ted talks for writers

Being a writer today is a battle. In a world where material wealth is the marker for success, you fight against the system, you fight against the world, you fight against time, and you fight against yourself.

Your creativity is a tender sprout erupting from the cracked earth, and you must water it, feed it, and shield it from the elements. Guard it with bared teeth and a snarl, because deep inside you know that if you lose this gift of writing, you will have lived your life in a desperate, choking silence.

But you can take up arms against all the things you think you should be doing this weekend and surround yourself with knowledge and inspiration.

Here are 5 TED Talks for writers that will fill you on a mental, emotional, intuitive, and spiritual level so that you will be ready to claim your right as an artist and do your best writing yet.

Slow–mo Multi-tasking?

Do you have many writing projects going on at the same time?

Multi-tasking has a bad reputation, but Tim Harford talks about “slow- motion multi-tasking” and all the great minds who worked by this kind of system (like Einstein and Darwin).

This technique makes the most of the ebbs and flows in your thinking while cross-training your brain in other disciplines to prime it for creative breakthroughs.

Watch on YouTube – A powerful way to unleash your natural creativity | Tim Harford

Are you writing for the right reasons?

Social media is as much a curse as it is a blessing.

This is one of writers’ most pressing concerns during our virtual meetings in the Writers’ Mastermind. In almost every conversation, someone has said that they would like to throw their phone or computer out the window.

Joseph Gordon Levitt has been acting since he was a child. I first became a fan of his after catching him in Mysterious Skin and Brick. He is not a writer, but he is an artist, and even though he has “made it,” he confesses that he is still susceptible to the toxic charms of social media.

Ask yourself, honestly. Are you writing for attention?

We may not even realize it when we are writing or promoting our writing that we are being quietly steered by the fickle mob or by the desire to keep up with or outdo others.

In this video, Levitt talks about how creating for attention takes us out of the flow state and makes for sub-standard art. Don’t fall into the trap!

Watch on YouTube – How craving attention makes you less creative | Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Embracing imperfection

Julie Burstein compares our creative output to the Japanese art of raku pottery in which the imperfections are treasured.

Julie talks about embracing the whole breadth of the life experience and growing from the broken places.

She also tells us not to try to control the outcome of our stories so much. At a certain point we have to let go and be open to what is coming to us beyond the confines of our usual thoughts.

Watch on YouTube – 4 Lessons in Creativity | Julie Burstein | TED Talks

Creating a nursery for wildly, creative writing spurts

How does your environment affect your writing?

What kind of people do you surround yourself with?

The mission of the Writers’ Mastermind is to create a place where a writer can surround themselves with great minds while having all the knowledge they need to make their dreams come true.

Actually, this is not a TED talk, but I had to include because it outlined so thoroughly how the Writers’ Mastermind works.

Tina Seelig talks about optimizing our creative environment using the “Innovation Engine.”

We can create the conditions to write at a level we never dreamed of by focusing on the following elements:

  1. Imagination
  2. Knowledge
  3. Attitude
  4. Habitat
  5. Resources
  6. Culture

Watch on YouTube – Tina Seelig: The 6 Characteristics of Truly Creative People

Coaxing the creative genie from the bottle

If you watch only one video in this post, make it this one.

I saved this for last because it will set your creative kindling on fire.

Elizabeth Gilbert talks about how historically creative people have reputations for being mentally unstable. Writers are in danger of becoming undone by their gifts. As much as we crave success, we are equally terrified by it. What if the muses don’t return?

Elizabeth explains how linking our creativity to suffering will lead to anguish. We should not accept misery as part of the deal. There is only so much we can do to invoke the mysterious and fleeting spirit of genius, but there is also an upside to this. We are not wholly responsible for things not turning out the way we’d hoped.

She tells us how to manage the emotional risk of baring our souls in our work by detaching from the ego and distancing ourselves from our writing. We must empty ourselves to be the conduit for inspiration. We must allow ourselves to slip into the flow, that hypnotic state of creativity that approaches the divine, where we get to be gods for one exquisite moment.

Bottom line, you have to be there. Keep showing up.

Watch on YouTube – Your elusive creative genius | Elizabeth Gilbert

Which is your favorite TED talk for writers?