Line Up Your Shoes.

It is traditional when entering a Japanese home to take off your shoes and place them together, neatly, inside the hallway. These shoes should also be pointing out of the building, prepared and ready for your outward journey.

Creative types come in all shapes and sizes – like people really,

There is a romantic notion of creative genius being messy and chaotic but creating beauty out of it.

For some of us that might be true – messy and chaotic at the very least.

Others may be ordered and organised.

I have no judgement on either type, but I will confess that I can easily slip into one but prefer being the other – you can decide which.

One of the traditional ways of craftspeople and artists in Japan I admire the most is their focus on their tools and the process of creating.

For them, their tools are an extention of their movements and the process is part of the creativity.

Preparation and tool placement is very much like the chef’s mise en place.

Every thought and movement you make in the process of your creativity, helps to form the final piece.

Wasted movements take away from the creativity.

Searching for a brush you know is somewhere in a drawer, running out of a tube of paint in the process of application, trying to find the piece of paper you wrote that chord progression on in the footwell of your car, all interrupt and divert.

Organisation my not be a ‘creative’ word, but preparation and making the process as smooth as possible will have a fantastic impact upon your creativity.

Like lining up your shoes for the next journey, line up your tools for the process of creating.

Tips for Screenwriters from a Professional Story Analyst – Coverfly

Tips for Screenwriters from a Professional Story Analyst – Coverfly
— Read on

Great pointers from story analyst , Micah Goldman.

‘Your voice is the soul of the screenplay.’

So what is your voice and how can you show that on the screen or the page?

To Be A Great Writer, Be A Cook.

Photo by Michael Wave on Unsplash

Ingredients, Flavour, and Cooking – Words, Structure, and Writing.

In The Script Lab‘s interview with Scott Neustadter (500 Days of Summer), one of the pieces of advice he gives is that writers should learn to ‘be a cook’.

His point is that, particularly in screenwriting, there is always going to be collaboration. You need to learn to work with others to produce the best script you can.

In any professional kitchen there are any number of ‘cooks’ and together they produce the finished plate of food which you eat.

In combining your expertise with that of others you make your writing/script better – the best that you can make it.

You learn new techniques. You try different combinations of ingredients. You taste different flavourings.

You experiment and refine.

There is a tv show in the UK called Masterchef. There is an amateur, professional, and celebrity version, but they all follow the same format – everybody cooks and some go through and others don’t. Not all of the prettiest food goes through, but the food which has the best taste and shows the better technique is chosen.

As the rounds progress, the remaining cooks are given the opportunity to work in real restaurants. They learn from some of the greatest cooks in the world. They listen to feedback from the best food and restaurant writers.

Towards the final places, the cooks are expected to show their understanding of new techniques and new flavours. They are now being judged on what they have learnt as well as how great the food looks and tastes.

I get Scott Neustadter’s point.

I also get that my ability to produce the finest beans on toast wouldn’t get me very far in Masterchef.

I also get that in making that comparison my writing might not match up to my beans on toast!

So how do we be better cooks/writers?

To be a great cook you need to understand your ingredients, flavour combinations, presentation, recipes. You need to experiment and practice. One contestant in Masterchef was asked how confident they were feeling about their food and they replied that the seventeen times they had cooked it that week had all gone well!

As writers we have to understand words and how they combine with others. We need to understand the structure which binds the words together. We need to know the recipes – the greatest books in our genre or story type – and how we can tweak here and there to produce something as equal or better.

We need to practise over and over again.

That might even be at a sentence or paragraph level.

Experiment. Learn from other writers.

Try styles of writing you have never done before. Look at how they use their ingredients to produce the final dish.

What can you take and use in your own writing?

Write and experiment. Write and refine. Write and practise until you get it how you want it.

Create those amazing new plates of food.

23 Days in July 2019 – Le Tour – Stage 14.

The Tour has its own heritage and legends not only in the riders of the peloton but also in the stages themselves. The HC – haut category – climbs are essentially marked as ‘beyond classification’ and are largely where the Tour de France is won or lost. The Col du Tourmalet is one of these famous HC climbs, at 19km long with an average of 7.4% – the last 3kms having gradients of 10.9%, 7.2%, and 9.8%.

As creatives we have these legends of HC’s in our field of creativity. There is the history and the stories which we learn, and fear or embrace, and against which we inevitably must test ourselves.

On The Cycling Podcast, Francois Thomazeau made the point that team Ineos appeared to be losing their control over the race and they were now not the emphatic force that they have been in the past. He further surmised that other key Tour teams have suffered a similar fate around seven years into their dominance, e.g. Banesto with Pedro Delgado and Miguel Indurain, United Postal with Lance Armstrong, and now Team Ineos with Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

Interestingly, these observations come after the general pundit predictions of Thomas winning the time trial stage and Alaphilippe most likely to drop off the pace on the Tourmalet. Okay, Thomas came second in the time trial and faded in the last kilometre on the Tourmalet, but also add into this that Chris Froome isn’t there – if he was here and in form then it would be difficult not to see him comfortably be in Yellow and with a decent lead. Suddenly Team Ineos wouldn’t seem so passé.

Stage Summary:

117.5km – Tarbes to Tourmalet Bareges.

Julian Alaphilippe has now got riders and pundits changing their opinions of him after today’s stage. Thibaut Pinot suddenly shot out of obscurity in this year’s Tour to justify his pre-race status as a possible podium placing. The maillot jaune came in 2nd and took further time out of Geraint Thomas. A shorter stage for this Tour but plenty of fireworks from the peloton, perhaps countering the organiser’s thinking that the longer stages were needed to make the racing more interesting. Short and punchy, making everyone go earlier, seems to have created much more of a spectacle. Chapeau to Alaphilippe for the defence of his leader’s jersey.

Day 403 – Tradition.

Watch this.

It takes 6 minutes.

It’s about a Scots Gaelic singer named Julie Fowlis.

She was born and brought up in Northern Uist, in the Hebridean Islands.

She talks about musical traditions, some going back to the Twelfth Century.

In many creative endeavours tradition(s) is(are) normally quite important. But I think in many instances they are becoming less so.

In your particular creative pursuit, what are the traditions? Do you know?

Why does your detective have an assistant?

Why does your thriller protagonist insist on working alone?

Why do you use that particular perspective in your painting, or frame in that particular way when you take a photograph?

Why do you use those chord progressions, or verse and chorus combinations, in your music?

Research and learn your traditions.

They may provide you with a new direction in your creative art you were not expecting.