Archive for category Books

Fanning the Flame

The Source of the Spark

This is what I think about inspiration: that it happens all the time. We have these tiny spark moments where we think, “What if…” or “I wonder what that would be like?” Sometimes I see new books on the table at Barnes & Noble and think, “How weird. Here’s an author who must wonder the same things I do.”

Now there’s a scary thought.

So inspiration is happening all the time. But what I think people are really asking when they ask about inspiration is how you fan those sparks into something that can become a story. Read the rest of this entry »

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Guest Writers: Tosca Lee

Photo credit: Michael Gomez

I am pleased and very excited to introduce a new guest this week. Tosca Lee is the award-winning author of two novels (with two more soon to come). Havah is the story of Eve from a first-person point of view. Demon: A Memoir is a tale about a man who is stalked by a demon whose goal is to solicit the authorship of his own story – a tale that begins before the creation of the world. Forbidden, a collaborative series with Ted Dekker, comes out in September of this year. Rumors are that this story will eclipse Dekker’s wildly popular Circle series. Iscariot, Tosca’s third stand-alone work, will be available in 2012.

While Tosca’s prose is poetic and often ethereal, she is as down to earth as they come. She’s the originator of the “Writer Cam” on her Facebook page where you can see her at work via photos of the unglamorous side of writing (the mundane and grueling) as well as her humor and triumph along the way. (Loving this concept, I’ve adopted it with my own album of writer-at-work photos you might have seen on my Facebook page.)

Tosca keeps a blog on her website where she explores ideas about writing, spirituality and where the two converge. Watching her at the daily grind through Twitter and Facebook, Tosca has been an inspiration to me in my own writing.  Be sure to come back on Thursday for a glimpse into her life and to gain some insight from a successful fellow Creative.

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Things I Like: Survivor Stories

Confession: I tried out for Survivor…Three times.

I know what you’re thinking, “That real life soap opera show where they leave a handful of schmucks to fight for a million bucks and give them nothing to eat except stale rice, bugs and cows’ brains?” No, I mean the ingenious social experiment that gives daring contesters the chance to find out what they’re made of by isolating them and stripping them of all but the barest of necessities. (Okay, so maybe they are the same show.)

Survive or Die

Some concepts inspire me by their very nature. One I keep coming back to again and again, packaged in different wrappers, is the idea of a survivor story. Remember Cast Away where Tom Hanks had to endure four years on a deserted island with only a few (strategically written) random items in Fed Ex boxes? Or Life of Pi – the story about the boy adrift for weeks (or months?) on a lifeboat with limited survival gear and a ferocious tiger aboard his vessel? There are even similarities in the true story of Aron Ralston, the climber who got trapped under a boulder in a tight canyon and was forced to amputate his own arm with a pocket knife.

I like stories that make me dig deep inside myself and search for the extent of my own capabilities. How would I survive if I had to capture my own food? What could I do with a pair of ice skates and a broken piece of a porta-potty? Could I sever my own arm if I had to? The last one may be a little extreme, but these kind of stories make my mind reel in excitement because they force me to explore the depths of my own creativity (aka ability to solve extreme problems by unconventional means).

How Creative Am I?

We’ve built this cushy life with all of our creature comforts and techno gadgets that we’d never ever dream of giving up, but somehow… Sometimes there’s still that desire for raw human challenges that creep into our fantasies and end up in our books and movies and news stories. The ironic thing is that for me, if I peel back all those layers, it seems to all come back to creativity. When pushed, when forced by necessity, how creative could I be?

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The War of Art, Part 3: Invoking Your Muse

I’ve given you excerpts from Steven Pressfield’s cut-through-the-crap-and-get-busy book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles over the past few weeks.  Today, I leave you with a final installment, and I hope that you will run your little fingers over to your favorite book-purchasing website and pick it up for yourselves.  The few bits that I have shared are only a snippet of the wealth of insight and the injection of courage that awaits you in this awesome book. Read the rest of this entry »

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The War of Art, Part 2: Becoming a Professional

We’ve all said it at least a million times: “If only I could get motivated, I would get started on this book/redecorating project/degree/workout!”  How often have we just kept searching for that one thing that will make us finally get off our duffs and take action on that idea that we have?  If you’re like me at all, it’s pretty easy to come up with excuses… I mean reasons… why you can’t start right now.  This is Resistance.

Today, I bring you another installment of author Steven Pressfield’s wonderful advice from his book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. In these selections, you will see what our attitude should be toward those questions of motivation.  The second section of this book is devoted to ways of “Combating Resistance.” Read the rest of this entry »

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The War of Art, Part 1: Resistance

There comes a time in your life when you reach a crossroads.  You have a task/painting/manuscript/project in front of you.  You know that it is within your power to push forward and accomplish it… and yet…

I’ve found myself in this place so many times I get frustrated every time I think about it.  While working on my Master’s thesis, I was introduced to a simple yet profound book that helped me cut through the crap and accomplish what I set out to do.  Today, I share a few wonderful bits with you from… Read the rest of this entry »

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