Please tell me I'm not the only one who has asked herself the question: If I got to do a TED Talk, what would I say?
Some of you reading this may have actually done a TED Talk. If so, good for you! Congrats. That's a big deal.
But for the rest of us, it's a good question to ask, because it clarifies what we have learned in life that's worth sharing with others.
A fair number of our Writers in the Storm posts can be categorized as "writer inspiration." We like sharing words of empathy, motivation, refreshment, and encouragement. Because this writer gig ain't easy sometimes.
Not to say other jobs aren't difficult, but the intense creativity you must put forth coupled with the ongoing unpredictability of what you'll get back (contest wins, contracts, sales, reviews, etc.) can produce moments of fatigue and frustration. Having regular pick-me-ups can make all the difference.
Writers need and crave inspiration.
Meaning we're a ripe audience for TED Talks.
We can learn quite a bit from other successful writers who share about their own journey and lessons learned. Following are just a few TED Talks recorded by bestselling authors. (Maybe scroll down to read the rest of this post, then come back up to watch the video you want? 🙂 )
The authors above are big names in their genres, and beyond, so it's no surprise they got a TED Talk and actually had something to say.
But if you've been writing for any length of time, you have something to say too. You've learned something worth sharing with others.
You know more now about at least one of the following...and probably several:
You're an expert at something. Even if so far, it's just all the things that don't work.
Recognize how far you've come! Share with another writer what you've learned. Maybe it's just the person across the Starbucks table from you who's also writing a book. Maybe your local writing chapter. Maybe in a well-crafted workshop you put together and present at conferences. Maybe, must maybe, in a TED Talk for all to see.
But don't just be inspired. Go inspire!
How have you been inspired by other writers and inspired others yourself? And if you were asked to do a TED Talk, what lessons learned through writing would you share?
Julie Glover writes cozy mysteries and young adult fiction. Her YA contemporary novel, SHARING HUNTER, finaled in the 2015 RWA® Golden Heart®. She is also co-author of the Muse Island supernatural suspense series, which begins with Mark of the Gods, under the pen name Jules Lynn.
When not writing, she collects boots, practices rampant sarcasm, and advocates for good grammar and the addition of the interrobang as a much-needed punctuation mark.
Julie is represented by Louise Fury of The Bent Agency. You can visit Julie’s website hereand also follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.
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I had a dream I was giving a TED talk and furiously wrote down as many details as I could. It was relevant to education.
What a fabulous dream! Now to make it a reality...
I am late to this party, but that is a really cool dream, Tammy. Hopefully you got all the notes down for your future TED Talk.
This is my dirty little secret...I thought I was the only one who wanted a TED talk! I even looked into what it takes to do one!
Which is weird because the thought flash-freeze terrifies me!
Oh, I've looked into it too. My college alma mater periodically hosts a TED Talk conference, so I think that would be my best "in." We'll see if it ever happens!
And I'd totally watch your TED Talk, Laura!
And I want to see yours!
'Novels that change the world.' Subtitle: and how to write one.
Most writers don't have this as a primary goal - but all authors secretly hope one of their novels will go out there and make a real difference.
I have studied this, because it IS my goal, and the only reason I have put so much time (nineteen years so far) and all the energy I have (a tiny quantity every day) into what I'm writing.
Fiction has the ability to penetrate where not even WD-40 will: the human mind, heart, and soul. This isn't a random result - so many things can derail its reach.
Wow, I'd love to hear that topic! What a terrific message that would be, Alicia!
The first volume of the Pride's Children trilogy is finished and on Amazon; I'm working hard to finish the second one (we moved cross-country during this last year, and that slowed things down).
Nobody wants to hear a TED talk about someone's ideas, so I'll have to finish, and keep getting the kinds of reviews I've been getting, before I would consider something like that talk, but it's been in the back of my mind for a long time.
Meanwhile, think of the effect of Black Beauty, Uncle Tom's Cabin, Anne Frank's Diary, Exodus, and so many others.
If you have an idea you think is worth the treatment, it is worth learning how to deliberately make the writing focus in on the effect - but it takes a LOT of work.
My own personal mantra for this is that, if you are going to sneak in an idea, the writing and entertainment value have to be superior so you give readers no excuse to cut and run.
Not sure what I could talk about--you need a thick skin, research helps, figure out whose opinion you really trust, and persevere.
Having thicker skin is definitely something we writers could use! Great ideas, Denise.
I would speak about narcissistic personality disorder and relationship abuse. I've written articles about this affliction which is the subject of my novel, The Sleeping Serpent - a woman's struggle to break an obsessive bond with her yoga master. People enter into cults and create bonds with gurus for belongingness, but even if the relationship bond isn't with a guru, the goal would be to become part of something or someone they initially feel adored by or validated by. I've also written and could speak about writing a character with this disorder, their behavior and how to write their interaction with other characters in a novel. https://psychwriter.com.au/2018/02/25/narcissistic-abuse-and-codependence-for-writers/
Writing a character with mental illness, addiction, and the triggers that set them off as codependent relationships requires research and understanding. The goal may also be to have the reader feel empathy or compassion regardless of the character's abusive personality.
That is definitely an area people would like to understand more. And I love that you approached in your novel, since we are wired to learn well through story. Great topic, Luna!
My writer self would love to talk. My introvert self insists that's crazy talk. Even so, I'd love to speak about how fantasy maps not only help to create the fantasy world the writer is constructing, but also the stories that are later drafted. I've written a number of blog posts on the topic and they're always among my most popular. There are other subjects I'd like to talk about, like the other uses for the maps that are created or addressing social issues in other-world fantasy, but the map one would be my first choice.
Wow, I took a look at your fantasy maps are amazing! Also, I'm an introvert—really and truly. Public speaking used to make my knees knock together, but after doing it again and again, I've come to enjoy it, particularly the opportunity to share useful information with others. So you can get there, if you want! 🙂
Thanks! I might be an introvert, but when I’m passionate about the topic you can’t shut me up. I’ve actually given some short talks toon other topics. Thanks for the encouragement!
Ooooooh, fantasy maps. That sounds awesome!
I love to encourage other writers one-on-one. But in front of a crowd? With a microphone?? It would be a complete deer-in-headlights moment.
Well, as someone who used to sing in concerts (a loooong time ago), I can say that if the spotlight's big enough, you can barely see the crowd. Or picture them in their underwear? 😉
"It always feels either too early or too late. It never feels like the right time, so go ahead and do it anyway." Probably the most valuable thing I've ever learned. And re-learned. And re-re-learned.
My TED talk would be on the lessons learned from a near-death experience. In fact, thanks to you, I think that will be my blog for June. 🙂
This is something I'm definitely working on this year, recognizing how much I've already done and how far I've come. I get way too caught up in what I have yet to do, so this post was a nice reminder.