Kelli Slavin

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John Cleese on the Five Factors to Make Your Life More Creative

Much has been said about how creativity works, its secrets, its origins, and what we can do to optimize ourselves for it. In this excerpt from his fantastic 1991 lecture, <b>John Cleese</b> (b. October 27, 1939) offers a recipe for creativity, delivered with his signature blend of cultural insight and …

The Science of Procrastination and How to Manage It, Animated

From AsapSCIENCE — who have previously brought us the scientific cure for hangovers, the neurobiology of orgasms, and how music enchants the brain — comes this illustrated explication of the science of procrastination and how to manage it, a fine addition to these five perspectives on …

E-book publishing: why book categories are important

Forgive me—this is going to be a bit of an academic post.<p>But first, the good news: last night, <i>four</i> INK e-book publications made the UK Amazon top 100 …

Herman Melville on Writing and His Daily Routine

After my recent exploration of how the sleep habits of famous authors affected their creative output, I found myself revisiting a decade’s worth of notes and marginalia on the daily routines and odd customs of literary greats, and inevitably remembered some I had missed in the visualization …

Is Your Book Good Enough for Publication? A Cold-Blooded Assessment

Lisa Cron here! Today’s post is by Jennie Nash, my friend, colleague at the UCLA Extension Writers’ Program, and the book coach who helped shepherd</i> …

John Green’s Superb Advice to Aspiring Writers and Creators in the Digital Age

Advice to aspiring authors from successful ones seems to be a special meta-genre of literature, with notable contributions from Ernest Hemingway, H.P. Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, and a running list of literary greats. But some of the best and timeliest advice ever given comes from prolific author <b>John</b> …

Anne Lamott on Writing and Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity

Anne Lamott’s <b>Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life</b> (<i>public library</i>) is among my ten favorite books on writing — a treasure trove of insight both practical and profound, timelessly revisitable and yielding deeper resonance each time. Lamott adds to the collected wisdom of great writers …

The 10 Stages of the Creative Process

The question of what creativity is and how it works will perhaps remain humanity’s most unanswerable — but that hasn’t stopped us from trying. On the heels of Neil Gaiman’s recent reflection on the subject comes one from filmmaker Tiffany Shlain, founder of the Webby Awards and daughter of the …

a haven for readers to geek out about books; and a platform to kickstart your writing goals.

Chuck surprised us all with a new batch of essays for 2014 & 2015! There is no exact timeline on how these will roll out, so just keep an eye on the …

Creative Writing

How I Write: Doug Dorst

The writer talks about working with filmmaker J.J. Abrams on their beautifully illustrated and executed meta-novel S.<p><b>Where did you grow up</b>?<p>Chappaqua, …

Advice from Artists on How to Overcome Creative Block, Handle Criticism, and Nurture Your Sense of Self-Worth

<i>“Inspiration is for amateurs — the rest of us just show up and get to work,”</i> Chuck Close scoffed. <i>“A self-respecting artist must not fold his hands on the pretext that he is not in the mood,”</i> Tchaikovsky admonished. <i>“Show up, show up, show up, and after a while the muse shows up, too,”</i> Isabel Allende …

The Six Motives of Creativity: Mary Gaitskill on Why Writers Write

Why do writers — great writers — write? <b>George Orwell</b> attributed it to four universal motives. <b>Joan Didion</b> saw it as access to her own mind. For <b>David Foster Wallace</b>, it was about fun. <b>Michael Lewis</b> ascribes it to the necessary self-delusions of creativity. <b>Joy Williams</b> found in it a gateway from the …

Rewriting – A Checklist For Authors

Are you about to rewrite your book? Here are 30 questions to ask when you’re rewriting your novel.<p>You may enjoy these useful posts:<p>An Editing …

Creativity, the Gift of Failure, and the Crucial Difference Between Success and Mastery

<i>“You gotta be willing to fail… if you’re afraid of failing, you won’t get very far,”</i> Steve Jobs cautioned. <i>“There is no such thing as failure — failure is just life trying to move us in another direction,”</i> Oprah counseled new Harvard graduates. In his wonderfully heartening letter of fatherly …

The one really scary thing every writer should learn to do

Public speaking. There, I’ve said it.<p>Now come on out from that stack of books you’ve just taken cover behind (yes, I can recognise you hiding there, …

10 Apps to Help You Stay Focused on Your Writing

Photo by Daniel Y. Go / via Flickr<p>Today’s guest post is by Frances Caballo (@caballofrances), a social media strategist and manager for writers, and …

The Writing Tools of 20 Famous Authors

It’s no secret that writers can be quite particular about their writing tools. Some might call it an obsession or fetish, but the pens, pencils, …

Why Emotional Excess is Essential to Writing and Creativity

The third volume of Anaïs Nin’s diaries has been on heavy rotation in recent weeks, yielding Nin’s thoughtful and timeless meditations on life, mass movements, Paris vs. New York, what makes a great city, and the joy of handicraft.<p>The subsequent installment, <b>The Diary of Anais Nin, Vol. 4: 1944-1947</b> …

How to Organize Writing Ideas

My shelves<p>A fellow writer asked me Tuesday morning how I organize story ideas. As writers, we love to talk about anything related to process, so for …

How I Write: Meg Wolitzer

The author of the acclaimed novel The Interestings, now out in paperback, talks about Scrabble, Edith Wharton, and writing without a desk.<p><b>Where did</b> …

The Importance of Community For Authors

I have a theory about creating a successful career as a novelist: <b>we need a community for authors; we succeed because of our community</b>.<p>Community is a …

Historical Fiction: A Conversation Between Bruce Holsinger and Nancy Bilyeau

Novelists Bruce Holsinger and Nancy Bilyeau discuss the joys and pitfalls of scrupulously researching the past and then turning it into fiction.<p>Who …

How to Edit Your Own Book: Tips from Authors on the Revision Process

The most helpful bit of editing advice I ever got was from poet Michele Glazer. She said, “<b>revision IS writing.</b>”<p>In other words, there’s no difference …

Lists of the Best Sentences — Opening, Closing, and Otherwise — in English-Language Novels

I go to encounter for the millionth time the reality of experience and to forge in the smithy of my soul the uncreated conscience of my race.<p>— James …

The Daily Routines of Great Writers

<i>UPDATE: These daily routines have now been adapted into a labor-of-love visualization of writers’ sleep habits vs. literary productivity.</i><p>Kurt Vonnegut’s recently published daily routine made we wonder how other beloved writers organized their days. So I pored through various old diaries and …

Screenwriting Tips: How to Approach Genre as You Begin Your Script

A screenplay is a puzzle made up of pieces you cut yourself that you fit together to form a picture you make up as you go. And if a screenplay is a …

11 Surprising Words You're Probably Mispronouncing

Take a look at these 11 examples. We bolded the emphasized syllable and included links for audio (click the word to listen).<p>While some words have multiple acceptable pronunciations, the audio links include the standard pronunciation.<p>The true pronunciations might surprise you.<p>(noun): a person in …

What Watching Disney (and Pixar) Taught Me About Storytelling

<b>It’s all in the timing</b><p>Sometimes you’ve got it all. Awesome characters, a cool plot, a great setting and the perfect amount of description, but it …