Tuesday, January 26, 2016

TWIC: Reading, wRiting and Rworking

If there is a theme in today's This Week in Creativity, the title captures it.  Oh, also a travel musing.

The International Teacher Development Institute has a class on creative writing - or two classes that you  can take together.  The themes are poetry and prose.
In The ELT Creative Writers' Retreat, short poems will lead us into the writing of personal memoir as we work together to develop as writers and explore the depths of our lives while learning how to use a Writer's Workshop Approach in our English classes. In Poetry in ELT we'll explore the many ways poetry can be used in the English Language Classroom.
The fee is US$89 for one and US$125 for both.
Dave Moldawer at Boingboing tells us what publishers should do.
For me, this is what publishers should do, whether they are publishing books, websites, conferences, or, well, operating systems: “Look at this. I'll put a frame around it, because the creator cannot truly frame the work. Here is what you need to know to appreciate this. Here is how you should think about this. Consider.”
A good publisher is that amazing, life-changing professor from sophomore year at scale.
The need for this work—publishing—is more desperate than ever, and most book publishers don’t even bother to pay lip service to this essential role of their business.
Typing slowly (or hand writing) results in better, uh, writing.  It's weird when writing refers to the motion of your hand and to the content.
“Typing can be too fluent or too fast, and can actually impair the writing process,” Srdan Medimorec, a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Arts at Waterloo said in a statement. “It seems that what we write is a product of the interactions between our thoughts and the tools we use to express them.”
The study, which was published in the British Journal of Psychology, asked some participants to type essays with both hands and others to type with one. According to Medimorec's team, participants who used one hand took more time to come up with words and even used a larger vocabulary. People who typed fast, the study notes, probably went with the first word that came to mind.
How do novelists and writers get inspired?  A question with a variety of answers at Quora. Jeremy Scheurer wrote:
One thing that stuck out to me, was that many authors and novelists had a common trait. Many of them have a small book, a legal pad, a practical app or something like that where they write down anything important to THEM, that happens in their life. 'Overhearing an interesting conversation in the train'. 'Meeting somebody exceptional'. 'Having felt a special feeling in a specific situation'. 'Seeing somebody with a unique appearance'. All this little things get written down. This way they will be able to feel back to that specific situation and they won't forget about important or subtil things that might inspire them for more.
I was a beta reader in Dec 2015 for the first time and wasn't sure what was expected of me.  On the NaNoWriMo blog, the general details are described although I would have liked more examples.  In my case, I pointed out a few big-picture questions - in this fantasy world, families and death didn't mean the same things they mean here but the differences were not clear enough for me. I also noted several adverbs I found strange. The author thanked me and I hope to hear further in a few months. Note to self: contact that author in March to see how the book is progressing.

Outline your novel in eleven 'easy' steps I put 'easy' in quotes because the steps are fairly detailed. They might be easy but are also meaty.
Constructing a Timeline
1.1 Technique: Write a List
1.2 Technique: Map the Events on a Line
1.3 Technique: Master the Mind-Map
2 Explore Your Character Arcs
3 Establish Your Settings
4 Choose the Shape and Style of Narration
5 Assess Your Plot-in-Progress
6 Identify the Core Message
7 Segment Your Outline Into Chapters
8 Essential Components of Your Story's Beginning
8.1 Character
8.2 Setting
8.3 Plot
8.4 First Chapter
9 Essential Components Of Your Story's Middle
9.1 Midpoint
9.2 The Black Moment and Plot Point 2
10 Essential Components of Your Story's End
10.1 Climax
10.2 Final Chapter
11 Reassess and Reorder Your Scenes
11.1 ***
How to read a scientific paper.
A friend and fellow competitive swimmer back in the 80's now has a work-coaching company and she was recently interviewed on How to Create a More Focused Workplace. Perhaps being a swimmer and so a slave to the second hand of a clock has made her acutely aware of the passage of time because her suggestions mostly focus on the subject.
Ten Habits of Highly Creative People.  I've covered the subject often and it dates back at least to Cziksentmihalyi (I can't be the first guy to misspell his name).  I think that I need to reread these points though and particularly work on #6: Openness to Experience.
Research has found that the desire to learn and discover seems to have significantly more bearing on the quality of creative work than intellect alone. So, if you want to boost your creativity, try out a new creative outlet or a totally different medium of expression, or take a new route home from work, or seek out a new group of people with different interests or values that you might learn from. Openness to new experiences can help increase your integrative complexity—the capacity to recognize new patterns and find links among seemingly unrelated pieces of information.
Back to the teaching theme: Seven Ways to help High Schoolers Find Purpose.

As an ESL teacher who simply needs students to talk, here is the area I focus on most:
Foster collaboration
Consider how different high school would feel if students were working in collaboration with their peers instead of competing against them all the time? What if high school grading was based on how well you worked with other people and how well you mentored and advised your peers? This would much more accurately mimic most workplaces, where teamwork and collaboration are some of themain skills desired by today’s employers.
As a bit of motivation, remember that hobbies make us happier.  Go ahead and carve that chunk of wood or scribble endlessly at that story.
Finally, I did a bit of flying last week and, as always, noted the huge variety of vehicles on display at airports.  Airports are where creativity in purely land vehicles has raged wild.

Image from geminijets.

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