Is this the Single Greatest Tool for Solving Problems?

This short video by Mindvalley Academy, the online university for transformational education, teaches you a three-step technique for finding inspiration by one of the founders of the self-actualization movement, Napoleon Hill.

The ideas in this video remind me of how Steven Pressfield invocates the Muse before beginning his work for the day. He discusses this at length in his powerful book, The War of Art, a must-read for anyone engaged in creative pursuits.

I think there is some value in meditating on those who have gone before us and made progress in areas that we would like to make progress in. Theorists say that there are anywhere from 10-14 dimensions (or beyond). The ninth dimension is made up of “selection patterns that represent a generalized preference for one kind of universe over another.” I have a feeling that when we are accessing our imaginations, we are somehow tapping into this dimension of infinite possibilities.

I have no way of proving any of this, and my mind starts to fizz and pop like an electrical breaker box full of wet sprockets when I try to imagine how the ninth, tenth, etc. dimensions work, but I like the idea that there is a storehouse of all possible ideas that we can get access to if we are still enough and listen.

Let me know how the meetings with your mentors go by dropping me a line at pauljennynyc@gmail.com or leaving a comment below.

Writing Prompt 03: Retro Car of the Future

Flickr photo by Marlo Klingemann

Flickr photo by Marlo Klingemann

I love old photos of what people thought the future would be like.

You could use this photo to write a story about the characters as they are: a mom and child who live in the fifties but have a “futuristic” lifestyle, or you could write about a future where everything is very retro.

Please share a link to your story in the comments and follow Stories are the Wildest Things for more great writing prompts, tips and techniques to inspire your writing.

Sphenopalatine Ganglioneuralgia – Wildest Word of the Day

Flickr photo by Jayel Aheram

Flickr photo by Jayel Aheram

Also known as “Brain Freeze” (a term first used in published form in 1991), sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia is the scientific term meaning nerve pain of the sphenopalatine ganglion.

According to Wikipedia, this is considered a misnomer because the pain is actually thought to be caused by the trigeminal nerves. The rapid cooling of the blood vessels in the sinuses causes the trigeminal nerves to react and send signals to the brain indicating that the pain is coming from the forehead, which in turn causes “ice cream headache” or brain freeze. This same mechanism is thought to cause the “auras” associated with migraines.

I occasionally get migraines with aura, but it’s been awhile since I’ve had a good brain freeze. I’ll have to head over to the local 7-Eleven and suck down a Slurpee on the next hot July day and see what happens. I can’t wait to see the look on the clerk’s face when I grab my forehead in pain and yell, “Help, I’m having an attack of sphenopalatine ganglioneuralgia!”

Let me know in the comments about your favorite brain freeze incident. I’m sure there are some pretty wild stories out there.

Harlan Coben – Writing Quote Wednesday

KaliCoben

Writing Quote created by Paul Jenny with Flickr photo “Kali Sweats it Out” by Abhisek Sarda

This gorgeous photo by Abhisek Sarda perfectly embodies this quote by Harlan Coben and how I feel right now working on the first draft of my MG adventure novel.

Kali is the Goddess of Time, Change and Destruction, and I feel like she is always close at hand any time we begin a creative act.

I sit down at the keyboard, inspired, ready to get more words on the page. As time passes, I begin to sweat because the story I have in my mind isn’t flowing as easily onto the page. With mounting desperation, I wrestle with my characters as they threaten to change and destroy the original idea of where the story is going.

But the beauty of Kali and the wisdom she imparts is that she is the “ultimate reality” and her change is inevitable. Like a devotee of Kali, I have to give in time and change and destruction. Resistance is futile. She is a goddess and she demands our full attention with her three eyes, four hands, skirt of human hands and necklace of skulls.

So do our stories, for they are the wildest things.

“O Mother, even a dullard becomes a poet who meditates upon thee raimented with space, three-eyed, creatrix of the three worlds, whose waist is beautiful with a girdle made of numbers of dead men’s arms…” (From a Karpuradistotra hymn, translated from Sanskrit by Sir John Woodroffe)

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Watch Harlan Coben talk about his early writing on RT Book Reviews on YouTube.com

 

10 Ways to Know You’re a Writer

You’ve wondered, right?

You’ve asked yourself this question many times and you’re reading this post to find out, “Am I a writer?”

Like a hypochondriac checking out WebMD over and over again, you scour articles and blog posts for the telltale signs and symptoms that you’ve got what it takes to declare yourself a writer.

I do, too. That’s why I came up with this list of 10 Ways to Know You’re a Writer.

After reading the list, click on the links to the other great blog posts and articles that relate to each of these ideas.

Please leave me a comment about which symptoms you come down with most often, or add some new ones of your own.

You Know You’re a Writer if…

10. You take really long showers because you’re working on a writing problem or your fictional characters are having conversations in your head and you’re eavesdropping on them. (I came up with the idea for this blog post while taking a shower this morning.)

9.  Your favorite hashtag on Twitter is #amwriting (<=== or these nine other hashtags).

8. Your friends and family ask you to “pick a movie already” when you’re on Netflix and you tell them, “I’m not picking a movie, I’m reading the synopses.”

7. You check Amazon.com synopses for books that are similar to the one you are writing right now (you also say “synopses” a lot).

6. You have a Pinterest board where you pin cool spaces for writing retreats.

5. When you’re out with friends, instead of engaging in conversation you narrate your life – “Paul sat on his bar stool nursing a half-finished beer. Conversations swirled around him, but he was lost in his thoughts. He should be home writing, but his friends insisted he come out with them to celebrate his latest book, All By Myself’.”

4. You constantly notice grammatical errors in other people’s writing but can’t seem to find them in your own.

3. You love words and could spend hours pouring through 500 billion of them or enjoy lexicography.

2. Your Evernote app, filing cabinet, desktop, etc. is overflowing with so many ideas, photos and articles for future stories and blog posts that it’s hard to find the one you’re looking for when you need it.

1. But the number one way to know you are a writer is – You declare yourself to be one and then sit in the chair and write!

There are a LOT of great 10 Ways to Know articles out there on the internet. My Google search turned up 1,650,000,000 hits in .039 seconds. That makes 16.5 billion things to know. That’s about 2.28 things to know for each person living on Earth today. Here are 10 of the 1.65 billion 10 Ways articles I took a look at for this post.

  1. 10 Ways to Know if You’re Confident – or Arrogant
  2. 10 Ways to Find Happiness
  3. 10 Ways to Know that You’re a Stoner
  4. 10 Ways to Know Very Quickly if your Man is a Psychopath
  5. 10 Ways to Develop Your Personal Style
  6. 10 Ways to Alter Your Consciousness Without Drugs
  7. Top 10 Ways to Annoy the Locals
  8. 10 Ways to Help Your Community in 30 Minutes or Less
  9. 10 Ways to Know You’re Having a Hot Flash
  10. 10 Ways to Be a Great Dad

John Steinbeck – Writing Quote Wednesday

 

JohnSteinbeckQuote

Created by Paul Jenny with a Flickr photo by Cliff Hutson

 

I’m in the thick of slogging away at my MG paranormal adventure novel’s first draft l and I often find myself meeting with a lot of resistance when I try to start.

I like Steinbeck’s quote about abandoning the idea of finishing because it gives me the sense that I’m engaging in an ongoing process and the work to be done is  just the work that needs to be done for that day. If I can get through my word count for just that day, I am always surprised by the end of the week at how much I’ve actually accomplished.

If you sign up for the Stories are the Wildest Things Insider newsletter, I’ll send you a free book of all the Writing Quote Wednesday images I’ve created for the blog when it’s completed.

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Watch John Steinbeck “roaring like a lion” during his Nobel Prize speech on YouTube.com