Creativity Tweets of the Week – 3/23/12

If it’s Friday, it’s time for my latest collection of links on creativity and writing I tweeted this week. There’s a lot to be said for reliability. Tourists will be coming here to D.C. through April 27th to take in our beautiful cherry trees in the 100th anniversary of the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, but with this early spring, the trees are almost done blooming. I would suggest those tourists instead visit Traverse City, Michigan, and take in tiara-wearing beauty queens competing in a cherry-pit spitting contest.


  • How Creativity Works,” Maria Popova, Brain Pickings: In my last post, I highlighted how Jonah Lehrer in his new book Imagine: How Creativity Works discussed the notion of needing to stop focusing in order to have a creative insight. Maria highlights another point of the book, that creativity is the cobbling together of what already exists into new forms.
  • This cherry blossom tree was in the back yard of my previous house in northern Virginia. I learned the hard way that cherry blossom petals do not want to remove themselves from a wooden deck once drenched in rain.

    Jonah Lehrer on How Creativity Works: 5 Insights from Julia Child, Dylan & Picasso,” Michelle Aldredge, Gwarlingo: Another takeaway of the Lehrer book? “Art isn’t all fun and games.” Work never is.

  • Planner or Pantster?” Thomas Drinkard, Creative Flux: I once launched a mini-rant against the notion that creatives work either from outlines or the seat of their pants. That said, I would have to say I’m a planner, not a pantster. I’ve never much cared for pants.
  • Ten Questions to Ask When Planning a Book,” Cheryl Reif, Cheryl Reif Writes: Wouldn’t you know it, Cheryl tells us up front her post works for “planners” and “pants-ters.”
  • 12 Most Excusable Reasons Why I Don’t Want to Write Today,” Susan Silver, 12 Most: Susan had me with this opening line: “Writing is a craft and some days I just don’t want to work at it.” Yup.
  • Trust Your Instincts,” Anna Elliott, Writer Unboxed: While praising the many resources out there to help people write, Anna admits that when writing, “I very rarely use it in any conscious way.” Well said.
  • A Storytelling Lesson from South Park,” Rob Biesenbach, Act Like You Mean Business: Does your story follow an “and then” pattern? Boring…
  • What Can the X-Files Teach You About Writing?” John Magnet Bell, Start Your Novel: I can tell you what the show taught me about how to produce a suspenseful TV show on a small budget: Always have your lead characters exploring the dark with only flashlights, even if there’s a light switch nearby.

If you know of any other festivals involving beauty queens and spitting contests, let me know. I still haven’t selected where I’ll be headed for summer vacation.

9 thoughts on “Creativity Tweets of the Week – 3/23/12

  1. calliefeyen

    Awwww, Traverse City. I spent many o’ college summer nights there. Not as a beauty contestant, mind you. Fun place, but if you were to plan a summer vacay, I’d suggest Leland or somewhere a bit more up North. Lots of tourists in Traverse City. Saugatauk is lovely but that is closer to Chicago (which may be a better reason to check it out).

    By the way – I made three pitches this week and got the go ahead (with payment!!!!!!) on all of them!!!!

    And thanks for following me on Twitter. 🙂


    1. Thanks for the travel tips, Callie. Had you ever heard of this Traverse City cherry festival? It sounds like the perfect combination of campiness and cool.

      Kudos, kudos, kudos on the pitches!


  2. Thanks for including me, Patrick. I’m flattered that you put me in such great company. Brainpickings is a favorite haunt of mine. (Or should I say lurking spot?)

    I’m almost finishing Jonah Lehrer’s “How We Decide” and it made me want to read his other books. It’s an excellent read which certainly broadened my intellectual horizons.

    Susan Silver’s post resonated with me. “I’m not getting paid” is a really, really convincing argument that we replay over and over in our heads. “I’m not getting paid” may be the most powerful demotivator I know. Until you internalize that you’re not writing for money but for the love of it, the absence of payment will always sway you in the wrong direction.

    Anna Elliott’s piece also struck a chord. It’s important for a writer to read books on craft, but not as important as practicing until you incorporate the advice you find therein — to a point where you no longer need to think about it.
    I call that mastery, and any writer can become a master. Note that being a master is not the same as being a genius. I am perhaps a romantic in the literary sense and still believe that genii are born, not made; but mastery is within reach. All it takes is 3 P’s: practice, patience, perseverance.

    You’re quite right about the X-Files. I don’t think there was a single episode without flashlights.


    1. I love your “what you can learn” series, they’re always both entertaining and informative. I read that Chris Carter had to film the series in dark light like that because Fox (the network, not Mulder!) had him on too tight of a budget to have decent special effects. I would find myself screaming sometimes, though, “For Pete’s sake, turn on the lights!”


  3. Pingback: Patrick Ross’ Creativity Tweets of the Week – 3/23/12 | Creative Flux

  4. Hi Patrick,

    I’m new to your blog – I found it on LinkedIn, but you sound an interesting sort of guy and I’m also writing my second travel memoir – my first was published last year, so I look forward to following your blog :).


    1. Congrats on the publication of your memoir! Where could I learn more about it? (The link on your sign-in name appears to be to a site not yet developed.)

      I’m glad you found your way here, and look forward to having you back!


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