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Quotes Writing

Neil Gaiman on how we find our own writing voice

Most of us find our own voices only after we’ve sounded like a lot of other people.

Neil Gaiman

First, we emulate and then we originate.

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Arts Books Writing

Neil Gaiman’s MasterClass: Learn the art of storytelling

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An image of Neil Gaiman thinking for a promotion of his storytelling MasterClass course
image via Masterclass

Introducing one of the biggest MasterClass courses yet: Award-winning author Neil Gaiman teaches students how to create compelling plots, new characters, and bring unseen worlds to life. If you want to be a compelling author, you’ll need to improve your storytelling.

In 19 lessons, the world-renowned writer takes his students through his own philosophy on what drives a story while also guiding them on how to develop their own unique writing voice. In an interview with Vanity Fair, the author of American Gods, Coraline, Stardust, and The Sandman, reiterates that his class is more about sharpening your stories than it is about enhancing your prose.

I definitely talk about writing, but what I get into more—because it’s much more interesting to me—is the mechanics of how you find and build the story and make your characters interesting. How you take that idea and build it into a short story, how you can look at a short story and decide if it has the length to become a novel. I suppose it’s my justification. I know lots of novelists. Novelists are very nice people. But I’m not a novelist. I’m a storyteller who sometimes writes novels, and graphic novels, and short stories, and makes film or television.

Neil Gaiman

The course includes a downloadable workbook with creative writing exercises and interactive resources plus lesson recaps and ‘office hours’ where students can submit videos to classmates and hear back from Neil himself!

Below is the entire lesson plan:

  1. Introduction
  2. Truth in Fiction
  3. Sources of Inspiration
  4. Finding Your Voice
  5. Developing the Story
  6. Story Case Study: The Graveyard Book
  7. Short Fiction
  8. Short Fiction Case Study: “March Tale”
  9. Dialogue and Character
  10. Character Case Study: “October Tale”
  11. Worldbuilding
  12. Descriptions
  13. Humor
  14. Genre
  15. Comics
  16. Dealing with Writer’s Block
  17. Editing
  18. Rules for Writers
  19. The Writer’s Responsibilities

About MasterClass

If you’ve never taken a MasterClass before, it’s a great opportunity to take a peek into the mind and explore the process of some of the world’s leading experts in photography, writing, music production, filmmaking, and even cooking. You may be aware of Malcolm Gladwell’s writing courseTom Morello’s electric guitar course, or Serena Williams teaches tennis course.   

If you’re looking for a great gift, consider sending one of the courses to a loved one or friend. Even better, gift someone the All-Access Pass so they can explore all the courses they want!

Categories
Culture Social Media

Don’t confuse social media with your diary

via giphy

Authenticity is the bread and butter of developing an attractive online persona. People relate to users that share bits of their personal lives.

But a lot of people confuse social media with their diary. The viewer cringes at over-admissions of vulnerability. Too much info!

What followers want are real stories, not overly planned content, digital manipulation, sympathy-provoking posts, and canned responses.

“Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.”

Neil Gaiman

The world already has enough actors and curated lives that entertain and inspire. It’s a relief to see people that act off-screen like they do offline.

Categories
Productivity & Work Tech

Planning unscheduled time

Guess what? Your mind still works even when it’s doing nothing. The reason great ideas come to you in the shower is that your brain’s bored and relaxed.

If you want to shake out even more ideas, therefore, it behooves you to disconnect more often. Instead of wasting cognitive energy at screens, just sit there with no stimulation other than a pen and pad.

Author Neil Gaiman says the only inspiration you need to write a book is absolute boredom. You’ll be amazed at how the ideas start to connect when you decide to do nothing, unmoored from the stickiness of technology.

Taking your foot off the gas in the pursuit of dullness takes deliberate practice. You’ve been trained to do a lot more with continuous partial attention, but at the cost of engaging deeply on one particular task.

Busyness often gets confused with checking email, swiping left and right, and other screen-obsessed habits that never let you get out of your own head. Once you’re more mindful of how you spend your waking time, you’ll start to appreciate moments of boredom. Magic happens in an “unexpected state.”

Categories
Creativity Productivity & Work Social Media Writing

Why everyone should blog

Everyone should blog. You do not have to publish 500 words a day. You do not even need to post at all. In fact, writing comes easier when you can write for yourself, in private. #blogging
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see the disclosure for more info.

Everyone should blog. You do not have to publish 500 words a day. You do not even need to post at all. In fact, writing comes easier when you can write for yourself, in private.

Use a smartphone journal like the Day One app or the ever-popular Morning Pages Journal where you write by hand. When it comes to blogging effectively, you have to be a little vulnerable. Don’t tell all but don’t hide everything either, especially if your advice will benefit the lives of other people.

“Everyone should write a blog, every day, even if no one reads it. There’s countless reasons why it’s a good idea and I can’t think of one reason it’s a bad idea.” 

Seth Godin

I have been blogging for years (click here to view my guide to setting up a blog on WordPress). It is harder to get an audience who cares to read your stuff today than it has ever been. You have to assume nobody wants to read your shit because he or she is busy or would rather be social networking or playing games instead. However, for those readers who do read your blog frequently, they have subscribed for a reason.

Luis Suarez has been blogging since 2002 and recently offered some advice about using your blog to reflect the real you.

“It’s all about having a meaningful presence and how you work your way to make it happen, to leave a legacy behind, to share your thoughts and ideas others can learn from just like you do yourself with other people’s vs. pretending to be who you are not…Just be yourself with your own thoughts and share them along! It is what we all care for, eventually. The rest is just noise.”

Luis Suarez

No, blogging is not dead

People like to say blogging is dead. But not only are new platforms emerging like Medium, but blogging is just writing. Words will always be a powerful way to say something meaningful, whether it is in print, online, graffiti, or the walls of a cave.

I started this blog so I could show the world what interests me. It is no surprise that what you read here is information I learned from other blogs. In other words, blogging acts like a canvass where you synthesize, remix and interpret in your words.

Above all, blogging is free, what Seth Godin calls “the last great online bargain.” Blogging gives you a voice, and it is an excellent incentive to think in a world that just wants us to consume.

Blogging is a bicep curl for the brain. Write daily, and practice the art of conviction.

“Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t “network” or “promote.” Just talk.”

Neil Gaiman
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Uncategorized

Use your blog to connect. Use it as you. Don’t ‘network’ or ‘promote.’ Just talk.

Neil Gaiman

The ability to write in the open is as liberating as it is bold. A blogger’s job is to provoke new ways of thinking and seeing the world. It’s not about being right.