Archive for the ‘creative block’ Category

“Creation is not a moment of inspiration . . .”

March 24th, 2015 No Comments

 

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. . . but a lifetime of endurance.” That’s what author Kevin Ashton says in his book on creativity and innovation titled “How To Fly A Horse.”

While Ashton, an MIT engineer who coined the term “the internet of things”, is not talking about writing but invention, particularly the Wright Brothers, his book describes the long slog of the creative process in a way similar to how Cary Tennis and I have experienced it in working with students at Finishing School.

“Creation is not a moment of inspiration, but a lifetime of endurance. The drawers of the world are full of things begun: unfinished sketches pieces of innovation, incomplete product ideas, notebooks with half formed hypotheses, abandoned patents, partial manuscripts. Creating is more monotony than adventure. It is early mornings and late nights. Long hours doing work that will likely fail or be deleted or erased, a process without progress that must be repeated daily for years. Beginning is hard but continuing is harder. Those who seek a glamorous life should not peruse art, science, innovation or invention anything else that needs new. Creation is a long journey where most turns are wrong and most ends are dead. The most important thing creators do is work. The most important thing they don’t do is quit.”

But how do you stay on this lonely task when repeated failures can be so discouraging? Finishing School helps you define your task to be completed, keep regular appointments with yourself to continue to wrestle with the problem and, gloriously, finish.

Ashton’s interview with Joshua Johnson, who is an excellent and well-prepared interviewer, explores many stories of how inventors persisted, even without the help of Finishing School.

Finishing School Book Goes Out For Sale!

March 10th, 2015 No Comments

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Why don’t we finish the projects we love? We start out with high hopes and a big burst of energy, but then doubt, judgment and fear overtake that strong beginning. The sparkling idea becomes source of shame, but yet we can’t let it go. After a while this beloved expression of our creativity hangs around in an undefined space somewhere between procrastination and giving up. It nags at us. It makes us feel bad about our past and our future. We fear we’ll never finish and we also fear what will happen if we do. This is the pervasive agony that Cary Tennis decided to address when he thought up Finishing School and we decided to write a book about his method of getting that project done.

Today “Finishing School: The Happy Ending To That Project You Just Can’t Seem To Get Done” goes out to publishers for sale, and we’re very excited about it.

Finishing School worked for me, someone who usually has no trouble finishing things. Being a journalist my whole professional life has given me a very practical approach to my work. I turn things in on deadline knowing it is as good as I could make it in the time I had. Yet I ended up in Finishing School when found myself with a project close to my heart that dragged for years. The occasional attempts to finish it forced me into all the dodges and vanities. After two months in Finishing School I’d completed a second draft.

I was amazed that Cary’s method worked for people who had abandoned their novel eighteen years ago as well as for someone like me. In the two months I was in Finishing School people were more productive, more decisive about their work, than I’d ever seen in another writing group.

When Cary and I decided to write this book, we started to analyze all the emotional factors that prevent people from finishing. As a result we came up with a fresh take on the writers block. I can share more of that once the book is sold but for now, all of you out there with half completed novels in a dusty corner of your desktop, don’t lose hope. Finishing School doesn’t require you to become a better person who is more organized, more disciplined and has life under control. You also don’t have to undergo years of therapy. Finishing School frees you up and you can simply write.

Today our agent Linda Loewenthal sent it out to ten publishers and we’ve got our fingers crossed to contain our excitement.