Monday, April 13, 2009

Finding Inspiration From People You Admire

When you're trying to be creative (with gifts, writing, etc.), one thing you can do is try and take inspiration from those people around you who excel at what they do. Don't copy them, but let their spark and style motivate you to come up with something great on your own.

Some time back I mentioned this piece called Bad Bank that aired on This American Life. I really loved it and it's about the banking crisis! It's informative and actually very funny. It helped me to really understand that if you are clever enough and approach it the right way, you can even make something like the banking crisis interesting to listen to. It's possible to have people crack up and learn at the same time if you're a good enough writer.

Another writer that I love and look to for inspiration is Joel Stein (he writes for the Los Angeles Times and Time). He has a way of taking even the most mundane topic and making it hysterically funny. He's always willing to put himself out there (the funny video pieces that accompany the columns in Time are evidence of this) and even embarrass himself a little in the name of great writing and comedy.

Here are a few of his columns I have really liked:

Joel goes solo to a birthing class.

A column about being fired.

Joel's man date with Paul Rudd where they search for a 3rd man to join their date
. Try not to be distracted by the insanely handsome Paul Rudd picture at the beginning of the article and keep reading. The video that is with the article is a must watch.

I saved the best for last. My absolute favorite piece he has ever done is when he invited George Clooney to his house and cooked him dinner. This is my favorite Clooney interview as well. At that point a million people had interviewed George and this fresh take on the environment he interviewed him in really made you get a different sense of him. The video with this piece is priceless.

Joel has an innate charm that helps with his writing, but the thing that really makes him stand out is that he is willing to just go for it and not worry about what others think. It makes for pieces with a fresh, funny and honest voice and I dare anyone not to like them. I know it sounds cliche, but learn from this and find a way to put a piece of yourself in what you do creatively and it will make a difference.

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