July, 2011

the art of simplicity: figuring out the meaning of your novel, your wardrobe, your life

My life is my message. — Gandhi

I’m moving to a new house come October, which requires a reckoning of the stuff in the old house. I am tired of stuff and want to own less of it.

I’m also reworking the logline for my novel-in-progress, THE DECADENTS. I’m preparing for the push to finish, and feeling slightly lost. The middle section can do that to you.

I want a stronger sense of the throughline of the book – that golden thread of story – and there seems no better way to do that than the hellish practice of writing a damn logline.

A strong logline is elegant. You have to reduce your novel to what it’s truly about (which you can’t do if you don’t know, and it’s way too easy not to know). You have to get at the soul, the essence, the meaning of the thing.

I was thinking about how you could apply this to your brand — or your identity — or even your life. click for more

Jul 31, 2011 · 18 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of getting more traffic for your blog/more people who give a damn

Attention = currency.

So how do I get more traffic? is akin to asking how do I get more money?

Traffic, like money, like happiness, happens best when you go after it obliquely. In other words: traffic is a side benefit that you get when you drive towards some other, bigger, better goal that has meaning for others as well as yourself. Going after traffic for the sheer sake of traffic could result in your own personal version of Enron: a blog based on pretense, distortions and meaningless data that ultimately collapses in its own house of cards. click for more

Jul 23, 2011 · 31 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of creative destruction

In his book THE ACCIDENTAL CREATIVE, Todd Henry introduces this great phrase: “Die empty.”

Too many of us die with our novels unwritten, our songs unsung, our talents undeveloped, our creative work left buried inside us.

Todd Henry challenges both himself and the reader to fill ourselves up with ideas and stimuli and then bring ourselves fully to our projects.

We should empty ourselves every day:

Do the work. click for more

Jul 19, 2011 · 23 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of rocking out your identity crisis so you can go on to rule the world

A young woman and I were driving my older boys to Pasadena when I learned that she gave motivational speeches to teenage girls.

“I talk a lot about the importance of developing your own identity,” she said.

This is something my therapist – one of the smartest women I’ve ever met in my life – has brought up in our discussions together. The issue of female identity, how girls will get into relationships with boys or men before their own identity is formed (“when it needs to be the other way around: you become who you need to be, and then you find the person you need to be with”). click for more

Jul 12, 2011 · 38 Comments / ADD YOURS

we give up our power because

It has come to my attention, boys and girls, that some people are reading this as an autobiographical piece. It isn’t. It’s meant as general commentary, looking at the relationship between women and power, which, admittedly, I’m becoming kind of obsessed with (women + power + creativity). Okay? Okay!

We learned that we were pretty.

We learned that we were not pretty.

We starve to fit the skinny jeans.

We learned that skinny jeans = power.

We learned that being the hottest girl in the room = power click for more

Jul 10, 2011 · 38 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of more (money, readers, love): fighting off the scarcity complex

I have a problematic relationship with money.

I didn’t learn about it growing up.

I married a man I met in college who, in the course of our marriage, became wealthy. I had no access to any of it other than what he gave me.

My attempts to carve out my own career (and income) as a dark-fantasy novelist got sidetracked by babies. Nothing had my name on it – not the house we bought together, not the car I drove, and because I didn’t know anything different, and because we lived an amazing lifestyle, I told myself I was fine with it. I didn’t want to be spoiled or ungrateful. click for more

Jul 8, 2011 · 18 Comments / ADD YOURS

the problem with “nice” (and why it’s good to be badass)

It is the job of the creative badass to show up as yourself, your true self, and say what is and is not working for you.

Easier said than done. click for video

Jul 6, 2011 · 12 Comments / ADD YOURS

how to keep your right readers addicted to your blog (and you)

The influence of a vital person vitalizes, there’s no doubt about it. The world without spirit is a wasteland. People have the notion of saving the world by shifting things around, changing the rules, and who’s on top, and so forth. No, no! Any world is a valid world if it’s alive. The thing to do is to bring life to it, and the only way to do that is to find in your own case where the life is and become alive yourself. — Joseph Campbell

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You are not the hero of your blog.

Your reader is the hero of your blog.

You are the guide, the first hero, the shaman.

You’ve already been through the reader’s part of the journey (which is why you can write about it). You’ve seized the boon, the elixir, the knowledge, and you’re on the road home. click for more

Jul 4, 2011 · 17 Comments / ADD YOURS
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