7 Tips For Building A Consistent Writing Habit

Image and challenge provided by Austin Kleon. Check it out

Last night I completed my 100 day writing challenge. For over three months, I plopped down by my laptop and hammered out at least five hundred words.

I did this under the pretense that showing up every day would make me a better writer — or at least suck a little less (see image above).

Did the challenge help achieve this goal? I like to think so, but I’ll leave that to the discretion of the reader.

The experience did teach me a few lessons about building a writing habit, coming up with ideas, and managing the highs and lows…


These shapes will help you plot your next story

What’s a story look like when stripped to the bone?

Before curtains drop, cameras roll, or ink hits the page.

Writers have filled tomes trying to answer this question, applying a full arsenal of images and metaphors. But when seeking to understand the structure of a story, I believe a picture says a thousand words.

In this post, you’ll find 5 images that show the shapes of stories. I’ve listed them in order of complexity, starting with the most basic and adding new layers as we go.

As you’ll see, narratives share similar appearances, but each visualization highlights some unique…


Rock’s History Told Through 4 Legendary Performers

In a previous post I talked about artistic genealogies; the idea that specific individuals and genres build off one another.

The idea was inspired by Austin Kleon’s, author of Steal Like An Artist, article on Climbing Your Own Family Tree.

Kleon talks about swimming downstream a particular artist’s genealogy — i.e. looking back in time at the people and work that influenced them.

I like to think of this idea as finding your Hero’s Heroes.

Seeking out your hero’s hero shows you both the roots of artists you adore, and gives you a list of similar work to check out.


Art does not exist in a vacuum.

What we create and consume comes from who we are, where we are, and what came before us. Steal Like An Artist author Austin Kleon describes these webs of connections as an artistic genealogy.

As both an admirer of the arts and a history nerd I love this idea, and spent most of my morning searching for graphics that shows the lineage and influence of different artists.

For this particular post I focused on music — seeking out images that illustrate the interconnectedness of different genres, albums, and artists.

As much as possible…


Look For Ideas That Excite Instead

Photo by Jason Strull on Unsplash

In the areas of art and entrepreneurship, much has been written about how to find good ideas.

Countless books and articles have attempted to ask and answer questions like: What is a good idea? How do I hunt one down? What the heck do I do if I manage to capture one of these elusive creatures.

I’ve attempted to write about the subject myself. On more than one occasion.

On its face this seems like a noble pursuit: Don’t all successful business, blogs, and creative projects begin with a good idea?

While this isn’t necessarily false, it’s an incomplete and…


The Creative Secrets Of The Most Successful Animated Studio In The World

There is an expression that: “what is made for everyone is loved by no one.”

In the worlds of art and commercial these words are close to an immutable law. For good reason. In almost every case, trying to satisfy everyone results in pleasant, but quickly disposable content. However, every so often there is something or someone who proves this assumption wrong.

In cinema, Pixar animation is a rare exception to the rule. They make movies beloved by all demographics. Young and old. Critics and consumers. City dwellers and suburban soccer moms.

And they haven’t done it once, they pull…


7 Tips From Finding Nemo Director’s TED TALK

How do you write an unforgettable story?

Director Andrew Stanton knows as well as anyone. He’s been doing it for three decades at Pixar studios.

His work as a writer produced animated classics like Toy Story and A Bug’s Life. His time as a director brought beloved stories like Finding Nemo and Wall-E to life.

In a recent TED talk, Stanton shares how Pixar veterans like him and Pete Docter use storytelling to inspire audiences.

The bad news: there is no instruction manual for a great story.


WRITING

How to write a story your audience can’t resist

How are stories made? Pixar’s Pete Docter — the director of such Pixar hits as Monsters, Inc., Up, and Inside Out, says a “story isn’t made, it’s discovered.”

As a young animator, Docter believed Walt Disney woke up with fully formed stories in his head. When Pixar hired him at 21, he learned what looked like a flash of inspiration was a painstaking process.

This is a process Pixar has mastered as good as any in the business. Over the past few decades, they’ve enjoyed a near flawless track record. …


Photo by Vinicius “amnx” Amano on Unsplash

“How do the brightest creative minds consistently put out great work?”

I asked this question many times when I began writing. To me creativity felt like a mystical process. The artist a divine figure, blessed with a supernatural ability to turn the mundane into magic. I wanted in on the action.

Mason Currey’s Daily Rituals: How Artists Work seemed like an answer to my prayers. The book divulged the daily habits of everyone from Ernest Hemingway to Nikola Tesla. …


The Godfather started out as a 600 page novel. That turned into a 3 hour movie. It finished as a 10 hour trilogy. However, Director Francis Ford Coppola summarizes the epic in a single word:

Succession

The Conversation came out 6 months before Watergate. Some say it predicted the event. All agree it captures the paranoia and distrust of the time. But to Coppola it’s about one thing:

Privacy

Apocalypse Now is a cinematic odyssey down the Mekong River. It took over a decade to make. The cast and crew nearly went insane in the process. …

Antonio Rengel

Educator and Copywriter Who Writes About Creativity, Marketing, Pop Culture, And Occasionally Mindfulness Meditation

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