. 1. Are you a process or results person? 2. Are you a big picture or details person? 3. What is your pathological need as a writer? 4. Which of the three stages of change do you have problems with? 5. How do you sabotage yourself creatively? 6. How courageous are you? Six Key Questions
  4. 4. 1. Are you a process or results person?
  5. 5. • Are you writing a book or writing to finish a book? • Focus on the last letter in the Myers-Briggs. • J is a results person. • F is a process person. Process vs Results
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. Judging vs. Perceiving. • Closure vs. Open-ended. • This is how we approach our endeavors. • Results or process? • 50% Judging 50% Perceiving.
  8. 8. • 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
  9. 9. • A process person enjoys the act of writing just for itself. • A results person wants to finish. • If you can’t finish a manuscript, you are most likely a process person; remember, you can jump into the process of the next one. • If you are a results person, you need to set intermediate goals in the process of creating a novel. Process vs Results
  10. 10. 2. Are you a big picture or details person?
  11. 11. • Male linear thinking. • Female circular thinking. • Big picture thinking. • Detail thinking. • Aka pantser vs a planner. Archetypes & Creativity.
  12. 12. • How do you organize your daily life-- this is how you will 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. • Consider genre in terms of your strengths & weaknesses as a writer. The Creative Process
  13. 13. • A detail person needs to ‘see’ the big picture: aka collage? • A big picture person needs to ‘see’ the details: aka story grid. • I use an Excel spreadsheet for every book that I fill out as I write the book because I am terrible with details. Example on next slide. Creativity
  14. 14. Creativity Each row is a scene. You can use columns different ways: page number, location, voice, time, etc.
  15. 15. 3. What is your pathological need as a writer?
  16. 16. • Why are you writing? • What message are you trying to communicate? • A pathological need is one we can’t control. • However, if we become aware of it, we can control our writing. • It is often our “blind spot”. • Thus, like our characters, study traits/needs/flaws: Pathological Need
  17. 17. 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
  18. 18. • Focusing too much on the 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. • Comparing ourselves to others. • Letting fear overwhelm us. Creative Blocks
  19. 19. • Breathe. Slow down and breath • Do something physical • Embrace not knowing • Keep track of dreams • Have your catastrophe plan • Try something different Creative Openings
  20. 20. Archetypes-- Gender Differences Female Boss Seductress Spunky Kid Free Spirit Waif Librarian Crusader Nurturer Male Chief Bad Boy Best Friend Charmer Lost Soul Professor Swashbuckler Warrior
  21. 21. • FBI Behavioral Science Unit: John Douglas: MINDHUNTER-- tracking serial killers. • But you can profile anyone. • 99% of what we do is habit. • Habit= behavior patterns. • Examine the results and work back. • Key to understanding self and others is behavior patterns. • Peeling away the layers. • Helps with understanding the concept of change Profiling
  22. 22. “We first make our habits, and then our habits make us.” ~John Dryden
  23. 23. Profile yourself for 24 hours. Ask yourself if this is the type of person who will succeed as a writer?
  24. 24. Profile yourself as a writer. How do you create on a daily basis? Long term? What do you start with?
  25. 25. The Lords of Discipline •Protagonist is in a bind. •Must discover who the Ten are. •Earlier in the book is a scene where he is in his room-mate’s father’s den. •He later learns the father was one of the Ten.
  26. 26. Three Ways To Write: • Protagonist decides to break into the den to read the father’s journals to find out who the current Ten are. 1. Pat Conroy knew from the very beginning this was the solution and had it outlined this way. 2. Pat Conroy ended up in the same bind as his protagonist, re-read what he wrote, and used the den scene in another way. 3. There were no journals in the den and Pat Conroy went back and re-wrote, putting them in there.
  27. 27. 4. Which of the three stages of change do you have problems with?
  28. 28. • Moment of Enlightenment • Make a decision • Implement Sustained Action What is Change?
  29. 29. • The Three Hardest Words: I am wrong • Willingness to Surrender • You must have a Growth Mindset • When we have too many options, we don’t focus on the ones we should • Close doors— we have the power to say NO! Open-Mindedness
  30. 30. • 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.
  31. 31. • Can people change? • You want to show change, not just talk about it. • Change requires three things to happen . . . Change.
  32. 32. • Experience something never experienced before. • Experience something you’ve experienced before, but it affects you differently than ever before. • This is the classic ‘light bulb going on’. • By itself, it is not change, just a momentary awareness. • Denial often blocks MOEs. • Anger stops MOEs when it is actually an indicator of an MOE. Moment of Enlightenment
  33. 33. • Because of the Moment of Enlightenment, a decision is made. • It is not necessarily a good decision. • You then are either: • Stuck with the decision (externally imposed change) or • Stick with the decision (internally motivated change) • By itself, a decision is not change, just a fleeting commitment. • Bargaining can dilute a decision. • Depression can cause you to give up on decision. Decision
  34. 34. • Because of the decision, behavior is changed. • The changed behavior is sustained long enough to become habit. • In the military, this is called training. • The 5% rule for external and internal sustained action. • Sustained action leads to change. • Sliding back on the five stages stops this. • Acceptance is not easy-- your reality has changed. Sustained Action.
  35. 35. What step of change do you believe you have the most trouble with? • MOE? • Decision? • Sustained Action?
  36. 36. • 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
  37. 37. • Denial • Anger • Bargaining • Depression • Acceptance Emotional Stages of Change These are also the stages of the editorial process
  38. 38. • 5% of people are capable of internally motivated change. They are the successful writers. • 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. • (You will need to ask for help, BTW) The 5% Rule
  39. 39. 5. How do you sabotage yourself creatively?
  40. 40. “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
  41. 41. • 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
  42. 42. • 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
  43. 43. • 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
  44. 44. •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
  45. 45. •The more you agree with the statements on the following slides, the greater your imposter syndrome. The Impostor Syndrome
  46. 46. • 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. • 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. Impostor Syndrome
  47. 47. • When I think back to the past, 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. • 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. Impostor Syndrome
  48. 48. • If I’ve been successful at something, I often doubt I can do it again successfully. • If my agent tells me I’m going to get an offer on a book, I don’t tell anyone until the contract is actually in hand. Impostor Syndrome
  49. 49. 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. Men who feel like impostors tend to avoid comparisons with their peers. Often, they work hard so other people won’t think them incapable or dumb. Impostor Syndrome
  50. 50. • 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 • Internalize your accomplishments • Read your own resume Get Over The Impostor Syndrome
  51. 51. 6. How courageous are you?
  52. 52. • 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?
  53. 53. “Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~Anais Nin
  54. 54. • 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
  55. 55. “Have no fear of perfection-- you’ll never reach it.” ~Dali.
  56. 56. • 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. • 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 Fears
  57. 57. • 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 flaw Overcoming Fear
  58. 58. • You can’t separate your writing from you, the writer • Living with fear is ultimately worse than confronting it • Attack the ambush • 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
  59. 59. • 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
  60. 60. • Courage is taking action in the face of fear. • The fuel for courage is the passion channeled by our process. • Mastering this process leads us from craft to art. What is Courage?
  61. 61. Original Idea Conflict the Fuel of Your Story and the Conflict Box Plot I: Research and Narrative Questions Plot II: Outlining Plot III: Narrative Structure Character Point of View Write It Forward: From Writer to Bestselling Author Writers Conference Guide (Free eBook) Three P’s: Platform, Product, Promotion Writers’ Block and Rewriting How to Write the Query/Synopsis Planning for NaNoWriMo Success Bob Mayer’s Workshops, Seminars & Presentations Your Creative Process: How You Write The Present and Future of Publishing for Writers Writers Workshop and Retreat ON WRITING SLIDESHARES
  62. 62. For More Information click on covers The Complete Writer is four books at discount in one bundle.
  63. 63. New York Times bestselling author, graduate of West Point, former Green Beret, and feeder of two yellow Labs, most famously Cool Gus. He’s had over seventy books published, including the #1 bestselling series Time Patrol, Area 51, Atlantis, and the Green Berets. Born in the Bronx and having traveled the world he now lives peacefully with his wife and labs. Sort of. Free books below available HERE
  64. 64. Writing Scenic Workshop •An intense, on-premises workshop focusing on idea, conflict, story and the ever- changing business of publishing. •At our house on Scenic Drive in Knoxville, TN •Most importantly, this workshop focuses on developing your creative process as a writer. •Led by Bob Mayer and his wife, Debbie. •We’ve worked with everyone from #1 NY Times best-selling authors to novices writing their first book. •Limited to four people per workshop. This workshop can also come to you if you have four interested writers. For schedule contact
  65. 65. “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