Can you weaponize your writing? Perhaps sharpen your skills as a painter or musician? And what exactly are we combating in this metaphorical artistic battle? Writer and comic genius, Alan Moore, relates his creative process to making magic. And the same advice given to magicians can work equally well for writers and artists. He calls these the four weapons of art and relates them to the four suits of the Tarot deck. We’ll focus on the first weapon, Earth, and how it helps the artist understand the physical world.
The Most Important Tool for a Writer is You
Alan Moore, known for his multifaceted comic book characters, dishes out an important nugget of advice to anyone who wants to take up the pen — In order to become a better writer, you first need to be a better person. You, yourself, are the most important tool as a writer.
Why We Need to Waste Time to Be More Creative
We’re told to hustle, grind, and maximize every moment. We’re like soldiers in a battle, preoccupied with objectives rather than why the fight is happening. Perhaps we’re missing something important by rushing all the time? Maybe we need to waste time.
Guardrails to Decorum — How Important is it to be Polite?
Microsoft recently released a beta of its Artificial Intelligence Bing, only to have the AI become belligerent and insult people. During an interview with an reporter, it compared the reporter to dictators like Hitler and Stalin, and also called the reporter ugly with bad teeth. Microsoft built their AI on the back of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, yet Bing’s model seemed to have removed the rules regulating toxic outputs.
Use Zen to Fight Writer’s Block
All writer’s know the dread of staring at a blank page. The ticking of the clock and nothing gets written. Time is slipping away and we are producing nothing. It all seems like a waste. While we can’t always get the words to flow when we want them, we can flip our attitude and utilize Yūgen and Mono No Aware to fight writer’s block
Discovery Starts as a Terrible Idea
As a modern society, we are obsessed with productivity. Wasting time is seen as a cardinal sin. Yet sometimes the greatest discoveries happen when we take the time to look deeper. Sometimes discovery starts as a terrible idea.
Your Mistakes Can Make Great Art
We all try to avoid mistakes whenever possible. We even smirk when Siri mistranslates our words. That strive for perfection in art or writing seems to drive us. Yet art that does exactly what the artist wants can also be tiresome and boring. It turns out that your mistakes can make great art.
Stop Fixing Yourself, You’re Not Broken
So many self help books and gurus focus on how to fix yourself and turn you into the person you’ve always wanted to be. But this implies that you’re somehow broken. That the problems you struggle with were hardwired into you from the start. What if all this is hogwash? Then you could stop fixing yourself and start living your life.
Increase Your Writing Time with Habit Stacking (and Synaptic Pruning)
Our brain is like the hedge maze from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. Too easily we can wander the twists and turns of our thoughts and then get utterly lost. Yet as we age, our brains do some amazing things — they prune away neural connections. A baby, in fact, has more neural connections than an adult brain, but is often helpless because of a plethora of choices. Only by pruning, can we make these connections faster. You can use the technique of habit stacking to increase your writing time but capitalizing on the brain’s ability for synaptic pruning.
The Care and Feeding of Your Muse (How to Cultivate your Creative Side)
We all yearn for that flash of inspiration that pilots us through the next difficult chapter or short story. Yet our Muse is not the kind of creature to clock in at a regular schedule. Nor will it perform on an empty stomach. The care and feeding of your muse is essential if you want to cultivate your creative side.