Sting: A Boy and His Guitar

Sting: A Boy and His Guitar

A boy sits in his room with his beat up guitar. The strings are rusty and it’s severely out of tune.

Yet he plays.

Next door is what’s supposed to be his future, a shipyard where the locals work. It’s noisy and dangerous but getting a job there is competitive. Some of the largest ships in the world are built there.

As the boy plays his guitar, he dreams of a brighter future filled with music, large audiences and awards. It is a dream that’s completely farfetched and crazy. How can a boy with that background become a rock star?

Where would he be if Sting believed that he was destined to work in a shipyard? And what do you think he did after he went years with writer’s block? In this TED Talk he shares with us how his thinking changed that allowed him to become a rock star (you’ll never guess who inspired him) and what he did to write music again.

As you watch this, consider a couple of questions. What do you have in common with that boy, what is your equivalent of being a rock star and what do you need to do to shine?

Ray Bradbury’s advice to writers.

I’m a self improvement junkie. At least once a week, I scour the web looking for ways to improve my writing, effectiveness or learn a new skill. Right now I’m listening to 7 Habits of Highly Effective People again. My biggest goal is learning to live more in Quadrant II, the quadrant where you tend to concentrate on things that are important but not pressing. Too many times we get caught up in taking care of emergencies that we have little time to prevent them.

In my quest to become a better writer, I stumbled upon this gem. Ray Bradbury spends an hour talking about what his career was like and giving a prescription of what writers can do to improve their writing. I plan on writing and reading more short stories. I don’t know if this happens to you, but I get so caught up in reading full length novels that I don’t have the time for short stories.

When you’re done watching this video, check out this website: http://flashfictiononline.com. I really enjoyed 31-E.

Tor.com and the New Yorker also have some really great short stories too.

Finding Nemo creator Andrew Stanton TED Talk about Storytelling

I must have seen this video a dozen times.  I have seen almost all of Andrew Stanton’s animated films. He’s made us believe that toys come to life when we’re not there in Toy Story, made us realize that we really do need to “just keep swimming” in Finding Nemo and shown beauty in the aftermath of destruction WALL-E.

This video lasts less than 20 minutes long, but he gives a treasure trove of advice to writers in it. His first piece of advice, “Make me care.”

Wow! Have you thought about the story you’re writing in this context? Sure, it might have explosive action scenes or a great mystery. But, how much effort have you given to making the reader fall for your characters? How much do you know your characters, even the villains?

Enjoy!