Let Creativity Flow (Part Four)

Great discussions on creativity, everyone. Just reading your comments is sparking my creativity! So here are the last of my thoughts on what you can do when that well of ideas seems to have run dry:

Take a Time Out. Remember how that works? Time outs? When you were a kid and got a little out of control, Mom sent you to the Time Out chair to cool off. Well, this is a similar principle. Too often we try too hard, which only makes creativity that much harder to find. So take a time-out. Give yourself time to play, to move, to get out of the house, away from your everyday life. Get out in nature. The woods, the ocean, a local park. Go to the library. Go to a museum and let the beauty of other people’s creativity wash over you. Go to the gun range and, as my hubby calls it, “plink.” Take a break from being an adult. Getting away from “it all,” at least once in a while, is restorative.

Spend time with creative people. You know who they are. You know the people in your life who seem to overflow with energy and ideas, with thoughts that spark your mind and spirit. Ask to spend a day with them, and watch their faces. Ask them how they stay focused. What they do to refill and rejuvenate. Let those who have gone before you help you on your journey.

Take a 15-minute vacation. Can’t get away for a whole or even half day? No worries. Take 15 minutes. Close the door. Sit in a comfortable chair. Close your eyes. And let your imagination take you wherever you want to go. Or go online and visit the place you long to be. Find pictures, videos, and more. Let yourself be transported.

Laugh! I’ve seen the restorative power of laughter over and over again, how it brings healing and even health. Watch cartoons, funny movies, or whatever tickles your funnybone. I have a whole shelf of videos and DVDs I watch to laugh. Doris Day movies. Red Skelton and Victor Borge comedy routines. The Dick Van Dyke show. And on and on. One of my all-time favs is a video of NFL snippets, set to ballet music. Hysterical! Laughter is a powerful force, friends. Give it full rein as often as you can. You’ll be amazed how that can rejuvenate you heart, mind, and soul.

Never forget, creativity is a precious gift. One a loving Father has given to bless you and those around you. Cherish it. Express it. Let it bless your world. And in those moments when you feel it’s run out, take a deep breath and relax. It’s still there. I promise. And if none of the ideas we’ve shared helps spark it to life, watch for next week’s blog, for a list of “When All Else Fails, Try These!”

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News You Can Use – Jan. 31, 2012

Amazon’s Hit Man – The is a very good article about Larry Kirshbaum the new head of Amazon’s Trade Publishing division. Every serious writer should read this article. Take the time, it is only 3,400 words. Source is Blomberg’s Business Week magazine.

Is There Hope for Barnes & Noble? – an interesting take by Rich Adin.

Why Are We Obsessed with What’s New? – Maria Popova reviews a book that explored this sociological phenomenon. Oh, by the way, the book is new… 🙂

How to Read a Book – Chad Hall explores the various ways to read. I do a lot of #4.

Will Non-Fiction E-books Achieve the Same Success as Fiction? – Laurel Marshfield explores why e-book fiction outsells e-book non-fiction and whether that will ever change.

Do You Sit at the Computer All Day? – Then read this life-saving article from LifeHacker.

This is a very creative short film (15 minutes), watch it with your kids! It is also an incredible interactive iPad app. Check it out.

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Clarification on Sale of Heartsong to Harlequin

New information has surfaced regarding the sale of Heartsong to Harlequin.

In my post on Friday I made the assumption that the sale included all the backlist and the currently contracted titles. This was reflected in point #5 in the post.

That is not the case. Harlequin did not buy the backlist or the currently contracted titles. Those will remain the property of Barbour Publishing. Thus future repackaging opportunities remain for those titles. That also includes the Heartsong e-books that Barbour is releasing under the “Truly Yours” banner (also mentioned in #5 in that previous post).

Harlequin bought the brand name and the club mailing list, not the books themselves.

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Never Burn a Bridge

The sale of Thomas Nelson to HarperCollins and last week’s sale of Heartsong to Harlequin brought to mind a critical piece of advice:

Never Burn a Bridge!

Ours is a small industry and both editors and authors move around with regularity. If you are in a business relationship and let your frustration boil into anger and ignite into rage…and let that go at someone in the publishing company, you may end up burning the bridge. And that person who you vented on might someday become the head of an entire publishing company.

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Barbour Sells Heartsong to Harlequin

Today Barbour Publishing announced they have sold their Heartsong Presents line of inspirational romances to Harlequin.

For those of us who have been wondering about the eventual buyer, this comes as no surprise. We have known they were being sold since last Fall. In December I spoke with Barbour’s president, Tim Martins, and he confirmed that the sale was in its last stages of negotiation but he could not say who the buyer would be. With their Love Inspired lines of Christian romance, suspense, and historical titles and a strong member subscription base Harlequin is well suited to sustain the Heartsong line for years to come.

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What Does That Mean?

Some time ago, I was writing a story and used a variation of the sentence, “He wished he could be fly on the wall when they had that conversation.” This puzzled my critique partner, who didn’t know it meant. She had never heard the expression “fly on the wall” before and didn’t know it meant the character could be an unobtrusive observer. I decided to change the sentence for fear others wouldn’t understand, either.

I grew up in rural Virginia, and we had some unusual local expressions. Consider:

ugly as homemade soap

screaming bloody murder

grumpy as an old sitting hen

bleeding like a killing hog

slow as molasses on a December morning

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Let Creativity Flow (Part Three)

We all know how elusive creative can be at times. You’ve shared some great ways to get those juices flowing. Here are a few more ideas.

Keep an Evidence Journal. Write down your God Stories. The times you saw God act. The times you felt His touch and presence. Do it with story or just key words. But get it down on paper. When God moves in your day, write it down. When someone speaks truth to your heart, write it down. When you struggle, write it down. Remember the children of Israel were told to write these truths on the doorposts that they might not forget all God had done for them. Then, when you’ve done that for awhile, go back and read what you wrote. It’s so easy to forget God’s faithfulness. What a blessing to have solid, firm evidence of His action, His presence in our lives, in our passion.

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News You Can Use – Jan. 24, 2012

The Secrets Behind the Bestseller List – Ever wonder how those lists are compiled? The Sacramento Bee takes a stab at uncovering the secret.

3 Important Questions about Digital that No One is Asking – Nick Atkinson adds to the ongoing discussion in a sharp manner.

Do Book Bloggers Still Matter? – Beth Kephart asks whether this form of marketing has any influence any more.

10 Bits of Advice to Stop Giving Writers – Nick Mamatas presents a contrarian view of the kinds of things we are teaching at writers conferences and in our blogs. Agree or disagree?

Is Profanity Okay to Use as Part of Your Writing? – Relevant Magazine has this provocative take on profanity in music lyrics. My mom would have washed his mouth out with soap.

The New Logo of a Combined Zondervan and Thomas Nelson – Just Kidding! Robert Treskillard engages in some fun speculation and adds in his own graphic design talents.

Amazon is Gunning to Put Traditional Publishers Out of Business – An anonymous publisher spills his opinions to Sarah Lacy at PandoDaily.

Watch this quick video about the things that have all but disappeared because of technology:

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The Bestseller Code

Take the Bestseller Code test. I dare you.

The web site www.thebestsellercode.com is fascinating. Through some mysterious algorithm it evaluates about 500 words of your novel and grades it on a scale of one to twenty (1 to 20).

Does it work? I gave it a try with a recent proposal from a bestselling client. I took the first page and a half and plugged it into the test. It scored 20.0. A Perfect Score!

Then I took the first page and a half from a recent unsolicited novel and plugged it into the test. It only scored 4.6…out of 20. I had to agree, that sample was awful.

Now is your chance for fun. Go to the site and get your score. Then come back here and tell us in the comments, if you are brave.

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