Friday, May 8, 2015

Surviving Creativity

I just found a podcast called Surviving Creativity and it seems to be about the process and business of creative endeavour.  The pod I listened to was an interview with Fantasy Author Sam Sykes.
Scott Kurtz, Brad Guigar, & Cory Casoni are in the comics biz and the focus of their Podcast is creativity in the New Media.
A lot of the pod was about recent controversy in Fantasy and Science Fiction's Hugo Awards.  Sykes did a great job of explaining the controversy without once revealing bias.  It seems that everyone in F&SF wants a taxidermied dead cat.  If they don't, Asimov will beat them with an oar.
The Pdocast has a twitter account and a Facebook page.  They have a Patreon page but don't seem to have a show notes or dedicated site.

The group had this to say about keeping or quitting your day job (I've put this in quotes but it is all paraphrased - I listened to the pod while driving and jogging):
Dads will always tell you to have a Plan B.  Experienced artists will tell you to never have a Plan B.
Dads have seen you fail so many times - you fell the first time you tried to walk, to ride a bike....  They want you to have a Plan B.
If you have a good Plan B, you will choose it over creative work.
Sykes had this to say about writing:
Work a little every day and you will get better.
On beating writer's block: try to have two or three active points in writing your story.  When you can't figure out how the action will progress at time A, move to time or place B and work through that.
I have only listened to one podcast but will be correcting that error quickly.  Good stuff.

It seems 'surviving creativity' is a bit of a meme. Cody Daigle-Orians has a workshop on the subject.  Scott Berkun has a long running series on how to avoid creative burnout.  Here are a few excerpts.

Survival tactics
Plan an escape. Take a day off and do the most dramatically easy but fun thing you can think of. Go see a matinee downtown, have a fantastic lunch, shop, browse, and walk. Be as indulgent as you can stand, and drag as many of your friends along with you. (Offer to return the favor with them when they’re burnt out.). Use a vacation day, or a sick day (Isn’t burnout a form of poor mental health?)
Laugh. Whatever it is you find funny, bring more of it into your life. Whether it’s certain people, films, tv shows, plays, books. Choose to laugh.
Beginning again

Break things into smaller pieces. What are the smallest meaningful pieces to work with? Work on a page. Can’t do a page? Work on a paragraph. Get down the smallest bit you feel you can manage, but do it. Like Guthrie said, take it easy, but take it. After you do one piece, find the strength to do the next one. If you can’t, go for a walk, call a friend, but then come back and try again. And on and on. One small piece at a time. If you’re lucky, once you’ve got a few pieces done, you’ll hit your stride and it won’t seem so bad. If not, just slug it out. At least you’ll be able to say tomorrow you did something today.
Look at the worst pieces of work you know of. The worst writing. The worst painting. The worst web design. Worst whatever. Do you feel anything when you look at the crap? Does it annoy you? Make you angry? Is there still a response there at all? Some energy somewhere in your gut? Can you redirect it?

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