Friday, June 1, 2012

The Secret Formula

Whether it’s a way to make killer grout cleaner or homegrown Coca-Cola, folks are always looking for secret formulas.
The book business is no exception. Many eager writers spend a lot of time searching for a magic method that will make editors and agents swoon.
As in…
WIZARDS! You’ve got to have WIZARDS in your book!
Man, I would give my left arm for a great ZOMBIE plot!
Well, you’ve got the “arm” part right – ARM the TEENS with WEAPONRY!

Meanwhile, the editors and agents I’ve heard always say something completely different.
They say –
Create with your heart.
That is where you will find YOUR voice.
That is where you will find YOUR story.
DO NOT chase after the trends.

Yeah, they say smart stuff like that.
And when they do, I think they’re actually telling us a big part of that super top-secret formula.
Because when you dig deep and create with your heart, you are sure to create something that can come from only you…
something wonderfully new.
Would you like to see an example?
It’s something that has made me smile all week. And, well, it’s so viral that you may have already been infected, but watch it again anyway.
It's called "Isaac's Live Lip-Dub Proposal" and you can view it here.
Go ahead. I promise that it will be worth your time.
And I'll wait until you get back.

Awesome, huh? Ordinary people. Doing something extraordinary.
I love it Every. Single. Time.
Did you notice Amy’s response as it all unfolds?
That’s the best part.
She’s demonstrating something amazing, you know –
the other half of that secret formula.

The only formula you will ever need…
Creativity + = JOY

PROMPT:  I KNOW you’ve got creativity. Now add lots of heart. Mix well with a Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah! And guess what? A whole heap of JOY shows up.
Trust me, it cannot resist.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Rejection Revisited

Yes, we’ve talked about rejection a couple of times before. Once, it had something to do with bees, and the other time it was much ado about oysters.
But you know, if you’re a writer or artist, rejection is something that comes creepin’ ‘round your door pretty often. Or it should.
Rejection is one of the necessary steps on the path to success.
So anyway, I was doing a little “rejection” cyber searching and stumbled upon a game called “Rejection Therapy”. It was started by Jason Comely in 2009.
Apparently the Rejection Therapy Game has only one rule. And the rule is that you must get rejected by another person at least once a day. Note: not TRY to get rejected, but actually get rejected. And that’s rejected spelled with a NO – not a maybe, perhaps, or some other time.
I don’t know whether this game was created to help people make dates, get jobs, or proselytize, but Writers and Artists, we are totally going to pinch this concept!
I’m thinking that a great goal would be to have one of those success-making rejections coming in once a week.
The once-a-week rejection would be so good on so many levels –
·         First off, you’d have to be doing a lot of writing and art to have enough submission material.
·         Second, all that word and art making would improve your craft.
·         Third, you’d be getting it OUT THERE! Your work wouldn't be hugging the inside of a drawer. Because, face it folks, your manuscripts and portfolios should be hugging an agent or editor instead.
Are you game?
If so…
Welcome to Rejection World!
A groovy place where NO means, “YES! I so ROCKED that rejection!” (commence happy dance)
Because in Rejection World
Can I write/illustrate for your magazine? NO
Will you be my agent? NO
Will you publish my book? NO
Means HOME RUN!!!
WaHOOOOooooooo! That’s three weeks of celebration right there!

PROMPT: Start your rejection collection. And don’t forget the happy dance part – six-pack abs, here we come! Can you say Bonus Feature?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Livin’ Large with Medium

Artists – 
Have your watercolors become wearisome?
Your crayons commonplace?
Your pastels platitudinous? (Yeah, I looked that one up)
If your medium has become monotonous, simply take off to the Great White North and go Canadian!
That’s where you’ll find the latest art sensation – a portrait of Calgary’s mayor, Naheed Nenshi, done in… wait for it… wait for it…
This masterpiece is about 2 meters square and was created with 12,000 of those bright and bubbly balls. Artist Franz Spohn designed it, and volunteers followed his direction by carefully placing the gumballs into tubes. These were then fastened side by side and the effect was, like, totally tubular, eh?
You can check out the results here.
The mayor himself made a surprise visit as the final gumballs were being placed. He stated that, well, it was weird, but then added, “… it is very neat to see all these people of every age come together and make this art together.”
Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about!

Just another super happy example of art making the world a better place.

And you’ve got to love those Canadians, eh? They are such kind-hearted people.
I mean, they actually created a bubble gum portrait of a politician…
without chewing it first.

PROMPT: Go media wild today! I don’t care what you use – credit cards, glassy shards, rocks and blocks, or leotards. Heck, if a Michigan teen can make her prom dress out of 18,000 Starburst wrappers, then even Twizzler Trousers could be part of your future.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Got Compost?

It is May 29th!
And you know what that means…
It’s National Learn About Composting Day!
Go ahead, Doubters – look it up.
I’ll wait.
Well, dang it, then – let’s learn about composting!
When gardeners compost, they take a bunch of useless leftovers, throw them into a pile, turn them over and over a bunch of times, and voilĂ !  They create fantabulous fertilizer for rockin’ their leafy-lovin’ world.
You may be wondering what exactly qualifies as a compostable useless leftover.
Well, wonder no more – I found a website listing 163 things you can compost. The page was cleverly titled “163 Things You Can Compost” and if you’re interested, you can find it here.
As you can imagine, I was incredibly inspired by this list. So much so in fact, that I decided to take a few of the items and translate them into writer-speak, just for you.
Because here’s a little secret that you ought to know –
writers out-compost gardeners every single day of the week.

Gardeners (Writers)
Wood ashes (rotten childhood)
Chicken manure (schoolyard bullies)
Bee droppings (the ones who dumped you)
Sunday Comics (the ones you dumped)
Crab shells (lousy bosses)
Moldy cheese (lousy jobs)
Freezer-burned fish (picked last for the softball team…again)
Hoof and horn meal (but first to be seated in the spelling bee)
Dried jellyfish (laid off, downsized, terminated, frustrated)
Dead flies (wardrobe malfunctions)
Dust bunnies (worst haircut ever – she wouldn’t even let you pay)

Yes, Writers, you’ve got this composting competition in the bag.

PROMPT: Take a bunch of useless leftovers, throw them into a pile, turn them over and over a bunch of times in your mind, and voilĂ !  Create fantabulous fertilizer for rockin’ your keyboard-clackin’ world.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day

Each year this final Monday of May is set aside in memory of those who have lost their lives while serving in the Armed Forces.
And that, my friends, is far more important than anything I have to say here.
So instead of writing today, I’m going to take a little time to reflect. Then I’m going to offer up a whole lot of loving thanks. After all, so many have made my freedom to create a life of my own choosing possible.
And isn’t that what this blog is really about?

And while I’m at it, here’s something else I want to create –
I want to create a world in which there are no new names added to the Memorial Day roll call.

PROMPT: Who’s with me?