(a) Eviter le sur place

When my kids were in middle school they got a lot of make-work for homework and classwork, stuff that kept them very busy but that steered them away from real creativity and by proxy, real learning.  This make-work gave the illusion that students were busy and oh so productive. Wrong. What they were really doing was chasing their tail—in other words: stagnating.

Being busy, compulsively busy even with journaling and writing and revising does not always spell productivity. As far as I’m concerned it’s a form of stagnation which is worse than writer’s block. Why? Because you have the illusion that you’re being productive—just like my kids with all that make-work in middle school.

This is my story about how to avoid stagnation. Actually, it is a post about growth.

I love getting a piece of writing to work. And by work I mean flow—which actually implies that I’ve stepped back and let the words—the work—happen. My fear, on the other hand, would like to take credit for working a piece to death and, in the process, grinding my creativity to pieces. It’s true. I try not to let my fear do my writing for me anymore. Sometimes I succumb. It’s usually the result of comparing my work to someone else’s. I would have hoped to have grown out of that by now but, oh well. If I share my experience with you it will help me, too. So, here goes:

My cautionary tale

I was the kind of writer that went out and found the right words. Really dug for them. I could spend hours researching a term. There is a place for this type of finishing-touch treatment and—lo and behold—it comes somewhere in the final stages of editing. In other words, it happens best, for me anyway, at the end, after the bulk of writing (story finding) is complete.

If I go out and dig for words too quickly, or scour my brain or dictionary for the perfect metaphor before I’ve found the real story I’m writing, I go insane (and eat too much candy). Once I’m in the insane place I keep trying this approach. Over and over. The insanity comes, not only in the seeking of the perfect words but after I’ve stepped back and realized the words I’ve chosen don’t fit or mean anything to me. If you’ve ever gone on a binge of any kind, you know what I mean.

The holding-on problem

But because I worked so hard and dug so deep for a string (gossamer) of beautiful (pulchritudinous) words, I’m likely to not want to let go of them—ever. I start trying to find ways to keep a certain sentence, to mold the story around a turn of phrase. I often fall into the trap of overdoing the flow part.

Well, yeah.

That’s the flip side.

It’s what happens if every writing session is about letting my mind and pen just go wherever they want, all my work turns into a disjointed slew that requires hours of dissection. So instead of finding the perfect words out there in the dictionary, I’m on a treasure hunt across 10 new journals I’ve penned. I may look busy. But I’m spinning (in place).

Same stagnation, different disguise.

Granted, I’ll unearth a few gems waiting to be polished (or maybe they come ready to use). But the time I spend untangling the jungle of roots (beginning of ideas) instead of growing those ideas is more stagnation. I waste more time and energy trying to surgically extract the phrases that work from the stuff surrounding it. I get bogged down, pent up and tired. The joy of sitting down to accomplish turns into make-work that keeps me from moving forward. For a writer, this is stagnation.

So what to do? Here’s what I do:

Be nice (to myself). Understand that when I sit down to write I’m treading two paths: I’m simultaneously finding the story and relaying the story with language that moves the story along. In the beginning and middle, I keep my eyes on the finding the story, not on finding the words.

Listen (to myself). I resist the urge to be seduced by teachers and books and workshops and websites that tell me to focus too soon on technique. (My ego likes those.) Instead, I pay attention to teachers who say simple things like: “Keep going.”

Trust the process. I don’t get bogged down in “the language” and “the turn of phrase” and “the big brush strokes” and any number of other writer catch phrases I may have heard or read about. That comes later. And later always comes as long as I dedicate myself to the process in the correct order: Write first, edit (word find, cut, revise, finesse) second.

Remember. Understand that I do have a story to tell. As do we all.

 

Source

Publicités

Pourquoi l’inspiration pose problème

Suite à l’article d’hier sur la petite astuce créative qui consiste à faire une liste de tout ce qui nous inspire, je me suis posée tout un tas de questions. Toujours au fil de ma lecture du « Nearly Ultimate Guide To Writing » je tombe sur des articles bien différents, et j’ai réussi à mettre en mots le problème que je travaille à bien définir et circonscrire depuis des mois (septembre particulièrement, mais depuis des années j’y pense lol).

L’inspiration est une notion problématique.

Cela me concerne particulièrement pour l’écriture, mais je retrouve les mêmes soucis avec le dessin : ne pas savoir quoi écrire, ou ne pas savoir quoi dessiner. Ce sont deux façons de raconter, et on croit que l’on est vide. Ce qui est faux évidemment. Je pense qu’il est important pour toute personne qui explore sa créativité de se pencher sur la notion d’inspiration tout à fait rigoureusement :

Qu’est-ce que l’inspiration pour vous ? Comment la définiriez-vous ?

En réalité, cela compte pour au moins deux raisons. Déjà, parce que selon la définition que vous allez lui donner, cela va influencer votre propre fonctionnement. Mais aussi, parce qu’il vous faut plus de cartes en main pour dépasser certaines difficultés.  Vous êtes-vous déjà rendu compte, vraiment consciemment, que c’est une notion que vous avez hérité du passé ? Historiquement, culturellement, sa définition évolue. On connait essentiellement l’idée romantique de l’inspiration étrangement, c’est celle qui a le mieux perduré… Mais il existe bien d’autres représentations de l’inspiration, et on a tous besoin de les connaître ! Car en ayant conscience de tout ce que ce concept veut dire, on peut jouer et utiliser ses différents sens pour tenter de l’atteindre. Quand un premier sens de la définition ne marche pas, alors on va explorer le deuxième ! On alterne, on essaie tout, pour voir ce qui marche pour nous.

Maintenant, un petit bilan rapide sans la prétention d’avoir un grand savoir et de faire un super dissertation :

  • Pour certains l’inspiration est un mythe. Mais quelle définition de l’inspiration est niée ? A priori c’est une négation de l’idée romantique irrationnelle.
  • Car l’inspiration de type « romantique » est conçue comme une instance mystérieuse extérieure à l’écrivain (le créatif par extension), presque divine, que l’on ne peut pas maîtriser, que l’on perd…

De votre (notre!) côté donc, il faut savoir si l’on est partisan de l’inspiration rationnelle ou irrationnelle. Et on peut être entre les deux, on peut peut-être accepter plusieurs types d’inspiration d’ailleurs. Il est tout à fait possible de « nourrir » l’inspiration, donc de se dire qu’il existe des moyens tout à fait rationnels pour alimenter cette source, qui restera pourtant non contrôlable et mystérieuse. Comme une fontaine de jouvence. De même, bien que l’on puisse accepter le côté mystérieux d’une inspiration potentielle, il faut reconnaître que la régularité, la pratique de la créativité (comme pour les sports) est une valeur sûre. Il « faut » être constant dans son art, s’exercer, grandir, pour progresser. Combien de fois n’avez-vous pas entendu dire que l’écriture (ou la créativité?) est comme un muscle ? En tout cas moi on me l’a beaucoup répété autrefois. Il faut donc s’entraîner, il faut se muscler, pour arriver à de meilleurs résultats. Julia Cameron et bien d’autres auteurs, même s’ils encouragent une pratique régulière pour montrer que l’on a toujours des choses à dire en soi, n’évacuent pas complètement ce « déclic » étrange pour moi, cette sorte de libération de l’esprit, de l’inconscient. Leurs théories valorisent le travail, les progrès rationnels, mais au bout du compte il reste ces moments inexpliqués où il se passe quelque chose d’incompris (la fameuse libération?) qui produira un résultat « sublimé »/transcendé. Et pourtant, tout le monde devrait s’accorder à dire que l’inspiration perdue est un  mythe, et qu’il ne faut pas l’attendre pour créer !

Je pense qu’on gagnerait tous à être ainsi conscient de toutes les implications (et paradoxes) autour de l’inspiration pour mieux avancer dans nos projets créatifs.

Voilà pour mes pensées du matin !

Tentative de déblocage 2 : trouver l’inspiration avec des listes !

Voici une idée que j’avais déjà eue, et lue probablement quelque part, et je viens de retomber dessus à la lecture du « Nearly Ultimate Guide To Writing ». Pour se remuer un peu les méninges quand on a des soucis d’idées et « d’inspiration », faire une liste de toutes les choses qui nous inspirent est un acte très concret. Quelles sont les choses qui nous nourrissent ?

Pour avoir des tonnes d’idées je vous recommande cet article qui a été intégré dans le livre. Je ne mets ici que la liste :

  1. Blogs. This is one of my favorites, of course. Aside from this blog, there are dozens of great blogs on writing and every topic under the sun. I like to read about what works for others — it inspires me to action!
  2. Books. Maybe my favorite overall. I read writers I love (read about my current loves) and then I steal from them, analyze their writing, get inspired by their greatness. Fiction is my favorite, but I’ll devour anything. If you normally read just a couple of your favorite authors, try branching out into something different. You just might find new inspiration.
  3. Overheard dialog. If I’m anywhere public, whether it be at a park or a mall or my workplace, sometimes I’ll eavesdrop on people. Not in a gross way or anything, but I’ll just keep quiet, and listen. I love hearing other people have conversations. Sometimes it doesn’t happen on purpose — you can’t help but overhear people sometimes. If you happen to overhear a snippet of interesting dialog, jot it down in your writing journal as soon as possible. It can serve as a model or inspiration for later writing.
  4. Magazines. Good magazines aren’t always filled with great writing, but you can usually find one good piece of either fiction or non-fiction. Good for its writing style, its voice, its rhythm and ability to pull you along to the end. These pieces inspire me. And bad magazines, while perhaps not the best models for writing, can still be inspirations for ideas for good blog posts. These magazines, as they don’t draw readers with great writing, find interesting story angles to attract an audience.
  5. Movies. Sometimes, while watching a movie, a character will say something so interesting that I’ll say, “That would make a great blog post!” or “I have to write that in my writing journal!” Sometimes screenwriters can write beautiful dialog. Other times I get inspired by the incredible camera work, the way that a face is framed by the camera, the beauty of the landscape captured on film.
  6. Forums. When people write on forums, they rarely do so for style or beauty (there are exceptions, of course, but they’re rare). Forumers are writing to convey information and ideas. Still, those ideas can be beautiful and inspiring in and of themselves. They can inspire more ideas in you. I’m not saying you have to read a wide array of forums every day, but if you’re looking for information, trawling some good forums isn’t a bad idea.
  7. Art. For the writer aspiring to greater heights, there is no better inspiration that great art, in my experience. While it doesn’t compare to the experience of seeing the art in person, I like to find inspiring works of art and put it on my computer desktop for contemplation (Michelangelo’s Pieta is there right now). It doesn’t have to be classical works, though — I’ve found inspiration in Japanese anime, in stuff I’ve found on deviantart.com, in local artists in my area.
  8. Music. Along the same lines, it can be inspiring to download and play great music, from Mozart to Beethoven to the Beatles to Radiohead. Play it in the background as you write, and allow it to lift you up and move you.
  9. Friends. Conversations with my friends, in real life, on the phone or via IM, have inspired some of my best posts. They stir up my ideas, contribute ideas of their own, and they fuse into something even more brilliant than either of us could have created.
  10. Writing groups. Whether online or in your community, writing groups are great ways to get energy and motivation for your writing. My best short stories were done in a writing group in my local college (a great place to look for such groups, btw), as we read out our work to the group, critiqued them and made suggestions. The work of the other writers inspired me to do better.
  11. The Pocket Muse. A book full of writing inspirations. Can’t beat that!
  12. Quotes. I don’t know why it’s so, but great quotes help inspire me. I like to go to various quote sites to find ideas to spark my writing, turns of phrase that show what can be done with the language, motivation for self-improvement. Try these for a start: Writing Quotes and Quotes for Writers.
  13. Nature. Stuck for ideas? Go for a walk or a jog. Get away from sidewalks and into grass and trees and fields and hills. Appreciate the beauty around you, and let the inspiration flow through you. Sunsets and sunrises, of course, are two of my favorite uplifting scenes of nature, and anything involving water is also awesome (oceans, rivers, lakes, rain, rivulets, even puddles).
  14. History. It can be unexpected, but great people in history can inspire you to greatness. My favorites include Benjamin Franklin, Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln, Helen Keller, Leonardo da Vinci, and other greats.
  15. Travel. Whether it be halfway around the world, or a day trip to the next town or national park, getting out of your usual area and discovering new places and people and customs can be one of the best inspirations for writing. Use these new places to open up new ways of seeing.
  16. Children. I have six kids, and they are my favorite people in the world (my wife and siblings and parents being right up there too). I love to spend quiet time with them, taking walks or reading. I love to have fun with them, playing board games or having pillow fights. And during these times I spend with them, I’m often reflective, about life, about humanity, about love. I suggest that children, with their fresh outlook on the world, can change the way you view things.
  17. Exercise. I get my best ideas most often while running. There’s something about the quietness, combined with the increased flow of blood through your brain, combined with being out in the fresh air with nature, that really stimulates the mind.
  18. Religion. Many of you aren’t religious (and many are) but it doesn’t matter much — the great religions in the world have ideas in them that are beautiful and inspiring. I’ve studied some of the writings of not only Christianity and Judaism but Islam, Bahai’i, Buddhism, Taoism, and many cultures with multiple nature gods. I can’t say I’m an expert at any of these religions, but I can say that any time I’ve spent reading the ideas of religion have paid off for me in inspiration.
  19. Newspapers. I used to be a newspaper reporter and editor, and I’ve become jaded to newspapers. The news seems like an endless cycle of the same thing, happening over and over again. However, if you know how to look, you can find human-interest stories that are inspiring. Stories about people who have triumphed over adversity. (Edit: I had “diversity” instead of “adversity” here and have now corrected … thanks for the catch, Bill!)
  20. Dreams. I’m not very good at this, but at times in my life I’ve tried keeping a dream journal by my bedside and writing down what I can remember when I wake up. Not because I think it’ll tell me something about myself or my future or past, but because dreams are so interesting in their complete disregard for the rules of reality, for their otherworldness and plot twists.
  21. Writing journal. I highly recommend this for any writer. It doesn’t have to be fancy, or something you write in every day. Just a plain notebook will do, although a nice journal can be motivating. Write down thoughts and inspirations and quotes and snippets of good writing you find and pieces of dialog and plot ideas and new characters. Then go back to this journal when you need ideas or inspiration.
  22. Del.icio.us. This popular bookmarking site is a treasure trove of great articles and blog posts and resources. I don’t do this much, but sometimes I’ll browse through these links to find examples of great writing by others. While you shouldn’t steal these ideas, you can often adapt them to your particular blog topic, or use the ideas to spark new ones of your own.
  23. Poetry. How can poetry inspire prose? Through its beauty and flow and style and use of rhythm and play on words. Through its use of language and music.
  24. Shakespeare. He’s not the only playwright, of course, but he’s undoubtedly the greatest, and the greatest master of the English language as well. While his writing can be difficult for those not used to the language of his time, a study of even one of his plays pays off immensely. The Bard wrote beautifully, used the largest vocabulary of any English writer, invented his own words, made up interesting phrases that are used to this day, had more puns and twists of words than any writer I know. There is no writer more deserving of our study and more inspirational to other writers.
  25. Google. Stuck for ideas? The old standby, Google, has often helped me out. I’ll just search for the topic I’m writing about and find tons of great resources.
  26. Freewriting. One of the best ways to get unstuck if you’re uninspired. Just start writing. Anything. It doesn’t matter. Don’t edit, don’t pause, don’t think. Just write and let it flow. You’ll end up with a lot of garbage, probably, but it’ll help you get out of your rut and you might just write some really good stuff among all that garbage.
  27. Brainstorms. Similar to freewriting, but instead of writing prose you’re writing ideas. Just let them flow. Speed and quantity is more important than quality. Within this brainstorm of ideas, you’ll most likely find a few nuggets of greatness. One of my favorite ways to get ideas.
  28. Flickr. If fine paintings and sculpture inspire you to greater heights, photography of some of the most talented people in the world can show what everyday humans can do if they try. I like Flickr.com, a real wealthy of amazing photography. Just browse through to find some wonderful inspiration.
  29. Breaking your routines. Get out of your rut to see things from a new perspective. If you usually take one route to work, try a couple others. If you usually get up, get ready for work, and leave, try exercising in the morning or watching the sunrise. If you usually watch TV at the end of the day, try reading or writing instead. Shake things up.
  30. Success stories. Another of my favorites. When I was training for my first marathon, for example, I read all kinds of success stories of people who had run their first marathon. It inspired me to keep going. There are success stories for writing, or anything else you’d like to do, that will inspire your brains out. 🙂
  31. People watching. This is an interesting activity for any writer. Go to a busy public place and just sit and watch people. They’ll amuse you, inspire you, fascinate you. There’s nothing more inspiring than humanity.

Et vous quelles sont les choses qui vous inspirent ?

De mon côté j’ai perdu mes listes passées, et je vais devoir recommencer… (en cours)

  • lire; toutes sortes de livre.
  • les citations. Trouvées au hasard, ou au fil d’un livre.
  • les blogs d’écriture. Récemment je redécouvre les blogs ‘conseils’ comme Write To Done et autres, mais j’aime les blogs-journaux où les gens racontent de façon intense leurs expériences et autres. Les textes des autres (fictions etc) peuvent parfois m’inspirer.
  • la poésie, des grands auteurs ou des internautes.
  • regarder les oeuvres des autres. Deviantart était mon fétiche pour ça, je manque de temps depuis 3 ans pour y aller. Flickr offre des choses également.
  • regarder les créations (manuelles) des autres. J’adore Etsy pour ça.
  • écouter de la musique qui fait battre mon coeur.
  • certains films.
  • discuter avec certaines personnes de nos projets, de tout et rien.
  • aller à des expositions, dans des musées.
  • ….

(a) Dépasser ses peurs

Voici un article de « développement personnel » de Tess Marshall, qui je pense peut servir parfaitement dans le domaine créatif. C’est un travail sur soi à faire pour se détacher du regard des autres, de nos propres peurs, pour aller de l’avant.

I’ll bet you’ve already promised yourself that this year will be different. This time you will reach your goal, skydive, learn Mandarin Chinese, find the love of your life, lose the weight or become self-employed.

If you have that’s fantastic! Who doesn’t want to change, to grow, and to live life their way?

There is only one thing that is standing between you and the promise you’ve made.

Fear.

Fear can be a trap, a prison, a story, or an illusion that torments and paralyzes you. It keeps you awake at night, and your happiness and dreams completely out of reach.

One of the worst things we can do is dare to dream big and then hold ourselves hostage by clinging to our same old routine doubts, anxieties, and fears.

It’s a wicked cycle that will keep you crazy-dizzy and spinning out of control like a rickety old Tilt-a-Whirl at the State Fair.

What’s real about fear?

The only real aspects of fear are your annoying and uneasy feelings that escort your terror – the worry, anxiety, and irrational thinking.

The unpleasant physical symptoms of fear drain your energy – a sudden grab, a racing heart, your sweaty palms, shortness of breath and sleepless nights.

These feelings and symptoms are unbearable yet until the pain of staying stuck is greater than the pain it takes to grow forward, we suffer.

Our subconscious beliefs, our addiction to safety, and our past experience prevents up from taking the action needed to move out of our fear and into our greatness.

Read on for 10 tips for a bold and fearless life.

Tip #1: Don’t believe your thoughts

Drop your negative thinking and lack of faith in yourself or it will continue to snowball. Train your mind to create positive expectations. Learn to expect the best.

Tip #2: View life as a creative and wild adventure

Life can be brimming with easy times of beauty and light or overflowing with hard times of dark and difficulty. Choose to stay present through it all. Appreciate the varied landscape and enjoy the ride.

Tip #3: Consider the love of others

Who else in your life is missing out because of your fear of moving forward? Make a list of the people who will benefit from your success. Stay strong for them. Imagine telling them the “good news” in advance – I got the job, I made a difference, I wrote my book, we’re going on vacation!

Tip #4: Let go of the outcome

We often think we know what is best for us. We forget we can’t see the whole picture. Do what is yours to do and do it well. Like blowing a dandelion in the wind, let the rest go and remain open to infinite possibilities.

Tip #5: Be authentic.

In a world where everyone is trying to be someone else, be brave enough to be you. Nobody else has your thumb print, heart print, or soul print. Nobody else can do your part. Revel in your uniqueness. Transparency is magnetic.

Tip #6: Create space for gratitude

Begin your day by filling your mind with appreciation. Focus on the love you have to give and the love you can receive. Become aware of open hearts, open minds, and an unlimited life. This is energy well spent.

Tip #7: Build positive images

Increase your faith and courage by remembering all of your past successes. Take note of your strengths and determination. Apply the same traits to your present dream. Build positive pictures of future success in your mind.

Tip #8: Argue for a positive outcome

Make a list of your fears. Next, prove each fear wrong. If you think you can’t, write down all of the reasons why you actually can. Remind yourself of your written proof when you’re heart is pounding and your palms are sweating.

Tip #9: Be comfortable with the uncomfortable

I don’t know anyone who enjoys being afraid. We want to deny it, run from it, and ignore it. As a professional speaker, I’m nervous for the first several minutes. To get through it, I memorize the first ten minutes of the speech. Learn to get through the things you fear.

Tip #10: Don’t take it personally

What someone else does is about them. How you react is about you. This is perhaps the most difficult step to learn. When your request is ignored or turned down, move on. Rejection isn’t an excuse for failure.

As you face your fears and increase your freedom and happiness by allowing your dreams to become a reality, the good life is inevitable.

Tentative de déblocage 1 : éliminer les objectifs.

Voici un petit « truc » créatif qui peut servir dans toutes les disciplines pour dépasser ses blocages, et que j’ai découvert récemment. Ca me pendait au bout du nez, je n’arrivais pas à le trouver, pourtant un ami me le répétait tout le temps… mais ça ne percutait pas. Il a fallut que je feuillette un livre d’écriture (peut-être ‘the writing warrior’) sur GoogleBooks pour que ça fasse « tilt ».

La citation disait en gros, du moins j’ai retenu l’idée de ces 3 pages sur le sujet : il faut éliminer tout sens de l’objectif.

Au début ça paraît un peu radical, mais finalement c’est d’une logique implacable. Les blocages peuvent très facilement (voire automatiquement?) venir lorsque l’on se projette, et qu’on ne pense qu’au résultat. Même pour les gens qui ne sont pas perfectionnistes, ça met une sorte de distance devant soi. Ca peut aussi très vite devenir un « je dois faire » plutôt qu’un « j’ai envie de faire ». On perd de vue le seul vrai objectif : le faire et non le produit du faire. Le but de la créativité, c’est d’abord et avant tout l’expérience de la création. L’expérience, et pas l’objectif. On est là pour expérimenter, pour observer, créer. Le résultat vient seulement ensuite.

Je vous renvoie à cette citation qui résume assez bien tout ça. En tout cas ça rejoint l’idée pour moi.