Here we go again. I posted a comment on another blog and it seemed suitable to post on MyCreativeMojo.
This time it was inspired by Blake Snyder’s “Save the Cat” blog (which, by the way, I often refer to as “Shave the Cat”, but that’s just me).
This post is about Brainstorming & not believing in writer’s block. You can check out the Shave The Cat post here. (Yes, I said “shave” again.)
When I brainstorm, it works well with pen and paper because I tend to mind map the ideas.
But as soon as I get into free writing, scene snippets, character descriptions, my process tends to work better directly on the keyboard. I’ll get “dialed in” and ideas come directly from the subconscious (inner critic/editor disabled). Words are flying at me way faster than I could possibly handle with a pen. Longhand cramps are a bitch when I’m at 100 MPH and I’ve got a limited buffer!
I’ve discovered that my creative mojo flows directly out through my hands and into the computer, and with the critic effectively locked out of the house (no hide-a-key in a fake rock outside), I can keep pressing forward without getting hung up on typos. This is the only way I could survive NaNoWriMo (twice) and win both times.
My best advice: Everyone’s process is different. If something isn’t working for you — don’t do it that way. Try something different. Anything. And if that doesn’t work, try something else entirely different. But whatever you do, somehow keep writing.
It was written stream of consciousness which has been my writing M.O. lately. After posting it, I realized how long it had become for a blog comment & panicked for a moment, thinking that my comment might have been longer than his actual blog post. I quickly scanned up to his post and was relieved to see that my lengthy comment was “only” 50% the size of his post.
And then I thought — this is a good description of what I have been going through as a writer, and I’m sure many others can relate. This is just as suitable as a post on Creative Mojo and certainly worth sharing. Who knows, perhaps John will post a lengthy comment in return.
When I write, there’s certainly a tendency to plot, ponder, and obsess about every detail and a desire for perfectionism that leads to a common writer past time of “not getting anything done.” How can I write something good without a killer outline?
Last fall I discovered NaNoWriMo, a challenge to write a 50,000 word first draft of a novel during the month of November.
Average output needs to be 1666.66/words per day. And sometimes that .66 word is the most interesting!
I learned to shut off the critic and the thinking brain and wrote stream of consciousness. I was no longer afraid of writing something bad or going many pages in the wrong direction.
I now have more than 100,000 words. Portions need to be completely thrown out. Much of it needs some serious editing. And through this process I discovered my story and learned a ton about my characters.
More importantly, I realized that my previous efforts were focused on trying to perfect an outline before diving into the writing and in doing so, I was considering and rejecting an initial idea that wasn’t fully explored. The idea for a story beat might not have been good, and by rejecting it, I wasn’t allowing myself to explore the idea. Not allowing myself to dig deeper and mine it. Not allowing the idea the opportunity to transform into something great, or lead to something completely different that is much better.
And then I’d wonder why writing is so difficult. It turned out all I needed to do was slip some GHB into my inner critic’s drink to silence it long enough to crank out the words.
So now my current process is to take whatever idea or imperfect-not-fully-outlined-story and write it “no holds barred”. Let the vivid details come out. Let inanimate objects speak. Switch from first to third person. Let the characters do things that surprise me. And out of all that comes clarity, the outline gets reworked based on what I learned from the long form writing, which then allows for editing and refining of the story to match. The process certainly isn’t pretty, but it allows for momentum and gets me somewhere. It’s “The circle of writing.”
It was shot at the Los Angeles Convention Center during the Star Wars 30th Anniversary Celebration. Scenes were shot on the fly with convention attendees, and we weren’t entirely sure what we’d have in the end.
An interesting creative process. Step #1: Shoot. Step #2: Edit. Step #3: Write it. Totally bass-ackwards from the normal Write-Shoot-Edit sequence.
Please post comments & pass it along to your friends.
Two seasonal Yellowstone National Park concession workers have been fired after a live webcam caught them urinating into the Old Faithful geyser.
According to Yellowstone National Park Geologist Hank Heasler, “These two gentlemen were lucky they didn’t get burned by the steam. Not so lucky, the dude that used Old Faithful for a colonic. It’s been six months and he’s still in an ass-cast.”
Workers have been reminded not to refer to Old Faithful as “nature’s bidet”.
Stephen Hawking was hospitalized on Monday because of a mysterious illness, and doctors expect him to make a full recovery. Upon hearing this, Stephen got excited until the doctor clarified, “except for that neuromuscular dystrophy, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis thing.”
Police defend using a taser on naked man at Coachella
This week, police defended their use of a taser on a drunk, belligerent and naked party-goer at the Coachella Music and Arts festival last week.
“Finally my friends will have a reason to make fun of me besides my last name,” said naked taser victim Johnathan Fredrick Felch.
Bear Chases Woman
In Colorado Springs a woman was chased by a bear into the street where she was hit by a car. Then the bear ran away with her pic-a-nic basket.
On Tuesday, President Barack Obama acknowledged in a major economic speech that “times are still tough” and warned that a culture of “instant gratification” undermined the economy.
Said Marius Schwartz, professor of economics at Georgetown University, “I don’t understand how the entire financial system was brought down by me feeling myself in a rapid manner.”
MEL GIBSON DIVORCE
Mel Gibson’s wife Robyn has filed for divorce from her husband of 29 years. Robyn Gibson’s reason for ending the marriage — every time they had sex Mel screamed “Murtaugh”.
In response to the filing, Mel yelled, “Give me back my wife!”
John McCain’s lead vice presidential vetter said Friday that Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin “impressed” in her interview, knocking the senator’s most important questions “out of the park.”
He failed to mention that the park he was referring to is Legoland.
SNAKES ON A PLANE
On Tuesday, four baby pythons escaped from a container aboard a passenger plane in Australia. By the time the plane landed it was short two passengers.
Of the remaining passengers, none complained about the food, excessive baggage fees, or the 6 hour wait on the runway.
Microsoft is planning to open retail stores later this year. Even if things go well, it is expected that customers will spend a lot of time waiting outside each Microsoft store, when 10-12 times a day, it will open, close and be re-opened again.
HEIDI KLUM’S PREGNANCY
Supermodel Heidi Klum & husband Seal announced that Klum is pregnant with their fourth child. They have asked the public for privacy and also requested that once the baby is born, please don’t club baby Seal.
Sudan will hold its first general election in 24 years in an electoral process that starts this April and will finish in February 2010. Although it seems like a lengthy time frame, it is expected to finish before the resolution of the Coleman/Franken recount.
WOMAN DIVORCES HUSBAND FOR CLEANING TOO MUCH
A German woman has divorced her husband because she was fed up with him cleaning all the time, doing household chores, tidying up and rearranging the furniture. The woman put up with it for over 15 years before she got sick and tired of not nagging.
Since Wednesday, the man has received 2000 engagement proposals from both men and women.
FORD, GM TO COVER CAR PAYMENTS IF BUYER LOSES JOB
Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Corp. are offering payment protection plans to help reassure consumers who may be putting off buying a new car because of worries about losing their job. Ford will cover payments of up to $700 each month for up to a year on any new Ford, Lincoln or Mercury vehicle if consumers lose their jobs.
Said the Ford CEO, “It’s especially important to buy a new car now, because when you lose your job, your car is probably where you’re going to end up living.”
To put things in perspective, as an adult, when you lose your job, you end up living in your car, which is the same place in high school, where you used to “get a job.”
OHIO MAN CHARGED WITH DRUNKEN DRIVING ON A BAR STOOL
An Ohio man has been charged with drunken driving after crashing his motorized bar stool, which can go up to 38 mph. It was unfortunate that he crashed into a guy who was driving his motorized recliner.
The Indian car manufacturer Tata Motors announced it is taking orders for their Nano, a very small bubble shaped car that is priced at $2000, making it the world’s cheapest car, at least until the release of an even smaller and cheaper car, the Shuffle, which has an autopilot that takes you to a random destination.
A total of five explosive events were recorded at Alaska’s Mount Redoubt, sending ash columns 60,000 feet into the air. Scientists have determined the cause of the eruptions is morning sickness from a volcano that was forced to keep it’s baby for political reasons.
The father, nearby Mount Torbert is planning to drop out of the Tordrillo mountain range to join an apprenticeship program and raise the baby.
CEMETARY PLANE CRASH
Last week in Montana, fourteen people died when a small plane crashed into a Montana graveyard. The pilots have posthumously been given bonuses from AIG.
In Italy, the MSI-Fiamma Tricolore, an Italian right wing party, want expecting parents to name their child after Benito Mussolini. It was somewhat expected, since it would be difficult to name their child before Mussolini.
GM EMPLOYEES OPT FOR EARLY RETIREMENT
About 7,500 GM employees have signed an agreement for early retirement incentives if they leave the company. They were offered $20,000 in cash and a $25,000 voucher to buy a car. Many of the employees taking the deal indicated they’d use the car voucher to buy a Toyota.
BLOCKBUSTER & TIVO PARTNERSHIP
Blockbuster and Tivo just announced a partnership to deliver Blockbuster’s library of premium digital movie titles directly to the television set via Tivo DVR’s. Blockbuster OnDemand will feature content to both buy and rent, and the service is expected to be released in the second half of 2009, just in time for Blockbuster’s bankruptcy.
POST OFFICE RUNNING OUT OF MONEY
Postmaster General John Potter told Congress on Wednesday that the post office will run out of money this year unless it gets help. Options for fixing the problem included cutting delivery to five days a week, opening your credit card statements and selling them to an identity theft organization, and increasing the cost of a first class stamp to $2,000.
NORTH DAKOTA FLOODING
In Fargo and Bismarck, volunteers are scrambling to pile sandbags to protect the area from floodwaters, which mistakenly implies that North Dakota is worth saving.
On Thursday, Pirates armed with machine guns hijacked two tankers in under 24 hours, which kicks off the 2009 Somali hijackathon. For just $10 a day you can provide one terrorist pirate with an ammunition refill and help him build a better life of stealing foreign goods and holding hostages for ransom.
GOOGLE EARTH PENIS
A U.K. teenager who wanted to be spotted by Google Earth has painted a 60-foot long image of a penis on top of his parent’s house. When asked how he painted the large image he replied, “I straddled the roof and traced it.”
JOHN MCENROE DUPED IN ART SCAM
Tennis champion John McEnroe was one of many who were duped in a sophisticated $88 million art investment scam. McEnroe lost $2 million from investing in a half share of two pantings, Arshile Gorky’s “Pirate I and II”. McEnroe was extremely disappointed and said he picked the paintings because he “40-loved” them.
ROD BLAGOJEVICH RADIO SHOW
Impeached former Gov. Rod Blagojevich filled in as host of a Chicago radio show Wednesday which caused a widespread panic when listeners confused the show with the tone of the Emergency Broadcast System.
THIS WEEK IN STATISTICS
According to a report from the National Federation of the Blind, fewer than 10% of the 1.3 million legally blind people in the United States read Braille. Instead, a largely increasing number are opting for voice-recognition software or other technologies that allow the blind to download audible porn.
After Meghan McCain criticized Ann Coulter and other conservatives in her online column, political commentator Laura Ingraham criticized Meghan’s weight, comparing her to a plus sized model. Meghan then appeared on The View and continued the volley by saying to Ingrahm, “Kiss my fat ass.”
To avoid further escalation, John McCain stepped up to his daughter’s aid on live TV and said, “Meghan’s fat ass is fundamentally sound.”
On Monday, Lynne Cheney was taken to a Philadelphia hospital where she was treated for fainting. Doctors determined the fainting spell was caused when she realized she was married to Dick Cheney.
Frontier Airlines is looking for investors.
Have you tried looking somewhere around 2002-2006?
NO TEXTING DURING LENT
Roman Catholic Bishops have been urging the faithful to give up technology for lent, and some dioceses are banning text messaging on Fridays. Replied millions of young people, ROTFLMFAO.
SURVIVING THE RECESSION AFTER A JOB LOSS
Despite the recession, a few industries are bucking the trend and expanding, so to all those laid off workers trying to survive until the economy turns around, your best bet is to find a company that has a unique mix of work involving home gardening supplies, resume editing, and making condoms.
CHARLIE SHEEN’S TWINS
Actor Charlie Sheen & his wife Brooke Mueller welcomed twin boys, who were born smoking cigars and drinking hard alcohol.
13 FIRMS THAT OWE BACKTAXES
On Thurday it was reported that 13 Firms receiving federal bailout owe back taxes, which is an odd discovery considering the firms have not been appointed to cabinet positions.
In a 60 Minutes interview, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke admitted that he was angry about the situation with AIG, and slammed his phone several times, calling the executives a bunch of F-A-I-G’s.
Republican Senator chuck Grasley caused quite a stir when he suggested that AIG’s top executives ought to apologize to the public and then quit or commit suicide. Later he told reporters that he hoped no one took him seriously when he suggested suicide as an honorable solution for the top execs, because the payout for the life insurance policies on these executives is enough to sink AIG again.
In other news, AIG just gave bonuses to Charlse Manson, Hitler, and Hurricane Katrina.
THIS WEEK IN STATISTICS
3 out of 5 males over 35 and still living at home with their parents would gladly kiss Meghan McCain’s ass.
A new Gallup poll conducted on March 17 finds that 59% of Americans are outraged by the AIG bonuses. However, even more alarming, 68% are outraged over the Facebook redesign.
Dec 9: Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich was arrested for trying to sell Obama’s vacated senate seat. Blagojevich defended himself, saying “I wasn’t selling the seat, it was a senatorial surcharge for baggage. As the recession deepens, everyone will be charging this fee, including Southwest.”
John McCain publicly announces, “I want to work with Obama.” Rahm Emmanuel replies, “Go to Change.gov, and you can apply online. We already have over 300,000 applications.” John McCain, “What’s this online thing?”
Dec 11: Researchers at the University of Utah invented a device that prevents someone from placing a cell phone call or texting while driving. The device activates when the car key is used to start the car, placing the cell phone in “driver mode” and preventing incoming and outgoing calls. Incoming calls and texts are automatically answered with a message saying, “I am driving now. I will call you later when I arrive at the destination safely. Oh, and my destination is a phone store to buy a different phone without this damn restriction. Don’t tell the ‘rents.”
According to the World Health Organization, by 2010, cancer will be the world’s top killer, ousting Hitler, Pol Pot, and Jack Bauer.
Get your flu shots early this year so your PC doesn’t get a virus.
Blasting a handful of news items that been stacking up:
Dec 5: Happiness is contagious, researchers reported Thursday in the British Medical Journal. So get your booster shots before we get too far into happiness season. Health officials have indicated that the booster shots are especially important for young children, the elderly, and those who have compromised immune systems.
Dec 4: (Vero Beach, Fla.) A Vero Beach man faces a domestic violence charge after authorities said he assaulted his girlfriend with by smashing a cheeseburger into her face. To top it off, the girlfriend is suing him for emotional damages and trauma due to the two all beef patties, and the special sauce.
Dec 4: In the race for California’s 4th District House Seat, Democrat Charlie Brown conceded defeat to Republican state Sen. Tom McClintock on Wednesday, when McClintock pulled the football away just as Mr. Brown was about to kick it.
Nov 20: CEO’s from GM, Ford & Chrysler flew on private jets to Washington DC to ask the government for a 25 billion dollar bailout/loan. When Senator Harry Reid grilled them on how the money would be used, Ford CEO Alan Mulally replied, “10 Billion is for undercoating.”
Nov 9: Rapper 50 cent devalued to 21.6 cent.
Oct 5: Burger King switches to trans fat free oil.
Burger King completely removed trans fats from all its chain restaurants. The fast food chain was caught off guard by the backlash from the outraged, overweight lard-asses who were also banned.
Oct 5: Chinese pandas fed chicken soup for health. Three year old panda, Xiwang, replied, “Actually I didn’t want it for my health, I wanted it for my soul.”
Oct 4: Cook frozen chicken entrees properly, FDA urges.
In other news, local police urge people to look both ways before crossing the street, and four out of five doctors recommend not eating glass, nails or anything that can be described as gravelly.
Oct 4: (Chinese Zoo) Elderly turtle pair fails to produce offspring. As usual, elderly female turtle blames elderly male turtle, berates him for every mistake he has ever made in his entire life, and makes him sleep out on the couch.
Oct 4: European leaders vow to fight financial crisis. Said European leaders, “Hey financial crisis, you & me outside behind the gym at 3 O’clock. Unless you’re chicken!”
Oct 4: North Korean leader watches soccer game. Just before half-time, he gave both teams a red-card and declared himself the winner.
Oct 4: T-Mobile admits losing data for 17 million customers. When asked about it, CEO Hamid Akhavan said, “I looked all over the house for it, and it turns out, it was in my hand the entire time.”
Oct 3: SEC short-selling ban to expire Wednesday night. A relieved Mike Myers is anxious to sell his mini-me.
Oct 1: Robot has biological brain. Scientists have created a robot controlled by a biological brain made of rat neurons. They call it Dick Cheney.
It began on October 18, 2007, when the creative gods challenged Doug “Sideshow” Allen to create and post a new word in his blog every day for the next year. And if the thought of 365 entries made him queasy, 2008 is a leap year, so he needed 366. But never one to back away from a good challenge, Doug launched the “Fake Word Of the Day” blog on Dougtionary.com.
From Abstainus to Zitgeist, Dougtionary takes us on a neological journey coining terms such as the Middle Eastern Bugs Bunny fave, ”Afghanvil,” the amazing drinking stunt, “Heinekenesis,” and the sibling rivalry gem, the fine art of the “hambush”.
Some words come from personal experience. For example, on a recent trip to Ikea, Doug was extremely unprepared. He got lost inside the store, couldn’t find his way out and needed to be rescued from his “retail safari.” Lesson learned, always pack food and a good map.
Not only is it fun to have these words delivered to your email in-box every morning, they also reflect the state of the times: from the recent economic “net worthquake,” to tense and polarizing national politics, where one well known politician used a Dougtionary word in a televised debate (the video is posted in the blog as proof!).
Doug “Sideshow” Allen is a comedy writer with a background in improvisation. He writes and performs sketch comedy, punches jokes for screenwriters and teaches comedy techniques. He has also earned a “green living black-belt” by driving his converted Mercedes powered by vegetable oil.
Doug is available for commentary, speaking, workshop engagements and most happy hours.
About a year ago I realized I had the knack for making up fake words, often by changing a single letter or combining portions of words that have a similar sound. At times I’ll hear someone mispronounce a word — and while most nice people let it slide because they know the intended word, I either give them a hard time about it, or I quietly write it down so I can use it later.
While driving home from Pasadena one afternoon, I turn on the radio. It’s the Griffith Observatory Sky Report. The guy speaking is very articulate, but when he says “astronomy,” I hear “pastronomy“. I know that’s not what he said, but “pastronomy” is what my brain chose to hear.
My brain has a quick habit of bastardizing words — call it a disease or a skill, it’s your pick.
When I get home, I flip through several notebooks to see what other words I had jotted down recently. Anything that sounds funny, intriguing, or even sick gets written down, and often lost in a stack of notebooks scribbled full of ideas, thoughts and words. Here and there I find more fake words. Crackupuncture. Gerildo. Hummiside. Phlegmonade. Manchovy.Deceastiality. (Yeah, they’re not all pretty, but they create a lasting image.)
Then comes the challenge — Could I create a new word every day for the next year? I don’t know. Initially I resist the idea and have an out loud conversation with myself about it, then I take the challenge. Let’s see if I can intentionally bastardize more words, rather than just wait for the word ideas to happen on their own. That’s how my “Fake Word Of the Day” blog began on Dougtionary.com. That’s right, I even bastardized the term “Dictionary” and satisfied my inner narcissist at the same time.
As of today I’m at post #350, and the one year mark will be on Oct 17.
Feel free to peruse my “wordorific” blog, post comments and rate the words.
Using existing speech is just lazy. Why should we restrict ourselves to words that already exist when we can create our own?
Our microwave has been making some weird sounds lately and although it still seems to cook okay, I wonder if it’s leaking some type of brain altering waves that will turn me into a mutant. And since it takes forever to cook a frozen entree, it’s time to get a new microwave. One with more power and all the cool modern features that I’ll probably never use because out of habit, I only press the one-minute-button repeatedly and ignore everything else, including the owner’s manual.
I probably have time if I leave now. A quick trip to Target and I browse the models on display. I want the most powerful model. It gets so hot in the summer time that I can’t use the oven and have to cook entire meals in the microwave. Fast is good, faster is even bettter. Oh, here we go! A Panasonic family size 1.2 cu. ft. microwave oven with inverter technology. I have no idea what inverter technology is, but it sounds cool. 1300 watts, boo-yah! That should dry out a dinner roll in two seconds flat. Sold!
I race home, excited to set it up, which turns out to be a bigger ordeal than I imagined. Our old microwave sits on a heavy cabinet and the plug is buried far behind it. Unload the cabinet, remove the wine, glasses, all the miscellaneous crap that we stuffed into the drawers, and still it’s difficult to move. Unplug the old microwave, set it aside, unbox the new microwave, plug it in, move the cabinet back, put all the wine back. Done.
Time to heat up some food and enjoy the new appliance.
I open the door to put the glass carousel tray inside.
Heeeeey. What’s this?
Little bits of food all over the sides and top of the microwave. Did they do their Q&A testing without a dish cover over the food?
It sets in. Eww. That’s someone else’s food.
It’s not brand new. Someone used my microwave, exploded some food in it and returned it. And if that’s not bad enough, Target accepted the return without inspection and put it back on the shelf.
Damnit! I don’t want to clean what should be a brand new microwave. This is an injustice! How could they do this to me?
I reason with myself. It’s just some food. I can clean it off and then it will be as good as new…
And then I counter my reasoning. But I shouldn’t have to clean it. I deserve a new microwave. One that is actually new.
That settles it. I’d rather drive back to the store and return it rather than wash it.
I call Target to ensure they have another one in stock. They don’t, but they refer me to a different store across town. Way across town. This is going to take awhile.
Melissa might get home before me and want something to eat, so I go through the whole routine of moving the cabinet again and swapping the old microwave back.
Race across town, return microwave, swap for a new one, yada-yada. Jump ahead to getting home with the new microwave. This time it better be 100% new. I open the box. The plastic wrapped around it is pristine. The power cord is wrapped perfectly in a tight coil and held together with twist ties. I untie it and swing it around like a lasso, celebrating the fact that it’s new and hasn’t been unboxed by anyone else before me. I remove the tissue paper from the inside of the door — it’s crisp. I check the inside for bits of food — none!
I take a deep breath and smell the inside of the microwave. It has a wonderful new microwave smell, that chemical plastic-ey industrial type smell that tells me this is indeed brand new. And then it makes me think, “I should probably wash this thing before using it.” Maaaaaan, that’s exactly what I didn’t want to do.
I like browsing at a book store from time to time, so today I go to Borders. I wander down a random aisle and a Julie Cameron book catches my eye. She’s the author of “The Artist’s Way”, but this is a different book that I don’t recognize. “Walking In This World, The Practical Art of Creativity”.
Hmm, what have we here?
(I actually said that out loud, a few other people give me an odd look and go back to the books they were perusing.)
I open this book somewhere in the middle and see the following:
1. I do have good ideas.
2. I have many good ideas.
3. Slowly and gently, one at a time, I can execute them.
Interesting. Without looking at anything else on the page, without any other reference or context, it speaks directly to me.
I smile at point #3 realizing that it has two very different meanings. I choose to take point #3 “execute” as “create/write/complete” as opposed to “shoot it dead and bury it.”
I wander farther down the aisle and another book catches my eye. Eckhart Tolle’s “The Power of Now”. I was at Jeff’s house last night for happy hour and one of his friends went off for 15 minutes about this book. He spoke very passionately about it, so I think maybe I should check this book out. (Or maybe not — I could always read it later… err, I couldn’t help myself… Now & Later. Isn’t that a candy? Hey, <snap-snap> come back to the present moment!)
Ooh, what’s this…
Right next to “The Power of Now” is “Bucklands Complete Book of Witchcraft” — Revised AND expanded. Now this is what I love about a bookstore. It’s overstimulation / A.D.D. on steroids. All these books competing for attention with bright colors — the marketing departments at the publishing houses really know their shit when designing book covers. It’s not just aesthetics, it’s attention grabbing.
Anyway, I pull “Bucklands Complete Book of Witchcraft” off the shelf and randomly open it somewhere in the middle. I blow on the page as if I’m blowing off centuries of old dust. (There isn’t any.) I get a few more strange looks from other customers nearby. I read the header on the page in front of me, “The Power Of the Written Word.”
It’s one of those days when the universe is speaking to me. I grab the Julie Cameron book as well as “The Power of Now” (to read later) and head to the checkout line.
Ooh, all sorts of discounted crap by the checkout counter! What have we here? Little trinkets, book lights…