SUBSCRIBE to Think Again - a Big Think Podcast

JOIN our Facebook group

On an  earlier episode of this show the Turkish novelist Orhan Pamuk said something that I’ve never forgotten. He said that writing programs shouldn’t teach about plots or characters or how to structure a story. Instead, they should  teach writers to manage their own psyches. To be the captains of their own creative ships across the rough daily waters of fluctuating emotions and energies. This kind of self-management, he suggested, is what makes the difference between people who keep producing art and those who don’t. 

My guest today is Jessica Abel. She’s an accomplished artist herself—a graphic novelist who did a kind of graphic docu-novel called OUT ON THE WIRE about how some of the greatest radio shows and podcasts are made, including Snap Judgment, Radiolab, and This American Life. In the course of figuring out how to steer her own creative ship she’s learned invaluable lessons about how to help others do the same. Her most recent book GROWING GILLS and her Creative Focus Workshops offer creatives a personalized process for figuring out what they want to make and how to balance those goals with the rest of their busy lives.

Jessica Abel Quote: I think that every human being is creative. It’s how our brains work. And whether you express that creativity in a novel, or you express it through really great spreadsheets (I have all respect for spreadsheets. People who can figure those kinds of problems out? That is creativity) . . . . Look at children. Look at the way they function. I have never met a child that doesn’t love to draw. Go back to that. Did you draw as a kid? If you drew as a kid, it’s there. And if you want it back, you can have it back. It’s in you. It’s part of you.

Surprise conversation-starter clips in this episode

Radiolab’s Jad Abumrad on storytelling as shamanism

Bret Weinstein on how evolution explains religion

About Think Again - A Big Think Podcast: Since 2008, Big Think has been sharing big ideas from creative and curious minds. Since 2015, the Think Again podcast has been taking us out of our comfort zone, surprising our guests and Jason Gots, your host, with unexpected conversation starters from Big Think’s interview archives.

You've got 10 minutes with Einstein. What do you talk about? Black holes? Time travel? Why not gambling? The Art of War? Contemporary parenting? Some of the best conversations happen when we're pushed outside of our comfort zones. Each week on Think Again, we surprise smart people you may have heard of with short clips from Big Think's interview archives on every imaginable subject. These conversations could, and do, go anywhere.


Come talk to us 
on Twitter@bigthinkagain