by Samuel Osho | Feb 25, 2019 | Writing
The 10 Best TED Talks for Writers
The evolution of TED over the years is a true testament to the potency of compelling stories. These stories are birthed from daily interactions with ideas, people and places. TED has not only provided a platform for storytellers to share ideas worth spreading, but it has also created an open library of intellectual resources.
From its humble beginning in 1984, TED has evolved from a conference limited to topics on Technology, Entertainment, and Design to a wide range of issues – from governance to healthcare to business to psychology – in more than 100 languages. However, these short but powerful talks have served as a tool of change in influencing, educating and transforming the psyche of an unending audience.
In this vast library of insightful speeches, you will find stories that tickle your fancy as a writer. I have carefully rummaged through the endless stack of talks and searched for ones that will appeal to writers and authors. These talks are a blend of practical ideas and instructive insights.
Let’s take a look at my curated list of TED talks for writers.
My 10 Best TED Talks for Writers
The best-selling author of 2016 memoir, “Eat, Pray, Love,” Elizabeth Gilbert talks about the awkward things we expect from creative minds – artists, writers, and geniuses. Gilbert’s story hinges on the overwhelming burden of innovative minds – staying creative and consistently churning out incredible works. The talk was topped off with a deliberate demystification of the sacredness attached to “being a genius,” showing that every human has a genius in them.
In this humorous talk, American writer Anne Lamott ponders on the timeless lessons she has learnt in her 61 years of existence. It is a bouquet of wisdom that equips your soul with inspiring insights on family, writing, death, the meaning of God, grace and what it means to be human in a chaotic world full of uncertainties.
Oscar-winning American filmmaker Andrew Stanton knows a lot about great stories and how to tell them, evident in the creation of “Toy Story,” “Finding Nemo,” and “WALL-E.” His engaging talk is a map that shows you the path from the end to the beginning of compelling stories.
In a fast-paced world where charismatic and extroverted individuals usually take the front seats, it can be severe and daunting for introverts to be comfortable in their skins. However, in this exciting talk, Susan Cain extols the power of introversion while reflecting on how a massive chunk of creative minds – artists and writers happen to be introverts.
In a world of convoluted stories about Africa, award-winning Nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie exposed the precariousness associated with believing a single story about a person, a country, and a continent. She told the story of how she found her authentic cultural voice as a writer while reading the works of other great writers. Adichie canvasses for well-rounded stories that have the power to heal our world and make it a paradise.
In this hilarious talk, writer and blogger Tim Urban shares about his ongoing struggles with procrastination including the adventures and the hard truths. He explores the logic behind procrastination and why the buzz of deadlines seems to suddenly reawaken a procrastinator’s dormant energy to complete tasks. While he is yet to find a solution for his chronic procrastination, his journey challenges us to think deeply about why it’s easy for us to embrace procrastination.
“Read a thousand books, and your words will flow like a river.” – Lisa See
American psychologist and author Adam Grant delves into the unique traits of creative people and how they come up with great ideas. Grant shares his studies on “originals” – innovative minds who take responsibility for the ownership and actualization of their ideas. In this talk, you will be exposed to three unique habits of originals.
In the search for creativity, writers and artists go through pains, self-doubts, and fears. American novelist Amy Tan gives an in-depth analysis of the creative process while sharing her personal encounters with sheer serendipity on seemingly normal days.
Chicago-based Nigerian writer Luvvie Ajayi chronicles her fights with her phobias – from going on a solo vacation to swimming with dolphins to jumping out of a plane. The “professional troublemaker” talks about her rise to stardom as a blogger in the parlance of speaking truth to power. In her inspiring talk, Ajayi shares three questions to ask yourself if you are afraid of speaking up or keeping quiet.
American author of six novels, John Dufresne, delves into the art of storytelling in a way that appeals to fiction writers. The talk is a trip inside a writer’s mind and how a compelling story is created. Dufresne took his audience by the hands and showed them how to create a masterpiece that everyone wants to read and listen to. In fact, if you listen to this speech, you will be half-way into the completion of your short story.
In conclusion, writing is both a craft and a form of art. You can learn to be better both in honing your creative and imaginative skills. I hope you found my curated list inspiring and full of practical tips that you can start using straight away in your writing engagements.
Perhaps, I have omitted your favorite TED talk for writers, kindly drop a note in the comment section below stating your favorite talk.
I’d love to check them out!
by Samuel Osho | Mar 14, 2018 | Writing
5 Things Only Writers Will Understand
Writing can be that unique addiction that exhausts you; you write all through the night and read during the day to get inspiration. You assemble letters like a coach sets out with his winning team but you get pummeled like Arsene Wenger.
People tell you that they like your articles but the visible likes are abysmally low
and the number of shares needs some high heels to see above a fence that is 1 ft. tall. The comments section is as lively as a bar immediately after breakfast.
Sometimes, they call you a jobless folk sitting behind screens and punching keys without paying attention to the hands of time. It’s your abode and you gladly enjoy the pains of your solitude. Gradually, you become the master of words and you know how to send them on errands. Your words birth smiles; they wipe tears and comfort broken souls.
You fill blank screens with millions of words; you search for the right words in the jungle of letters to dress thoughts in beautiful attires. It’s a feisty war and a fierce battle to tell stories that touch the heart. You are the real MVP. Every writer out there deserves a medal.
From ideas, you create a catalog of captivating stories. Your numb fingers pierce through writer’s block like iron prongs
; every piece is a product of resilience. You are just so gifted with words and make them look more than an assemblage of alphabets. From the castles of solitude, you send a storm of letters that resurrects our memories from the ashes of history. Everything comes alive because your pen gives life.
Despite the seemingly boring life of writers, there are some distinctive features that separate this clan of creative artists into a community. We’ve got some unique traits, it’s very easy to tell if someone is a writer.
The 5 Crazy Things About Writers
There is this eerie feeling of all eyes peering at you while reading your published work. Even if it is a Facebook post, you nurse the possibility of your readers judging you and your work. Then, you begin to plot several trajectories of a million thoughts in your head. After observing from the sidelines, you create a long list of folks who love your work and those who just ignore it. Often, those who truly appreciate your work are the conservative ones who never click the like button or drop a comment.
2. Books are your best friends
I know you have great people in your life that you can call friends but nothing can be compared to the joy in your heart when you see your favorite books. Books are your best friends; they are treasured pearls. You’d sacrifice new shoes for getting the latest book of your favorite author. Your bookshelf is full but that never stops you from getting a new book.
And perhaps, maybe you are like me, people call me bookish because I carry a book with me everywhere. I have this terrible habit of reading books in the washroom while on the toilet seat. I have met some writers who do the same. We just love books and we can’t hide our love.
“It took me fifteen years to discover I had no talent for writing, but I couldn’t give it up because by that time I was too famous.” – Robert Benchley
3. Hibernate in your crib
You love to steal some lone time so you can scribble new stories and write new blog posts. Writing takes time and it usually comes at the price of solitude. Apparently, because you love to spend time with yourself, people tend to decorate your personality as a quiet frame.
At weekends, when a bulk of your friends choose to attend parties, you already have a plan to catch up on your writing adventures. For the worst part, every time there is a debate about being social, you try so hard to convince people that you are very social but they still don’t get it.
From close friends to family members, everyone shows appreciation for your work but it could be very difficult to believe that you did a great job. Every time, you cast a glance on your work, you perceive that there is a missing piece and you find every chance to trash the work. This is why you often get utterly amazed when the accolades for your work come in showers as against your expected trickles.
5. You are a deadline ninja
I will assume that you are a saint and you don’t belong to the clan of writers that are often inspired by deadlines. You follow the schedules and you hit the deadlines without breaking a sweat. But for some of us, we have suffered a great deal in the hands of deadlines that look like nightmares.
When the deadline is approaching and it’s about two days away, you begin to observe crazy mannerisms – staying indoors for two straight days, surfing the net like a spiderman, reading books like a nerd and eating in bed. It’s a crazy life but it is because we want to pay a homage to the golden deadline. The battle to crush procrastination
is an ongoing process and we believe we are getting better with every passing week.
In conclusion, regardless of your interaction with words, I just want you to know that you are awesome. Either you are a professional writer or you love writing as a hobby, thanks for putting your works out there. Our world is beautiful because of your boldness with words.
by Samuel Osho | Feb 19, 2018 | Writing
10 Must-Have Tools for Writers
A surgeon without a scalpel has no business in an operating theatre and a sailor without a compass will soon hit an iceberg. In today’s fast-paced world where we swim in a sea of distractions, a writer needs more than a pen and a paper to truly survive and stand out. Tools give leverage which translates to speed, accuracy, and efficiency in the execution of our daily projects.
There is a school of thought that believes that writing is effortless and a lazy man’s job. This is why you get a weird look anytime you tell someone that you are a full-time writer. Writing is not for the fainthearted but these tools bring ease and comfort while you do what you love – writing. In 2018, there is a bevy of online tools provided by the soothing womb of technology to assist writers. All you need is to take advantage of them.
I hope these tools make life easy for you as much as they have assisted me.
Writing and Editing Tools
If I was an affiliate marketer for Evernote
, I should have raked in hundreds of dollars by now. Ever since I fell in love with Evernote in 2013, I have introduced the writing app to almost every passionate writer that crossed my path. I just can’t stop talking about an app that has a variety of features such as work chat, photo editor, PDF viewer, MS Office viewer, voice recorder and many more. You can install the app both on your phone and personal computer; it syncs your work on both devices in seconds. You can create several notebooks depending on the number of projects you are presently working on.
is a must-have for spontaneous writers who would love to get their thoughts and ideas at the points of conception. In other words, I mean if a scene inspires you, take a photo or video using your Evernote, save it in a note and work on it later.
The most popular writing software is unarguably Microsoft Word but in some instances where you need to collaborate with a teammate on a project, Google Doc
is a lifesaver. In December 2017, while working on a project with a friend in the United Kingdom, we had to settle for Google Doc because it allowed us to work on the project at the same time. It’s beautiful and amazing! Another feature on Google Doc
which I find fascinating is its ability to incorporate Google Search especially when you are looking for external hyperlinks to support your arguments and facts.
Asides its growing popularity, it’s one of the world’s most accurate online grammar checker. After using your checklist for personal editing
can assist in adding finishing touches to your article. It does more than just detect spelling errors, it contains explanatory notes that support its suggested corrections. It’s a cool way to learn more about English grammar.
In addition to improving the quality of your text, the premium plan has advanced features such as plagiarism checker and vocabulary enhancement. However, the free plan will polish your writing.
If you want your writing to ride on the sophisticated wings of clarity and simplicity, then you need to run into the waiting arms of Hemingway Editor. Hemingway Writing App
makes your writing bold, clear and direct. It’s two in one; you can use it for writing and leverage its editing features. It calls your attention to overly long sentences, passive voices and needless adverbs. The primary goal of the web application is to make the readability of your text excellent.
“True ease in writing comes from art, not chance, as those who move easiest have learned to dance.” – Alexander Pope
If you have ever worked as a journalist, you will agree with me that it could be very challenging to transcribe recorded interviews. Transcribing is a formidable task; it saps your energy and could be nerve-racking. OTranscribe
makes life easy for you. The web application is a powerful tool because of its ability to process different audio formats. Let me show you the icing on the cake; it can create text from the YouTube videos and it’s all for free.
If you are a storyteller or a novelist, you will appreciate the artistic beauty of Hipstersound
. It creates the sounds that characterize a real-life environment such as coffee shop, restaurant, heavy rainfall and many other fascinating scenes. In the comfort of your room, you can feel the pulse of the clumsy coffee shop and allow the garments of your imagination to get wet in the rain.
Just like a thesaurus
; it is a library of synonyms and antonyms that can add variety to your writing. It’s an online web application and it’s free.
Time is one of the most democratically distributed resources in life but very expensive because it’s irretrievable. Now, to the scary part: time is running out, you don’t have any control over it, you don’t have all the time and you don’t even know how much you have left on this planet.
When you install RescueTime
on your phone and personal computer, it will create daily reports showing your productivity levels. The productivity chart is created using data generated from the time spent on different applications on these two devices. If you binge on Netflix or YouTube, it’s recorded as downtime. This can show you the lapses in your time management and hence initiate an improvement strategy.
Productivity comes at a price – discipline and effective management of distractions. Focus booster app
was designed based on the Pomodoro technique and it has a proven track record of increasing productivity amidst freelancers, employees, and writers. Focus on a task for 25 minutes and get a break of 5 minutes at the end of each session. When you are done with the fourth session, you can embark on a break of 20 minutes to restrategize and plan your schedule again. I always advise people to do one thing at a time, focus booster will assist in maximizing focus and getting amazing results in a short period of time.
In conclusion, I only recommend tools that I have used personally. These tools will help you in achieving your writing goals in 2018. Let me know in the comments which tools you use in your writing that were not mentioned here. I’d love to check them out!