Friday, March 25, 2016

TWIC: shamaning, not writing, answering, translating, fitting in, and more

This Week in Creativiti: links dump

Wikipedia diving: The book I am writing includes a lot of action in central and northern Asia.  It involves Buddhism, Hinduism, Tibetan Bon, and Shamanism.  I have been reading, therefore, about Tengrism, Shamanism and Wu (Chinese) Shamanism.

Writer's Block and Anna Karenina: Every unhappy writer is unhappy in his/her own way.
The first, more anxious group felt unmotivated because of excessive self-criticism—nothing they produced was good enough—even though their imaginative capacity remained relatively unimpaired.
The second, more socially hostile group was unmotivated because they didn’t want their work compared to the work of others.
The third, apathetic group seemed the most creatively blocked. They couldn’t daydream; they lacked originality; and they felt that the “rules” they were subjected to were too constrictive.
9 ways to crush creative burnout I don't see them crushing much and there is some repetition (#1 and #8 particularly) but there is a little value in this list:
#1 leave the room
#2 relive your glory days
#7 Don't become one-dimensional - don't over specialize
#8 get physical
#9 track your progress (you've come farther than you think)
I've been on a Quora tear lately, using all my genius there to answer questions regarding evolution with the utmost in persuasiveness and politeness.  Guess who's a Most Viewed Writer in Evolution (process)?
Quora also has questions about creativity, including:
What are some of the most creative fiction books?
I get good grades so who cares if I am absent?
What are some tips for writing fantasy?
Saumya Saxena responded (I have excerpted it and the numbers do not match the original):
  1. Picture your work and create images (in mind and/or on paper if it helps), it will help you keep track of "what happens where" and "who looks how"....
  1. Outline your work, no matter how formidable and dull it might sound, you will thank yourself later! ...
  1. Believe in what you write, if you can't convince yourself, you can't convince anybody, have faith in your idea, no matter how absurd it might sound to your friends, it is plausible if you can think of it, you just need to be more convincing.
  1. Well this is not specific to fantasy, but just DON'T GIVE UP on that idea you have conceived. It is worth all the discomfort you might have to go through.
What standard email phrases really mean.
3. "Can I send you some information?"
This is a classic sales technique that, as someone who gets lots of pitches, can drive me straight up the wall. If you're going to mail me a book, it makes sense to ask my permission first. For anything else, the investment on your end is exactly the same whether you send me an email asking to send information or just go ahead and email the information. The only purpose of asking first is to create some sort of commitment that I'll pay attention to that information. And to waste everyone's time with two emails instead of one.
4. "Any interest in ... ?"
Usually this is used to try to create what we in publishing call a "curiosity gap." It's followed by insufficient information--just enough to try to get a rise out of the recipient. As in, "Any interest in learning about a brilliant new innovation that will change the way you do business forever?" Say yes and you may feel obligated to buy. Say no and you may feel like you're missing the boat.
Why creative writing has a place in science.
Who says science and the arts can't go hand in hand?
Scientists may even beat creative writers at their own game due to a "killer work ethic" and the lack of a so-called publication angst, Irish writer and novelist Aifric Campbell wrote.
"It was the interdisciplinary challenge that intrigued me, but I’ll admit to being (skeptical) about the students’ writing potential. So I was delighted to be proved wrong: their writing is easily as good – and often better – than that of creative writing students I have taught elsewhere, including at the University of East Anglia. And my external assessors – also writers who teach and hold PhDs from UEA – agree," she said in an article posted on UK's The Guardian.
Campbell has been teaching creative writing to students in science, technology, engineering and medicine at Imperial who can take humanities options for credit.
I feel I am inhabit the border between these two groups; trained as a scientist but now teaching language and trying to be a writer.

Semi-related Rant time!
This picture can be found everywhere online but I copied it from whyevolutionistrue.  When I saw it on a friend's Facebook page, I wrote:
This poster has always seemed like damning with faint praise. Most, if not all, scientists could also tell you why it is a bad idea. Perhaps not in a 1000 word essay with symbolism and metaphor, but clearly enough.
I think there is value in humanities but if this poster were accurate, it would read 100% of Scientists and 2% of humanities majors can perform scientific work and 95% of scientists and 97% of humanities majors can tell you if it might be dangerous.
When we go further at look at more concrete specifics, I trust scientists better than non-scientists to tell me about vaccines, GMOs and the alleged dangers of radios-waves from phones.
Whyevolutionistrue had similar things to say on the subject:
1. The big problem: SCIENCE CAN’T TELL US HOW TO CLONE A T. REX! ... If humanities is going to proffer itself as superior in some ways to science, then it should at least get the science right!
2. Before we determine the ethicality of cloning a T. rex, it’s still up to science to first tell us what would be the likely consequences: how the beast might behave, how would we contain it and feed it, would it nom humans, and so on. Once we’ve determined that getting nommed by an enormous reptile is bad—and granted, that’s the somewhat subjective purview of ethics—then philosophical rumination combined with empirical observation will tell us either “don’t do it!” or “build a big place to isolate it.” (That, of course, didn’t work in Jurassic Park.)
3. Humanities has advantages that stand on their own: it, and not science, can teach us how to read and appreciate literature and other fine arts, and—if you see philosophy as part of “humanities”— how to think clearly about human problems. There’s no need to denigrate science to point out those advantages....
The thing is, science doesn’t need to advertise its virtues by denigrating the humanities. Why should humanities need to do that to us?
The power of music
9 ways to become more creative in the next 10 minutes
1. Doodle Something
2. Sign Up for a Class in Something You’ve Never Done Before
5. Start a Sketchbook
6. Keep Toys on Your Desk
8. Try the 30 Circles Test
9. Role-play Away

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