conferences


Recently I’ve become obsessed with the question of where our creativity comes from & how we develop it. In the process, I stumbled upon these videos from the annual TED conference. Both talk about creativity and really made me think about what’s going on in my head & how I need to look at it.

First, Sir Ken Robinson talks about how our education system kills creativity. This is so true. When he mentions the student who is told not to pursue music but instead something practical, that was me. As a junior in high school, I had planned to go to college to study music, specifically voice. But a teacher who I respected at the time advised me to do something practical. It wasn’t until recently that I realized I’ve spent the last 5 years trying to unlearn his advice & to accept doing something unpractical. Robinson’s ideas need to be accepted & our education system revamped.

The second video is a talk by Elizabeth Gilbert on nurturing creativity. Yes, the author of Eat, Pray, Love, which I haven’t read yet, but might just have to go out & buy now. She talks about where our creative genius comes from, as well as the pressure placed on writers, and artists in general. I’ve already downloaded a copy of this video to my iTunes so I can have it around for those moments when I need a little inspiration.

Enjoy.

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Currently listening to: Black Wave by the Shins*

Spent most of the day working on articles for work. I always leave this stuff until the last minute. At least it kept my day full & busy. Less time to really think. These days that’s a good thing.

So, I’m on the fence with what I’m going to be working on for NaNoWriMo. Part of me wants to go ahead with draft #2 of the WIP, with the caveat that it could take new twists & turns. The other part of me has this other idea bouncing around in my head. Unfortunately, it hasn’t settled down & taken shape. I can see just a sliver of it. Enough to start, but not enough to know where it would all lead. I’m not sure if it’s better for a short story. The only way to know is to actually work on it, to start writing. But I don’t know that I want that to be what I focus on during NaNo. I want to use the next month (actually 2–December as well) to really get a good handle on something so I actually have something to submit to the writer’s conferences at the end of the year. Urgh!!! Decisions, decisions. My plan is to take a big chunk of Friday to sit down & figure this all out, so that Saturday morning, November 1st, the first day of NaNoWriMo, during my writing group, I know what I’m writing. At least that’s the goal. I get this sinking feeling I will be staring at my computer for the better part of Saturday morning still debating with myself over which to go with. Joy! Don’t worry, I drive myself crazy too.

If nothing else, all this is a great distraction from everything else. At least for a few moments. I’ll take what I can get.

Still sucks.

* I’m bringing back the “currently listening to” feature just because I like it & I miss it. I guess it’s a way of getting back to a normal routine. Although, still forgoing the “mood” feature. You get enough of my mood in these posts without me trying to sum it up in one word.

Image: Daeveb via flickr

I guess it’s good that I’m only counting in weeks & not days, hours, or minutes. Although, that is likely due to the fact that I can’t keep track of one day or the next. Weeks are more manageable units of time, larger. Still, I have trouble even fathoming that five of them have now passed.

I still find myself wanting to tell her things. I tell her in my head. It’s not the same.

Today was ok, good I guess. I spent the morning at my writing group. As a result I’m thinking of going on to draft #2 of the WIP. I was looking at it today & I realized I’ve done so much & put in so much time & effort to get from beginning to end of one draft. I feel like I should carry through & finish it. But still, I have moments–like now–where I think I should move on to something else. I have a vague idea, but all this new idea has amounted to is a bunch of random lines floating around in my head & a blank page. At this point, the easier of the two is to go on to draft #2 of the WIP. At least I know that story. So, I’m not quite sure what I’m doing yet…just a week until NaNoWriMo starts. I’m thinking I’ll dive into draft #2 with the understanding that the story could change; or that once I’m working on it, whatever this new thing floating around in my head is might finally materialize on paper.

We’ll see. Today I actually felt ok with the idea of picking up the WIP & working on draft #2. I guess that idea of living deliberately kicked in a little today. I really do want to be ready for the writer’s conference in February, & I know I have a good story in what I was working on. I don’t want to get off track. And while I know so much has happened that it’s understandable for me to get off track & take a new one, I no longer like the idea of giving up something that I’ve literally spent years working on. The difference a few days, a few weeks can make. So, as I said, we’ll see. I’m just going to let what happens happen. But first, I need to finish reading draft #1. Although, once I do that, I might be more than willing to chuck it for something new. Kidding.

Let’s see, spent the rest of the afternoon spending some quality time with the dogs outside to make up for my absence yesterday, & went to lunch & for a little shopping with my brother’s girlfriend’s sister (that sounds way more complicated than it is). We’ve never really hung out before, but it was nice. So, I guess, a new friend.

Now, I’m watching Casino Royale for the six-millionth time on cable. It’s on whenever there seems to be nothing else on, which is good since I actually really like the movie. I so prefer Daniel Craig as James Bond. I am looking forward to the new movie in just a few short weeks. Yeah…although I read earlier today that it’s getting mixed reviews. Nonetheless, I will see it.

So, all in all, not a bad day. A good day even. I wish that was easier to say.

I still hate this.

Today I got a little advice from an acquaintance of my mother that I guess makes sense.

Now, I need to live my life deliberately.

I admit, in the last month, I’ve been rather passive. I could manage little else.

But, it makes sense. My mother wouldn’t want me to withdraw or lose my way. She helped create an environment in which I could lead the life I wanted. I know it’s now my job to continue what she put me on the path to do.

Easier said than done.

Today was ok again. Pretty busy. Ran some errands. Cleaned the house. Went to the market. Did some work. Visited with a friend. Made some phone calls. Oil change for the car in preparation for tomorrow’s drive up to Santa Barbara. I’m looking forward to the drive. Long drives relax me, and are usually good for writing ideas.

I bought a calendar today. The only one available starts in January. Still, I was able to mark down some goals. The key one being submitting pages for critique at the Southern California Writer’s Conference in February. Still not sure what those pages are going to be–draft #2 of the WIP or something new. My writing group meets on Saturday. Last Saturday before NaNoWriMo starts. Hopefully I’ll have a decision or at least an idea by then.

So, I need to go about this new chapter of my life deliberately. I’ll try.

Two weeks ago today.

Kept thinking about everything that happened. Hour by hour. Minute by minute.

I’m realizing I’m never going to forget the chain of events of that day. I may be hazy on the night before, the last night I talked to her; but I’ll never forget the day I found her. I hate that. I want both of those days to be just like any other & for her to still be here.

I keep readying to say something to her, but then catch myself as the first word begins to slip out of my mouth. She’s not there to hear it. I do talk to her, but it’s not the same.

My brother booked his ticket back to the East Coast for next Saturday. I know he needs to go back to school & the life he’s started there. It’s what my mother would want. But I don’t know. I’m going to be on my own. I don’t know how I feel about being on my own, without her.

I went to my writing group this morning. It was good to do something from my old routine. We just talked. No writing today. But I did put out there that I still intend to go to the Southern California Writers’ Conference in February & to have something to submit for critique. I’m not sure what it’s going to be at this point. I still can’t see myself starting on draft 2 of my current WIP. I don’t see myself continuing that story. I’m still thinking there is something else floating in my head that I need to get on paper. We’ll see. Maybe after more time has passed I’ll be able to go back to it. I’m just letting myself be open to whatever comes. There’s nothing else I can do.

Image: Unspeakably Awesome via flickr

Mood: Hesitant to admit this, but I might as well put it out there

Currently listening to: L’Interprete by Brazilian Girls

During Saturday’s writing group, we got to talking about writing conferences & next steps once I have a decent draft. The Southern California Writers’ Conference in San Diego next February 13-16 was brought up.

With a probably unrealistic dose of optimism, I’ve decided I want to have the first 20-30 pages in good enough shape to submit for author/agent critique at the San Diego conference. The author critiques look at craft, while the agent critiques look at salability. I need a goal to keep me on track & I think this is it. It’s the logical next step.

I’m stating this goal publically (although with hesitation) because I need to put it out there, I need to see it in print, I need to be held accountable. This blog has proven incredibly effective in keeping me on track. When you’re being watched, it’s much harder to let yourself fall flat on your face. Yes, there will be plenty of those moments, but they’re just part of the road that will actually get me wherever it is I’m going with this thing I’m writing.

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By the way, if you’re looking for a good list of writers’ conferences & book festivals in southern California, check out Barbara DeMarco-Barrett’s article, “The Write Stuff: A Guide to SoCal’s Literary and Book Festivals,” in the September issue of Westways magazine (put out by the Automobile Club of Southern California). DeMarco-Barrett is the author of Pen on Fire, a book I recommended here. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to find a online link to the article. Westways posts the articles online once the next issue is published. So, I would assume sometime later this month/October that the article should be available online.