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Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary

Famous Writers on the Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary
by Maria Popova Reflections on the value of recording our inner lives from Woolf, Thoreau, Sontag, Emerson, Nin, Plath, and more. “You want to write, you need to keep an honest, unpublishable journal that nobody reads, nobody but you,” Madeleine L’Engle counseled in her advice to aspiring writers. W.H. Auden once described his journal as “a discipline for [his] laziness and lack of observation.” Journaling, I believe, is a practice that teaches us better than any other the elusive art of solitude — how to be present with our own selves, bear witness to our experience, and fully inhabit our inner lives. It was also her way of learning to translate the inner into the outer, the subjective into the universal: This personal relationship to all things, which is condemned as subjective, limiting, I found to be the core of individuality, personality, and originality. The habit of writing thus for my own eye only is good practice. Is not the poet bound to write his own biography? Donating = Loving Related:  PlumestorytellingLeisure interests

Famous Advice on Writing: The Collected Wisdom of Great Writers By Maria Popova By popular demand, I’ve put together a periodically updated reading list of all the famous advice on writing presented here over the years, featuring words of wisdom from such masters of the craft as Kurt Vonnegut, Susan Sontag, Henry Miller, Stephen King, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Susan Orlean, Ernest Hemingway, Zadie Smith, and more. Please enjoy. Jennifer Egan on Writing, the Trap of Approval, and the Most Important Discipline for Aspiring Writers “You can only write regularly if you’re willing to write badly… Accept bad writing as a way of priming the pump, a warm-up exercise that allows you to write well.”

Tell Your Story & Win … | Fed Story For your chance to win over $800 worth of prizes, submit your story to the digital time capsule of Australian history, Federation Story. Competition is open 1 – 30 April thanks to Federation Square and Melbourne Writers Festival. Federation Story is a collection of personal stories tracing the events, people and ideas that have shaped Australia. From tales of immigration and long-lost love to feats of courage and human survival, read the stories that make Australia what it is today and submit your own. Browse or see the multimedia exhibition in The Atrium at Federation Square, Melbourne. The prize includes: - Tickets to the value of $400 to MWF 2014 Profession Development Sessions - A package of new release books - $300 Fed Square dining voucher - Plus ‘money can’t buy’ features on Fed Square’s Facebook, Twitter & Fed Mail Terms + conditions apply Terms & Conditions: - Instructions on how to enter this competition form part of the conditions of entry. - Fed Square Pty.

WRITING BOOTCAMP - The Cliteratti Club Pushing through. Every day I meet someone who wants to write but can’t get around to it, wants to write but doesn’t know where to start, wants to write but can’t believe they have what it takes. When I stop looking in the mirror and venture outside, I often meet more of them. There’s no point going into the ins and outs of why we dither around – that’s just another way of stalling. We all understand procrastination and the wonder of a fully indexed CD collection. Shanti Gowans, a beautiful and brilliant meditation teacher once turned everything around for me by saying ‘stop thinking of it as meditation, just think of it as sitting’. Now I want to apply that philosophy to writing. We’ve entered Writing Bootcamp. Like any athlete honing their talent and ability to perfection, we are training for the big one. The great American dancer and choreographer Twyla Tharp rises every morning at 5.30am and catches a taxi to her gym in downtown New York where she works out for two hours.

The Daily Routines of Famous Writers By Maria Popova UPDATE: These daily routines have now been adapted into a labor-of-love visualization of writers’ sleep habits vs. literary productivity. 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 interviews — many from the fantastic Paris Review archives — and culled a handful of writing routines from some of my favorite authors. Enjoy. Ray Bradbury, a lifelong proponent of working with joy and an avid champion of public libraries, playfully defies the question of routines in this 2010 interview: My passions drive me to the typewriter every day of my life, and they have driven me there since I was twelve. Joan Didion creates for herself a kind of incubation period for ideas, articulated in this 1968 interview: I need an hour alone before dinner, with a drink, to go over what I’ve done that day. E. I never listen to music when I’m working. Photograph by Tom Palumbo, 1956

In praise of Éilís Ní Dhuibhne, by Martina Evans It was when I read Anne Enright’s Granta Book of Irish Stories (my primer for teaching) that I discovered Éilís Ní Dhuibhne and she knocked Elizabeth Bowen off my number one spot. I read Midwife to the Fairies to my Londoners in a Covent Garden classroom. They knew nothing about Irish fairies but they were gripped. The force of the story struck me anew when I read it aloud because every word hovered in the air, pitch-perfect. Other favourites: Elizabeth Bowen, Edna O’Brien, Mary Lavin and Eibhlín Dubh Ní Chonaill Martina Evans is a novelist and poet, currently shortlisted for the Irish Times Poetry Now award. 31 Quotes That Will Give You Chills I think quotes have a powerful way of conveying an attitude to you which sometimes resonates so much that you feel ‘chills’ inside. Here’s a list of the quotes which have given me the most of these “chills”. Enjoy! Some people die at 25 and aren’t buried until 75.

Getting creative: Vision boards, God boxes, and crafty things | Seven intentions You are what your deepest desire is. As your desire is, so is your intention. As your intention is, so is your will. As your will is, so is your deed. As I got myself deeper into contemplation about the science of intention in my last post, almost convincing myself to become a physicist – just to prove my own theories – the thought occurred to me that, perhaps, I had got a little off track. Maybe, I thought to myself, it’s time to revisit my intentions for this blog. You see, I had these seven intentions for these things I desired in my life, and I wondered what would happen if I tested out various ways of manifesting intentions. This post is all about making stuff: vision boards, God boxes, and the idea of creating visual representations of my intentions – which seems to be a popular practice in manifesting intentions. So arts’n’crafty stuff, that should be easy, right? Surprisingly, no. I’m afraid I haven’t improved much with the eye-rolling. Here’s my guilty secret. Bless! Like this:

David Whyte on How to Break the Tyranny of Work/Life Balance by Maria Popova “We are each a river with a particular abiding character, but we show radically different aspects of our self according to the territory through which we travel.” The equilibrium between productivity and presence is one of the hardest things to master in life, and one of the most important. In The Three Marriages: Reimagining Work, Self and Relationship (public library) — a book reminiscent of Parker Palmer’s beautiful Thoreau-esque writings on the art of inner wholeness yet wholly revelatory in its own right — English poet and philosopher David Whyte aptly calls “work/life balance” a “phrase that often becomes a lash with which we punish ourselves” and offers an emboldening way out of this cultural trap. One of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry's original watercolors for 'The Little Prince.' Poets have never used the word balance, for good reason. In a passage that calls to mind Wendell Berry’s glorious meditation on solitude, Whyte details the trifecta of his inquiry:

Famous Writers’ Sleep Habits vs. Literary Productivity, Visualized by Maria Popova The early bird gets the Pulitzer … sort of. “In both writing and sleeping,” Stephen King observed in his excellent meditation on the art of “creative sleep” and wakeful dreaming, “we learn to be physically still at the same time we are encouraging our minds to unlock from the humdrum rational thinking of our daytime lives.” Over the years, in my endless fascination with daily routines, I found myself especially intrigued by successful writers’ sleep habits — after all, it’s been argued that “sleep is the best (and easiest) creative aphrodisiac” and science tells us that it impacts everything from our moods to our brain development to our every waking moment. I found myself wondering whether there might be a correlation between sleep habits and literary productivity. The challenge, of course, is that data on each of these variables is hard to find, hard to quantify, or both. Donating = Loving Bringing you (ad-free) Brain Pickings takes hundreds of hours each month.

Outta Place | Kevin Allison Presents: RISK! Live Show & Podcast! A Maximum Fun Podcast Download The Podcast! Episode:#316Date:February 08, 2012Run Time:1:00:16Download: MP3 | iTunes Outta Place R. SONG: RISK! SONG: Requiem for a Fish by The Freak Fandango Orchestra LIVE STORY: Surprise Inside by Nikki Glaser SONG: Raindrops by Ford & Angel LIVE STORY: What Stays in Casper by R. SONG: The Brits Are Playing at my House by FAROFF LIVE STORY: Let It Burn by Kerri Kenney SONG: The Boat Song by Set Sail SONG: One of These Cocksuckers by Jeff Barr LIVE STORY: Voltron Lives by Sheng Wang SONG: Goldstar by Cashier No. 9 Leave a Reply Your email address will not be published. Your Comment... Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email. Buy Tickets Gain confidence speaking in public. Learn Storytelling Subscribe in iTunes! A Maximum Fun Podcast Download The Podcast! Episode:#316Date:February 08, 2012Run Time:1:00:16Download: MP3 | iTunes Outta Place R. SONG: RISK! SONG: Requiem for a Fish by The Freak Fandango Orchestra SONG: Raindrops by Ford & Angel

40 Belief-Shaking Remarks From a Ruthless Nonconformist If there’s one thing Friedrich Nietzsche did well, it’s obliterate feel-good beliefs people have about themselves. He has been criticized for being a misanthrope, a subvert, a cynic and a pessimist, but I think these assessments are off the mark. I believe he only wanted human beings to be more honest with themselves. He did have a remarkable gift for aphorism — he once declared, “It is my ambition to say in ten sentences what others say in a whole book.” A hundred years after his death, Nietzsche retains his disturbing talent for turning a person’s worldview upside-down with one jarring remark. Even today his words remain controversial. Here are 40 unsympathetic statements from the man himself. 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23. 24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. More of Nietzsche’s genius here. Have a lot on your mind? Everyday mindfulness has transformed my life, and the lives of many others.

Art and Creativity - Discovering the Artist Within - Soulful Features - Soulful Living Soulful Features August 2000 Click here to see the current month's features Art & Creativity. I cannot do without something which is greater than I, which is my life--the power to create. ~Vincent Van Gogh This month, we are exploring "Art & Creativity," discovering the artist within. Our Feature Articles present the thoughts and ideas of experts in the fields of art and creativity, including sacred artists and art therapists, who offer us practical advice and techniques for connecting with our creative souls. Click Here to See Our Selection of Book Titles on Creativity and Spirituality May peace and joy be yours as you express your soul through art! "Visual Prayers" by Dana Reynolds, author of Be An Angel (Simon & Schuster). "Accessing Inner Wisdom Through Creative Expression" by Aviva Gold, M.F.A., C.S.W., A.T.R. "Connecting with Your Creative Soul" by Ami McKay, a contemporary bard who loves writing, singing and harp playing. Midlife Wisdom Serenity The Best of Soulful Living Stress Relief

The Sense of Style: Psycholinguist Steven Pinker on the Art and Science of Beautiful Writing by Maria Popova “Every generation believes that the kids today are degrading the language and taking civilization down with it.” “Man has an instinctive tendency to speak, as we see in the babble of our young children,” Charles Darwin wrote in The Descent of Man, “whereas no child has an instinctive tendency to bake, brew, or write.” While baking and brewing undoubtedly have their place in culture, it is writing that has emerged as the defining record of our civilization — our most enduring and expansive catalog of thought, of discourse, of human imagination. And yet our insatiable hunger for advice on writing suggests that it remains an unnatural act — even legendary Mad Man David Ogilvy knew this when he penned his ten commandments of writing a century after Darwin, prefacing them with this simple statement: “Good writing is not a natural gift. Pinker writes in the prologue: We now know that telling writers to avoid the passive is bad advice. Good writers are avid readers.