Feelings are important. They not only colour our inner world with untold experiences in various tones and elements of light and shade, they affect how we behave. Even when we don't realise it, our feelings cause us to do and say things that would otherwise be irrational. Only when we accept the factor of emotions and feelings in the equation of human behaviour and interaction can we fully appreciate the reasoning behind what is actually happening. The emotional background in a personal life, in a family, in a city, even a nation can determine the choices made by these social entities. We are of course responsible for our own feelings, however there is a lot to be said for the affects of art and culture on how we feel about things. The way our cultural template suggests we behave and feel helps us to make decisions. Often in a subconscious rationale, we choose to act and think in a certain way because of something we have an affinity to.
Feelings are biological as well as being sensations. Our awareness enjoys or recoils in disgust at the various sensations we go through, and our body produces bio-chemical signals and products in response to the situation. Over time our bodies learn to produce levels of a biochemical background which reflect the normal state induced by day to day life. So what the culture of a social entity is will determine to some degree what the biochemical normal is. Linking these two factors, of culture and body chemistry, is a matter of evolution. We didn't evolve to have feelings because they have pleasant side-effects. Our biology was favoured when we were born with feelings and emotions, our social skills were improved, our ability to regulate homeostasis at varying degrees of risk was improved, and therefore we became successful. The creatures that evolved feelings did so on a biological level, for natural reasons.
“The roots for the alignment between life processes and quality of feeling can be traced to the workings of homeostasis within the common ancestors to endocrine systems, immune systems, and nervous systems.” Antonio Damasio, Nautilus
What ever our opinion on human feeling, the matter remains that the emotions and sensations of life that we feel are significant factors in the way we behave. Sometimes we make clearly bad decisions because of the way we feel. It is also that same ability to feel which gives us empathy to stop us from doing the bad things we sometimes feel like doing. We also have pride to stop us from admitting that we sometimes want to do bad things. It's all emotional. We must admit that these powerful forces in the human theatre have biological and societal effects, from the incredibly small to the impossibly large.
Does this mean that people from a certain culture have different biochemistry to others? It probably does. Although we are all the same on the inside, there is bound to be a subtle difference within each of us. None of us are identical people, even if dressed in uniform and following the same rules. So as we go further and further from an individual, and into a foreign land with a new culture, will the biochemistry be significantly different enough to warrant investigation? I think it is worth looking into this effect.
All we have to do is look at how offensive it can be when culture is appropriated.
“Cultural appropriation is generally understood as the taking or use of the cultural products of “cultural insiders” by “cultural outsiders” . Cultural products can range widely, including stories, styles, motifs, artefacts, artworks, traditional knowledge, as well as representations of the members of a particular culture”. Ethics of Cultural Heritage, Stanford University.
It's a well known fact that when an outsider uses an element of an insider's culture, the insiders can often be offended. Imagine using the word spoon to name a fork, and insisting it to be the case. Then imagine if the spoon had an emotional significance, like a Tudor rose or even an image of a Saint. It's easy to see how the emotional language of a symbol or tradition is quickly lost in translation when outsiders see something but don't understand it.
So how can we use art to communicate to people if the people we want to communicate with don't like us using their own art to do so? It seems like a paradox, we just want to talk! Rather than sitting down with coffee and having a chat, to reach larger groups of people and to spread deeper messages through art and culture, we need to find a way to communicate safely.
One example of this in action is in the work of Ahmed Hmeedat. This Palestinian refugee, brought up under restricted movement and strict military law, has taken to art to express his feelings and desires for all to interpret. Originally from Bethlehem, he now works in the US. Ahmed was approached by Washington's Director of the Palestinian Museum of the People, Bshara Nassar. He was asked to help build an exhibit for the opening of the new museum which demonstrates a Palestinian's mindset and hopes for the future.
Ahmed said that he aimed to create “A space that creates empathy, that educates and inspires people about the plight and history of the Palestinian people and a space where Palestinians could feel at home” - Alaraby.
This is a brave move for the museum, as under President Trump moves have been made to further reduce Palestinian sovereignty in their ancestral home. It is hoped that by enlightening visitors and the readers of reviews, eyes can be opened to the real life struggles and difficulties faced by the region. By bringing the message to the lion's den, and expressing a humanitarian concept, it is hoped that the emotional language of art can help the right decisions to be made.
The best thing about art is that often it's for sale, legitimate acquisition is totally fine. Browse now - Palestinian collectables.
Stories make up a large part of our lives. Either based on fact or fiction, our national history and our fairy-tales define situations and reactions to them which have consequences. This subtle fabric of all stories is how they stick in our minds, and the emotional journey of tension and relief in organised steps becomes a subconscious element of our lives. We learn behaviour from stories and we make decisions based on their morals. The rhetoric, or natural bias, of a story is therefore important and will be a large part of whether it is successful in the general public. It has to fit and be cohesive with the consensus of the public, grating on it must be done tactfully and artfully. Roses are more popular than cacti, and they both have thorns.
Stories help us develop our empathic responses to situations and to better understand what is happening around us. Especially for children, whose minds are still maturing, the outcomes of stories play a vital role in teaching them how the world will work. Stories are not just found in books, we see them on the television as news articles, drama, cartoons, and documentaries, we get them on the internet in all manner of ways, even advertisements often tell a bit of story, even if just a line or two. Music is often written in a story-land manner, where lyrics describe scenes and characters that are projected through sound. In all stories, we as the audience feel the characters as they go through their situations.
So when we design characters, we are not just telling tales. We are creating templates for common thought, so if they don't fit people in general won't want to know about it. There are always exceptions, for example in a horror film where the sadist commits terrible crimes, however a lot of psychology is used in order to create the most scary character possible. It is still related to consensus, only reversed. Making use of the people in our story to do more than fill a role is paramount to a rich and teachable literary piece. Don't we all want our book taught in class-rooms? And not as an example of what not to write.
Before you create a character, you need to research your choices. If you want to write about a cowboy then you really need to know about cowboys. If you want to set a book in the United States, you really need to know about America. It will not be legitimate if you don't take your character and their role in the world seriously. For those of you who create fantasy characters, are there similar people in other works you can relate to? If not then write a brilliant back-story, something that you can anchor everything else to.
Think about your character in their setting. You need to make sure they fit. So your cowboy will look great in a saloon but if he's in Medieval Scotland it will not make sense. You'll need a steam-powered time machine that can sail the Atlantic. Could be fun. Seriously though, make sure your characters fit the world they live in. If its a fluffy glitzy world then try to avoid disparity, keep it fluffy and glitzy. When you want something clearly as the opponent, don't go too far. They still need to be in suit with the rest of the story.
Your character isn't there to look nice. They play a role, and before you write them in you need to know why they're there. What wisdom and tensions can they bring, what are the pros and cons of this character to the story's outcome? How does their presence and actions affect the other characters, and why? All of these things matter a lot to writing fully developed characters.
Avoid attachment issues. We all love our art, and we often have an emotional attachment to it. This can be troublesome when we want something to be successful. We need to let go of the quirks and the bits that we love even though they don't fit. This all has to go, plus we can sometimes realise we've been forgetting a vital thing and have to delete and do it all again. We have to be able to do this or the project will fail.
Bring them to life. Your characters are not just people in your story, they're real people in a real world. You need to accommodate for this and put real lives into effect. We don't have to travel with them while they do it all, else the book will never end, however the important thing is to give the impression they have a life outside of the main story. Give them jobs, make them in a hurry, allow them to tell someone about their day. Keeping all these hidden elements in mind while we write them in can help with ensuring they don't just hang around until next time we see them.
Knowing all this will no-doubt help you to write effective stories that people enjoy reading. It takes a lot of work to write a book and when we do, there is no guarantee it will be accepted. Never give up, change bits if you want to, or simply put it to one side and start again. The only way is up as long as we don't hold onto the past. Keep going, all of you.
You know already there is much more to it than that, to get ahead and rise above perhaps this full course in creative writing is for you?
It's a famous saying that a journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. But which way do we walk? What direction do we travel in? Where do we want to be in a thousand miles time? Success strategy means knowing the answers to these problems and walking the steps. If we have a goal, an ambition, or a need to change one's situation, then before we set about achieving it, we need to plan ahead. We need to understand the lay of the land and prepare ourselves for a long journey. Just like driving to another city, we have to fill the tank and if we want to make a good impression, clean the car. Everything in life requires thought behind it, we either obey instruction or take responsibility for ourselves. Sometimes we have to do both, depending on the situation. Even if you think you know about your journey already, and you're well on the way to the destination, maybe there's a shorter way, a more efficient stride, a natural understanding and intuition for the walk, that can still be gleaned from this comprehensive and thorough yet by no means complete list of initiatives.
You Must Have A Good Reason
Before we do anything, there is always a why. Having a good reason to do something matters a lot. If we don't have one, we will end up giving the impression that we are something we are not. Wanting to look cool with a trendy backdrop is not a good reason, you have to want it for something else. Most of the time it's about love or money. People generally need both to live happy lives. So you want to earn more money, or you want to make more friends, these are great reasons to set a goal and achieve it.
Don't Give Yourself Away
Often we are so busy helping others achieve their goals that we forget about our own. Being the helpful and useful sort is wonderful when in a group or team however it's not selfish to do things for yourself either. All worthwhile jobs, opportunities, and social situations require that we work together and have cohesive networks and relationships, so even when looking out for ourselves, we find that if we're working towards something positive, there'll naturally be an element of team playing. Take this blog for example, I spend hours writing it, learning skills to help me deliver better content, and researching items to write about, many hours of practice have gone in behind it as well. It's why I ensure that I include commerce in the website, because like you, I have to spend money to survive. It's why I'm so grateful to those readers who can and do use the commerce. If the reader is unable, then it's free to read for a reason, it's them.
Nurture Your Networks
Always be on hand to chat and comment, keep phone numbers and send updates from time to time. Be on the look-out for people who stand in a position to help you on your journey. By knowing more people, we have more power over our own destiny. We also have the ability to be helping hands to those around us, and its not only good natured to do so, it's also wise. Becoming indispensable and non-disposable is paramount to maintaining a positive membership in any group, work or play.
Stop Competing With Others
Really, this is not a game of football. Remember that we're all just trying to pay the bills so put away your claws. You're not here to be the best, be the only one, be the top of the food-chain, the most successful people know how to work with others and take and give opportunities as and when they are able. Making friends with people in your trade puts you in a great position, making friends with the cool person in the social situation is also a good thing. There will naturally be tensions, we all care about our journey and so it also makes sense to not block another's success. While maintaining relationships we know that we must be fair and friendly. It may be productive in the short term to be ruthless however reputations last longer than people do. If you find yourself competing because you're simply doing exactly the same thing, you need to be more creative. Mimicking another person or product is immature at best, insidious at worst.
Stop Waiting For An Angel
There is no angel. Not for everyone anyway. Just look around you, if you're reading this article, you're one of the wealthy ones who have internet and digital technology. The angels are really busy. You have to get up and do it for yourself, you must be able to tell yourself that you are going to make the journey despite what the past may say about you, despite what fears you have, if you really want it then you have to do it yourself.
We all have a comfort zone, and those who achieve more than the rest are the ones who learn how to step outside of it. Of course there is a downside, stress and worry will naturally occur so be considerate towards yourself as well. We don't want to emotionally mutate under pressure that we are putting ourselves under. Step out of the comfort zone then do the work needed to make a success of things before retreating back and taking a break. You'll find a routine and a balance to this. Being brave doesn't have to mean doing the things that terrify you, if abseiling has nothing to do with your goal then don't do it. If taking a course to learn a new skill is daunting, but you really could do with the wisdom, then do it.
Put In The Extra Mile
So a thousand mile walk will always be that length, however we have to push ourselves a bit harder than we normally would to make good time. We only have so many years, and with other responsibilities on the plate as well, our own personal goals in work or play can't be taken all the time. So when we are able to knuckle down and do something productive towards our own goal, then do the best job you can. Do it well and if possible, better than the last time you tried a similar thing. We have to continually improve if we want to reach a destination.
Watch Out For Distraction
The dog ate my homework. Not really, I was listening to music all night. We live in a distracting world, there is a generous and varied menu of media continually available these days. To achieve things, we have to be able to focus on our goals regularly and adequately. There is a sticky trap of feeling that we've done a great job then sitting back for weeks. We have all heard the one about the hare and the tortoise.
Make Peace With Mistakes
We all make them. In any walk of life, we take a risk. Is this the right way? Am I doing it right? Do I know what I'm doing? Am I hurting anyone? We can't always know until its too late, so we need to be able to accept our own fallible human nature. Learning from our mistakes and from our failures is the only way we can take a forward step away from it.
Learn How To Not Contaminate Yourself
Don't put yourself down, describe yourself in uncaring ways, don't use negative language about yourself or your work at all. Acknowledge mistakes, sure, even apologise for them, but it doesn't define you. It only defines one act of behaviour out of an uncountable list of other ones. You'd not talk about your friends or your children in negative terms, you'd not tell people that they're anything negative if you cared about them, so why do it for yourself? So many people think it is okay to put themselves down, when it really isn't. We can only go on what you say, and if you say it's no good, or if you point out the reasons to reject something, then of course you'll get nowhere. If you can't honestly do something without mentioning the flaws, you're not ready. Work on it first, iron out the creases.
Stop Following The Crowd
To be true to ourselves, we have to be able to think in ways that suit us. Others will project their perceptions of reality onto us, their perceptions of who we are in their eyes, and if we are not confident then we can easily follow along with them. It's a common trap people fall into, they want to fit in so they adapt their outer self to match that of others. Even when they don't feel it on the inside. It is deceptive and dishonest however it often feels the more comfortable of the two for some. If you want to be a success of yourself, this has to stop.
From The Foundations Up
I have heard people in successful jobs say that they've had to sacrifice great parts of themselves to get where they are today. I don't like this approach, and have always considered it best to build on yourself. Don't lose bits, but mature them and add to them with new knowledge and understanding. Never stop learning and never think you know it all. There will always be something you don't know, never assume or presume, it's actually quite rude, and don't take on jobs or roles if you don't know exactly what you're doing. If you do and you're under qualified, you could do more harm than good. One step at a time please.
Believe In Yourself
It's been said again and again, and it still needs repeating. You can if you will and you will if you do. Just do it, like the famous sports brand will advise you. Take the journey or you'll never get to the destination. You get to choose exactly what that is.
Try your hand at any number of short and medium length courses from top universities, risk free with trial period.
Not just a search engine, the company whose motto used to be “Don't Be Evil”, Google offer a wide variety of digital solutions. There are the well known ones that we all use, however their innovative crew are always coming up with other ideas. Rather than trying to compete with the giant, Alternative Fruit understands that to flourish in a diverse ecosystem, we must become a dynamic part of it. We've all seen what magpies do to the kestrel that strays too far from it's territory. So be a magpie, they're much more social yet still have a nasty peck!
Music is a big part of what makes us creative, Alternative Fruit reported on the well known benefits recently. Our brains learn subconsciously as well as consciously. Simply by exposing our minds to certain things, we train them to think in particular ways. Music in its nature is creative and inventive, it utilises known rules again and again in ever varying ways. So, anything that helps us be more musical is of course a great thing. These Google music tools are really fun, and helpful too.
AI Duet: We love to play with new things, and AI is one of those new things that needs to be understood better by all. The cat is out of the bag, so everyone who saw Terminator 2 and therefore assumes life will turn out just like the film can queue up for the live version of Idiocracy or actually discover what they're talking about. When we get wise to the way AI works, we can join the dots to a completely different and humanitarian future. If you're interested in AI, and feel like you want to know a bit more, this in your own time short course might be for you.
So AI Duet is a way to get to know Artificial Intelligence and the abilities it can offer. It's a really simple program, all we do is click on the on-screen keyboard or use the computer keyboard for which the A row is the white notes and the Q row is the black. The AI then plays along with you, creating a random yet perfectly musical composition to compliment your own. Clever stuff, when you appreciate how it does it. It's not just following a set of rules to the measure, it wrote its own rules based on thousands of individual compositions. It taught itself to play by ear, much like many of us!
Mixlab: If you love to be in complete control of your music, then Mixlab will be so satisfying you might just love it. It's a neat little app which can be accessed from the link or you can ask Google to “Let Me Talk To Mixlab”. Once you're in, then the fun begins. You get four tracks of music which will play simultaneously over one another. This is how musicians record songs. You call up various sounds by asking for them. You can ask for guitar or rock guitar, classical guitar, beautiful guitar, and the list goes on. It's not just guitars either, I just happen to like them. Just look at these beautiful guitars. All the major instruments are covered plus a load more. If you want to learn the techniques of mixing music in your own time then try this short course.
Groove Pizza: Here we get to design a sound pizza of three layers. It gives us the opportunity to mix beats and affect how they interact with each other. It's got lots of various rhythm styles and controls to give us power to change what it creates. The pizza shows us polygons which represent the sounds visually. By playing with their angles, we see how the other elements shift to compensate. By altering the tempo we can create massive dance-floor rhythms or slow and sensual beats. The swing option is also fun, by adjusting the timing of various sections, we can catch the off-beat or give a sense of lag which can make music sound incredibly interesting.
Inside Music: This is a digital representation of a real space with instruments placed within it. We see how their sounds interact with each other and how their positioning affects the ultimate whole sound. By using 3D graphics which produce a virtual reality stage, the different parts show up on the stage and we are somewhere in the middle. Using the 360 camera we can scan the whole area.
Semi-Conductor: Here's my favourite, now you can be the conductor of a virtual orchestra. The site reads your conducting and plays the piece in the style you express. It teaches us pretty quickly that there's more to waving a baton around than er..waving a baton around. To become part of the piece and flow as it should requires a complete body immersal in the composition.
Chrome Lab: Finally, for now, there is this. Chrome Lab offers users a range of thirteen experiments, each designed to help us understand the principles of music. The elements are Song Maker, Rhythm, Spectrogram, Chords, Sound Waves, Arpeggios, Kandinsky, Melody Maker, Voice Spinner, Harmonics, Piano Roll, Oscillators, and Strings. Each one is geared up to let you in on the world of music through various perspectives.
I offer thanks to Control Alt Achieve for reporting on these items.
Creative and practical, two key features in innovation. It takes a certain degree of loose thinking to be able to bend known rules into something of value. People generally stick to what they know, making use of something they've at least seen before. Innovation is about taking something already out there, changing it just enough, and making the object more valuable for doing so. This requires an ability to see the world in intelligent and methodical ways as well as having the ability to adjust the way we usually look at an object to make it fit for a new purpose.
When something is new, we generally have anxiety towards it. Stranger danger reaches deep into us, we can call it approach anxiety or fear of change however the basic fact is that people in general don't like something much unless they know it first. So being completely new is not the best way to innovate, unless it happens to do something absolutely wonderful that is. No, generally the best innovations draw on what we already have. Like the electric tin opener, for example. For a person who opens a lot of tins, it's a wonderful invention. It makes the job of opening tins easy. Think of chefs in catering facilities like hospitals and prisons, where the food is normally in tins and packets. When I worked in the kitchen of a football ground, there were a lot of tins to open. The big catering sized ones. Electric tools make light work of feeding the five thousand.
Yet, if an innovation is too much like its previous counterpart, then we don't see why we should change our behaviour. The best innovations do a new job entirely. Look at the laser, for another example. Lasers were originally used in science experiments, they allowed us to study light and to take measurements at incredibly small scales. However, light shows and DVD players were not far behind. Making use of the tool for another job entirely enabled a whole new family tree of technology from one small device. The laser, in all its applications, has changed the world. Only with the right innovation did this happen.
Once something has been shown to increase value to society as a whole, and it's doing something we already know about, we generally adapt pretty quickly. We adopt the new technology as if we've always had it, and in one sense for many things, we have. It's just the way it's being used that has changed. OK so the invention of electricity or the microchip pretty much did something new for us, but these were still based on previous technology. Magnets and transistors came first.
We like to teach people the facts, school work is usually laden with information about dates, concepts, and formulae. This is good information however the mind is much more creative than that. Innovative thinking requires creative thought. It's been shown in many studies that musical education actually helps our brains develop faster when we're children. So when we stop growing, our minds have been built on great foundations if we've had an education that involves creativity. When we have grown up our minds still develop, we still learn and our brain can change a lot over the years, however when it's growing that's when the most benefit can be found.
So it's worth remembering that when we educate children, if we want them to become really great adults, it's important to not forget about creativity. Learning about music and the arts helps people of all ages to think outside their boxes and change the way they look at the world around them. By teaching humanitarian subjects and the arts, we bring out even more of the good side of our nature. Of course, by reading Alternative Fruit, you're already onto a great start!
People are unique, we're all tuned in to a certain fraction of the world we live in. We're conscious of the things we know about and we spend the most time thinking in ways which we find the most rewarding. The problem is that in order to achieve big things, we need to apply various thinking techniques to our problems. Solving issues in business and in life often requires out of the box thinking, and for us to pay attention to processes and subjects we don't necessarily enjoy. Being conscious of everything in a situation is not an easy thing to do, actually understanding it all is even more difficult. Everyone is best at doing things a certain way and looking at life through a particular lens.
So what can we learn from the types of thinking people generally have? There appears to be three main categories of creative thinking that must be fulfilled in order to attain big targets. If we want to solve the problem, we have to look at it in these these ways. Some of us may be able to do an adequate job of all three, and others may find they excel in on or two of them but fall short in another. We're all blessed with varying amounts of ability in an almost infinite number of scopes. These three generalisations can help us define what we do best and know when it's time to ask for help.
Visionary thinking involves seeing big ideas, end results, and themes of method. Visionaries can have amazing insight and foresight, they can feel an appropriate direction before they know what it is. By seeing results in absolute clarity, visionary thinking helps to pin-point goals and obligations that we must reach for. Visionaries think ahead, they don't worry so much about the little nuts and bolts of a situation. In a way, a visionary is an optimist, assuming that all will be well. This is perhaps their biggest weakness. Contingency often falls short in a visionary idea, the innate confidence in the plan can be a downfall.
The next type of thinking that comes into play is the processing of creative thought. This requires a thinker to see the big picture envisioned yet understand that the linear process of it has yet to be designed. Creating a method that adheres to known and tested techniques but also delivers on the unique outcome desired is a jigsaw puzzle of inventiveness and engineering of thought. Taking known processes, making them work in unique ways, and finding a destination that fits the initial idea requires a lot of processing power, and it's only people with good processing imaginations who can truly achieve this.
The final stage, and unique creative avenue is the doing side of things. People that have the plan and they have the end goal who then go ahead and make it happen need creative thought. Finding the right person for the job, deciding how to maximize efficiency, discovering the carrot and the stick for each worker on board, and knowing when to use them, these leadership and management traits need creative imagination. Gelling a team together with a common goal and a holistic reliance on each other's integral function is a job for a great leader, yet without the initial idea and processing of it, they'd have nothing to lead towards.
Once we know where we stand on this turn-table, we know that when it swings around to us that we're best able to get the job done. We also can determine which spots remain empty in our projects, maybe we don't have a person who can fulfil a particular role in a way that works, perhaps we do our best but putting it simply, our best is not good enough. This is normal and people on the whole can't be the best at everything. Co-operation and rationing of responsibility becomes part of the process itself, if this is difficult to do, perhaps it's a leadership doer type that you need some help with.
Thanks for reading! How about a year of Haiku and Senryu? From the author of Alternative Fruit.
Alternative Fruit is well read enough to stand at least somewhere on this subject, although its author (myself) has perhaps some work to go with other beloved projects. Of course this blog/magazine would not be anywhere without the web-hits each week, for which I am extremely grateful. I do this for the love, and you're a big part of that. So thank you. With possible signs of definite cracking in the glass ceiling, it is possible to break through it. Granted, some people are born into it, with connections and family wisdom helping them on their way. The rest of us have to show our worth with something extra special. For years I've been trying to figure out what that is, perhaps it's like the mojo Austin Powers famously lost in his film. What I can shed light on is the process of creation that has been what I consider the fundamental reason behind the growth of this website. It is made up of this list:
First thing is to never give up. Adapt, change, evolve, listen to feedback, and keep going. But how do we do that?
Point two is to do this for the love, and consider any rewards as garnish. Your life purpose must be to do this, accept no other direction. This sounds difficult , how do I do this?
Anyone who makes it in the art world from scratch has done so because they simply cannot tolerate a regular job, they all have their reasons. They're desperate to be an honest working individual and they hunger for the respect society gives to earners but for whatever reason, they can't work a regular job. These people naturally gravitate towards the arts or self-employment in another field. That's the third point.
Fourth one is to stop trying to be the next mind-blowing sensation. We all have dreams of being the one who does the amazing thing and becomes a historical figure. We can maybe do that, but it's not how we make it in the arts. First we must get our foot in the door, so try to appeal to a crowd. Do something you like but that you know other people like too.
Five. Keep it real. You're not above anyone because you sell art, or make money from your talents. People may treat you like you are. Brush it off. That stuff stinks.
Sixth up is keep it realer, you're still a person and you need to clean your house, pay your bills, attend to family functions, and play a role. Being grounded in real life like this only serves to make your art more relevant, and it keeps you looking good, feeling good, and part of the loop. On the subject of reversal of roles,
Number seven is to think about what you're not doing. Often we try to do something for a reason, put that on its head and assess what you're leaving out and why. That can be extremely handy when finalising ideas. You'll likely have lots of ideas.
Eight is to work as hard as you can and always do your best job. No-one respects rubbish art made by someone who claims to be a professional. We expect a level of quality and you will bring the whole sector into disrepute by continually releasing rubbish at levels you don't deserve. You can do it.
You have to do it everyday, or at least every spare day. It's okay to have another job if you need one however make sure you routinely work towards your creative career. That sounds hard, but it's easier than you might think.
Ten. Thinking is work. Sit with yourself in your place. While you're doing menial jobs that don't require complex thought, you'll find yourself being bored, mentally restless, and that's when some of our best ideas happen. It's important to not think about having good ideas, but just let them naturally flow. Often once we entertain the good idea, a lot more will follow.
Eleven, remember that not all of your brilliant ideas are that brilliant. Often we do the best job we can and for some reason we don't yet understand, it doesn't do the job we need it to. That's okay, we have learned something. The more we analyse the piece, the more we can comprehend what has to change. Failure is feedback, and feedback is good.
Twelfth idea to keep in mind is to always be accurate, and always always tell the truth. If like me, you write about folklore and myths, or if you write about religious belief, be clear. No-one wants muddy water, if you're unsure about your ideas then let the dust settle and think about what you want to make, and how you want to portray your ideas. When it comes to fiction, the truth takes the guise of a character. They must still be true to life in the sense of how they are. If you want aliens, and unknown life, then define them and stick to it. True to themselves will suffice.
Thirteen, we must not forget about you. Be true to yourself too. Don't go down a road that you don't like. And if you get that darkly feeling when considering a subject, then you're not ready yet. Go somewhere else. Some things take a particular type of mindset to tackle well, and we only have a few of those to go around per person.
There you are, I hope that helps give you some kind of big picture about what it takes to get anywhere in the field of creativity. If you're following the rules properly, you'll not mind how far you get because, as it says, anything else is garnish. Have a good time!
P.s. What really separates the flock is education, so by reading this you're already on your way! Keep reading Alternative Fruit and you might want to check this out as well. Make the grade.
The relationship between well-being and creativity has been known for a long time. What has not been apparent though is how they work together as part of a biological and mental process. Do the endorphins we feel during happiness instigate a desire to create, or does creating release them? Perhaps they work in unison, each complimenting the other. This seems to be the case according to a recent study. New Zealand University of Otago researcher, Tamlin Connor, along with two American researchers conduced analysis on results taken from 450 adults. The subjects each completed an online diary for thirteen days while going through creative endeavours set by the scientists. The well-being and various factors associated with it were scored each day. It concluded that creativity helps to give life more meaning, and helps to establish a sense of social connection. These are really important things which provide psychological support to individuals who in turn affect the whole.
“Research often yields complex, murky, or weak findings,” she says. “But these patterns were strong and straightforward: Doing creative things today predicts improvements in well-being tomorrow. .” Tamlin Connor
It's been stated that creativity and well-being related research often produces complex and difficult to resolve results. Perhaps the nature of creative thinking people means that scientific precision is often lacking? We are more inclined to guess, I think! It's more fun. Fun didn't get a rocket to the moon, though. The good thing about this research project was that the results were clear and concise, giving thinking groups real data and tools for the problems they're aiming to solve. Well-being in society is of course a key factor in well-functioning society. Happy people are peaceful people, and that's what we all want.
Even when the tables turn and it's not appropriate to remain peaceful, creativity and art can be instrumental in the expression of right ideas to counter-act the wrong ones. We do have to judge which is which, do what you will but harm none is a good rule to follow. How about personality types? It turns out, during the course of the research that we are all capable of getting the benefits of creativity. It doesn't matter if you're left or right handed, a man or a woman, a mathematician or a holistic therapist, all brains work the same on this level.
Many of us have mental blocks to creativity that stop us from going ahead and doing something creative. It's quite common to believe that it's not worth trying. This is not true. According to Warren Berger, author of The Book of Beautiful Questions, there are five questions we often ask ourselves which actually stop creativity. His mission is of course to help it along, so it does make sense to identify the antithesis to his goal. This way we can be more focussed on how we project our ideas, and which ones to project. Writing in FastCoDesign, he states the five nasty questions. Learn them to avoid them.
Of course, the answers are yes, absolute originality is a myth, in between the times you have other things to do, no-one can truly predict a blockbuster from an idea, and anywhere you like.
That makes it easier to focus on the right sort of questions that keep us being creative. It's a good idea to visit creative communities and make time to indulge in some art. When we see creativity, it instantly feeds our ideas and desires to make and do certain things. It's a good thing when we see that an area has paid attention to its creative expression. They often make the news when they appear, or when the rest of the world slowly starts to notice that something good is taking place.
For example, Factory 798, a relic from industrial China when architecture was numbered according to function, is now an open community for the arts. The decrepit buildings have been made safe and converted to house all manner of creative exploits. It's now called the 798 arts district and contains ten years worth of artistic and creative growth. A gallery of fascinating photographs by Edward Caruso features in Design Boom. They're worth checking out. Along with the help of a Belgian philanthropist, and Chinese design firm Boston, the complex makes for an ideal and intriguing landscape for the arts.
Who do you know that loves whiskey? Show them this. From The Sunday Times.
Some of you may already know, before I became a full time blogger I wrote a few fiction titles. Because I didn't apply any marketing or after-thought to my products, and because my fan base was mostly imaginary at the time, of course they didn't make me wealthy. Since then, things have improved for me, as you know, with the digital media side of my writing. This doesn't mean that I have lost interest in writing fiction. Not at all, and when I find the time I intend to begin writing it again. As I hope any of you are doing as well, when we need to find our feet in a new world of work, we need to do training and education. For me, being thrown in at the deep-end, this meant taking courses while working. Long term readers of Alternative Fruit can probably remember the days before I had learned much about online media. Thankfully, these days, the blog is a great deal better.
I haven't only been looking into education for digital media. I've also been learning writing. Getting back to the basics and building up from solid foundations has been something I wanted to do. So maybe my spelling is passable and my grammar is adequate, however there is a lot more to writing than that. Some of you may know, the English language has various strains and styles, each one can be applied in various ways. Writing for blogs is not the same as writing for the boss, or for your MP. As well as doing the vital work on business and consumable digital content writing that had to be done, I've also been looking at how to write better stories. Rather than selling you the courses one by one, if you want to take one you will I am sure, I thought I'd give you a fairly wide reaching run-down of the key points that make a story worth reading.
Start With The Essentials
A skeleton story made up of key points is an excellent way of starting. We often have it in our minds somewhere as we write. Get it down and make it a go-to place for inspiration when we need it.
Why These People And Places?
You'll have some characters and a place where the story happens. Why have you chosen them? Remembering this helps to write believable and memorable situations. It's okay to be inventive and create oddballs, weirdos, and strange unreal worlds, but there has to be a reason for it. Make it work in the story, not just part of it.
Did something on TV frustrate you? Did a story in a film or maybe real life feel wrong and awkward? Those feelings are really useful in story telling. You know what you didn't like about your experience so use the idea to create something fictional that still makes use of those arousing sensations.
Be Careful With Magic
Readers can feel cheated when a character does something magical or extremely lucky in order to escape danger. Unforeseen circumstances work well in many situations, except the one that solves all the problems. This robs the reader of a valuable part of the story.
Don't Over Do It
You have to just accept what's done as done and get on with it. Re-arranging and adapting, fixing the not broken and playing with perfection doesn't get us anywhere. Try to accept that sometimes we are too harsh for our own good and just go for it. It'll be okay. If something really doesn't want to feel right, let go of it entirely and come back to it when you're inspired.
Why Should The Reader Care?
Give us a reason to give a damn about what happens next! No-one cares about boring people with boring lives, we read for excitement and entertainment. We want to bond with people who are out of the everyday, people who give us something to escape into. Let's have characters that we can attach to and enjoy spending time with, as well as people we can't abide of course. It's in the mix.
It's Not About You
Not many stories make the author a main character, we have to put ourselves in their shoes. Often we can use our personality in ways to design characters but they're always different people. That makes the dynamics of the story their most interesting. Having said this, the people have to be believable so when we write them, we do have to imagine how we would feel and react when given the situations ourselves. Then simply tweak it to accommodate for the character's own personality.
What's The Point?
You're not just writing this for fun, there's something underneath that makes you want to write. What is it? How does that benefit the reader? Don't put it down necessarily but keep it in mind while writing.
Diversify Your Beliefs
Different people think differently, so each character has to reflect this. Again, it's not about you but fictional people so give them opinions and ideas that make the story seem like it's set in a real society. It can be tricky to write confidently in something we don't personally believe in, however it gets easier.
Try Not To Be Too Obvious
Get over the first idea and move on to the next one. The first thing popping in your head is probably the same thing popping in the reader's head too. You're the author, show the reader why you get to write books by being more creative than they are. Do it every time, no excuses.
If in doubt, write. Once the text is there, it can be worked on and appraised. If you never put the idea down, you risk losing it forever.
Reflect On What Made You Like A Story
There is a reason why a given story resonated with you. It'll be because it feels like it identifies with a part of your life somehow. You can relate to it in a way that feels good. If you can make a note of the times when this happens, you'll be able to make use of that same feeling in your own work. This isn't copying, it's taking inspiration. Don't just copy stories to call your own. Also, try to mix your sources, a pinch of this and a dollop of that.
What Definitely Will Never Happen?
Be mindful of where you don't want to go, what you don't want to happen, and what you decide is not the issue of the story. When these things are down, finding their opposite and equal parts can be much easier.
How Does It All End?
You need to think about the end scene and have it operational before you finish the story. This way you can feed into the final chapters at intervals through-out the book and help the reader to piece together the parts as they go. It also helps when including things like irony and metaphor.
Less Filling, More Cake
Getting to know the characters is important but we can do that while they go on their adventures. We don't need to see them drinking a cup of tea with their mum for half an hour to get to know the lead. Have them doing what they're meant to be doing.
Make It Hard For The Character
What are their skills and attributes? What are they comfortable with? Readers want to see people having a hard time so through in some curve-balls and see how they react. Try to break the flow of your character and get them to respond.
It sounds counter-intuitive however all stories have a certain way of flowing that people expect. They begin with an everyday situation, and we meet the characters. Then something out of the ordinary happens. This causes the situation to change. Something happens again to bring in the rest of the story. A next change happens when we are well into the story, and finally and ending brings it all together.
Don't Hang Up On Key Points
Tell the story and bear the points in mind, don't force everything to make sense according to predetermined factors. Things will work out and factors will make themselves apparent as you go. Something will feel wrong if it doesn't fit your ideals, have faith and just write.
Remember It's Entertainment
People read for pleasure, they want to laugh, cry, and smile. You're giving them the experiences for that to happen. We have to want success for the character, we have to want to pick up the book and read the next bit. Trying to satisfy an inner need to be heard is not the same as pleasing readers. Remember it's not about you.
There you have it, a run down of extremely useful writing tips for creative writers everywhere. Why not bookmark this handy link for Free ISBN and Self Publishing.
Thanks for reading Alternative Fruit!
Since writing about how seeing art can help people with mental health problems last week, it's perhaps time to look at the path of healing through art in a more general scope. Before scientific explanations, holistic healing was said to appeal to the psyche, the soma, and the spirit. This triple headed approach to health enabled people to work through their illnesses on multiple levels. Of course, in modern medicine, a lot more care is taken to understand the dynamics of healing however the evidence for the effectiveness of holistic therapies is continual. The body does indeed carry the feelings, thoughts, and emotions as chemical signals. Sub-conscious feelings and thoughts are there too. Connecting to the sub-conscious allows us to express what is previously unknown to us about ourselves.
Art as a therapy does this job extremely well. By expressing ourselves in a creative way, we open up a channel to our subconscious to guide us in our actions. By then observing our actions, we can determine what the sub-conscious is presenting. Dance and Movement Psychotherapy for example is a specific type of therapy that uses our gestures and movements to express our inner and hidden thoughts. By loosening up and letting go, letting the body do the work and releasing the grip of conscious control, the body will begin to function as a tool of the sub-conscious.
The body is a store-room of feelings that we can keep inside. The more unprocessed and unexpressed feelings and thoughts we have, the more ill we potentially can get. By using expressive therapies we can actually help to clear out the backlog that perhaps is building up through life. Especially in a busy lifestyle, finding time to process everything might not be easy. Doing things like specific therapies designed for sub-conscious expression can help us significantly. The mental health benefits of exercise are also well documented, from a merely physical point of view.
How do we switch off the conscious mind when creating? Whether it's writing or dancing or something in between, we have to stop listening to the inner voices and thoughts which continually judge our potential actions. We have to learn to have faith in our natural ability to act without thinking, and if it's within a safe environment then there's nothing to stop us. The more we think and analyse, the less free our expression becomes. It might be that what first comes into our mind is not pleasant and perhaps we feel that we dare not express such things, but in a safe creative environment we can express anything we like and we ought to.
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