Getting into the Creative Mood

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Getting into the Creative Mood

David Farland’s Kick in the Pants—Getting into the Creative Mood

When I was 11, a friend of mine, Jim Smith, was talking excitedly about his Christmas gift. “My dad got me a book that shows stop-motion photography of different kinds of world-champion athletes.” His book showed how sprinters pushed off when they started a race, how high jumpers cleared a bar, how gymnasts performed various flips.

I, on the other hand, got a Thingmaker, in which I learned how to combine various colors of plastic goop in order to bake up rubbery insects and frogs.

Now, Jim wasn’t a huge kid, but he became an amazing athlete. Over the next few years, he began to make his mark in various fields. He eventually set state high-school records in the long jump, at hurdles, in the 100-yard dash, in the quarter mile, and he became the quarterback for our football team and the captain of our basketball team.

Simply by watching Jim, I learned the tremendous power of starting things out right, of learning the basics.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how authors can get into a relaxed creative mood that lets them write more, faster, and better. A couple of weeks ago, my friend Greg Vose sent me a couple of videos from one of my favorite comedians—John Cleese, who has also made a study on how to start out right.

It never ceases to amaze me at how many writers set unrealistic goals, stress themselves out so that they can’t reach a creative state, and then sit down to write. All that they get out of it is frustrated. Yet they make the same mistakes over and over, then hope to get better results.

Watching John’s videos takes about 40 minutes, but I think that if you pay close attention and do what John says, you’ll find that this may be the most rewarding 40 minutes you ever spend. These are certainly the best talks on creativity that I’ve seen. Coming from a genius like Cleese, it’s not surprising, though.

So, watch them and learn, but with one warning: take notes! For an aspiring artist, this material is invaluable.

Watch the videos here.


We have some new live workshops up:

Professional Writers Workshop

Have you started to write a book and wondered “What do I do now?” Would you like help in editing the book to make it as good as it can be, or help finding an agent or publisher? Would you like to get a better grasp of how to make a living as a writer, or how to launch your new career? Then this workshop might be for you.

It’s designed to help teach you the kinds of things that you can’t learn in most colleges—the ins and outs of the writing business.

The Professional Writers’ Workshop is strictly limited to 18 participants, people who are serious about writing.
March 16-20, 2015

Orem, Utah

Learn more

Worldbuilding Masters Class

One key to creating a blockbuster tale is to learn to transport the reader to another time and another place. In this workshop, Dave takes you through world building in fantasy, historical fiction, and science fiction, including dystopias and utopias.

You will learn how to view the world as a character and source of conflict, how to create planets, new life forms, societies, and economic systems, magic systems, political systems and so on. You will watch popular films where the author did it right—and you’ll perform exercises where you brainstorm your own world, create your settings, write key descriptions and scenes, and have them critiqued by the rest of the group and by Dave himself.

July 7-11th

St. George, Utah

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Casting Your Novel Master's Class

A lot has been said about creating characters--things that don't really work, like filling 100 pages of information about him or her. If you did this while brainstorming every major character in a novel, you would have 1,000 pages of notes on characters alone.

That's too much.

In this workshop Dave will teach you how to direct your energy to building characters that are not only believable and complex, but are ready to spur conflict, explore themes, and complete an emotion-empowered character arc.

July 13th-17th

St. George, Utah

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