Tuesday, July 11, 2017

On Resting

I'm noticing a pattern, and I wonder if this is something you've experienced, too:

You have one week where you are completely gung-ho about a project. You're writing (or painting, or creating) and new ideas seem to fall into your lap. You're sending out short stories and poems. Crafting new ones. Working on outlines. Drafting. Brainstorming new ideas and this lasts for days and days . . . until it stops.

And everything just pauses.

You feel like you should write (or paint, or create) but you can't. So you binge watch the Twilight movies, instead, and remember how horribly wonderful they are. . . .

Well apparently this is normal: sprint a mile, walk a mile, sprint, walk.

We need these resting periods, and should embrace them--that is, not beat ourselves up over not being "productive" because it's likely in a few days we'll hit another stride.

All that to say: It was nice reuniting with those sparkly vampires last week. ;)

Be Brilliant!


Thursday, July 6, 2017

How to Deal with Criticism

I can't take credit for these ideas--they come from Julia Cameron, who is an inspiration, by the way--but here's a nine-step process for anyone who is frequently (or who as ever been) on the receiving end of harsh words directed toward something they created.

(I'm looking at you writers, poets, painters, potters, crafters, inventors, and other Makers of Things.)

How to Deal with Criticism  

1. Go ahead and receive the criticism. Study it. Feel it. It's like diving into the deep end of the pool: immerse yourself all at once.

2. Write down everything about the criticism that bothers you (and maybe eek out a response to why).

3. Write down everything that seems useful about the criticism (and perhaps how it will help you in this and on future projects).

4. Love yourself. Go take the hot bath and eat the ice cream. Treat yourself to the massage, go for the walk, or read the book.

5. Remember that, even if the piece is bad, it's a stepping stone to bigger things. You need the ugly projects to get to the beautiful ones.

6. Look at the criticism once more. Are there deeper wounds being felt (such as from a parent, teacher, or old mentor)? Address these.

7. Write a letter to the critic. Defend your work but acknowledge what was helpful about the criticism provided. DO NOT send this letter.

8. Brainstorm your next project. Make a plan. Set a date.

9. Get back out there. Create.

Be Brilliant!


Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Possibility is far more terrifying than impossibility.

Freedom is far more terrifying than prison.

We say we are scared by failure, 
but what frightens us more is the possibility of success.

(wise words from Julia Cameron)

Be Brilliant!


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

On Killing Those "Darlings"

I'm working my way through Screenwriting for Neurotics by Scott Winfield Sublett, which has valuable information not only for screenwriters but for all writers. The chapters on plotting have been especially helpful, but he also says something truly wonderful about killing your "darlings."

Your darlings, they say, are those words or phrases or sentences (or paragraphs or entire scenes) that you've poured your heart and soul into and that you love more than life itself, despite the fact that they really don't add much to the story.  

Sublett says: 

“You might say, 

'What a pity that my inspiration should go to waste!' 

But saying that is misunderstanding the nature of inspiration: it’s not a scarce resource but rather a limitless river that flows through you. There’s plenty more inspiration in that river, so please waste it.

Building a table would produce sawdust and wood scraps

Would you glue them to the top of the table so that they don’t 'go to waste'?”

Isn't that a fantastic analogy?

No: you wouldn't build a table--carving and sanding--then heap the "unnecessary" back onto it, no matter how interesting or "beautiful" it seems. 

So go ahead. Tap into your limitless river, and don't be afraid to kill those darlings. There's plenty more inspiration where that came from. In fact, you are a well of inspiration, and the more you create the more creative you'll be.

If it really bothers you, don't delete the darlings permanently. Move them to a "darlings" file. Maybe you'll be able to use them somewhere else/in some other project one day.   

Be Brilliant!


Friday, May 26, 2017

On Risk-taking

Why take risks?

The more risks you take, the more confident you become.
The more confident you become, the more equipped you are to deal with rejection.
The more rejections you accrue, the more likely you are to embrace feedback.
The more feedback you apply, the more you grow

The more you grow, the closer you get to reaching those important goals you've set for yourself.

Take risks.

The more darts you throw, the more targets you'll hit.

Be Brilliant!


Wednesday, May 10, 2017

GAILs: Limiting Beliefs

What are GAILs? 

GAILs stands for Gremlins, Assumptions, Interpretations, and Limiting Beliefs--the key energy blocks that reflect how we think about our challenges. This four-part series is designed to help us face our GAILs head-on.

In this final post we tackle: 

A Limiting Belief is something we believe that limits us--or holds us back--in some way. They can be about others or the world around us, but they're usually related to our self or our identity. 

Somewhere along the way, we witnessed or heard or read something that became part of our core belief system. It's this idea hanging over our heads that we can't do *this* because of *that,* so why even bother?

I don't. I can't. I mustn't. I'm not. . . .

These are words/phrases to watch out for, because they're likely to precede a Limiting Belief, which look something like this:  

Because I'm a "math person," I could never write a book.
First novels don't sell well, anyway, so there's no need to promote myself too hard. 
As a guy, I can't write a good romance novel.
As a girl, I can't write a story narrated by a guy.
I don't read horror, so I could never write a scary book. 
Because I was raised this way, I could never write about that

The problem?

Yeah. It's pretty obvious that if we act with a Limiting Belief in mind, we're going to create a self-fulfilling prophecy. We don't think we can write a book, so we don't try. We don't think a first book will sell well, so we don't promote. We don't read horror, so we never try to write a horror story. When, in actuality, if we put aside our beliefs for a moment, sit down and read the books and learn more about the subject and put our pens to the page, we could probably do the thing. 

The key? Know that a Limiting Belief is a false conclusion and recognize when we may be acting on one. Determine what the belief is, its origin, and replace it with a more empowering belief. 
To do this, we should ask ourselves: 

What is it that I believe that's keeping me from being my true self?
Where did this belief come from?
What does this belief do for me? 
What is it costing me?
How true is this belief really?
What would my life look like if I got rid of this belief? 
What step could I take today that challenges the Limiting Belief and moves me closer toward my dreams/goals? 

And always: Be Brilliant!


Other posts in this series: