Tuesday, January 20, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Austin Kleon with Steal Like An Artist

I just finished reading Austin Kleon's book, SHOW YOUR WORK! (Loved it!)

It's equal parts inspiration and social media instruction. Which is oddly the perfect combination for a writer. :)

It's an easy and interesting read, with many pages of images and diagrams. I would recommend, to anyone who is writing or illustrating, that they pick up a copy, read it, and then gift it to someone else. It's something that should be passed along!

Visit Austin at http://austinkleon.com/
I think I'll gift my copy to @writersloftma. :)

Austin Kleon also wrote a book called STEAL LIKE AN ARTIST, so I am sharing his unique TED Talk about how nothing is new and how creators should embrace that!


Can't see the TED talk? View it here

I love how he focuses on artists as collectors--we're only as interesting as the stuff that we find interesting and pack into our toolbox. :)

For anyone who is counting (I know I am!) I am on day 14 of my streaking. WOOT! If you want to streak with us, click here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1561169480764436/

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday and The Power of Habit with Charles Duhigg

We go to church every Sunday. Not because we're Type A about church or anything, but because if we ever took some Sundays off, then my kids would want to take all the Sundays off. They like seeing their friends at church and enjoy Sunday school, but sleeping in is pretty awesome too. So it's easier when going to church each week is just something we do.

This Sunday is my favorite Sunday: our Martin Luther King church service with our sister AME church in Boston. Amazing music and camaraderie and hopefullness. Can I get an Amen?


Some writing friends and I started a streaking club last week (which you're welcome to join) in the hopes of making writing each day just something we do. In that spirit, here's a great TED Talk with Charles Duhigg about how to create our own willpower. It's all about cues and rewards and planning our decisions ahead of time. This is a great talk, and one that I'm sure I'll refer back to in order to help create some habits for myself and my kids.

Fascinating at 3:30 when Charles Duhigg explains what happens in our brain when we are driving (or walking) and forget how we got somewhere.

And at 4:34 when he explains how to start a habit of exercise with cues and rewards.

5:39--bootstrapping your brain! :)

I laughed at 7:50--what 250 million dollars sounds like going up in flames!

9:33--the marshmallow test. Now we're getting into the good stuff!

And 11:30--when the scientist discovers that kids who can resist eating the marshmallow are more successful.

At 13:33 we learn how to to not eat the marshmallow. And how to be more successful!

Do you have new habits you're trying to create in the new year? How's your writing life?
Are you streaking?

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Streaking and TED Talk Tuesday: Angela Lee Duckworth's Key to Success: GRIT

So I've decided to take up streaking this January.

Nope, not that kind of streaking. :)

Streaking, as in, trying to do things for as many days as I can in a row. In order to join the US Running Streak Association, one needs to run at least a mile for 365 days.

I think there is a lot of wisdom in that.

First of all, it's totally doable. On any given day, I can run a mile. But, have I ever run every single day of the year? Nope. Totally doable and yet totally a terrific challenge.


How does this translate to writing? Simply. I'm going to set the goal of writing every day for 30 minutes. Most days I'll write more than that. And I'm the first to admit that some days I need not to write--some days I need to think about a project. And on those days, I'll write something different. And think about the project that needs some air.

I don't think that this will burn me out like NaNo. (Don't get me wrong I LOVE NaNo!)

And, if I skip a day, I'll start the streak over. (But I'm not planning on skipping.) So, who's with me? Let's start a writing streaking club.

Let's call it the Writers' Loft Streaking Club--but anyone can join.

I'm not big about new year's resolutions, but I am big about beginnings. Let's streak.

To spur you on, here's some inspiration from Angela Lee Duckworth, who shares that it isn't smarts but GRIT that creates success.

You know, like the grit that you need to write (or run) every single day.

Can't see this TED talk via blogger? Click here.

Will you streak with me? :)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

TED Talk Tuesday: Salman Khan Uses Video to Reinvent Education

First off, this dude knows everything. :) And is so funny!

Watching this TED talk brought some interesting things to mind. I love how this amazing huge learning community started as a few videos so Khan could tutor his cousins.

Khan talks about the importance of reducing the embarrassment of learning. Even now, even after years and years of people critiquing my work, I still feel that tug of shame when someone points out a weakness in my manuscript, especially when I think I should have mastered that particular skill by now. So, I get that. I get the exquisiteness of being able to learn privately, to go over something again and again until I own it.

And I love the parallels between this talk and John Green's, which also discusses the value of community video learning. (When super smart people start saying the same thing, it makes me take notice!)

What would writing novels (or Picture Books) look like if we could watch videos on all the components, at our own pace, with examples and practice? I would love a Khan academy on writing!

I think the applications he talks about for self-paced learning in the classroom is amazing, especially since in the new model (dare I say-- Common Core) kids do not move forward until they master a skill. Which is a great idea, but so hard in practice, unless a model like this is adopted.

This idea of humanizing the classroom has lots of implications. It may change how I think of what we do at the Writers' Loft.

Do you use Khan Academy? Have you taken any online writing classes with video as the means of giving information? Did you find it as useful as the Khan Academy model?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

TED Talk Thursday: Kelly McGonigal and How to Make Stress Your Friend

So, I first saw this post at The Styling Librarian's blog, so please, pop over there and give her some love!

It's an excellent TED talk, and one that I am using on a daily basis right now, as I manage my longer to-do list this year. If you see me around and I am mumbling "stress is good...this is good stress...stress is good..." please don't think I've gone off the deep end (yet).

So thank you to Josh Funk for pointing me in the right direction and thanks to the Syling Librarian for putting it out in the writing/reading blogosphere.

Love it when she asks us to trust ourselves to handle life's challenges. So powerful.

Interestingly enough, Kelly is the twin sister of my other favorite TED talker: Jane McGonigal. Would love to hang out at family dinner with those two!!

How do you deal with stress? Before this talk, did you view stress as a damaging force?