Guest Post by Pen Densham: Creative Person’s Survival Manual

Passion, Creativity and Success

A creative person’s survival manual

 (Excerpted from Pen Densham’s free eBook – link to download the whole book at the bottom.)

Our media business involves a zillion layers of invention, including every craft and art seen credited on those end-title crawls. Each credit connotes an innovator and creative problem-solver bringing his or her talent to bear in the creation of movie magic.

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Across the spectrum of vocations, whether you’re an actor, writer, director, inventor, chef, computer programmer, research scientist or, God help us, a weapons creator—we struggle with the process of bringing forth what has never existed through the mysterious process called creativity.

For many, this exploration toward the ultimate joy of accomplishment has a cost: anxiety!

FIRST RULE: IGNORE ALL RULES

I share these thoughts, aware of how ignorant I am of the true spectrum of your inspiration process. Which I consider pretty close to sacred. I want to dialogue “with” you and not at you. Please ignore everything here that goes against your instincts.They are usually right!

My observations come from the privilege of a longish career. A few wild, giant successes and many rejections (many!) Experiences that have given me the one thing I didn’t have when younger – “perspective”. I have discovered the scripts I’ve written from the heart have gotten them made more frequently than the projects the studios paid me to write. But, as an artist and businessman I have never been far from the pain of uncertainty, when attempting to make concrete what has flitted around inside my head.

images-1As a curious young documentary filmmaker, I explored some amazing game-changers in various fields. Like revolutionary Media Guru Marshall McLuhan, Master Magician and Psychic debunker The “Amazing” James Randi. Brilliant Canadian Architect Raymond Moriyama. Malcolm Bricklin, the car entrepreneur who built a gull-wing sports car before Delorean. Toller Cranston, the first international figure skater to perform his sport as Ballet on ice and not just muscular gymnastics – and my own mentor, Norman Jewison, who’s list of amazing films is humbling. People who have the habit of pushing beyond the limits in their fields.

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What did I learn? They have a universal sense to think freely and uniquely outside their current boxes, but it didn’t prevent stress and outside criticism. They cared so much about their goals that despite the negatives they headed where their guts told them. It was infectious. I don’t think of myself as particularly gifted… More a dreamer and not a great employee, but they made me feel that pursuing my own dreams was possible.

I HAVE NEVER ESCAPED STRESS

It comes from our imaginations trying to help us define the future – but without any compass for that untrod path. Stress is normal, it evolved alongside the imagination as a protective problem solving mechanism, igniting our body’s fight or flight system. A kind of psychic radar, bouncing negative things out and reflecting on how we might defend against them. But, when it is not attached to solving a real issue, it can bounce all over the place, unnerving us in the process.

UnknownI saw the world’s most renowned stress pioneer speak. The late Dr. Hans Selye. He stated that being mugged or experiencing a surprise birthday party can create an identical adrenaline rush. Heart rate increases. Tension tightens. Breathing speeds up. But, in the mugging, the effect is felt as fear and the birthday surprise, as joy. – “Anxiety” when it is in the service of something we value is embraced as “Excitement”.

Selye said, our adrenalin glands disturb us less when we are impassioned, pursuing goals that fascinate us. Even more strongly if we feel those goals benefit others!

Unknown-1Alternately, working on projects that are against my nature. (Maybe I sold out a little?) – Trying to cash in on someone else’s goal can be painful. I have done it as a writer.And it was like trying to pluck words out of my flesh. I didn’t like the end result and failed to have the incentive to fight for it.

When I am going in the direction my instincts support, the fear of failure is still there – but mitigated with the magical excitement of discovery.

The essential part of creativity is not being afraid to fail.
-Edwin H. Land

Download your own free copy of Pen Densham’s Passion Creativity and Success: a Creative Person’s Survival Manual.

DOWNLOAD A FREE COPY OF PEN DENSHAM’S 20 SECRETS FOR SUCCESS.

About Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror contributor: Pen Densham

PenDenshamPen Densham rode into the movies at age 4 on a live alligator and started a life-long love of cameras and story. Pen produces, writes, directs (2 Oscar Nominations and over 60 other awards). He is
partnered in the Trilogy Entertainment Group with John Watson – their breakthrough hit was ROBIN HOOD: PRINCE OF THIEVES, and they made 16 other features such as MOLL FLANDERS (which Pen wrote and directed), BACKDRAFT, TANK GIRL, HOUDINI and Trilogy’s 2013 feature, PHANTOM submarine thriller starring Ed Harris, David Duchovny and William Fichtner. Pen also revived The Outer Limits and The Twilight Zone series.

See Pen Densham on a special FREE Now Write! panel: TV & Screenwriter’s Panel: Scares and Surprises.

 

Announcing: Creative Freedom Workshop Series in L.A.

CreativeFreedomSquareLogoDo you want a better relationship with your inner artist?

Creative Freedom is an empowering workshop that digs to the root of interferences that inhibit creative flow and self-acceptance.

You will understand yourself better by deeply exploring what it means to be a creative person / artist. Together we’ll uncover the treasure hidden inside negative stereotypes, enjoy creative exercises, empowering meditation tools and soul healing.

Creative Freedom helps you live the creative life in a more joyful, healthy and productive way… and unleash greater success in a creative career.little-guitar-player-72

The Creative Freedom workshop is an inspired synthesis of Now Write! editor Laurie Lamson‘s lifelong quest to deeply understand art, the creative process and personal/spiritual growth.

Visit CreativeFreedomNow.com to learn more.

Sign up on the Reserve Your Spot page and receive Laurie’s “5 Tips To Get Your Creativity Flowing”.

Or email Laurie directly. Mention “NowWrite25” for $25 off the series regular price of $129.99, or reserve your spot at the discounted rate now:

Schedule

Sundays, 4-6pm, Oct. 19 & 26, Nov. 3 & 10, 2014 in West Los Angeles. Space is limited, so if this feels like what you need, please reserve your spot soon.

CreativeFreedomLogo2014

NYC Publishing & Creativity Conference for Writers

The NYC Publishing & Creativity Conference

New Yorkers – get motivated to live a more creative life!

Logo-cropped-300x221The New York City Publishing & Creativity Conference for Writers is the first conference of its kind ever to be hosted by a major book publisher.  In this conference you will:

* Gain access to publishing professionals from the largest publishing company in the world

* Be inspired by JULIA CAMERON, the #1 bestselling creativity author in the world

* Learn from our creativity and publishing experts, including Tama KievesBarbara Diane Barry, Mari Mancusi, and others

Meet with editors and other publishing veterans*

* Enjoy networking with other writers

* Learn about building your author platform, and using it to make your book a bestseller

Frequently Asked Questions

REGISTER BEFORE APRIL 10 AND SAVE $20

with Discount Code: TARCHERLIVE MAR

SCHEDULE

FRIDAY, APRIL 11th

3:00 – 4:00pm – Pre-registration for premiere ticket holders; editor pitch session times will be assigned during this pre-registration

4:00-6:00pm – Editor pitch sessions (15-minute pitch meetings, to be scheduled on first-come, first-served basis)

5:15-6:00pm – General registration

6:00-7:15pm – Panel: An Inside Look at Publishing

Including advice from an editor, agent, publisher, publicity/marketing director, and author

7:15-7:45pm – Booksigning

8:00-9:30pm – Cocktail party for premiere ticket holders

SATURDAY, APRIL 12th

9:00-10:00am – registration

10:00 – 10:50am – Tama Kieves: Inspired & Unstoppable: Wildly Succeeding in Your Writing Career!

10:55-11:20am – Laurie Lamson: Top Tips from the Now Write! Experts

11:20-11:45 – Book signing, bathroom break

11:45-12:15pm – Keith Ogorek:  Four Key Words to Put Your Creativity to Work

12:30 – 2:00pm – LUNCH

2:00-3:00pm – Panel: Building Your Platform / The Path to Publishing

3:00-3:40pm – Barbara Diane Barry: Painting Your Way Out of a Corner

3:40-4:00pm – Book signing, bathroom break

4:00-5:00pm – Julia Cameron: Cultivating Your Creativity the Artist’s Way

5:00-5:30pm – Julia Cameron Booksigning

*Denotes activities available to those with Premier tickets

FEATURED SPEAKERS

JULIA CAMERONJulia Cameron

Julia Cameron has been an active artist for more than three decades. She is the author of more than thirty books, including The Artist’s Way (which has sold over 2 million copies and been translated into more than a dozen languages), Walking in This World, and Finding Water. Also a novelist, playwright, songwriter, and poet, she has multiple credits in theater, film, and television. www.juliacameronlive.com

TAMA KIEVES

Tama Kieves, Harvard-lawyer-turned-career-coach, has spent the last decade crossing the Tama KievesUnited States and Canada, speaking to tens of thousands of people and sharing her inspiring story of moving from a career that was killing her to a life that has uplifted her, chronicled in her first book, This Time I Dance!: Creating the Work You Love. She has mentored thousands of people who, with her help, have followed their passion, and now live their dream lives. Kieves recently published a new book with Tarcher/Penguin called Inspired & Unstoppable. www.tamakieves.com

MARI MANCUSIMari Mancusi

Mari Mancusi is a two-time Emmy award-winning television producer and award-winning author of eighteen novels for adults and teens, including Scorched, Blood Coven Vampires Gamer Girl. A graduate of Boston University’s College of Communication, she lives with her husband and daughter in Austin, TX.www.marimancusi.com

BARBARA DIANE BARRYBarbara Diane Barry

Barbara Diane Barry is an artist and art teacher in New York City. Under the educational outreach program at Symphony Space, she teaches in public schools throughout NYC’s five boroughs and gives tours in the city’s finest museums. In addition, she is on staff at the South Street Seaport Museum and the creator of “Art for Self-Discovery,” a studio art program for adults and children. www.artforselfdiscovery.com

LAURIE LAMSON

Laurie LamsonLaurie Lamson is a writer, editor and filmmaker who loves helping tell great stories. She is the editor of Now Write! Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror, co-editor (with her Aunt Sherry Ellis) of Now Write! Screenwriting and Now Write! Mysteries. In addition, Lamson has written feature screenplays for indie producers and short educational videos, such as a series of interactive projects for the National Museum of the U.S. Army, and the award-winning “Care for our Planet” for Levi Strauss & Co.

JOEL FOTINOSJoel Fotinos

Joel Fotinos is vice-president and publisher at Tarcher/Penguin, and the co-author of The Think & Grow Rich Workbook and The Prayer Chest. A licensed minster with the Centers for Spiritual Living, Fotinos travels the country giving talks and workshops on spirituality and inspiration. www.joelfotinos.com

KEITH OGOREKKeith Ogorek

Currently SVP of Marketing at Author Solutions, Keith Ogorek has worked in product development, as an ad agency creative director, inventor of a successful game for adults and children, creator of an innovative product for parents of infants, and author of three inspirational books. www.indiebookwriters.com

 

Guest Post by Dinty W. Moore: Writing and Creativity as a Peculiar Crossroads

One of my favorite writing quotes of all time comes from Flannery O’Connor, well known for her sharp observations and refreshing honesty. “The writer operates at a peculiar crossroads where time and place and eternity somehow meet,” she said.  “His problem is to find that location.”

O’Connor manages in these two short sentences to say so much about the mystery, the dedication, and the frustration of writing, while also reassuring those of us who have temporarily lost our roadmap to creativity that this is normal, ongoing, and to be expected. The peculiar crossroads is indeed elusive, which is why artists are both crazed and exhilarated most of their days.

O’Connor was Catholic, of course, and may not take kindly to my equating her views with a central Buddhist concept, but that connection is something else I like about this quote.  And O’Connor, while spitting in my eye, would perhaps applaud me for having the courage to say what I mean.

So here goes:  I think O’Connor is also speaking here of enlightenment.

The Sanskrit word for enlightenment, bodhi, means “awakened.” For a long time, I held all of the common misperceptions that we in the West usually have about Buddhism – most of what we know of the tradition was often learned from New Yorker cartoons of a mystic sitting atop a mountain. One of those misperceptions is the persistent idea that enlightenment is the final goal of Buddhism; that once enlightenment was attained, the ethereal Buddhist sits, perhaps glowing and smiling at the lesser beings trudging along the path below.

That, of course, is utter nonsense. Enlightenment is of no use unless it is employed to better the world for all beings, and enlightenment—like any awakening—can come and go. Indeed, it can be very fleeting.

Writers who struggle with a poem, or story, or essay, for draft after draft after draft, may on occasion experience a smidgen of enlightenment. It is the moment that the perfect word, or precise action by a character, or the ideal phrasing of an idea, is revealed to the writer.

So often, this ideal phrase or line of dialogue is more of a discovery than an invention. It is often a flash of sorts, like the proverbial light bulb above the head depicted in cartoons. This flash of insight doesn’t come from thinking, from intellect, or from reason; it comes instead from a more mysterious part of our awareness. For that moment at least, it can seem as if time and place and eternity have somehow met.

Once a writer is fortunate enough to experience such a moment, however, she doesn’t stop.  Her job is to find that “peculiar crossroads” again, to somehow pinpoint the ever-shifting “location” where insight forms. And then, once the story or poem is finished, the search begins again.

Dinty W. Moore is a Now Write! Nonfiction contributor, and the author of The Mindful Writer: Noble Truths of the Writing Life, as well as the memoir Between Panic & Desire, winner of the Grub Street Nonfiction Book Prize in 2009. He also edited The Rose Metal Press Field Guide to Writing Flash Nonfiction: Advice and Essential Exercises from Respected Writers, Editors, and Teachers. Moore has published essays and stories in many literary magazines and The New York Times Sunday Magazine. A professor of nonfiction writing at Ohio University, Moore has won many awards including a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship in Fiction. He edits Brevity, an online journal of flash nonfiction.