Thursday, September 17, 2009

Finding Your Genius Within

Rob Parnell


Below is an article I wrote way back in 2002. It's been reproduced hundreds of times on the Net and in books and courses. I guess that means it's kind of famous!

Take a look - it's still inspiring!

Understanding genius is a three-stage process.

First, you need to break down your preconceptions about what you think being a genius is.

When you call someone a genius, what do you mean?

That they display characteristics that seem to be above the common herd? That they think ahead of their time? That they seem to be able to create perfect art with little or no effort?

Einstein was a genius they say. So was Leonardo da Vinci, Shakespeare, Beethoven and Van Gogh. Why? Because they displayed a unique way of thinking that separated them from the mainstream.

Did genius just bestow itself upon these individuals?

No, every so-called genius is a craftsman first. They learn the basics. They study them, copy them until they are implicit. So that, when it's time to create for themselves, they know and understand their influences.

Good artists express themselves with honesty and skill. They also learn - and keep learning - from other artists. No influence is a bad influence. It all helps.

Genius is a not a thing in itself. It is merely a qualitative judgment made by individuals and critics - usually after the artist is dead!

What marks you out as a “genius” is your willingness to be true – to yourself and to your art. In other words, genius is really about having the courage of your convictions - the courage to be yourself....



Stage two: some practical advice now.

Clear your mind. To do this, meditate or go for a long walk in the country, undisturbed.

First, try to visualize nothing. No feelings, influences or distractions. Try to find that inner essence that is pure calm, joy and strength. It’s there, inside all of us. Get in touch with it.

Then, calmly tell yourself you’re a genius. Repeat the phrase to yourself until it becomes almost meaningless. I am a genius.

Do this about three to five times a day for five days. (You can do this with any phrase you want your subconscious to believe.)

For stage three, when you’re ready, take the plunge and write.

Write a paragraph or two about a character or a situation that you totally believe in – even if it’s fictional. Edit it afterwards until all the words represent that particular view of reality, as if it IS true, 100%.

Read it back. Is it convincing? If not, keep rewriting until the logic of each word and sentence is, in your mind, incontrovertible.

That’s the trick. Make your work totally convincing TO YOU on your own terms. Do not write for others. It doesn’t work. Be true to yourself and others will follow.

In the end, it's about how much you believe in your own vision of the world. If you don’t really believe in something then neither will your reader, no matter how clever you are with words.

In brief, to be a potential “genius” you must trust your instincts, believe in yourself and write from the heart. To do any less is to cheat yourself – and your readers.

Keep Writing!

Rob Parnell
rob@easywaytowrite.com
Your Success is My Concern
The Easy Way to Write
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The Easy Way to Write

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