On this cool and overcast Thursday, I have the honor of introducing one of my favorite people in the ENTIRE WORLD to you. And this is not just because I used to annoy him ruthlessly in the back seat on long road trips (and still have a vague sense of lingering guilt about it). Mostly it’s because he’s something of a creative midwife and an exceptionally gifted communicator. Welcome, Daniel Tidwell!
Image of Daniel taking selfie while his sister uses her cell phone in the background.
Tell us a little about what you do:
Well . . . To pay my bills, I work in higher education. I design co-curricular programming for graduate students who are going into helping professions. The focus is helping people steward their own vocational development and sustainability. Basically, I help people practice checking-in with themselves and making sure they know how to get what they need in order to thrive and not burn out in fields of work designed for burn-out.
In addition to that, I work as a Spiritual Director–in my context, that means accompanying artists and LGBTIQA folks pursuing spirituality, especially when they don’t find a good fit in organized religion. I offer group classes geared toward the writing arts on understanding your own creative practice.
Let’s talk about maxing out focus. I’ve spent the better part of my adult life studying crime and psychology and the absolute best place to read about this phenomenon is the Persuasion Skills Blackbook: Practical NLP Language Patterns for Getting the Response You Want. Use your new found powers only for good.
Maxing out focus is a term used most often in descriptions of grifting and con artistry. Continue reading
Unless you’re living on Mars, you’re probably aware that things are, in a word, shitty.
Our new “President” (he’s not mine, for the record) has a cabinet that closely resembles one from Borgin and Burkes; complete with tiny grabbing hands, nasty-ass masks to hide behind, and instruments of torture and bigotry. Things are crappy. And they’ll probably get worse. Continue reading
One of my favorite writing exercises for developing a multi-layered character is essentially method acting for writers.
Spend the day as your MC. Ask yourself, “What’s my rationale for this behavior? Given my own headcanon for this character, how will I respond crossing this busy, wet city street? What will I order for lunch? Why? What do I see right now that might trigger a memory or pain in me?” Continue reading
I’ve started a new policy: don’t get stuck.
If I wake up in the morning dying to get my new ideas on paper but when I sit down I discover they’re not fully gelled, I don’t get to mope.
No moping allowed.
I have to make something. Anything. A bad poem. A terrible painting. Draw a manga version of a possible character. Plant new flowers. Refinish an old chest of drawers. Interpretive dance that terrifies my kids and cats. Stagnation isn’t an option because it makes me incredibly anxious and stupid, and even the most generous of plotlines won’t have anything to do with me (and I don’t blame them).
So. Behold my awful watercolor that I’m inexplicably proud of.
Over and over, I notice hardworking creative people (myself included) coming up empty in the areas of time and energy for reasons related to misplaced empathy. The act of writing requires the ability to place yourself in someone else’s shoes, so it makes sense that writers might carry it over into our daily lives, too. A good thing.
With the following people, though, I’ve found it’s a problematic habit to give *too* much:
Like many writers I’ve talked with, I’m pretty justice-driven and compassionate, especially when it comes to being mindful of young readers. So, obviously, it really burns my toast that kids, teens, and adults don’t have the opportunity to read books with complex, diverse characters that amount to more than comic relief or sidekicks.
In an effort to listen, learn, and give others a platform to educate, I’m pleased to introduce three avid readers and writers who have graciously agreed to share some of their observations and experiences!
Welcome, Isobel, Charity, and Shondolyn!