Friday, June 30, 2006

The Role of Intelligence in Creativity

Woke up early this morning with a tummy ache - could have used more sleep, but hey, now I have time to get a real blog in, right? Always a silver lining. :)

The book I'm reading now ( or slogging through ) is called Defying the Crowd - Cultivating Creativity in a Culture of Conformity by Robert Sternberg & Todd Lubart. Like I said before, it's a little technical and sometimes scholarly wordy, but has some interesting points.

The test I'm posting today has to do with intelligence as it relates to creativity. The purpose of the test is to dtermine the amount of time it takes a person to switch from conventional thinking to unconventional thinking. The test is not timed or scored, but I think you'll get the idea of just how quickly you make the transition, or not. It goes on to say that creative people are able to make the transition confortably and with ease. Less creative poeple, even though they may have the intelligence to perform the task, find it harder to switch gears. Many people who are "smart" in the sense of doing well in school are in their element as long as they are reading the words of problems or making simple comparisons, but when asked to think in terms of concepts that are truly novel, they have difficulty.

So here's one of the tests. Let me know what you think and how you did.

Novel Analogies

In solving the analogies below, assume that the statement given before the analogy is true. Then solve the analogy, taking this assumption into account.

1. GOATS are robots.
CHICKEN is to HATCHED as GOAT is to:

2. NEEDLES are dull.
THIMBLE is to BLUNT as NEEDLE is to:

3. PIGS climb fences.
GOLDFISH is to BOWL as PIG is to:

4. DIAMONDS are fruits.
PEARL is to OYSTER as DIAMOND is to:

5. TOASTERS write cookbooks.

6. GHOSTS are athletes.

Are you finished?????? Did you make the change-over in thinking?

I'll post the answers as a comment. No peaking until you're done.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006


I am sooooooo slacking this week on blogging - but if it makes everyone feel better, I'd either have to give up sleeping or using the restroom in order to have time to craft something witty. Or quite frankly, understandable.

Started new job - am finishing up old business - old house was sold, then as of today, wasn't sold (AFTER I'd spent two hours last night digging out paperwork - ARGH)

Anyway - no time, no time.

But I have something interesting for you as soon as I have a minute. I've come across some tests that are supposed to indicate whether you have the ability to "think outside the box" and be creative or whether you're just not bent that way. Kind of technical reading the book, but the tests were interesting.

More later when time allows! Keep writing!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

First Day of the Rest of my Life

So this is my official first day as a non-accountant. I don't start the new job until next week, but I'm officially done with the old one.

I had a great last day - complete with yummy lunch, gifts and chocolate covered strawberries (thanks Brad!). I loaded up five years worth of junk and headed out around 3:45.

Then a strange thing happened when I reached the end of the parking garage and went to pull out onto the street. This feeling washed over me like I was starting all over. And in a way, I am. I've spent seventeen years working full-time as an accountant and four years of college to get there. That's 21 years of my life - over half - doing this one thing.

And now I won't do it anymore.

So this year, I moved to a new house, started a new career and will have my first book published. How's that for a new beginning?

I can only tell you that I feel free!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Kind of Like Friday

Well, today is my last day at the old job, so it's kind of like Friday for me. I still have four billion things to wrap up and a ton of personal items to pack, but this is it. I officially start the new job on Monday, but I have a ton of things to do Thursday and Friday in order to prepare for it - not least of which is tweaking my proposal, because


Finally, fourth try is the charm. This proposal has kicked my hiney, but it's finally working. I need to tweak a couple of hundred items to make it perfect :) but it's going to work.

My relief is paramount!

So today's thought is a quote by Albert Einstein - "The significant problems we face cannot be solved by the same level of thinking that created them."

Now, apply this to your writing. Have you been guilty of turning out the same work over and over again and wondering why you're still racking up rejections? Or have you studied your failures and figured out why they didn't work so that you wouldn't make the same mistakes again?

Unfortanately for me, I was very creative with my propsal and kept making different mistakes. :) Hopefully, I covered a bunch of them that I won't make again, but I'm sure there's a million more out there.

When you receive a rejection, study the why. If you have notes from an editor YAHOO! Do NOT ignore them. If the comments are vague, then ask a published author or a very talented pre-published author if they could take a look and give you an opinion.

Without knowing the why, you could make the same mistakes over and over again - banging your head into the massive stone wall of publishing.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Busy Monday

It's a busy, busy Monday for me.

Only three days left at the old job before I head off to new pastures. And in those three days, I get to continue training my temporary replacement, do payroll and prep for a systems conversion. No pressure, right?

I've also just begun content loading for my new website. I plan to finish and launch sometime in the millenium. Seriously, website loading is long, drawn out work. It's not the typing - it's the figuring out what you want to type! I'll let everyone know when it's ready for viewing.

This afternoon I have to meet the computer guys to re-install my wireless router. It had to be replaced and I've been without my wireless connection for three weeks now. Aaargh!

I also got a new toy - a color laser printer! I plan to print out a million or so flyers and send them out to everyone in the known universe telling them to buy Rumble. Of course, I need about 700 for the RT "friends" mailing in about a week. Guess I better get to printing. But you know how it is - I got the printer last week but I didn't have any room for it in my office. Which meant I had to clear space. I decide to ditch the scanner, which I rarely use, and can be easily plugged into a USB if needed. So scanner can go onto shelf in closet - well, as soon as there is a space on the shelf in the closet. Which, of course, led to cleaning/rearranging the closet. And after an entire afternoon, the printer was finally installed and my closet is clean.

Hope you all have a great week!

Thursday, June 15, 2006


So I started training a temporary replacement for my job on Monday, and I have to admit I'm sort of stumped how to proceed. Can someone please explain how I shove almost eighteen years of experience into 8 days of explanation? I think the answer is - you don't.

This situation reminded me of a trip I made to one of our out-of-town properties. I was sitting in a restuarant waiting on food and doing a read for an author friend. The waitress stopped and asked if I was a writer. I said yes and this is how the conversation went from there:
Waitress: Is that your book?
Me: No, it's a friends.
Waitress: So how do you get a book published?

Well, hell, we could stop right there. The restaurant didn't have enough food (and definitely not enough drinks) for me to stay and answer that one. But I try

Me: Well, what are you writing?
Waitress: It's a story about a family.
Me: Romance, Women's fiction, Family Saga - what genre?
Waitress: What's genre?
Me: The kind of book.

So we proceed to struggle through five more minutes of unenlightening conversation for the waitress to finally hit me with the one question that had been burning this entire time:

"How many pages does she have, because I only have fifteen?"


Does anyone have a good answer for these people? You don't want to offend because, well, it's just rude. But I can't explain four years of studying the industry in the time it takes to refill my tea and pass along dinner rolls.

I'm thinking about putting together a one-page flyer for aspiring authors that I could rip out of my briefcase and hand over. You know, instructions like, join RWA, read a book.........

Any other ideas?

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Right Things

I'm currently reading First Things First by Stephen Covey, the author of 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Now this is not a writing book, it's more of a "how to get your life straight" book, but there was a point he made that was particularly relevant to me right now personally and has been relevant to me in my writing career. I also see this is many, many others.

The statement was something like "ask yourself not am I doing things right but am I doing the right things."

Wow! That hit home. I was in a bad place with my job and didn't know how to fix it. It wasn't anything I could put my finger on - my perfomance was fine (and usually above fine), my tasks were being completed on time or early and were correct, other employees had no issues with me or my work and I was embroiled in a software conversion that I enjoyed. But overall was a complete feeling of dissatisfaction, of something missing, something passing me by. I worked harder, created more efficiencies, produced more work, but the feeling didn't go away.

Then it hit me - it wasn't that I was doing anything wrong at my job, it was that I was doing the wrong job!

So I began the job search for something that would satisfy my intelligence as well as spur my creativity. And I find the dream combination - I am going to be a corporate trainer for a software development company. Now, I get to use my IT skills, accounting & real estate experience and speaking ability to train client employees on how to use their leasing and accounting software. The IT side of my old job is what I enjoyed the most and now I get to do it full time. No more boring numbers.

You see, it wasn't that I was doing accounting wrong - I just shouldn't have been doing accounting at all.

Now, think about writing. When we first start, most of us wander around a bit in different genres (or different lines in catagory) trying to find that perfect fit for our voice and style. This is perfectly normal. But how many of you are guilty of sticking to something too long, working it to perfection until all the voice and style are gone? Maybe it's not that you're writing wrong (God forbid, my English), but that you're not writing what you're supposed to.

Or even worse - maybe you shouldn't be writing at all.

I was probably two years or so into my writing ventures when one of my cp's asked me "is there a point and time you would quit - when you just say, I gave it my best shot, but it's not going to happen." My answer was simple "Yes, but I don't know when that is."

Fortunately for me, the sale happened and I knew I was where I needed to be. But maybe you know someone who should be writing screenplays instead, or painting pictures, or cross-stitching. Maybe it's you?

When was the last time you seriously assessed your writing career and where it was going?

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Library Book #5

Finally, I'm up early enough, not dashing out the door, not sweating to death and I've remembered to pull a library book.

Today's offering is The Novel Writer's Toolkit by Bob Mayer

Bob Mayer created the best-selling Area 51 series (writing under Robert Doherty). He graduated from West Point and served in the Infantry and Green Berets, where he commanded an A-Team. He also just co-authored a book with Jennifer Crusie.

What this bio doesn't tell you is that Bob Mayer is funny. I heard him speak at a local conference and he was fabulous. Not that his book is very funny - apparently his real personality shines when public speaking, but the book contains a blueprint for everything you need to know about writing and I highly recommend it, especially for those just starting out.

Some of the chapters include:

Yourself - Internal characteristics of a writer
Your Surroundings - Tools for day-to-day writing
Your Idea - What to write, The original idea
Your Story - Plot, Starting, Pacing
Your Technique - Point of view, Characters, Dialogue, Setting, Subplots
Your Finesse - Editing, The writing cycle
Your Submission
Your Business
Your Future

Anyway, that's enough to get the idea. Mayer has put together a comprehensive review for creating a novel from what you need to be before you start to where you need to go after a sale.

Excellent resource for writers at all stages. Particularly good for those on a limited budget that want to get a lot of information in the price of one book.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

I've been remiss

So sorry, but I've been busy, busy, busy and haven't pulled another library book.

So today (since I'm at work and AGAIN, don't have a library book), I'm going to recommend a website. The website is

This is the website for author Stephanie Bond. Click on her "Writers" link and you have tons and tons of articles about everything to do with writing. Stephanie is one smart chick and you could do a WHOLE lot worse than taking her advice. There are new articles every six to eight weeks. I confess, I print them all out and have a "Stephanie Bond" binder that I keep them in - index and all.

So check out Stephanie's website and her writer pages.

And if you don't already read her books - what the heck are you waiting for?????

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Too Hot to Read

So the AC is still not fixed (grrr), and repairguy is saying tomorrow. I might just move out into the swimming pool as it is the only cool place on the property.

So since I'm still hot, I didn't pull a library book. I realize I'm falling down on my duty so today, I'll recommend a good reading book as I don't have a technique one handy.

Today's recommendation - Charmed & Dangerous by Candace Havens

This woman is funny - biting, sarcastic, direct FUNNY! This is a chick lit book where the heroine is a witch protecting a diplomat. In Candace's world, witches are fairly common and a recognized part of society. Her heroine, however, is a "high witch" so that makes her special.

I offer you a challenge - pick up the book in the bookstore, read the first section (I think it's a prologue). If you can put the book down without buying it after reading the last sentence of that first section, you're a stronger woman than I (and have no sense of humor or personality to speak of but that's a whole other story).

If anyone takes the challenge, let me know how it turns out.
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