The session below is the result of our very first Attleboro Community Keepers cohort. We partnered with the amazing staff over at DoubleACS Studios to make this happen (they’re seriously amazing). So what do you do? Create some art while listening to the session below! You can write, draw, create some music…the sky is the limit. After you finish, submit what you came up with in the form below. We’re running a little contest. The winner will receive 5 High-Quality EB Sessions from our store ($25 value). This is community art in action. We can’t wait to see what you contribute!
Session by Itself
Session by Itself Alternate Player (In Case the SoundCloud Ones Don’t Work)
In May of 2018, Endless Beautiful launched a new program called Community Keepers. The program ended up being a great success, and I feel like we learned a lot about EB. I want to chronicle how the Community Keepers Program came together while it’s still fresh in my mind. I also want to use this article as a means to reflect on valuable lessons learned and talk about where we want to take Endless Beautiful in the future as a result.
Hi, my name is Lucas Pralle. I am the co-founder of Endless Beautiful. My partner Carolyn Decker is the other co-founder of Endless Beautiful. We’re based out of Providence, RI. My “day job” away from Endless Beautiful is something called an Employment Specialist for the social services non-profit Community Care Alliance in Woonsocket, RI. I help students craft resumes and search for work. I also set up internships and other work experiences.
At the end of April 2018, I was assigned to work with the CCA’s Harbour Youth Center’s internship program called PAID or Pathways to Adulting, Independence, and Dignity. In this program, students between the ages of 18 and 28 go through 3 weeks of development courses and 3 different 2-week paid internships. The PAID program is designed to help students explore different career and education paths.
By the time I met with the students from PAID, they had already completed their first round of internships. The students were meeting on Friday to check in during a class, and the program’s coordinator, Beth Killian, was having them do an ice-breaker. Beth had set up two facing columns of chairs in the center of the classroom. The students sat down and Beth instructed them to answer a prompt regarding their experience at their worksite that previous week. After a few minutes, one column of students shifted to the right and the new pair of students responded to a different prompt.
I joined the group and sat down in a chair across from a charismatic young man named Shakur Bratton. He told me that his job shadow the previous week had taken place at a small art gallery in Woonsocket. I took a few more things away from my 2-minute conversation with Shakur.
1. Shakur was extremely thoughtful and expressive. 2. It was important for Shakur to have creative outlets in his life.
I continued the ice-breaker with several of the other students and came away from my initial meeting with them thinking that they were a great bunch with a heck of a lot of potential.
Although many of the internships were already locked in for the students, some of them were not. Either something had come up on the worksite end, where they couldn’t bring someone on for a couple weeks or the students were still not entirely sure where they wanted to intern. As the Employment Specialist, it would be my job to reach out to employers and try to establish last minute worksites.
It just so happened that Endless Beautiful had a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts sponsored workshop coming up on May 19, 2018 at the NeighborWorks community space in Woonsocket, RI. I had actually locked in the date with NeighborWorks a few days prior to meeting with the students in PAID.
Since founding Endless Beautiful a few years ago, Carolyn and I had been running every aspect of this business. We had hosted and produced our podcast, recorded every soundscape in our EB Sessions, coordinated with event hosts, media, and guests, and written grant applications. We enjoyed having this creative control and are passionate about these different aspects of Endless Beautiful. However, there was certainly no shortage of work to be done leading up to the events. I sensed an opportunity to both try something new with Endless Beautiful and alleviate some of the pressure of my other duties establishing these last minute work sites for the PAID students.
I spoke with the director of the Harbour Youth Center, Stump Evans, about Endless Beautiful being a work site. Endless Beautiful was a business after all. I explained that it would be a meaningful experience for the students, and that they would not only pick up a few multimedia skills, but also help put on a unique community art event. I promised Stump that I wouldn’t need to supervise the students that much and that I would still be able to perform the functions of my job for the other students.
She agreed to let me do it! Of course, this was all dependent on whether or not one of the PAID students would actually be interested in working with Endless Beautiful.
That night, I told Carolyn about my idea. We didn’t really know what the internship was going to look like. We did know that we needed a cool name for the program and the participants! Carolyn and I bounced some terrible names off one another before she landed on one that stuck:
We liked the name because it had a few meanings. They would be the keepers of the creative flame in Woonsocket. They were also “keepers” as in exceptional individuals that you wanted to have around in your community.
Carolyn and I had just purchased a Scorpion Jr. camera stabilizing handle, a GoPro knockoff, and a shock mount for our Zoom H1 recorder. We decided that we would send Keepers out with this rig. They would use this equipment to collect sounds, make short videos, and create a record of their experiences as Keepers. Coupled with their own personal creativity, the rig would act as the Keepers’ tools of the trade out in the community.
When I got back to the Youth Center, I typed up a quick list of tasks that students could expect to perform during our internship and handed it out to the students. I got a bite right away. Shakur was interested in becoming a Community Keeper!
Now I just had to build a meaningful curriculum on the fly while still helping the other students out at their job sites. Yes, it was a bit daunting, but I also had some concrete anchors that I would work with.
Carolyn and I had basically been doing research for this moment for two years. I knew that the Endless Beautiful Method – writing while listening to a 15-minute audio session worked. We had run several workshops in different communities and classrooms over the last two years, and regardless of how hesitant someone was at the beginning, every single one of them came up with something worthwhile during the writing portion. For every participant, we had been able to develop a meaningful conversation out of their creative work. Heck, we even had children that couldn’t read or write yet come in halfway during one of our workshops and they had drawn some pictures for us. The method was rock-solid. So I knew we didn’t have to worry about any of those details.
Another guide post was our recording methods. The Zoom H1 that we would be entrusting to Shakur and any other Keepers was an effective and easy to use tool. Minimal training about operating the recorder would suffice. Things like making sure you hit the record button to actually save your file to the SD card, watching input levels, minimizing handling noise, keeping close to your subject, and staying out of the wind as much as possible are pretty easy lessons to teach.
I honestly wasn’t sure how easily the Keepers would take to the editing portion at that point. I knew that they would have a lot of fun recording. Carolyn and I had been enjoying recording 400+ sounds at that point. And if the recording portion was the only thing that the Keepers got to participate in, well that would be fun and different, right?
So the first step was to have Shakur try out the EB Method. This would not only give him an example of a session, but also show him what he was going to be asking others to do when it came time for the actual workshop.
I had Shakur go on our website (endlessbeautiful.com) and choose a High Quality Session. He chose HQ Session 61: Science. This was a fun one that we had debuted by doing a workshop with the incredibly talented Darian Dauchan – the man behind the amazing web series, Brobot Johnson. You can check out our podcast episode here.
I gave Shakur a pen and paper, and he got to work. I had to check in with Beth regarding some of the other PAID students. When I got back to my office 15 minutes later, I had Shakur share what he came up with. I explained to him that sometimes participants are shy about sharing what they have written, but it is vital to the process. You might need to prod some participants more than others. You need to be firm and understanding. Shakur nodded and shared what he had just written.
Shakur had written a poetic journal entry about getting lost and finding himself. It sounded good and it was sincere. He obviously understood what the workshop was all about. This was very promising.
I then showed him the rig and went over a few of the recording fundamentals that I mentioned earlier. I instructed Shakur to try and get 2 minutes worth of audio per sound clip whenever possible. I explained that he would seldom use the full 2 minutes, but having that extra recorded slack was good so you had plenty to work with when it came time to edit. Shakur appeared to pick up what I was telling him quickly, and we decided that he would go out into Woonsocket for a few hours to record and meet me back in my office at the Employment and Training Center. And just like that, Shakur was off. I had no idea what to expect when he returned.
I was blown away by what Shakur reported when he checked in with me. He hadn’t covered a lot of physical distance. I told Shakur to stay in the relative vicinity of my office, just in case if something came up. Shakur had covered a huge amount of experiential distance though!
In an hour and a half, Shakur had walked down to the nearby park in Woonsocket to record the water and had already had interactions with local business owners and pedestrians. Shakur shared the story of going into a nearby antique shop. Apparently, the shop owners were leery of Shakur with the recording rig at first, but he quickly won them over, and they were happily wheeling antique clocks out front for him to record in no time!
Shakur was definitely excited to be a part of the project. I told him to go home for the day, and I would teach him to upload the sounds the following day. After he had left, I thought about what had just happened.
Equipping Shakur with the recorder and with the mission of creating a session for a community workshop had given him the tools necessary to connect with people in the community and his environment in general. The recorder provided a different lens for him to see the world through and the mission of creating the session for the workshop gave him common ground and a talking point to engage those around him. Shakur had been able to go out and make all of this happen after about 20 minutes of instruction!
That night, I told Carolyn about what happened. She had been concerned that we weren’t fully prepared to give our Keepers the tools and skills they would need. She was impressed to hear what Shakur had accomplished so quickly. When Shakur came in the following day, I created a Soundbank in Adobe Audition just like the one that we use for our sounds. I showed Shakur how to upload his sounds and name them. We have a few foundational rules for editing Endless Beautiful Sessions that I shared with Shakur to get him started.
These rules were established when I created the very first Endless Beautiful Session.
1) The audio clips cannot be altered beyond basic fades and trimming. I use some compressors to boost the levels of our tracks and to make it so you can hear the details more clearly, but beyond that I do not add any other effects such as reverb.
2) Never use the same sound clip twice. Every Session features never-before-heard material.
3) Save your work!
Shakur got to work right away.
Shakur seemed to be picking the work up quickly. He also suggested that we get a flyer together for the workshop. This would help him explain the concept quickly and efficiently when people would ask why he was recording.
By the third day, Shakur began running into a problem that I have encountered and had to overcome many times before. He was running out of sounds to record. Or, at least, he thought he was running out. Shakur had been hanging out in the general vicinity of my office on Main Street in Woonsocket. This area is dominated by traffic noise out on the street, with the Blackstone River and the River’s Edge Park a five-minute walk to the west. At least those are the obvious sounds. Until you start looking a little closer around you and you realize that you have only scratched the surface. Shakur decided to add a little creative spark of his own to the equation as well.
Few sounds are as universally communal and enticing as a campfire. Shakur told me how he had built a small contained fire with his friend, Ashley. Together, they had recorded the crackling and twinkling of the flames. Ashley had been excited to help in the recording process, and I was excited about both of their excitement. It wasn’t until later when I told Carolyn about the fire that I realized that it might be a bad idea to let my interns play with fire and possibly get into trouble. Maybe featuring it as part of the workshop was a bad idea. Lesson learned but no harm done!
The important thing was that Ashley had joined our team as our second-ever Community Keeper. The third Keeper, Thomas joined soon after. Ashley and Thomas also became EB Community Keepers through the PAID program.
Ashley led the way in distributing the flyers for the upcoming event. She came back to me right away saying she had already handed out the entire stack to community businesses and people she met while doing outreach. Her enthusiasm, positive attitude, and communication skills made her a great addition to the team.
Thomas was a bit more reserved when it came to the creative aspect of Endless Beautiful. He gravitated toward the recording and editing aspects.
I watched an interesting progression happen with Thomas during the Community Keepers Program. Thomas ended up spending more time recording and editing than the other two Keepers. I found that Thomas was driven by the idea that the session needed to be curated and maximized for the creative potential of future listeners. He took that responsibility seriously and spent a considerable amount of time ensuring that the session had a variety of sounds.
When May 19th rolled around, Carolyn and I loaded up all our workshop equipment into my car. That meant our portable PA system, microphones, mixing board, recorders, cameras, banner, writing pads, pens, stickers, and the milk-crate full of various cables. At noon we arrived at 40 South Main Street and began setting up the equipment in the Millrace cafe art space belonging to NeighborWorks Blackstone River Valley. Tamara, the event coordinator (one of her many hats) got us all sorted with tables, chairs, and coffee. Our Keepers helped us arrange the equipment and materials and greeted our arriving participants. Our photographer, Tom, documented the workshop set-up and got ready to record video and pictures throughout the event.
We began the event with introductions and a brief Q&A discussion of what the Keepers had done during their three-week internship, and what the experience had meant to them. Without giving away any of the details about the sounds, the Keepers spoke about how they had gone out into their community, encountered people and places, and challenged their own perceptions of sound. They talked about the work of editing, re-editing, and the hard decisions and teamwork that had gone into the creation of the Session we would debut in the next few minutes.
I have to admit I was nervous that something would go wrong when we played the Session. In order to preserve the integrity of the workshop experience (and because I had never before gotten to use an EB Session without knowing every detail of it), I hadn’t listened to it. I had spot-checked the levels and that was it. I had to trust the Keepers. They had promised me that the Session sounded really good, that “it sounded really smooth.” The Keepers let on that they had used 18 different soundscapes, a record number for any EB Session. How would all those sounds fit together?
We all got out our notebooks and laptops and got ready to listen, create, and share. Thomas pressed play. The chime sounded and we all got to writing. The Session was flawless. Using sounds collected exclusively in Woonsocket, the Keepers put together 15 minutes of captivating audio.
Check it out for yourself here:
The Keepers incorporated natural sounds, mechanical noises, sparse muffled bits of conversation, and lots of unexpected but artful transitions and movements in the audio.
Every person in the room was busy simultaneously listening and writing, using their imaginations to respond to this piece of artwork the Keepers had made to enhance our collective creative capacity. When the 15 minutes was done, it was time to share.
I started the group off. I went up to the microphone and read the story I had just written about a widowed antique shop owner and her companion. The Keepers and Carolyn asked me questions about what sounds had influenced me, how I had tried to shape the scene with details from the Session. From there we took it in turns sharing and discussing each person’s writing.
Everyone who was called on read their work aloud at the microphone in front of the group and got detailed feedback, questions, and reactions. Journal entries. Poems. Reflections. Vignettes. Some shorter and some longer. Some more action-packed, others more contemplative. As had happened before at our EB workshops, the group was supportive of one another, positive, and affirming of the creativity in each person.
As the discussion went on, the Keepers and community participants got into some deep and metaphysical territory! The Keepers had discovered things in three weeks that had taken Carolyn and I much more time and experimentation with Endless Beautiful! They talked about the hidden relationship between the sounds in the environment. Shakur envisioned the entire planet as a unified organism, its many noises all interrelated. Ashley commented on the valuable connections that she was able to make out in the community. Thomas explained how he discovered that “sound builds upon sound” and how our individual experiences add their own weight to what we hear.
Three o’ clock came all too soon and we had to wrap up the discussion and call an end to that workshop. As a gesture of appreciation to our inaugural group of Keepers, Carolyn and I presented Shakur, Ashley, and Thomas each with a peacock feather. The idea was to symbolize our mascot Eby the Peacock and give them a ‘keepsake’ of their experience with Endless Beautiful.
We packed up our gear, shook hands all around, and headed out.
If you made it this far in the article, well, thank you! This first round of the Community Keepers Program was important. I’m finishing this article up almost a month after we held the event. The contest that we’re running with Literative.com that features the Session created by the Keepers ends in about 5 days. Looking at the numbers, I think we might be pushing 100 contest entries from around the world!
The Keepers program has rapidly pushed us in new directions. Carolyn and I are currently developing a program with the public access television station DoubleACS in Attleboro, MA. We plan to have 6 recording rigs for that program! We will be running that Keepers program out of DoubleACS’s fully featured television and radio station. Students will have access to their own recorders, workstations, and staff for support. More news on that later. I told you this was a good idea and that it was going places!
The time for our next writing contest with Literative.com has come! This one is extra special for two reasons. One – the session has been compiled by Endless Beautiful’s very own Community Keepers. This was an internship program that we ran in Woonsocket, RI. You can read more about that amazing project here. The second reason this contest is special is there is a $50 prize for the first place winner. $25 for the second. And $10 for 3rd place. Not bad eh? You just need to listen to the session below and enter to win on Literative’s website by June 20, 2018. Make sure you tell your friends too! We want to get the EB Community Keepers’ art out as far and wide as possible!
Endless Beautiful Launches Development Program for Youth in Woonsocket
WOONSOCKET, RI: It took the co-founder of Providence-based Endless Beautiful Creative Services only a few moments to realize that he had stumbled into an enormous opportunity. Along with being a Rhode Island State Council on the Arts (RISCA) sponsored artist, Lucas Pralle is an employment specialist for Community Care Alliance (CCA) in Woonsocket, and it was his first day working with students from their Harbor Youth Center.
“The young people that I met in the youth center internship program were just brimming with potential,” says Pralle. “Right away, one of them told me that he wanted to do something creative. That’s when the light bulb turned on for me.”
That night, Pralle told Endless Beautiful co-founder Carolyn Decker about what he had witnessed at the youth center. Together, they designed a new dimension of their multimedia community arts partnership and the Endless Beautiful Community Keepers Program was born. Youth from CCA’s internship program – Pathways to Adulting, Independence, and Dignity (PAID) have been offered an opportunity to work side-by-side with Pralle and Decker as “Community Keepers” to produce a RISCA sponsored community art event in Woonsocket on May 19th.
The Endless Beautiful Community Workshop features a 15-minute audio “Session” of sounds recorded in the community. Youth participating in the program or “Keepers” will be sent out into Woonsocket with recorders to capture those sounds. They will then be taught how to compile the sounds into the Session, and how to help lead the workshop.
“This is the first time we’ve brought anyone else in to record sounds with us and help lead the workshop” says Decker, a poet and wetland biologist that works out of Burrillville. “We’re entrusting these youth with a lot, but they are up to the challenge. We feel like this is a valuable experience for everyone involved.”
The audio session created by the Community Keepers will also be used for an international writing contest launching on May 19 at the workshop. Endless Beautiful’s partner, Literative, will host the contest on their website.
“I love running writing contests using the Endless Beautiful Method,” says Pralle. “We get entries from around the world when we do this, and the creativity is just so inspiring. The fact that the sounds will be coming from Woonsocket and that the students will be recording them brings this thing to a whole different level.”
Endless Beautiful releases a podcast that features acclaimed poets, musicians, doctors, writers, and scientists along with others using the Endless Beautiful Method to spark creativity. Pralle and Decker are also on the LiteraryArts RI (LARI) Council and are involved with planning the Providence Book Festival for 2019.
The “Keepers” have already started collecting sounds in Woonsocket. “I think the Keepers are going to find that we have very high technical standards when it comes to selecting the sounds that go into the sessions,” says Pralle. “That’s okay though, this is going to be a learning experience for all of us, and I can’t wait to see what the students come up with.”
The Endless Beautiful Community Keepers Workshop will be held on Saturday, May 19, 2018 from 1 – 3pm in the Cafe at 40 S Main Street in Woonsocket, RI. Admission to the event is free. Event is family-friendly. All are welcome to come share in the fun and try out their creativity!
Details regarding the event and the upcoming contest can be found on endlessbeautiful.com.
1st installment of our new video series Behind the Sounds! This one covers the very first EB Session: Beaches along with the origins of EB! Enjoy. You can find Beaches in our store at endlessbeautiful.com!
EB Behind the Sounds Session One: Beaches
Hello, this is Carolyn Decker. And I’m Lucas Pralle. So, this is Endless Beautiful behind the scenes, the making of our Sessions. We began with Beaches.
So this was in 2016.
August I believe.
August of 2016. Carolyn and I had been talking about setting up a writing contest or something like that. We as writers we wanted something to help us be more creative.
A little more disciplined too. We needed a practice a could rely on. A method we could use. We knew we liked using sounds. Lucas had a background in podcasting and you had collected some sounds while you were abroad in China.
Yeah, I did. So when I was in Suzhou China we were doing a podcast called Worm Island and we had gotten a Zoom H5 recorder. It was this really nice portable recorder and I started to go around and collect sounds. One of the sounds from our sessions, beaches, is “Busy Chinese Street.” And that was me taking the recorder outside of my apartment and going out on to the corner and just recording for a few minutes. The idea was just to have a sound bank at that time. Wasn’t the prompt or anything. that hadn’t been formed yet. So I had that and we came back to the U.S. and we thought, how can we be more productive?
I thought, well yea, I’ve got some of these sounds–“Busy Chinese Street,” “Coins.” I had this box of coins that I was just sifting through. And I was like, Ok well I’ve got some of these, let’s go out and record some other ones and maybe we can put that together into some sort of prompt.
Yeah, so at that time we were living in North Kingstown, Rhode Island and we lived pretty close to this nice town park and also not too far from the state beaches. So I think we went into the woods first and we just collected some sounds of walking in the woods, some rustling of leaves… Then we went to the gas station on our way to the beach. We got the sound of the gas station background, and then the waves, the tide coming in, walking on the beach… Those also made their way into that session.
So after we got back from recording these things… Also, that was the first realization that hey, this is a lot of fun, going out and recording these things. And also for us as artists, that was the beginning of our art collecting the sounds and putting that together. Well, we took it back to the computer and I opened up some audio editing software. We didn’t have a time period, like how long the session was going to be. We hadn’t determined those things yet.
Well no but 15 minutes felt doable, a solid amount of time.
Right. And that’s what we had. Let’s see, we had one two three four five six seven eight: eight sounds that we had in there. A little under two minutes probably for each one. So I put them in there and we started writing. And, really, that first go at it was very similar to the EB Sessions that you will hear in 2018 and beyond.
That structure has really stayed the same throughout these first couple years of doing EB together. It seems to just take on a life of its own. It has that framework, but the life that we try to put into it in the collecting of the sounds, and then the life that our participants put into it when they use it to create something, really has made it this living creature.
Right. Right. I guess one of the reasons why we wanted to do this was that we have memories from, not only when we’ve used these for workshops or for our own creative prompts, but also when we were out recording these things. You know I remember when we were at that gas station. If you listen to the Session, if you go to our store on our website, and you purchase the session you will hear this too: the clunking of the pump. Stuff like that. Up until that point I had never really paid that close attention to those details.
It’s true. I mean, going out and having the recorder in your hands, and knowing that it is listening to everything that you are hearing–it really tuned my senses to my surroundings in a way I had never really paid attention to before.
But there are also audio challenges. When we’re on the beach and the wind and the waves are rushing in, that created a lot of difficulties. How do we capture the sound we want to capture in its natural context without destroying the sound through that interference? So we’ve learned some lessons about how to get around those field challenges.
And also our subject matter too. The sounds that we record. What we choose to record. How we arrange those in the sessions. That is always changing. We have a story behind many of those decisions and all the funny weird places that we’ve found ourselves throughout the recording of this.
So that’s what we’re going to be doing with this video series. This is Session One: Beaches which you can find in our store. It is the first EB Session. It’s a good one. At the time of this recording, we have 66 Sessions. And we’re going to do a video with some behind the scenes stuff for every single one of those because there is a story behind every single session. And we’ve been there. Every step of the way. We’ve recorded every single one of those sounds. I think we’re over 400 sounds now.
All those different soundscapes! I guess the thing that has been becoming more and more important to me is the realization that all these sounds (and we personally record every single one that we use in our sessions…) It has become this fascinating record of our experiences. Then, that is this engine for the art that is created through listening and building upon that. So I guess, if you ever get stuck you can try to wonder what the heck they were doing when they were recording this.
Ok! Well thanks for spending some time with us. Check out that Session: Beaches on our website endlessbeautiful.com. And we’re gonna see you guys again soon. Thanks!
Whether you’re looking for creative writing exercises for the classroom or yourself, we have you covered at Endless Beautiful! Our incredibly easy to use and flexible method can be used to help boost productivity, generate ideas, defeat writer’s block, build teams, and so much more!
How do I get started with this creative writing exercise?
The first thing that you will need is one of our High Quality Endless Beautiful Sessions. These are 15 minute audio sessions that are comprised of several recordings that we have captured and stitched together. No two recordings are ever used twice in the EB Sessions. At the time of this writing we have used 400+ different sounds!
Now that you have your session, you will need to have paper and pencil, a computer, or something to write with. You will also need a way to play the audio session. You can use your computer or a cell phone. If you are in a noisy area, you might want to wear a pair of headphones.
Got it. What’s next?
Hit play on the session. Now start writing. The only rule here is that you can’t stop writing for the 15 minutes. It sounds scary before you start, but trust me, it’s easy to keep going with the help of the audio session.
Don’t worry about specifically identifying the sounds while you listen. You can do that, but you can also do a lot more. This creative writing exercise is meant to open channels in your mind that you wouldn’t necessarily explore otherwise.
Let the sounds stimulate memories that you have stored away. You might want to get a little personal reflection down on the page. Form isn’t terribly important in the early stages here. Just keep writing!
I’ve completed the 15 minute creative writing exercise. Now what?
Don’t dwell on what you produced too much. The best thing that you can do with an Endless Beautiful Workshop result is to share it with someone. Have students come up to the front and read what they wrote if you did this in a class. Remind them before you get started that this was just 15 minutes, and that you’re not expecting perfection. Although you might be surprised by what they were capable of coming up with!
Share what you come up with even if you did the creative writing exercise by yourself. This might be a message to a friend or posting it on social media. I personally like reading it aloud to someone. The nice thing about these is that they were made in only 15 minutes. So they’re not that long. You don’t have to make your friends read your 30 page story or listen to your 7 minute song that may or may not be good.
You might have wrote something amazing in the 15 minutes. Your friends will say, “I can’t believe you came up with that in such a short period of time!” You also might have wrote something completely silly. That’s fine too! Laugh it off and move on!
You will get better if you use this creative writing exercise on a regular basis.
The EB Method is not just for laughs. You can get some serious writing done if you use EB Sessions on a regular basis. Build a routine. It only takes 15 minutes and the benefits go way beyond being a productive writer. I recommend using at least one EB Session a week. You will probably want to do more than that, but setting a goal of once a week is a solid foundation.
We release a new High Quality EB Session for your creative writing exercises every Monday. If you start to conduct more than one workshop a week, and you need more sessions, we have a full back catalogue for you to explore. Sometimes, if I want to use an older EB Session, but I’m not sure which one to pick, I will use a random number generator.
Google has this built right in. You can just search for “Generate Random Number.” I personally like going to random.org. I put in however many EB Sessions that I have and grab the corresponding one that the number generator spits out. It’s a nice and simple way to keep things fresh.
This EB Sessions can be used multiple times for your creative writing exercises too. They will always be on your account, ready to be used or redownloaded when you need them. I have used all of the sessions, some of them multiple times. Once the chime sounds at the beginning it’s like a brand new beginning.
Creative writing exercises are an awesome way to start your day!
It’s true! The nice thing about the EB Method is that it only takes 15 minutes to do. Maybe 20 to get everything set up. Give yourself a little more time in the morning. Conducting an EB Workshop with yourself is an awesome way to start your day. I give a few tips about it and other ways to utilize the EB Method on this page. The feeling of accomplishment that comes with writing with an EB Session is really good.
We’re increasingly busy these days. The internet and other technologies that have emerged in recent years have brought many more options for productivity. They have also opened the door for much more mental clutter and downright anguish! I have something that will help you feel better and have more control over your time and mind. You actually don’t need to set the alarm for 15 minutes, we will take care of that for you.
Master Your Mental State for 15 Minutes
I’m not going to tell you to pull out the meditation mat, because let’s face it, meditation is not easy. I’m used to knowing the instant that I have an email in my inbox and handling 5 conversations simultaneously. Sitting in one place with my eyes closed doing nothing is absolute torture! If you’re like me, and are looking to declutter your mind, read on.
Let me tell you about something called an Endless Beautiful Session. It’s a 15 minute long audio session that is comprised of several sound clips that I have recorded and stitched together with my partner Carolyn. These clips can be the ticking of a clock, birds chirping, riding the subway. At the time of me writing this, we have used 400+ sounds. No two recording are every used twice!
How do we do this and why is it important?
Okay, so this is what I want you to do. Download one of our sessions in our store. We have a free one that you can try out. We have a bunch of other ones to choose from. Grab yourself some paper and a pencil or a computer. You’re going to need something to play the EB Session with. So maybe use your computer or your cell phone. You’ll want some headphones if you are in a noisy environment.
Hit play and start writing. Don’t just try to identify the sounds. This isn’t a gameshow or a contest. Loosen your mind and let it play with what you are hearing. Memories are generally a good place to start. I bet you have a lot of those swimming around. The only rule here is that you can’t stop writing until the 15 minutes are up.
The method is incredibly flexible. All you need to do is figuratively set an alarm for 15 minutes during your day and do a session. The benefits or doing this are enormous!
How to Maximize the 15 Minutes
Good, so you’ve decided to give this a go. I’m going to share some tips to help you get the most out of your 15 minutes.
Don’t worry about form or topic in the beginning.
Your journaling might turn into a poem which then in turn might turn into historical fiction. You’d be surprised what can happen in 15 minutes! This is okay. The time is for you to exercise your mind in a creative and positive way. You will get better the more you use the EB Method. After a while, you will probably start to develop a style that works for you during the 15 minutes. You can take a look at our results page to see some examples of what participants came up with during the 15 minute session.
Share what you came up with.
This is a huge component to using the EB Method, and it can make a really big difference for you. By sharing what you came up with during the 15 minutes, you are getting this amazing creative piece out of your head and into the wider world. You don’t need to share it with millions of people. Just one person. It will feel great. Trust me. Also, you only took 15 minutes to create what you came up with. That means it isn’t super long, and you aren’t asking too much of the person when you share it with them.
Don’t stop writing.
Seems simple. Many of the first-time users of the Endless Beautiful Method report they are shocked by how easy it is for them to keep on writing. I will often lead a workshop, have somebody come up to me before we get started and tell me that they are not creative, and then proceed to produce multiple pages of amazing content over the next 15 minutes.
Keep in mind that not stopping does not just mean that you don’t stop making your work longer. You can also work in a circular fashion. I primarily write fiction when I am using an EB Session. There are dozens of my stories along with other artists in the Endless Beautiful Podcast section of our site.
And oftentimes, I will find that my story will take a turn that I don’t necessarily like. Or maybe I will reach a conclusion for the story, and pushing it past that point will detract more than it will add. In those cases, I go back up to earlier sections to enrich them with finer details. This can really add some amazing texture to the stories and characters. Just don’t stop dead in your tracks during the 15 minutes and you will be fine.
Set Alarm for 15 Minutes and Make a Routine in Your Week (We’ll Start There)
15 minutes a week. Pick a day. Pick a time of the day. Set it aside. That’s all this will take. The time will become sacred to you, and you’re probably going to want to do it more than once a week. This is very much like working out in a gym. The time and money required to do it is much less than your standard gym commitment.
The more you use the EB Method, the better you will get at it. You will begin to set little challenges for yourself. It’s always fun to watch newbies to the method marvel at what they came up with during their first session and then look it months later after they have been using the method for a while. Your creative brain gets very good at this stuff.
I personally like using EB Sessions in the morning after I eat breakfast and make a cup of coffee. Trust me, I am not a super morning person that gets up at 5 am. I have to set my alarm a little earlier, convince myself to get out of bed, and shoehorn those 15 minutes in just like everybody else. And it feels awesome when I complete it!
Take 15 Minutes to Redirect a Bad Mood
I’ve definitely done this one too. I’ve been going about my day, and for whatever reason, I was just having a crappy day. I didn’t use a session in the morning, people were rude to me, etc. I remember a specific moment where I pulled into a Walmart parking lot, pulled out a pad of paper and pen, picked a session, and took 15 minutes to write. It was like a massive weight was taken off my shoulders.
What did I write? Some weird thing about soup that I threw out after I was finished. It didn’t matter. Those 15 minutes saved me from an entire day of having a bad mood and all of the other nasty consequences that come with a bad mood. I obviously had something on my mind that I couldn’t just let go of without taking the 15 minutes to do some creative exercise.
What are you waiting for?
Okay, I appreciate you reading this entire article, but it’s time to get writing! First step is to snag your Endless Beautiful Session. You can snag your first one for free here. Or if you want more of a selection, check out our store. We have boatloads of sessions to choose from!
Nobody likes being bored. And if you’re like me, you tend to either spend lots of money or follow completely wasteful pursuits like binge watching cat videos when you’re bored. I have good news. The Endless Beautiful Method can crank up your creativity and turn a bored afternoon or evening into an awesome afternoon or evening packed full of creativity!
Here’s What You Will Need
Pencil, paper, or computer to write with (you can use another medium if you have that available)
EB Soundscapes. You can choose one of our curated, HQ Sessions, or press play on the EB Engine for a randomized set of sounds.
Speakers, a cellphone, or some other device to play the session
Friends or family if you have them around (anybody can do this and it’s more fun if they do)
A willingness to turn your boredom into an awesomely creative and productive time
How does this help me not be bored?
Right. I didn’t just give you a random list of tasks. We have a method to our madness. Specifically, we have the Endless Beautiful Method! The EB HQ Sessions are 15 minutes long, and they are comprised of a bunch of sounds that Carolyn and I have recorded. No recording is ever used twice in our sessions. Sessions generally have at least 7 sounds and can have up to 15 sounds. You know, so you don’t get bored! The EB Engine pulls from our library of 700+ sounds.
How does this help me be creative?
You listen to the session and write at the same time. The only rule here is that you don’t stop creating until the end of the session. You can write a story, a poem, journal, try to come up with memories, brainstorm ideas. You can do many things. Many first-time users of Endless Beautiful report it is surprisingly easy to get the creative juices flowing with our method!
Any tips for getting the most out of this?
Sure! I recommend that you don’t just try to identify what the sounds are when you listen to them. We purposely include a rich tapestry of different recordings, many of them featuring things going on in the background, to promote as much creativity as possible. What one person takes from a recording will be completely different with the next person.
Just start writing. We specifically use sound to give you a lot a mental space to process your own thoughts. Feel free to weave your way in and out of the recordings. This isn’t a gameshow or a contest. The Endless Beautiful Method is a tool for you to maximize your creativity in whatever form it comes.
Start with memories. You have a bazillion memories stored away in your head, and if you have lived on Earth for more than a minute, you will be able to draw from your memories when you hear the sounds.
How does this help me not become bored again?
Chances are, after you finish using your first Endless Beautiful Session, you will think to yourself, “Wow, that wasn’t too bad.” Don’t worry, we hear it all the time. You came up with some really interesting ideas.
You will get better. There will be less questions and clutter floating around in your mind the next time you use a session. You will be able to focus entirely on creating.
Here’s another important tip: Share what you came up with! If you did the workshop by yourself, call somebody up, or send somebody a message with what you came up with. It feels awesome! That’s another good thing about the session being 15 minutes long, you’re not asking someone to read your novel.
Ask Your Bored Friends to do Something Creative with You!
Like many things in life, Endless Beautiful is even better when you do it with friends and family. Heck, it’s really good to do with strangers too! Everyone listens to the session and writes or creates whatever they are working on at the same time. You then share what you came up with at the end. It is amazing to see all of the different ideas and creativity. Even though you just listened to the exact same thing.
Make a Routine to Fight Boredom and Promote Creativity
Pick at least one day out of the week to do use an Endless Beautiful Session. Like I said before, you will get better with more practice. Our minds need exercise in order to be healthy. Taking at least 15 minutes out of your week to do a workshop will do WONDERS for your brain. You will feel accomplished. If you’re using the journaling angle, you might get some tough stuff out on the page. If you’re sharing what you came up with (which you really should), you will feel good getting something creative out there.
That’s a lot of benefits right? And I’m being conservative here. You will probably find a lot more personal benefits beyond not being bored and promoting creativity.
When you use a HQ Session, you can use it again. We purposely include a bunch of rich soundscapes in our High-Quality Sessions so they can be used over and over again.
More Boredom Bashing Creativity Exercises
Maybe your friends aren’t really into art or writing. You can put a little bit of a gamifying twist on the workshop to make it more appealing to them (and hilarious). This is going to require a way to keep the time. It’s usually better with multiple sessions on hand.
In this example, we’re going to split the EB Workshop into smaller sections. 5 minutes, 4 minutes, 3 minutes, 2 minutes, and 1 minute. That adds up to 15 minutes just like a regular session does. Tell the group that the goal is to make a continuous narrative or poem, and that you want to follow the lead of the person that went before them.
Everybody starts with their paper or writing device of choice and writes for 5 minutes.
Stop the recording of the EB Session.
Now pass your paper or whatever you are working on to the next person. Either hit play on the same session or pick a different session and hit play. This time for 4 minutes. Stop. Pass. 3 minutes. Stop. Pass. Then 2 minutes. Stop. Pass. And finally 1 minute.
Everybody gets what they started writing back.
Were you able to stay on track? The results can be funny! It can also yield some really interesting and valuable results that you wouldn’t have come across by just trying to do everything by yourself.
Don’t Be Bored! Don’t Be Afraid of Creativity!
Endless Beautiful Sessions work for ANYBODY. I’m serious. You wouldn’t believe how many times I have had people tell me that they are not creative and then produce some amazing piece of writing.
It’s only 15 minutes, it’s inexpensive, it’s incredibly rewarding – I can go on and on about the benefits. What are you waiting for? Check out our library of EB Sessions and get started!
Journaling can be an incredibly rewarding and productive experience. Of course, just like many other activities that we know are good for us, it can be hard to stay motivated or even get started. Fortunately, the Endless Beautiful Method makes journaling much easier.
You can do the following journaling exercise in a group or as an individual. We always encourage participants in an Endless Beautiful Workshop to share what they came up with, but there are situations where that might not be appropriate. And that is fine! Do what works for you and your situation.
Let’s Get to the Fun Part: Journaling
For this you will need something to write on, something to write with, and of course, Endless Beautiful audio, and a computer or cell phone to play it. Make sure you can hear the session clearly through either speakers or headphones.
You have a few choices for your audio. The first choice is the EB Engine, or the play button, near the top of our landing page. This is a randomized playlist of all our sounds. With 700+ sounds in the bank, you should never get the same combination. The second choice is one of our curated sessions. These can be found on the HQ Sessions page. They are 15-minute blocks with several sounds arranged to help maximize creativity. Either choice, the randomized experience or the curated block, should be more than enough to help you journal productively.
You are going to want to write while you listen to the audio. The only rule here is that you can’t stop while the audio is playing. It’s okay to play the audio for a shorter length of time when you are first getting started. Seven-and-a-half minutes is a good starting point, especially in a group setting. However, we think you’ll be surprised how fast the time goes while you’re journaling. Below are a few ways you can utilize the sounds in the sessions as a journal prompt.
Chances are good you have years of memories stored within your mind that haven’t been accessed in a long time. Users of the EB Method are often blown away by how detailed the memories are that they can conjure up. The memories don’t need to be from a long time ago either. Try to focus on specific details from scenes earlier that day.
Beside being a lot of fun recording the sounds, we specifically use sound clips because they leave a lot of mental space for you to recall memories and thoughts. We also use recordings that have several subjects and actions within them. This allows two different people to take away very different memories or other influences from a single soundscape.
Different sounds produce different emotional responses in people. Explore that in your journal writing. Not all the sounds used in our EB Sessions are meant to make you feel comfortable. We include things like mechanical grinding or other jarring noises along with birds chirping and soothing sounds. This gives you room to explore a wide emotional range during your journaling. By writing down your fears or the uncomfortable associations that you make during the session, you are releasing that stuff. You are also getting it on paper where it can be examined and processed externally with your intellectual mind. This can be extremely powerful.
Some EB Sessions have 7 sounds in them. Some have twice that. Some force you to work within a specific soundscape for 2 – 3 minutes and others switch in under 30 seconds. The EB Engine is completely randomized, so you get something new every time. This demands flexibility during your journal writing. Embrace the challenge and see where it takes your mind.
Journal prompts are a great way to instill discipline when it comes to journal writing. The great thing about the Endless Beautiful Method is that although no session or individual recording is the same, you can determine exactly how much time you want to journal. Each session is 15 minutes long. The EB Engine has a stopwatch below it that you can activate to watch the time. Just remember – Don’t stop writing until that final chime!
A lot of times when we run Endless Beautiful Workshops, we get questions like, “Is it okay if I write in this way?” or “I know this is supposed to be this, but I want to do this.” Do yourself a favor and throw that unproductive logic out the window! Maybe your journal writing will have bits of fiction or poetry in it. Maybe it will be entirely memories or emotions. This is for you! Be open and don’t worry about boundaries. The Endless Beautiful Method is meant to be a loose framework for you to launch off of. Where you end up going with it is entirely up to you.
We have a few more tips:
Make a routine (once a day, once a week, in the morning, before bed)
Wear headphones and concentrate on your journaling
Try sharing what you came up with
It’s okay to use the same session repeatedly. EB users often come up with very different results using the same session twice