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107 inspirational AirBNB rentals you can use for a magical writing retreat

Since finishing my PhD in literature, my wife and I are truly location independent and write full-time. One of the biggest productivity hacks I’ve found is to put myself in beautiful and inspiring environments (that are mostly distraction free). While some argue they can “write from anywhere” – I’m a firm believer in what Cal Newport calls the “grand gesture” mode …

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Creativity: letting your imagination run wild

-part one of six- The last few years have seen a flurry of publications and manuals to developing your creativity. Most of them focus on lateral thinking techniques. It is assumed that creativity is beneficial to everybody. But most people’s ideology of creative thinking is flawed, and mostly useless. You need to have a good idea first; you need to …

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You’re not Special (And You Totally Missed the Point of The Lego Movie)

There’s a lot of things I could say about the Lego Movie (2014). It’s a perfect representation of the hero’s journey, pulled so closely from contemporary remixes (Tron, the Matrix) to seem like every movie at once. The hero, like all good heroes, is young and untested. Foolish, an outcast, alone. His motivation is merely to make friends and be …

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Picasso was a talentless hack – and you can be too! (absinthe, art and creative genius)

I’ve known for some time that Picasso was a self-aggrandizing asshole of little talent (capable of massive production, but not hard to do with no quality standards). From non-art affectionados Picasso’s cubist paintings or simple line sketches may elicit comments such as “any kid could have drawn that.” A superficial introduction to art history will often focus on a handful …

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Diagnosing Dickinson: Epilepsy or Migraine? (How headaches inspire artists and writers)

I wrote this paper a few years ago and plan to publish it, but since it’s just sitting on my computer, I thought I’d share. I’m a frequent migraine sufferer and early episodes (including symptoms I interpreted as paranormal, like hearing voices and seeing flashing lights) were formative of my creative identity. Understanding these relatively common symptoms of migraine (which …

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