Archive for December, 2011

Envy and Your Creative Life

Wednesday, December 28th, 2011

Envy is an insult to oneself.
Yevgeny Yevtushenko

Envy is human nature.
Monica Bellucci

A simple dictionary definition of envy is “a feeling of discontent or covetousness with regard to another’s advantages, success, possessions, etc.”

In this famous shot of Sophia Loren (left) and Jayne Mansfield at a Beverly Hills restaurant in 1957, Loren may or may not be feeling envy – but I like the photo.

Reportedly, Mansfield’s extravagant cleavage was a publicity stunt intended to deflect attention from Sophia Loren during a dinner party in Loren’s honor.

Envy can be an insidious feeling, with a collection of attitudes and beliefs that impact our creative energy and motivation.

Developing Creativity With Patience

Monday, December 19th, 2011

“Patience is a somewhat devalued commodity. Particularly among those who ought to know better – writers themselves.” Dennis Palumbo

Formerly a Hollywood screenwriter, Dennis Palumbo is now a licensed psychotherapist in private practice, specializing in creative issues.

In one of his HOLLYWOOD ON THE COUCH column posts, he refers to the early 60’s movie The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner:

“I think of this film sometimes when trying to help my writer patients working on long-form projects—novels, plays, screenplays, etc. The running analogy is a good one, because long-form writing is like running a marathon: it requires endurance, patience, a deep reserve of will power and commitment, and an almost Herculean ability to delay gratification.

Resources for Developing Creativity and Innovation

Thursday, December 15th, 2011

paint by numbers! - By originallittlehellraiserLinks to a variety of sites with articles on creativity research by multiple authors, plus courses, programs & books for developing creativity and innovation.

Sites / Blogs
- – – -

Creating in Flow – “Insights and advice about all forms of creative expression” – By Susan K. Perry, PhD, a social psychologist, writer, and writing consultant.

Creativity at Work: Developing creativity and innovation in organizations

Founder: Linda Naiman – a creativity and innovation consultant. “Our focus is on leadership and team development, creativity, collaboration, and cultivating environments that foster innovation.”


Designing Video Games for Mental Health

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

There are many different flavors of video games – and many critical or conflicting studies on their psychological and social impacts. Articles on Psych Central, for example, include Brain Scans Show Violent Video Games Alter Brain Activity, By Rick Nauert PhD and Video Games May Not Enhance Cognitive Skills After All, By Traci Pedersen.

Gaming is not of any particular interest to me, but I was intrigued with a recent newspaper report about Erin Reynolds, a USC cinematic arts graduate student, and her team who are developing a video game that “uses heart-rate sensors to help players learn to stay calm as they wind their way through a decrepit house filled with their characters’ horrific memories.

“She believes her psychological thriller game, Nevermind, can help people develop ways to cope with stress.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt on Collective Creation

Thursday, December 8th, 2011

“It makes more sense in its absurdity than it would have if it were created by just one person, one designer.”

Joseph Gordon-Levitt

He may be more well-known as an actor (movies: “Inception,” “50/50″ etc), but Gordon-Levitt is also the founder and director of, an online production company that shares profits with contributing artists.

The image is from an intro video by him on

Also on the site, he describes the venture: “In a nutshell: we create and develop art and media collaboratively here on our site; we use my position in the traditional entertainment industry to turn that creativity into money-making productions; and then we share any profits with the contributing artists. In a nutter shell, we just have fun making things together. Videos, writing, photography, music, anything…”

Diablo Cody On The Catharsis of Writing

Monday, December 5th, 2011

According to a Psych Central entry (by Renée Grinnell), catharsis means “the first full realization and expression of emotions surrounding significant occurrences in one’s past; emotional release.”

So how does that relate to creative expression?

On his blog Screenwriting from Iowa, Scott W. Smith includes this interesting quote on the topic:

“Robert McKee, in his excellent book Story, defines the goal of the screenwriter as ‘a good story well told.’ A story must also be the vehicle for an emotion. The audience wants to be moved. Those elements that contribute to an emotional experience are valuable: those that aren’t are extraneous and probably dispensable.

“According to Aristotle, ‘catharsis’ (emotional and spiritual cleaning) is the goal of tragic drama and is produced by the strong emotion of ‘pity and terror.’ But why do we need cleaning, and what impurities—and why do we need such extreme emotion to burn them away?

Neil Gaiman On Writing

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Neil Gaiman is one of the world’s best known science fiction and fantasy writers, the author of short stories, graphic novels, films and novels, including The Sandman series, American Gods, Stardust, Coraline, Anansi Boys and The Graveyard Book.

His writing has won numerous awards, including Hugo, Nebula, and Bram Stoker, as well as the 2009 Newbery Medal and 2010 Carnegie Medal in Literature.

On his Twitter profile he declares, “I will eventually grow up and get a real job. Until then, will keep making things up and writing them down.”

He has 1,665,600 followers, and uses Twitter and his own blog to not only interact with fans, but sometimes explore writing ideas and get suggestions.

In the following interviews, he talks about being a writer, the kinds of ideas and thinking that impact his creative work, using social media, and the opportunities for others to write. In the video at the end, he gives the fundamental advice about becoming a writer: “Just write. Many writers hope elves will come in the night and finish your work for you. They won’t.”

> Continued: Neil Gaiman On Writing.

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