In November I taught my second online course for Vizthink, “Visual Thinking for Writers.”
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It was a catalogue of techniques I’ve discovered over the past couple of years that have helped me with my own writing.
I thought up the course after thinking a lot about the tools writers use, and how young writers are often scoffed at in Q&A sessions when they ask things like “Do you write by hand or on a computer?”
In my experience, it’s not a silly question at all: tools -> process -> writing.
The way you work is important.
My main idea was that the best thing you can do for your writing is step away from the computer, spend $10 in the school supply aisle of your local grocery store, and start making writing with your hands. (See this Wall Street Journal article that asked novelists how they write — well over half of them start with handwritten notes, index cards, etc.) If I was going to teach the workshop in the flesh, I would simply organize it by pens, index cards, post-it notes, scissors, tape, etc.
Here’s a reading list of blog posts I used as inspiration:
- Lay It All Out Where You Can Look At It
- Get Yourself A Calendar
- Mind Maps: Pictures and Words In Space
- Comics Without Pictures
- Writing The Fibonacci Sonnet
- How-To Books
- Graph a Story with Mr. Vonnegut
- Maps of Fictional Worlds
- Writing on the Walls
I’ve posted some of my slides below.
UPDATE: Here’s some really nice praise from one of the webinar participants:
Austin Kleon’s webinar was engaging, energetic, and expert. My colleague and I went into the webinar thinking we were getting a $60 presentation. What we got was a learning experience that was intelligent, interesting, fresh, funny — yet grounded in solid research about the ways people think about and respond to their worlds. And it’s *immediately applicable* to both our professional and personal lives! If this is what VizThinkU provides, we’ll be back — a lot.– Denise Dilworth, Content Strategist
Thank you for sharing this summary of your session. It provides enough information to be useful, without annoying people who actually paid for the online session. A good promo for your next offering, I think!
Austin Kleon says
Thanks, Marg! That was exactly what I was going for. :-)