But here's the truth about me and awards: while I *love* the setinment, I'm pretty shabby about following through with the 'things about me' and the blog chain, etc. Not because I don't want to share, but because I don't write about me a lot on here. I don't think anyone's sitting on the edge of their seat dying to know my favorite kind of pasta, or what time of day I shower (on shower days, of course).
However, I love the look of this award so much that I decided to take the plunge and share--with a twist. As some of you may know, I spent a decade designing products before picking up the writer's pen(AKA laptop). During that decade, I learned how to think creatively. The Creative Process is not something to be undertaken lightly, or taken for granted--it is every creative person's life-force. A molten core of creativity that lies within us, ready to spew out ideas if we cultivate it.
So, as an Inspired Blogger, I am supposed to list seven things about myself. And I'm going to do just that. Here are seven things I learned as a designer about The Creative Process:
1. GENERATE ALTERNATIVES. There are *always* multiple solutions to a problem. Don't clutch blindly to the first idea that struck you. When drafting, let the words fly. But in revision, examine each choice and all the alternatives before selecting the best path to take.
2. EVERY IDEA HAS MERIT. There are no stupid ideas. Really. In fact, some of the stupidest ideas prompt the best solutions in the end. When drafting, keep ALL of the ideas. Store them in a little pile off to the side, or in your writer's notebook. Don't allow analysis *during* creation. The time for culling ideas comes during revision.
3. WORK BIG TO SMALL. When creating a product, we generally narrow down the manufacturing process before we design said product. Otherwise, there are too many options to consider, and 99% of our sketches will not apply. So, when working on your story, start at the top with the big ideas, and try like hell not to fuss with the words. Don't waste editorial energy on words you may need to throw away.
4. LISTEN TO CRITIQUE. In design we have a saying: Crit Happens. Critique is something that occurs *constantly* in a design setting. In client reviews, in the war rooms, and in quick snippets of conversation at lunch, in the hall, in the bathroom. Why do we crit so much? Because, the collaboration of minds produces the very best idea. And that is the goal: to find the right idea. Let critique help you do that.
5. YOUR IDEAS ARE NOT YOUR BABIES. If ideas were babies, and designers kept every idea they ever thought of, every designer would have millions of children. So when you get upset about cutting something, remember just how many other ideas you have. And drop the ax.
6. DON'T SKIP STEPS. The Creative Process is just that: a process. If you skip a step, your results will stink. Practice your process religiously. And never, ever skip a step. Do the work in revision, no matter how many revisions it takes. I often see the question: am I done revising? If you tap into your process, you will know when it's time for more feedback, or if your feedback has averaged out and you are ready to submit.
7. TRUST THE PROCESS. In all of the years of designing stuff from toothbrushes to emergency eye-wash stations, I never once ended up with no ideas. Because The Creative Process works. It's completely normal to have jitters at the onset of a new project. But if you follow your dully-practiced path of creative thinking, you will find solutions. Every time. For every problem, there is at least one answer. For most, there are many. So have faith in the process.
(Click to enlarge for a pretty sweet war room panorama)
And now, the truly impossible part of blog awards: passing the award on to others. Here, in no particular order, are three bloggers who inspire me very much.
Jessica Vealitzek shares True Stories every Monday, and I hungrily anticipate her posts every week. Jessica's background in journalism shines through in these fascinating glimpses into other people's lives.
Annie McMahon, AKA Dutch Hill News, who has perhaps the best-researched, most-helpful lists about anything MG ever on her website. So many lists are really a bunch of blah when you read through them. But I find something excellent in every one of Annie's lists.
And last but not least, Andrea Hannah, who self-named blog I discovered a few weeks ago via #Pitchwars, and who cracks me up. There's a lot of great info on her blog, but also, well, an inspiring energetic faith in writing that we all need to read about sometimes.