ARCHIVE FOR Craft Advice

The Importance of Reframing our Ideas

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In this post, GrubStreet Instructor Ben Berman reflects on the importance of flexible thinking during the creative process.

 

 

On the very same day that my older daughter was born, my grandmother died. I have always wanted to write about this but for some reason I have never been able to figure out how.

 

At first, I thought it might lend itself to a philosophical meditation on liminality and what it means to simultaneously navigate birth and death or perhaps some sort of spiritual piece on the deep connections between generations.

The problem, though, was that the ideas ...

November 13, 2019 | Ben Berman

Craft Advice

Insider Advice from Newly Published Authors

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The first time you publish a book, it’s a pretty surreal experience. First you wallow deliciously in the dreams and hopes that have built up inside you for years. Eventually, you learn to deal with the inflated expectations that breathless articles about the writing life have created in you. And then, when you make a sale, you have to wade through a lot of conflicting information: reconciling what your publisher promises with the sometimes demoralizing advice you get from other first-time authors (who often just don’t seem quite as happy as you think they should be).

With an eye to ...

November 8, 2019 | Katrin Schumann

Books & Reading Craft Advice Grub News The Writing Life

The Importance of Embracing Contradictions

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In this post, Ben Berman looks at the importance of embracing contradictions and mixed emotions when writing poems.

 

 

Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the great researcher of creativity, has written a lot about conflict and dialectical tensions in his research on creative personality traits. In his study of some of the most eminent creators of the 20th Century (Nobel Prize winners in every field of study), he found that many of these people shared what he called antithetical traits, and he grouped these into ten categories

 

According to Csikszentmihalyi, creative people often exhibit these paradoxical traits – they ...

September 11, 2019 | Ben Berman

Craft Advice

Ten Writing Rules That Will Improve Your Life

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Stick to a daily word count. Take more writing classes. Write twenty more queries. Yada Yada. What are the writing resolutions that are really important in terms of achieving success and having a reasonably satisfying work life?

Here are ten "rules" I try hard to live by when it comes to my writing. They don't all come naturally, but I strive to remember them, especially when I'm struggling.

September 4, 2019 | Katrin Schumann

Books & Reading Craft Advice The Workshop The Writing Life

The Importance of Flexible Thinking

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In this post, GrubStreet instructor Ben Berman discusses how learning to think flexibly can help us be more creative.

 

 

Flexible thinking refers to our ability to shift or reframe how we are thinking about an idea.

When psychologists measure one’s aptitude for creativity, they often focus on this aspect of thinking. How many uses can you find for a brick? they ask, before grading the responses based on fluency, originality, flexibility and elaboration.

August 14, 2019 | Ben Berman

Craft Advice The Writing Life