Who am I?

I’m an Agilist, a former software engineer, a gamer, an improviser, a podcaster emeritus, and a wine lover. Learn more.

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Paul Tevis

Entries in creativity (9)


Can I Get Some Gets?

Tell me what to do. I am your blogmonkey.

In improv, we’ll often start a scene by asking for something from the audience.1 Why? One reason is so they know we’re actually improvising, rather than working from a script or from pre-rehearsed bits. The better reason is to prompt our creativity, to push ourselves outside of our heads and our normal boxes.

This is basically what I did with Becky during our first Fourth Friday Challenge. That was successful enough that (1) we’re going to do it again, and (2) I want to widen it. This is where you, faithful reader, come in.

Either in the comments to this post or using the form on the About page, give me some writing prompts. It could a be question, a topic, a restriction — anything that I can use to mix things up a bit. I’ll toss these into my blogging ideas file and use them to fuel future posts. Sound good?

So, can I get…

1 In techincal terms, it’s a called a “get,” which leads to fun sentences like, “What kind of get to you want to get?”


Making Art at a Distance

I love what I get paid to do. At the office, I get to work closely with people, as part of a team, to build something together. We’re interdependent, because none of us can build the product alone, so we have to trust each other. We can’t just each build our separate piece and hope they fit together at the end. We have to communicate and collaborate on a daily basis in order to succeed. I love working to make this environment even better for what we need to do, and I love that I have to do that with other people. What I’m doing in my job right now is making me a better person.

I also love making art with people. As creative as what we build at work is, it’s not the same as a making a book, a game, a podcast, a YouTube video, a movie. I can’t point to our software and say, “Look at this art that we made.” It may be true, but it’s not as true as it is for other things. And as much as a love things like improv and roleplaying, creative activities whose products are ultimately ephemeral, I still occasionally feel the need to be left with something tangible that we made.

I want to find a way to unite these two loves. Most the people who I have made art with or want to make art with don’t live anywhere near me.1 And what I love about work is that the collaborative process is happening in real time. There’s just so much lost when that immediacy goes away.

How about you? How do you make art with people don’t see on a daily basis? How do you keep the collaboration going?

1 Not mention that I can’t afford to do them full time.


Absorbing and Reflecting

The more I read, the more I need to write.

As some people are probably aware, I'm an external processor: I understand things by communicating them. Or, as I've put it before, I learn by hearing myself speak. It look me a surprisingly long time to figure this out, but I guess that's because I didn't talk to myself enough.

The upshot of this is that the more information I take in, the more I need to spit it back out. That's one of my primary motivations for kicking this blog back into gear. The problem, of course, is that the more time I spend digesting books, TV, movies, etc., the less time I have to reflect on it, write about it, and truly absorb it. This is frustrating to say the least.

I haven't come up with a perfect solution to the problem yet, but one that does seem to be working for me is putting limits on what I expect myself to take in. For example, I've set a goal of one chapter of The Civil War each week. Once I finish my weekly quota (which isn't too difficult), I've given myself permission to set the book aside, which gives me a chance to think and write about it. (The side benefit is that it also lets me fit in a few other projects in parallel, which is something I've always been bad about.)

I've been fond of the saying "How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time." Now I have to learn how to talk with my mouth full.


Out of My Head and Onto the Screen

This morning, I put together this mindmap for the roleplaying game design that I'm kicking around.

Thanks to Chuck Wendig for pointing out FreeMind. It's helping me get masses of ideas out of my head into more useful forms.

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