Tuesday, March 24, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Mac Barnett and Why a Good Book is a Secret Door

I dare you to watch Mac Barnett's TED Talk and not 1. Laugh and 2. Be Inspired. :)

I double-dog-dare you, in fact.

I love Mac's reverse take on the through the wardrobe--how he wants to bring fiction alive, into real life. And I LOVE how he (and Dave Eggers with 826 Valencia) achieve this.

Wait until you meet Riley and her magic melon. And the pirate supply store. And Nico with his pet whale Randolph.

Can't see the @TEDtalks? Click here.
I'm going to call it wonder. It's what Coleridge called the willing suspension of disbelief or poetic faith, for those moments where a story, no matter how strange, has some semblance of the truth, and then you're able to believe it. It's not just kids who can get there. Adults can too, and we get there when we read.--Mac Barnett
Wonder. Yup, that's it.

So, this is a TED Talk for anyone who has found the TARDIS in real life (do make sure to go inside), or felt like they were inside the Harry Potter world when traveling to London.

Adults CAN get there. And we can take people there through our writing.

Our house loves BATTLE BUNNY and all the awesome Meta-ness that @MacBarnett creates. I hope you check out some of his books for even further inspiration!

Oh, and there is an 826 Boston, so if you are local, consider tutoring.

So, what inspires you? What books lead you through the wardrobe door and come to life for you? What characters live on in your mind long after you close the book?

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Amanda Palmer and The Art of Asking

A friend of mine who needs a couple of beta readers started talking to me about where she's planning on finding them--online communities of writers who are strangers. She hasn't interacted with them yet.

She's a supportive member of a vibrant local writing community, so I asked her why she wasn't looking for a critique within that community--she's already built respectful and true connections there.

She said that people are busy, and she didn't want to ask because she didn't want to bother anyone.

I told her that people would say no if they couldn't, and that I hoped that she would seek a reader within our community.

But it's so much more than that. Asking for something is often times a value exchange. For both parties. One person (hopefully) gets a thoughtful critique. The other gets to see their own mistakes in someone else's. Or see the things they do well. My writing grows so much when I critique others. Or the critiquer might get a future favor. Or karma for paying it forward. Because someone sometime gave them a critique. Whatever is exchanged, there is value on both sides of the equation.

And that is what Amanda Palmer says in her TED Talk: The Art of Asking. Value on both sides of the equation. I love the way she thinks about and interacts with her fans, her art.

And she makes a poetic case for self-publishing, I think. :) She's using a new model to get her art to her fans. Speaking of self-publishers, here's a few you will meet at the #nescbwi15 conference: our chair, Natasha Sass (writing under a pen name Ansha Kotyk) and Laura Pauling, who is presenting several workshops! (If you are planning on coming to #nescbwi15 and haven't registered, there are only a few spots until we sell out, so register soon!)

@AmandaPalmer writes more about this in her book by the same title, check it out here: http://amandapalmer.net/

What do you think? Has she taken the shame piece out of asking? Do you draw parallels between what she is doing with music and what you are doing with writing?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

TED Talk Tuesday: Raghava KK: Shake up your story

There's only 25 spots left for the #NESCBWI15 conference! Don't delay if you want to come--we'll sell out soon. :)

This year, we're proud to bring in the #WeNeedDiverseBooks founders for a panel, as well as workshops dedicated toward writing diversely. I'm especially interested in the workshop Developing a Gay or Questioning Character in the Middle Grade Context.

In that spirit, I'm so pleased to present artist Raghava KK and his expressive children's book. He talks about how to create empathy and says, "I promise to bias my child with multiple perspectives." :) Check out what happens when he shakes his book!

What do you think? Do you shake things up in your story? Will we hang together at #nescbwi15?

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?