Playing in the Sand—Or how I Became an Author in one Therapy Session

Guest post
by Stefan Bolz

It all began when my colleague told me about her friend who had computer problems. I have been writing for a while, mostly poetry, a few screenplays and the beginnings of a novel when I was seventeen.

But I never considered myself a writer and I never—never—could have dreamed up what that incidental encounter had in store for me. It all started with a faulty wireless connection and a new printer.

I seem to have good computer karma and my colleague at work thought I could make some extra money by setting up her friend’s, computer with her printer at her home. When I got to her house, she asked me very nonchalantly about the date and time of my birth. As I found out, she is an excellent Astrologer. I gave it to her and, for the next hour or so, she told me all about where my sun is and which house I was born in and the whole problem with Gemini. Continue reading “Playing in the Sand—Or how I Became an Author in one Therapy Session”

Switching Brains

My day job is kicking my butt. Or rather, it is kicking the right side of my brain. After hours filled with schedules and multi-tasking and spreadsheets — oh, the spreadsheets — my creativity is bruised and submerged. I make time to write but the stories won’t come. I walk to free my mind and end up solving budget problems. I start to write, anything just to be writing, but the words are all surface babble, self-conscious, and not creative at all. I go to bed in hopes the characters will break free in my dreams, but I fall asleep with visions of spreadsheets lying flat.

The left brain is a big bully, and I’d like to shut it off and bring back my right brain from exile, but the truth is, both sides are always talking to each other. Research from Australia (Pettigrew, 2004) shows that the human brain naturally switches dominance from left to right and back (or logical to sensory, detailed to holistic) about eight or ten times every minute. For mathematicians, this switch rate can be as low as two times per minute, giving their logical brain near full dominance. On the flip side (get it?), Buddhist monks who have spent years practicing meditation can sustain dominance of the sensory brain for several minutes at a time — something most mere mortals cannot do. Continue reading “Switching Brains”

Conquering Self-Doubt (Don’t be Afraid to Suck)

Author Brian Beam

One of my favorite fantasy authors, Brandson Sanderson, once imparted some wonderful advice for writers. Just five simple words. Five words that could possibly be the best writing advice I have ever heard: “Don’t be afraid to suck.”

When I write, I sometimes find myself wondering, “What will readers think about this? What will they say?” Before I know it, I am questioning every word, every sentence, and every paragraph that emerges on the screen before me.

Doubt worms its ugly presence into my brain like a bad pop song with crippling intensity, turning my productivity dial to 0. I realize that I am afraid to suck. Continue reading “Conquering Self-Doubt (Don’t be Afraid to Suck)”

The Science of Creating – Kathy Rowe

Author Kathy Rowe

In my former life, I was what the Air Force called a “Diagnostic Imaging Craftsman.” In other words, fancy speak for an x-ray technician. I did a little bit of everything: routine x-ray, fluoroscopy, mammography, CAT scan, and assisted in MRI. So when I see stuff that deals with imaging, I tend to take notice.

Lately, I’ve seen some pretty interesting articles on the human brain. Let’s face it, we as writers use that big blob of gray and white matter between our ears something fierce. There’s probably not a day that goes by that we don’t have some story idea or characters lurking inside. It’s just what we do and who we are. Continue reading “The Science of Creating – Kathy Rowe”