I spent last Thursday, Friday and Saturday at the Festival of Faith and Writing which is a conference for authors, playwrights, publishers, readers, teachers, etc.  I’ve been going to the conference since 1996, which was three years after I wrote my last/only book, but was right in the middle of the nine years I was writing monthly articles on technology in education.  So if it has been four years now since I have written anything (for money), why keep going to the conference?

The short answer is that I always learn something new, and always am reminded of things I had learned before but have forgotten (or stopped paying attention to).  I think all creative people who are working in their chosen craft share a lot of the same struggles.  These craftsmen can learn a lot from each other, whether they be authors, film makers, musicians, artists, or even people trying to create a good user interface or user experience using web sites and computer software.

So briefly below is my “Top 10+” list of things I learned or relearned this year.  Each of these items is probably a blog post or book in itself, but I don’t have time for that right now – perhaps I’ll expand on some of these in the near future.

  • Nothing replaces experience when conceiving and starting a project
  • No craftsman (or woman) is an island
  • A picture is still worth a thousand words
  • Nothing is more inspiring than a talented craftsman with passion
  • Give your audience something that they recognize, even/especially in brand new creations
  • The best way to learn how to create something yourself is to regularly view/review other people’s creations
  • Another great way to learn to to create something is to just get started creating something
  • Spending only time with the “latest stuff” makes you “a mile wide, but an inch deep”
  • Even the “masters” of any craft, if they are honest, will tell you of their daily struggles and fears
  • “Process Versus Product” is a key concern for every craftsman
  • “Picturing the Invisible” is another difficult and important skill to learn
  • A true craftsman will be satisfied with a work well done, no matter if the audience is 2, 10, 100 or thousands of people
  • A large motivation of craftsmen of all kinds is the puzzle, mystery or problem to be solved