Thursday, April 23, 2015

Jon Blondyn asks me "What is 3-D data?"

Well Jon   a rough example for the purposes of writing and information architecture specifically for literary production would be described like:

1.  Set up an excel spreadsheet or any program you use for 2-D data (columns and rows).

2.  Set up your data in a structured manner.  I put the subjects I write under (comedy, sci-fi, disruptive entrepreneurial, macabre historical fantasy, etc.) at the top column row called the header row.  

I title it in ALL CAPS, *bold it* and center it. Sometimes I color code that row gold to subconsciously tell me when that column's requirements are done, I can put that column's production output - the finished manuscript, drawing, design or whatever it's format and nature - up for sale in the market.

That is the first "D" (or dimension) in the 3-D data.

3.  Along the rows I put the various title names of the projects I am working on.  

Column widths are adjustable to any width so if I have a long title, a working title or no title has popped into my head yet, and I need to just describe it so I know what thought snippets go in there.

Like: "Blog about describing 3-D data development for writers who work on multiple projects at once and need a management tool not to become frustrated like I did once managing it all with files and folders and directory structures and want to do it easy and smart without a lot of intellectual overhead because they want to get back to the fun stuff on the page."  

Yeah, I've written stuff like that.  I can't lie because bullshit is the nemesis of creativity.   I used to call myself the King of run on sentences.  I still have to watch out for that.

That is the second "D" (the second dimension) in 3-D data.  Genre first, subject title next, 'D's" one and two.

Once the spreadsheet is populated, and one does not have to do this in order, in fact, its a creative tool and will probably populate uh, creatively, lol.  

As long as it is put together logically at first, how you drop data into it becomes clearer and clearer as you gain comfort and facility with the tool.  

The LC loves his comfort, and knows what is important.  What is important in any creators life is what smart organization tool can I use that is: easy, takes very little time, maps my mental creative process so the right career choices (as a function of strengths and skills unique to you) become apparent, wrong turns can be avoided, lack of productivity disappears, and most important of all, matches how the creative mental process works *logically* (at first stage career tool implementation) and rids you of those "where was I's" and "where did that file go?", (because you link to the working draft from the data cell) and critically, "what can I work on next?"

Was that a royal blunder of a run on sentence or what?

The third dimension (the LC begins to hear the theme from Twilight Zone buzzing in the back of his head) is where your rubber meets the road creatively.

An available function of a data cell is called a comment.  You just right click the cell with the title in it (that's in MSFT Excel; I don't use other spreadsheet programs so I don't know if they have this, but it would seem so) and a menu pops up and you choose add comment. 

A small sticky not window will pop up attached to the cell and you can size it any way you want, but moreover you can type into it.  Anything you want serving any purpose you want as long as it is logically linked to the cell it is attached to.  

I re-size the comment window to the size of a 3 X 5 note card if I am working on a screenplay.  I re-size the card to eight and a half by eleven inches if I think its going to take a full page to describe how I am working out a more fully qualified argument or narrative to make the point clear about what the commented cell is referencing to in the title cell it is originating from.  Because I can run on too much sometimes, I just make it big and write into it what has to be described and then re-size it down so that it fits the content within it. 

I type in the points I want to make outline or bullet style with the aforementioned topic.  I may also simply bullet point a through line action plot if it is not necessarily a information project like a blog entry (as part of a content strategy) like "There are three points about the talent faculty that have to be described fully - point a, point b and point c" so I know what to develop as individual points fully explaining the talent faculty issue at hand.  

That's the basic 3-D. Genre is first, topic in genre is second, specific of narrative you want to write about on topic are third, and that scales downward into the time, place, circumstance, examples, dialogue/duologue/monologue, devices, scenes, props, stage business (even in regular manuscripts), and so on until you map the project as well as you need to to produce it complete and as best developed as you can write.  

Now comes the fun and more important part.  

It's scalable as we say in Silicon Valley.

If one of the bullet points in a comment needs explaining, I create a separate document explaining everything that goes on with respect to the point needing to be made the bullet point requires.  

I link in the comment to that document with the explanation written out at the end of the bullet point.  

If the explanation document needs further explanation and I redraft, as writers do, I put version 0.02 at the top of the explanation document so I know I'm making progress.  I increase the version number of each draft, and when it is done, I change version numbering to final draft, print it out and read it.

Then I take the old writing advice and put it down and come back and read it with fresh eyes to see if I missed anything.  If I did, I add it and repeat the process of reading it again with fresh eyes later and if anything changes, fine by me.  I want a solid, comprehensible and well written and edited final document so I can get feedback from others, or in the case of smaller work, publish with confidence.  

The point is to not neglect combing, because writing is description at it's best, so you have to pretty much be logic perfect as well as letter perfect.  

This is not to say that when something is as good as you can make it, it is as good as you can make it and a copy editor or editor or proofreader or writer friend feedback can give you objective feedback thereafter.

I just try to do as much of it myself to save time and money on other's part as well as my own.  

Now, let's say that a project is big, cumbersome, has a lot of points to be made and lots of research to do.

I go to the cell referencing the title or project name, and turn that name itself (from the master table at the top of the information hierarchy (which rarely changes), the second dimension, and turn it into a link and create a spreadsheet for that project alone in another sheet within the master writing table workbook - or whatever you decide to name that Excel file.  

I have a workbook for:  Comedy, Corporate, Inventions, Master Admin, Personal Budget, etc.  Breaking it out into manageable chunks is the idea here as you now follow.

In that new spreadsheet, I can break out data into chapter requirements, comment cell the chapter numbers and write into them, "This is the chapter where the hero has to sail across the sea wounded after having barely escaped from his life in his home country.  He has with him all of his family that still survives, his ragtag crew of misfit sea dogs under his command and as many supplies he could take with him before his ship was overrun and almost burned at port by the invaders coming over the hill down to the sea from the north."  

I add the names of the characters in the chapter, and link to their character biographies in the text of their name. Long bios for major characters, short bios for minor characters, incidental characters require bios rarely.  

I type the moment in time the chapter starts, referencing a real time calculation made from the end of the last chapter.  Events from the last chapter can push the time forward.

For example, in Chapter two, "Two months later Fred was healed from his broken arm so cruelly given to him by evil Mike's minion, Blargvedore.  He began weight training as soon as he could to get back to full strength so he could get even."  

As much detail as you want to get into, there is another dimension of data you can attach to the parent logical reference.  How long did it take Fred to train with weights before he was back to full strength?  Even if he fully recovered and was ready, how long did it take him to find Blargvedore?  Was he going to have to bust some of Blargvedore's friends heads in order to squeeze out of them Blargvedore's location?  Did word that Fred was looking for Blargevdore reach him before Fred arrived, or is Fred going to get the full satisfaction of a surprise attack?

These are all relevant dramaturlogical questions if you are going to respect the Aristotelian consistencies required in filmic (and other kinds of) storytelling.  

You can take your cell references wherever you want to go.  And you should if the story questions are going to be fully explored.

The real reason I like and recommend this kind of structure is that when you are creating live drama in-scene, in action, you are creating.  Having to stop and make a logical reference or previous association you forgot to write down is creative inefficiency.  And as mental processes go, creativity is incredibly fast.  That is why if you don't write it down right now, you'll almost always forget it.

There's only so much jacking around with the process of flow utilization methods the creative faculty inside you is going to tolerate before you have cooperation with the faculty problems on your hand.  

The flow is hard enough to get into sometimes, why do you want to build dams across that stream?  Its self destructive and illogical.  I saw it in myself and had to create a tool that solved the problem like all creators do. 

Well, many anyway.  Some never do.  It's on you.  

This method allows me to let my mind wander as far as I want, and in science fiction writing, that can be pretty far.  Yet I can always come back to where in the logical unfolding narrative location of exposition I need to be to drop my creative work on a particular problem into.  Then it becomes a matter of just printing about a bunch of comments, taping them to the studio wall, taking a few step back and analyzing for pace and other qualities I want to put into the work before I get it to the polish stage.  

Its better to have the story logic and structure set up before going into creative mode if you can.   You may have to do it on the fly if you are that kind of creator or thinker.  You can do it after the fact but that is kinda redundant, but I admit I have done it. It sucks so better to be on top of your game.

You want all that structural clutter ironed out and elsewhere from your mind so you have plenty of processor overhead for the real imaginative and creative aspects of story creation process that define your originality, style and approach.  Even new techniques can be invented if you get the nerves, blood vessels and muscles positioned once you have the bones written down as they say.  Presto, artistic growth!

This tool has allowed me to create across multiple genres, and manage my professional business affairs as well as taxes., workouts, menus, etc.

Because I was your classic case of "all over the map, multi-talented polymath, imagination wanderer" and I got sick and tired of reiterating the same old processes that perhaps fit a writer from a hundred years ago (or a writer who refuses to change in order to grow professionally or artistically) when multi-dimensional thinking wasn't even generally known about yet,  I often dismissed it, bogging me down getting work done and out the door to my audience, small as it may be.  

But with professional management of creative work processes, that audience has grown, as have the dollars - as will my chances of notoriety in the long run.  

The point is you need *tools* and this is one that doesn't waste time, doesn't require RTFM (reading the fucking manual) and allows for any style, approach or technique you want or have to use cleanly, simply, powerfully and efficiently.

And in the big picture, Jon, if more creators used professional tools, we would collective have a greater impact on culture and that is nothing but improve the world as you like it.  

Now I gotta work on those run-on posts, huh?

Take care Jon, and I hope this helps.

Sincerely yours,

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM 

Thursday, April 16, 2015


Writer's block doesn't exist.  Take this test:

1. Get a fresh blank document open or pad of paper and pen if you compose that way.

2.  Write down, in chronological order, the things you have done since you got up.  Examples would be like, "I ate a bowl of cheerios."  Or, "I got the kids off to school safely ad prepared to learn."  

3.  When that list is exhausted, go check your filing cabinet.  Take assessment of all the state of development your stories are in.  Go back to the blinking cursor or point-on-page.  Prepare a list of ten questions to yourself why each one in in the state it is in.

Be specific, like, "Why is this character doing what they are doing in this scene?"  Or, "Why did I choose this setting or circumstance for this plot point?"  Or, "What are the logical choices I made for distilling this particular story arc? Did I really distill the DNA of this story?"  "What is the degree of specificity in the logical description of my story world?"  "Is the character back story and biography in depth and goes back two generations?"

All these things relate to how well you know the story you are telling, how well the foundation is for telling it and whether or not you are prepared in the information architecture sense for articulating details about action, conflict or character or dialogue.  

I guarantee one of two things will happen.  

Either you will find yourself writing to fill in the above or continue the work through completion, or, you will discover your story choice to author did not mean enough for you to complete it.  

Presto!  Myth vanishes.  Professional reality triumphs. Stop the presses!!!

Most writers are mistaking a deep feeling of wasting time and poor choice from your creative faculty's point of view. It has given up on helping you work on it for solid reasons.  It is nine times smarter than your waking self, you realize that don't you?   Because the creative faculty is subconsciously located, we can't always recognize what it is trying to tell us when we are awake and conscious. 

That is what idle time is for; to give us the play space in our heads to bring the two together in neutral territory and perform creative mental processes, which is another blog in and of itself. 

So slow down the intellectualism if you want to speed up the creativism.

In other words, it is a story you were meant to tell and you had to write it.  

The two are inextricably linked, by the way, and you will learn how to make better artistic choices from then on.  

It's not your writing's fault, or your creativity's fault, it is your fault for not being personally accountable to your meaningful artistic path.  

That path is composed of one's ideas, themes strung together from series or relationships between ideas and other things.  

This is the path to fully realized concepts, superconcepts and their apex - masterpieces.

So like being a Jedi, it is a most sobering endeavor.  If it was easy, it wouldn't be any good.

One of my rules for writing is never start a story you aren't ideologically compelled (and that is a strong enough standard) to finish. That is not exclusive, fantasy, poetry and fanciful writing can be meaningful enough for you to have to write them.  Meaningful is the operative word.

Passion wanes.  Meaning sustains.  Everything I say is copyrighted, Holmes.

In other words, it was not a story your were meant to tell, and you can't write it because your creative faculty has chosen not to waste your time.  It is you, despite our reliance on rationale.  

So you say you are blocked, like people say I can't play tennis or learn to play a musical instrument.  They can - they just don't want to invest the effort and time because it does not mean enough to them to finish with any degree of perceived accomplishment.  Dieting is like that.  Its. A. Myth. 70% of the time, 'can't' means 'won't.'

You can't write it because you weren't meant to on the right levels necessary to ensure contribution and cooperation from the creative faculty to complete the creative conceptual work and enter the technical/mechanical side of writing - the drafting process, the editing process, manuscript mechanics, proofreading, copy editing and so forth.  

This is true of both works of significant thought as well as of sufficient length - for we all know the longer the story in terms of word count, the more accurate and of depth the logic must be.  

Otherwise, like so many other copywriters and advertising writers around here posing as real writers are just trope regurgitologists (fifty quick plots or ten steps to blog design), writer's block is just a perversion of real, meaningful literary cultural contribution.

It's a sum business, people.  You don't live forever.

I could not think of a greater waste of talent or precious time with perhaps the exception of, oh, gambling.

It falls under the same category of the tooth fairy and Santa Clause - the lies we tell ourselves are true.  Humans are excellent at tricking themselves and creativity is one of those areas where we trick ourselves the best and most convincingly.

This boils down to just one thing.  The greatest fool is one who fools themselves.  

Don't be fooled by the tricks of myth.  Myths can be sophisticated plots we suspend disbelief for. 

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM

Thursday, April 9, 2015

How to mentor a new writer through a creative state change.

My G+ friend Kim said some insightful things a few posts ago that had me thinking about the change she is going through in her writing development as a creator.

I realized I could offer her something from my writing life experience that might help her identify the creative state change she is coming onto, and offer her a tool I developed and the accompanying technique to use with it I felt might help her transition successfully.

I didn't realize I would go almost 3900 words, but it's important.

You know Kim, I was thinking a couple nights ago about what a wonderful comment you made and how I should draw upon my experience to offer you another technique I've used over the years to keep creatively on track as I was developing into a more seasoned writer.

I call it the 'wall technique.'  Just go to an Aaron Brother's Art Mart (or any artist supply store if you don't have one of those nearby) and go to the drawing paper section.

Most drawing paper is more expensive than it needs to be, but there is one type of paper that is just right and just the right price for what I am going to share with you.

I mentioned this to Janet K. West some time back and I hope she tries it cause it works great for me, though I an not representative of the 'general kind of writer' in any sense - if there is such a thing given we are all unique individuals.

You said recently in a comment or a blog that you had been confused and had some stuff you were putting in a box to work out.

This is a great way to work all that out and best of all, it has no deadline and it has no real formatting requirements.  It is a tool that works with how your mind wants to work the way it wants to work - or not - if you are tired or written out.

Now, how easy peasy is that?  I like it simple and straightforward when it comes to creativity, because creativity's nature is rather sophisticated to interpret, much less work with.

Please don't let that simplicity in any way mean that this is not a very, very powerful technique.

It has to do with 'letting yourself work' instead of making yourself work, which is the first step in tuning yourself for working with the flow - which is another explanation entirely.  You may have heard of it elsewhere in creativity talk, but most people frankly rationalize it to death and that doesn't work for it or well.

At the art supply store is a type of paper called 'newsprint', a leftover type of paper from the publishing era, but fine and graphic artists latched onto it because it comes in bundles of 100 sheets, is 20 inches by 30 inches in size and is less than ten bucks a pad.

Beat that for fundamental and inexpensive art supplies!

It's corporation proof, almost.  That's saying something these days.  I can see the day when we are making installment payments on writing supplies if we aren't culturally careful.

While you are at the store, get the kind of tape that will hold it to the wall well and not damage the wall.  There are several kinds - get the one that works for you and your budget.

Bring it home and make sure that one wall where you work on your writing is cleared off of posters and paintings and everything else.

Also make sure that there is nothing in front of the wall your feet may bump into.  Just a clean wall and a clean approach.  Leave it that way.

Tape up one sheet in the upper left hand corner of the wall high enough so that you can reach up to write without over extending your arm.  This is intended to be a comfortable, functional easy process.

Sit down across the room and relax.  Just stare at that one piece of paper on the blank wall and let yourself relax and enjoy the fact you are about to add a new tool to your creative skill set that is so simple, so powerful and so deceptively intelligent you will wonder why you didn't do it before.

I've told people this for decades now, and I don't think any of them have tried it.  I think they didn't because they are used to thinking of writing in terms of a blank eight and a half by eleven piece of white twenty pound bond paper and that is the paper you should be writing one.

Silly people, hobbling their creative process by a simple format choice imposed by nothing more than an industrial standard from a publishing industry that is thankfully for culture, nearly extinct.

Well, we hunt and bag big creative game on Planet Arthur, but it is perfectly acceptable to start small in tiny steps down the creativity road.  And, it's probably wise to start that way if you can.

I did.  I started with poetry, and moved to short stories after several years.  One day I realized I was writing a short story that was really, really long.

It then dawned on me that I was not writing a short story anymore, I was writing a novelette, and learned that as a writer grows, there is a format designed for that growth.

I went from novelettes back then into screenplays, because they were comparable size in terms of workload.  Though the format is entirely different, and the approach to writing is visual.

That is why it is called filmic storytelling and not regular storytelling.  Semantically, a story is a story, but technique and approach can vastly vary.

After many scripts and a few Hollywood successes on a very small scale (but more than good enough for me), I stayed at that scale of format (20,000 to 70,00 words each) for awhile while my story sense and type of story I wanted to write changed scale.

The stories were then pretty long like mentioned above, but the scale became more epic and adventurous.  Soon I found myself writing not just science fiction and surrealism, but big, epic historical fantasy adventures.

What a thrill it was to grow into new areas of creativity for me literarily.  This is kinda what I am sensing is happening to you on a smaller scale.  I loved what was happening to me creatively playing with detective, mystery and historical adventure/fantasy during this process.

It was not easy to tackle each new kind of challenge, but I made it easier because I was following my creative inner compass to almost the exclusion of everything else, like market trends, which everyone I knew in the business took for granted and perhaps erroneously took as a weather vane as well in terms of the cyclic nature of genre as a profitable choice in the film business.

By developing methods of data management assisting my manuscript manufacturing and creative changes artistically simultaneously, I was never lost in the work as it evolved.

This is a common writer's problem, and is also true in other high art disciplines like painting, film, dance, sculpture and so on rounding out the classic high art disciplines.

This is not the same thing as being lost in the work in the context of being in the middle of it and working it through and out in any one given creative work session period.

That is a totally different phenomenon deserving treatment in a separate treatise.  I'll talk about that in a different blog later on.

This technique was what I developed.  You can alter it any way you want later, but start with a basic system now and as you evolve artistically and productively, you can easily see what kinds of layout and format changes you may need to make to work best with your particular artistic way.

So while you sit on the chair across the room looking at a blank wall, relax.  Don't worry about it being blank like the blank page that brings fear to so many writers when they think, "What am I supposed to do next?" or, "How am I going to fix this present passage?"


That's not the point of the blank wall.  What the point of the blank wall is for is so you to develop a rudimentary mind map.  There are dozens of mind mapping programs and methods developed out there.

Stick with this basic one and you will see why you should and don't waste time on a bunch of boxes and arrows when you are not mapping a specific application yet.  Besides, technology loves to develop interface experiences that doesn't serve the creative process well at all some of the time.  This is probably why the creativity AI is so difficult to develop.  I'm working on it as well and it is a bear of a problem.

You are mapping your mind.  It has all kinds of things on it.  Dinner, bills, in my case, jokes or paragraphs or statements.

The purpose of the blank pages on the wall on the blank wall is to just walk across the room and jot down any old thing that comes into your head.  Anything at all.

It doesn't have to makes sense.  There is no continuity required with other ideas or within one you are working on currently.  It doesn't even have to be spelled correctly or have proper grammatical structure.

I don't care if the things you write up there are emotional, psychological, intellectual, creative, banal or boorish, and you must not either.  I don't care if the size of the letter change from big to little to big again to little again, and you shouldn't either.  I don't care if you start to make little drawings of people you know in silly faces or poses, and you shouldn't either.  I don't care if you make fifty exclamation points after a thought like a teenager frustrated at school would in a posted comment.

You are not to judge yourself in any way one bit, and that is an ironclad rule.  We get enough of that from the world, and this is your place to write (or design or emote or doodle or stab the pen into the wall if that is what it takes to get it out of you onto the map - well I would be concerned a little if you were stabbing the wall with your pen) - your sanctuary where you get to be you any way you want to be, anytime you want to be.

Unrestricted and unjudged.  Pretty much unlike the rest of the world isn't, actually.

It is your wall, for your thoughts.  Unedited, unadulterated, pure and simple and totally exclusively and ideally you.

Just start throwing them up there without a care, without worrying where they go or what sense they do or do not make - that will work itself out over time.  Trust me on that.

Keep putting it up there and pretty soon, you are going to have to add another piece of paper.  In fact, if you relaxed enough the first time you put the first piece of paper up there by itself, something is going to tell you another should go up, maybe two.  Maybe twelve.

I have gotten to the point when I have a new idea to write about, I say to myself or anyone that happens to be listening, "That's going to be at LEAST a twelve sheet proof of concept!"

Frankly though, Kim, I tend to keep my writing sanctuary sanctified with solitude, but it is your choice.  I recommend at first nobody, but nobody come into your sacred space, and nobody, but nobody can ever, ever, never read what you put up there.

This is where you work things out in private BEFORE you bring it public in a graduated way.  That is a separate process I'll talk about later.

Your writing sanctuary is your writing sanctuary, and that is that is that.  It's yours. You control it.

You use it as you see fit, not the way somebody else says, describes or recommends.  Each writer and each creative mind is unique, and you need a simple tableaux to express the parameters of thought you individually want or must create for.

About five to six sheets of paper into the process, consistent areas of thought will appear, usually not on the same place on the wall.  This is not uncommon, for as I have written about before.  The creative mind isn't always producing thoughts on similar ideas in a nice linear narrative like we would like, and why should it always?

For one, one thought on an idea may be more complex an expression and require more thinking time.  Yet it may be the next sentence in the paragraph that has not been completed yet.  You have to allow for the mind's way of creatively working if you are going to be a creator of even rudimentary skill level.

Not all life or civilization for that matter is rational or reasonable, why would the mental processes be any different in certain faculties like creativity?

Once several related thoughts appear on enough pieces of newsprint, take a pad on a clipboard and transcribe them one by one onto the pad of paper, numbering the sheets as you go.  When a thought is transcribed, strike it off the wall so you know it is done.  Make it a physical act to engage your total self (mind, body and spirit) into the development process.

Work on your feet and when the mind pauses, go an sit down and stare at the wall some more.  Play some music, cook some food if you want, hum a tune, whistle, throw darts at a board, whatever.  Just don't do something so engaging it diverts your attention away from the creative process.

Like my friend George says about fishing is a good metaphor for the amount of complexity of distraction you can and cannot allow into a process, "You can't write a novel while fishing, but you can drink a beer.  The fish are not going to be where your hook is cast forever so pay some attention."

Once those notes on one topic are described, archive them in a manila folder and on the tab put a working title on the idea's concept logically capturing the context.

Working title, not the final title.  Sometimes that comes to you right off the bat, sometimes it needs several iterations to get right. Just make sure you know what is in there by simply referencing the blurb you wrote.

I can't emphasize enough how important good archiving skills are.  But there is an illustration that demonstrates the point.  Two artists of equal talent competing for the same dollar in the market will favor the artist with better archiving skills.  Not to mention if you get a large body of work going like I have, you'll need to get to a file fast and easy if creative lightening strikes.

Heh, wait until we get to the lesson on branding, chuckle chuckle.  Or should I say, "Mua-ha-ha-haah!"

As you begin to strike off things from the wall, you will see you will have to put up new sheets and build more manila files.  Make sure, and I repeat, make sure that manila folder gets put into a green file folder holder and gets a clear label on it and gets filed properly in one of those five dollar plastic things from Walmart, or a two hundred dollar file cabinet, either one. Just physically transform the ideas on the wall into a working writing jacket, even if it is just handwritten paper for now.

At a later time, when big picture creativity mind mapping play time is over, you turn to the writing professional activity of typing it up.

You begin to flesh out, edit or proof more logic, or other things that are on the list of to dos at that stage of manuscript development.

Because you physically changed what were initially only thoughts into another format of writing (this time on eight and a half by eleven paper in a folder) you will have advanced your writing process forward one professional step.

More importantly, you have laid two foundations.  One is, how to get it out of your head in a non-tooth pulling or brain surgery way, and even more importantly, have signaled your creative faculty that you are processing the data it gives you in the way it gave it to you into a forwarding development form, and it knows it can now stop thinking about what you don't write down.

This clears the memory and lowers worry and anxiety about the writing process and creativity itself having to worry about you dropping the ball every time it gives you material.

You see, it is a cooperative process, and you have to honor yourself by taking what your creativity comes up with and working it through as best as you can.  By just leaving it on the wall, you are setting up a stall.

Creative flow does not like a distracting stall.  It loves extra room in your mind for more creative processing power.

Do not underestimate this process because it serves you on key levels in your mind and without in your studio's production queue.

That growing file cabinet is the cache of ideas that will serve you your entire writing and creative careers.

As that pile of files grow, another important thing happens.  You glance at the rows of files in the cabinet and as you glimpse at each file title, not even the pages themselves, your mind will filter creative priorities for you and you will know which file to grab out and work on.

It all doesn't have to be done today.

It knows which one to grab because in terms of creative instincts, it knows which ideas are in it written down, and thus which concepts are closer to completion than others. It will cue you as to which one is to be worked on because your eyes will run across the working title and a tiny thrill will pass through you if you are self aware at all.

That is a mental signal you are excited about this because not only is it exciting, but the degree to which it is exciting is a measurement of both how enthused you are to work on it in motivational terms, but also how far along you are with the final thesis of the idea.

I trust my creative faculty implicitly.  It has literally physically saved my life and I know this is true to the bone.  "You know it in your bones", as the Oracle said about love in The Matrix.

This is not always so, but if you are exited about being a creative writer, then the presence of excitement ought to be a clue you should notice when it appears.

If you are feeling dread, pause or anxiety about a title, perhaps it is not time to work on it, or, it is a sign that it may not be something exciting, but instead something important you should work through, not work on.  We are living life and creating at the same time.

Oftentimes, we also write what we have to as much as we write what we desire to.  I believe that this is part of growth both humanistically and creatively, and is an excellent way to become more authentic.  You can't avoid life anyway, so why deny it or fight it?

I had to write this new comedy album, no matter how excited I was about finishing my macabre historical fantasy screenplay.  First things first.  Personal growth is a great help to creativity growth.

There's really no getting around that unless you want to cheat creativity and then you are not honoring your creativity and it will not be so cooperative until you get back to a state of self honor.

I suppose you can write something that is really not significant to your creative growth or experiential development, but why blunt yourself?  Creativity doesn't like turbulence except in it's creations.  And who needs banality or triviality  in terms of personal evolution?

That is not to say one should not play for the sake of joy when you are.  But keep clear.

I think this lack of creative cooperation by working on things that are not significant or trivial to begin with just pisses your creative faculty off, making it wonder what kind of idiot it is serving.

In fact it is one of my writing rules not to start anything that I can't finish.

Your creativity lives in your subconscious, and the subconscious is nine times smarter than your waking self. If you are working on a fool's errand of a notion or idea, why would your creative faculty intelligently choose to cooperate?

It probably would not, and then you would crutch out and tell other people you had writer's block, which is an excuse at best for not working functionally within yourself.

Using this sheet of paper on the wall allows you to map your mind in terms of what it is thinking about, not necessarily what you are thinking about.  Eventually, what is important to you that you did not initially diagnose will emerge and present itself.  Write it down.

Don't worry about how long it takes, or how many gaps in logic there are, the process will see you through if you allow it; not by forcing it.

Sometimes pushing it out is useful, in some kinds of creative work and as an exercise of the faculty.  But forcing things is dicey at best.  Do your force yourself in the gym?  Injury may result.  Forcing yourself is different from challenging yourself.

I didn't expect to come up with this idea for you - the idea of coming up with something to help my friend Kim was all I started with two days ago.  What to do and how to do it and putting that all down, well, that started about an hour and a half ago and was not really planned.

But I trusted my creativity and talent, and they delivered as they almost always do.  This is the place you can get to, Kim, in every single thing you creatively produce.

And, its a great place to get to in your creative life.

But you have to start with the fundamentals.

And the most fundamental thing of all in any creative person's productive capacity, productive approach, style and technique is a solid foundation of a data tableaux permitting you the basic tool for self discovery, so that you can find the creative your behind the person you (technically underneath) so you can grow, thrive creatively and produce professionally what is meaningful to you.

This is the way to mastery and audience.

And as the Chinese say, "Great good fortune would be yours" if you get there.

Sincerely your friend always,

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity SM

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Grace Jolliffe on "How To Avoid That Blank Page" and subsequent Writers Community feedback.


What you say is true about every writer being different.

Some of the things that need to be accounted for so moderation of the collective view in this thread are:

What stage of the creative lifespan are you in? 

A new writer will have acclimatizing period and instances where they stare at the blank page and engage their wonder, or curiosity or whatever emotion, thought or instinct is at the TOMA (and old marketing acronym for 'Top of the mind awareness' appropriately applied here).

This has a periodicity that varies according to one or more of the following reasons:

They have not acquired faculty with engagement with the wonderment process yet, and this comes with time and practice.  The mind is a programmable thing.  This blank page syndrome is often confused detrimentally with the myth of writers block - a great detriment to both the individual and culture in general by misattribution as cause.  

And experienced writer with more developed faculty may be ready to write at anytime, or at specific times.  

There are few hard and fast rules that cannot be controverted through an analysis of correct comprehensive scope.  

Another writer may feel the germination of an idea or story forming in the subconscious creative faculty and understand themselves enough to know to be ready near the production center (drawing board, keyboard or pen and paper) when it arrives consciously for transcription in order to enter the first draft stage of production and the subsequent editorial process.  

So evaluating the specific point in development of the creative faculty supports your assertion Grace that every writer is different.  This is a reason for many but not every writer exclusively.

Another point to consider is the type of data you are producing.  Many of us can rip through a query letter (a marketing remnant of yesternomic publishing empires - thankfully in the dust of time for the most part) in a few hours, or a day to a few days.  

But outlining a novella or script or epic novel can be a lengthy, iterative process.

So it is wise to consider just what kind of work you are producing.  

Is it something that can be conceptually and logically proofed in a short while because of the hierarchical complexity of the work or is it something requiring considerable thought, contemplation, research or development activity?  

Or is it an original scope of work (and I refer to the difference between creative work and original work) that no research can be resourced and you are entirely responsible for the IA (information architecture of the work)?

These can be very long term projects to produce.

 actually make a sage and salient point handed down to the writing community by authors like the great Ray Bradbury.   

Stop where you know what goes down next and begin there at your next writing opportunity.  

This is a buffer technique, and speaks to the wisdom of working with the creative faculty pretty flawlessly for many writers who have only one manuscript in front burner priority development contemporaneously.

This doesn't work for all writers but can serve well the majority of the writers.

Remember the subconscious does not shut off (in fact it is running the show) and it is where the creative faculty resides. 

So when the words come forth is when they come forth.  If you have to wake up and write it down, you have to. It's your call.

I relish those occurrences because it is a sign I am in tune with my creatively faculty, though it can have an effect on your day job nonetheless.  Who cares?  Your are a writer with a day job, not a cog or gear with a side gig.  

In fact these kinds of happenings will provide you with perspective on how society represses creativity, and spur you on to do something about it for the collective culture in the advocacy sense.  

Most of all, it is an honoring of the creative process which is paramount.  Take care of your creativity and it will take care of your fame is one of the maxims I utilize in my fame consultancy.  But that's not all you have to do, of course.  

  makes a provocative question relevant when he states, "Why would you sit down to write when you don't have a story to tell? "

In my humble opinion, this is true in the context he states, but not always true to the writing process generally.    

Sometimes your creative faculty has the ability to deal with more that one concept at a time, such as one story being worked out or in a finer, granular sense a particular detail of a passage or beat that just doesn't have that zing you are looking for or expect from yourself creatively or professionally. 

It is perfectly OK from my chair to write down anything that comes into my head irrespective of whether it is current production cue related or not.  This is the way I work, and it is not for every writer.  

In fact, because of the way the creative faculty works, things are not always going to come out of your creativity in exact, linear order even if everyone would like that.

The linear and often but not always logical proof aspects of the project under development are usually, but not exclusively relegated to the drafting (which is partly editorial) and the final editing stages (specifically editorial) of manuscript development. 

So what needs to be worked out can sometimes present itself for transcription and have nothing to do with current production cue items.

Forsaking this opportunity to jot it down even if it is not relevant to the current project can be detrimental to your style development, your approach or prevent you from garnering technique.

Since the above three things are absolutely necessary and critical to serving the original idea the manuscript is about,  I recommend taking advantage of them by jotting them down when they come up.

Approach, style and technique always serve the execution of an idea and can have profound positive impacts on both originality and general artistic skill development.  

This is the point  is taking exception too.  

Bear in mind as Grace said every writer is different, but I would suggest every opportunity you have to develop your technical or creative skills is not one to pass up.  You can find this to be quite true if you go back to a story you wrote long ago and reevaluate it with a critical or even non-critical objectivity. It can be both an eye opener on just how far you have come and additionally a great confidence builder, which seems to be a great problem in the literary arts community that needn't be if you just understand how the creative process functions.

Thanks for listening,

The Lone Comic TM
Defender of Creativity and Entertainment SM