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As it is raining here today, this icon seems appropriate. The quote is Shakespeare, of course, from Feste's song at the end of Twelfth Night. *makes note to self to purchase DVD with Ben Kingsley as Feste*

Up first, some pointers from Joss Whedon, who knows a thing or two about writing screenplays, the relative lack of success of Dollhouse notwithstanding. It's from an article called Joss Whedon's Top 10 Writing Tips over at the blog of Danny Stack. Two I liked in particular that seem like they apply to pretty much every kind of writing:

Actually finishing it is what I’m gonna put in as step one. You may laugh at this, but it’s true. I have so many friends who have written two-thirds of a screenplay, and then re-written it for about three years. Finishing a screenplay is first of all truly difficult, and secondly really liberating. Even if it’s not perfect, even if you know you’re gonna have to go back into it, type to the end. You have to have a little closure.

Everybody has a perspective. Everybody in your scene, including the thug flanking your bad guy, has a reason. They have their own voice, their own identity, their own history. If anyone speaks in such a way that they’re just setting up the next person’s lines, then you don’t get dialogue: you get soundbites. Not everybody has to be funny; not everybody has to be cute; not everybody has to be delightful, and not everybody has to speak, but if you don’t know who everybody is and why they’re there, why they’re feeling what they’re feeling and why they’re doing what they’re doing, then you’re in trouble.

Earlier this week, I spent a very enjoyable half an hour watching Elizabeth Gilbert's TED speech about genius. Now, the thing is, it's only about 19 minutes long, but I spent some of my time transcribing bits of it to share here. Because that is the sort of full-service quoteskimming you've come to expect, yes?

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of the best-selling book, Eat, Pray, Love: One Woman's Search For Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia (and, for you kidlitters out there, the sister of Catherine Gilbert Murdoch). Eat, Pray, Love became a huge phenomenon, and as Gilbert notes early on in the speech, she is now under tremendous pressure because of that past success. As she says part-way through, "I have to find some way to have a safe distance between me as I am writing and my very natural anxiety about what the reaction to that writing is going to be from now on."

Near the start of her speech, she talked about how the creative process can sometimes take a toll on the artists and writers involved. Se said, "Creative people across all genres it seems have this reputation for being enormously mentally unstable. . . .Somehow we've completely internalized and accepted collectively this notion that creativity and suffering are somehow inherently linked and that artistry in the end will always ultimately lead to anguish."

Her talk is fascinating, as she explores the history (and truly, the ancient history) of man's view of the creative process, and where the creative spark comes from. If you're a creative person - a writer, a poet, an artist, someone who enjoys whipping up their own clothes/recipes/projects - you pretty much owe it to yourself to settle in and watch the whole speech. It will be one of the kindest gifts you can give yourself this week (or any week). That said, I wouldn't want you to miss out on this part if you can't swing 19 minutes for yourself:

Don't be afraid. Don't be daunted. Just do your job. Continue to show up for your piece of it, whatever that might be. If your job is to dance, do your dance. If the divine, cockeyed genius assigned to your case decides to let some sort of wonderment be glimpsed for just one moment through your efforts, then olé, and if not, do your dance anyhow, and olé to you nonetheless . . . just for having the sheer human love and stubbornness to keep showing up.

Seriously? If you only have 20 minutes to do something kind for yourself this week, spend the 19 minutes watching Gilbert's speech, and a minute in quiet contemplation.

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( 14 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 22nd, 2009 08:43 pm (UTC)
I saw this, too.

You better believe I'm hoping the divine cockeyed genius assigned to my case decides to do his part while I am steadily doing mine.

Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:35 am (UTC)
Same. Olé to you.
Feb. 22nd, 2009 09:40 pm (UTC)
I watched that speech by Elizabeth Gilbert yesterday and loved it! :)

Also, re. finishing stuff (from Joss Whedon) - that's funny, because I was thinking of writing something about that for my Deadline Dames post this week.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:36 am (UTC)
You and Joss are just. like. this.

Olé to you!
Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:14 pm (UTC)
Yeah. Me and Joss. BFFs... ;)

Right back atcha: Olé!
Feb. 22nd, 2009 11:45 pm (UTC)
Love the Joss Whedon quotes-- esp. the first. I've had so many mss like that... just need to get through it, once. Then everything begins to fall together...
Will have to listen to the Gilbert thing once I get my sound back, here!
Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:37 am (UTC)
Indeed, you must watch the Gilbert thing. And Liz, olé to you.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 01:55 pm (UTC)
Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:00 am (UTC)
Tanita Says :)
I actually finally got around to listening to the TED thing as well -- and it blew my hair back. Will scream "Olé!" as I finish my novel - and Olé to you, as you Jane away.
Feb. 23rd, 2009 12:38 am (UTC)
Re: Tanita Says :)
Thanks, Tanita - with six poems completed this week, I am feeling en fuego, although I have no real product today - just lots of research.

And Tanita? Olé to you!
Feb. 23rd, 2009 04:08 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much for this link! I look forward to her future books, and I've always wanted to read some of her earlier stuff. What great quotes you've shared here. I'm gonna make time to watch that. Thanks again.

Feb. 23rd, 2009 09:26 pm (UTC)
Olé to you, Jules.
(Deleted comment)
Feb. 24th, 2009 03:05 am (UTC)
Again, if you spend only 20 minutes on yourself this week, you should use 19 of them watching that video. And olé to you, Jenn. (You'll understand still more fully after watching, but I think the quote works well enough.)
( 14 comments — Leave a comment )

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