“The impulse to create is like the impulse to breathe,” says author Rikki Ducornet, a contributor to the imaginative, playful book, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fictionby Jeff VanderMeer.
Writing, she says, is a place to reclaim the initial impulses we are born with—to play and create and love—impulses that society tries to hammer out of us as we grow up. Our parents, and sometimes teachers, tell us to “be quiet and quit asking questions.” But as writers, we’re encouraged to ask questions and be curious. In fact, to be successful in our art we HAVE TO ask questions. Read more
As mentioned in my post “Happiness Projects for Your Writing Life,” I was introduced to doodling by my massage therapist who decided to doodle every day for a month as part of his Happiness Project.
More recently, I learned that practicing doodling while learning new information can increase our retention and understanding of that information by up to 40%. I’ve never really been a doodler, but I wanted to test this idea at a recent two-day seminar to see if it really worked.
It took me awhile to get the hang of doodling while taking lecture notes. I’m not a “natural” drawer so I had to consciously thing of things to doodle at first (I started with a lot of hearts). It felt good and I was having fun. I also did seem to be more aware of what the speakers were saying. Read more
Have I died and gone to writer heaven? I must have, because I just discovered that two of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman and Phillip Pullman, have a podcast togethe. In this conversation, between the two prolific authors, they discuss everything from The Wind in the Willows to what they remember reading as children to mysticism and science.
Near the end of the piece, Gaiman reads from his newest book The Ocean at the End of the Lane.
One of my favorite moments is when Gaiman says, “Imagining things is the point of it all…it is not a waste of time.”
Listen to this interview and see what imaginings you can conjure along the way.
Most of my writing is personal. No matter what genre I’m writing in—poetry, creative nonfiction, or fiction—much of what I write about comes from my personal experience. In her post, “What obsessions will end up in your writing?” my blog partner, Carly, asks us to consider what events in our lives have “marked us.” Looking to these events and memories can be a treasure trove of story ideas.
What memories or stories haunt you?
I still remember reading a news article over ten years ago about an older couple that went out for a drive and got lost for three days because they both had Alzheimer’s and couldn’t remember where they lived. This short article in the paper has stayed with me all these years. Obviously, it will become a short story someday.
What poems or spoken-word performances inspire you? Read more
In an earlier post, I wrote about the power of clustering to generate new ideas. Normally, I use paper and pen because there’s something about writing my ideas out longhand that gets my synapses flaring. But recently I discovered Scapple, an online tool that helps you get ideas down on the page and then make connections between them.
Scapple is for Mac and sold by Literature & Latte, the people who created Scrivener. You can use Scapple as a mind mapping tool or not. The program doesn’t force you to make specific connections. It doesn’t expect you to start out with one central idea off of which everything else is branched. There’s no built-in hierarchy–every note is equal, so you can connect them however you like. Read more
All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up – Pablo Picasso
This quote by Picasso is touched upon in a delightful Ted Talk given in 2006 by Sir Ken Robinson who says our education system is designed to educate the creativity out of children.
When we’re children we’re curious and play without inhibitions. The world is our secret garden. Once we go to school and become educated, we worry about “making mistakes.” We worry about whether or not we have the “right answers.” This worry about being correct all the time kills our creativity and our spontaneity. Read more
One night I got an unexpected call from a former co-worker. We hadn’t talked in months and he caught me at a time when I was struggling with pushing my writing projects forward. I was stuck.
Something he said gave me a jolt of creative energy, although he probably had no idea it was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. It went something like this:
“Sometimes you get a feeling in your stomach that makes you feel a little nervous, and that’s to let you know that you’re close to the edge of something that’s exciting and challenging and you need to push yourself out of your comfort zone.”
Even when we’re doing the things in life that we know we’re meant to do, it can be scary because the stakes are high. The best way to combat fear and resistance it immerse ourselves in our creative pursuit so that it becomes the focus instead of the fear.
Have you ever been scared of taking a leap but knew you just had to do it?