On the nature of creativity

Growing up, I never considered myself to be particularly “creative.” At best, I had an aptitude for and/or interest in certain things, like writing and reading, and fairy tales and world mythology, but I wasn’t an artist. I had a mental image of “creative people” going through life with sketch pad and paintbrush in hand, making zany, wonderful creations without effort or strain.

I was certainly not one of that number.

This idea of what constitutes a creative person might have been due in some part to my best friend in first grade being an “artist,” capable of rendering Darth Vader in accurate detail while I was still struggling to produce credible stick figures. Then there was my mother, who was definitely not encouraging about my forays into the arts. She assured me I didn’t have the build or talent to be a ballet dancer, that my piano playing was sending her to an early grave, my singing was not worthy of consideration, and that my lesser attempts at drawing and pottery (those terrible projects they make you do at school) were decidedly inferior to those of my peers. I also dated a painter* in late high school/early college who further reinforced that I certainly was not creative–not by statement or attitude; he was very supportive of my abysmal and fledgling efforts at “art,” but by example. He was creative to the point of exasperation, doodling on anything within pen/pencil reach, including my important documents and papers, splattering acrylic paint on everything–his clothes, mine, the furniture–and carrying a blank journal around with him everywhere he went, more crucial by far to his daily well-being than wallet or keys, that he filled with his drawings and musings.

I guess I never considered writing as being a true outlet for creativity because they make you do it in school. As soon as they press a pencil into your hand, they grind in the notion that writing is like History or Science. You have to learn how to do it the way they tell you. It’s not like art class where they hand you a lump of clay and let you play with it. Writing is work. And to back up that inference, writing is hard. Shouldn’t creative endeavors flow naturally, as easily as breathing?

While I do consider some writers to be artists (Shakespeare being the obvious example), I had, and still have, a hard time numbering myself among them. It feels pretentious to do so. I’m more comfortable lumping what I do into the same category as what trades- and craftspeople do. I’m honing my skill and technique at a craft, like a carpenter or blacksmith. I make stories, ergo I’m a “wordsmith.”

But now, a decade+ later, it occurs to me to rethink my definition of creative. I’ve come to the grudging realization that my early analysis might have been too narrow. (You’d think graduate school in Psychology with assorted segments focusing on creativity would’ve jostled loose some of my preconceived notions. What can I say? I’m dense.) The basis of my overdue epiphany? I made Pad Thai from scratch the other day for the very first time (yum!) and I baked chocolate chip cookies. And a few days back I turned a pair of worn-out gloves and socks into useful, new pieces of apparel, taught myself how to crochet, and made (finished) an afghan.

“What am I doing?” I railed at myself. “I should be using this time and energy writing!” And that’s when the hammer came down. I still can’t draw worth a dime, but there’s a need in me to create that, when thwarted, makes me miserable. I’m not writing and so my creative impulses are charging headlong into other avenues of expression–easier, more immediately gratifying avenues that I don’t categorize as work but rather as frivolous pastimes and hobbies, ergo fun.

Writing is damn hard work, but it’s also how I express whatever creative energies are sparking through me. And I need to let those energies loose. I’m at my absolute happiest when I’m writing and hit flow. Spending day after day in November, holed up in the library, cranking out thousand-counts of words on a daily basis was downright euphoric. But it was also draining as all get out. I’d emerge from the library barely able to speak, neurons fizzling mid-synapse. And now I’m making excuses and futzing around, not writing because, quite frankly, I’m lazy. Despite this, my psyche knows what it needs and is groping about, trying to compensate in despite of myself.

Nice brain. It really tries to tell me what it needs, but sometimes I just don’t listen to myself.

I have to set aside all that crippling self-doubt that’s been plaguing me recently as well as all the other distractions–family worries, physical distress, laptop absence and annoyances–because I need to. It’s what makes me happy, an integral part of my emotional well-being, even if at the same time it’s exhausting, frustrating, and downright painful. I need to write.


* I lived with my painter boyfriend for a couple years, and while I found his artistic eccentricities remarkable and more than a bit romantic, if we hadn’t broken up, I probably would have murdered him in his sleep–maybe with one of his own paintbrushes. I still admire him and his work; I’ve got two of his paintings framed and hanging in our library. But I couldn’t go through life the way he does . . . or perhaps did–I’ve lost touch with him, so for all I know, he could be working as an anal-retentive accountant for some Fortune 500 company.


“The Guitarist” inspired, if I remember correctly from Picasso’s “Old Man With Guitar”.


“Landscape” I’ve always loved how the red of the sunset in the valley looks like blood (or how the blood-steeped valley seems shaded by the colors of a sunset).

   

Writing Stuff

tomaqmar alerted me that Locus reviewed “The Bunny of Vengeance and the Bear of Death” (from Fantasy Magazine #1) in their Dec. 2005 issue. He very kindly scanned the review and emailed it to me so I could see it (and so my brain wouldn’t explode). Nick Gevers called my story “a profoundly strange supernatural look at the morality of revenge.” Hee! Locus said my story was “profoundly strange.”

Due to popular demand, and because I’ve been meaning to do it for a while, I created an RSS feed for Tangent (LJ syndication: tangent_online). At first, I was quite apprehensive since I figured it would be a fairly in-depth, code-heavy process. Even though I’ve got full admin. access, I’m always leery about getting too deep into the guts of Tangent‘s code since my knowledge of PHP is non-existent. But I hadn’t heard back from the webmistress and didn’t want to bother her as I know she’s really busy. Fortunately, Tangent‘s layout is based on a blog platform (Mambo), and it was primed to easily syndicate. Yay, I did it without bringing down Tangent! I keep meaning to crack open the online manuals and study up on PHP and Mambo, but so far I’ve only been delving into it on an ad hoc sort of basis.

Received:
Got an email from the editor of Fantasist Enterprises letting me know that the Bash Down the Door and Slice Open the Badguy anthology (with my story “Mistress Fortune Favors the Unlucky” in it) has been pushed back from an April to a Summer publication date. I’m a bit bummed as I’m really looking forward to this anthology, but I very much like how in-the-loop the editor’s keeping me. But to hold me over, I believe their Modern Magic anthology (with “Souls of Living Wood” in it) should be due out anytime now.

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48 Responses to On the nature of creativity

  1. Thanks for posting this. It’s helpful to know other people are struggling up the same hill.

  2. Thanks for posting this. It’s helpful to know other people are struggling up the same hill.

  3. sruna says:

    For whatever it’s worth, and you’ve probably heard it from me before, I too am struggling with being creative. I even get positive feedback now (though I didn’t from the one person who’s comments really mattered to me when I was growing up – my Dad – and that is STILL haunting me and murdering my creative hopes in their sleep). Just like you, I see it come out in odd ways as a result but, in the end, I’ve decided to conquer my demons and do what I love doing most. Because not doing it hurts too much now…

    Good luck with your definitions and your demons! :)

  4. sruna says:

    For whatever it’s worth, and you’ve probably heard it from me before, I too am struggling with being creative. I even get positive feedback now (though I didn’t from the one person who’s comments really mattered to me when I was growing up – my Dad – and that is STILL haunting me and murdering my creative hopes in their sleep). Just like you, I see it come out in odd ways as a result but, in the end, I’ve decided to conquer my demons and do what I love doing most. Because not doing it hurts too much now…

    Good luck with your definitions and your demons! :)

  5. amberdine says:

    Nice entry!

    I don’t think that I’m especially creative. However, I do get cranky and into a lot of weird stuff if I stop writing…

    You may be onto something. :)

  6. amberdine says:

    Nice entry!

    I don’t think that I’m especially creative. However, I do get cranky and into a lot of weird stuff if I stop writing…

    You may be onto something. :)

  7. t_rex says:

    I wouldn’t discount the other areas in which you create as frivolous hobbies. There’s no telling what else is processing in the background as you do them. They may actually help your writing, rather than taking energy and time from it.

    BTW, I loved the afghan. Amateur or not.

  8. t_rex says:

    I wouldn’t discount the other areas in which you create as frivolous hobbies. There’s no telling what else is processing in the background as you do them. They may actually help your writing, rather than taking energy and time from it.

    BTW, I loved the afghan. Amateur or not.

  9. lizziebelle says:

    I think it’s amazing that you overcame your family’s attempts to quash your creativity! My parents neither encouraged nor discouraged me; they were more concerned with my academic performance than anything else. I’ve always had a burning need to express myself creatively, which has manifested in many different ways over the years. It was art when I was in high school, theater in college, crafts, and always writing. Writing is what keeps me sane! :)

  10. lizziebelle says:

    I think it’s amazing that you overcame your family’s attempts to quash your creativity! My parents neither encouraged nor discouraged me; they were more concerned with my academic performance than anything else. I’ve always had a burning need to express myself creatively, which has manifested in many different ways over the years. It was art when I was in high school, theater in college, crafts, and always writing. Writing is what keeps me sane! :)

  11. “I’m more comfortable lumping what I do into the same category as what trades- and craftspeople do.”

    Yeah, I think I’m more comfortable thinking of what I do as a craft too. Because writing really is something that you can get better at with practise. But it is still tied with creativity, as I think the creative spark is one of those things that’s either there or it’s not. You can’t *make* it appear with practise. :)

    • whirl_twirl says:

      I believe that artists, artisans, craftspeople, writers, poets, painters and creatives of many types all share a common thread. We all must nurture that spark of creativity; it doesn’t just happen (consistently), and even geniuses put forth sweat and effort to improve.

      I draw and paint; I consider myself a creative person and gasp! an artist. However, most people can’t tell by looking at me or on most days, my routine. I have to push myself into my studio or convince myself that it is worth the effort to drive to Buckhead or Marietta or wherever to attend a sketch group so I can draw with other artists. Otherwise I daydream and end up in the kitchen, cooking up a new recipe or mixing a drink that sounds fun.

      Creativity is a quality of my soul; while artistic expression feels most satisfying to me it is by no means easy. It can be downright painful at times. If I have no energy to draw it will find expression somewhere else. And that’s OK. Mental breaks can be energizing.

    • whirl_twirl says:

      I believe that artists, artisans, craftspeople, writers, poets, painters and creatives of many types all share a common thread. We all must nurture that spark of creativity; it doesn’t just happen (consistently), and even geniuses put forth sweat and effort to improve.

      I draw and paint; I consider myself a creative person and gasp! an artist. However, most people can’t tell by looking at me or on most days, my routine. I have to push myself into my studio or convince myself that it is worth the effort to drive to Buckhead or Marietta or wherever to attend a sketch group so I can draw with other artists. Otherwise I daydream and end up in the kitchen, cooking up a new recipe or mixing a drink that sounds fun.

      Creativity is a quality of my soul; while artistic expression feels most satisfying to me it is by no means easy. It can be downright painful at times. If I have no energy to draw it will find expression somewhere else. And that’s OK. Mental breaks can be energizing.

  12. “I’m more comfortable lumping what I do into the same category as what trades- and craftspeople do.”

    Yeah, I think I’m more comfortable thinking of what I do as a craft too. Because writing really is something that you can get better at with practise. But it is still tied with creativity, as I think the creative spark is one of those things that’s either there or it’s not. You can’t *make* it appear with practise. :)

  13. kenakari says:

    Thank you

    “he could be working as an anal-retentive accountant for some Fortune 500 company.”

    This hit a little too close to home. I was like your boyfriend. I may not have been the best artist or writer, but I absolutely could not leave a piece of paper alone.

    I gave it all up. You’ve just made me realize why I’ve been so depressed and, if I haven’t exactly been miserable, why I haven’t been completely happy for so long.

    • dream_wind says:

      Re: Thank you

      I, too, gave up my dream of writing, and became an IT professional. What made me get back into the writing, ironically, was having the courage to follow my dreams of academia. I hope you get back to it. And don’t give up when your initial efforts are crap. You are warming up muscles that haven’t been used for ages.

    • dream_wind says:

      Re: Thank you

      I, too, gave up my dream of writing, and became an IT professional. What made me get back into the writing, ironically, was having the courage to follow my dreams of academia. I hope you get back to it. And don’t give up when your initial efforts are crap. You are warming up muscles that haven’t been used for ages.

  14. kenakari says:

    Thank you

    “he could be working as an anal-retentive accountant for some Fortune 500 company.”

    This hit a little too close to home. I was like your boyfriend. I may not have been the best artist or writer, but I absolutely could not leave a piece of paper alone.

    I gave it all up. You’ve just made me realize why I’ve been so depressed and, if I haven’t exactly been miserable, why I haven’t been completely happy for so long.

  15. nomissnewo says:

    Good move with the rss feed, I’m sure it will slowly increase your readership significantly.

  16. nomissnewo says:

    Good move with the rss feed, I’m sure it will slowly increase your readership significantly.

  17. First painting I like. I’d say it’s like Picasso and you said it there.

  18. First painting I like. I’d say it’s like Picasso and you said it there.

  19. dean13 says:

    That was a wonderful self-indulgent ramble. Creativity covers a wide area not just producing pleasing visual images or clever word smithing. or me life drawing comes very hard but architecutal or engineering type drawings come easy. For me the craftmans work of writing computer code is easy. And yet writing a fiction story is so difficult it boggles my mind. Is was dealt some card, you were dealt others. We play the hand we are dealt or learn how to steal the cards we need!

    Are we doomed to pound ourselves down with the sledgehammer of doubt? Some us yes, some no. Why do some give up on the first failure yet others refuse to give up? Damned if I know, but I wish I could tap into that unbriddled optimism.

  20. dean13 says:

    That was a wonderful self-indulgent ramble. Creativity covers a wide area not just producing pleasing visual images or clever word smithing. or me life drawing comes very hard but architecutal or engineering type drawings come easy. For me the craftmans work of writing computer code is easy. And yet writing a fiction story is so difficult it boggles my mind. Is was dealt some card, you were dealt others. We play the hand we are dealt or learn how to steal the cards we need!

    Are we doomed to pound ourselves down with the sledgehammer of doubt? Some us yes, some no. Why do some give up on the first failure yet others refuse to give up? Damned if I know, but I wish I could tap into that unbriddled optimism.

  21. zhai says:

    I come for the skunk!

    …well, not really. =) Actually recommended that I read your journal because of mutual interests, and I’m fascinated by all that you’ve accomplished so far with your writing. Then she mentioned Hobkin, somewhat in context with a conversation we were having about GoPets.

    I was wondering if you’d like another shirt for him? =) Specifically, this one? I was involved with GoPets when it was still in beta, and just found out about their CafePress store, so I’ve been going crazy getting swag, and I would find it endlessly entertaining to see a GoPets shirt on Hobkin. ;)

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: I come for the skunk!

      Hee! If you want to send Hobkin a GoPets shirt, drop me an email and I’ll get you my address. I’ll do my very best to get him into it. If successful, I assure you I’ll take and post beaucoup pictures, but as a caveat, our last effort at dressing him was met with passionate resistance, and I’m only willing to give up so much blood in the name of tormenting my skunk.

      • zhai says:

        Re: I come for the skunk!

        Completely understood! I hope he doesn’t object too much. =) I will send you an email post haste. =)

        Also as a silly side note, I love the ‘Novel Conundrum’ layout. I was using it for awhile, but it was still in ‘beta’ and had problems with some browsers using the comment function. Now that they seem to be all worked out I may have to stick it on again… =)

      • zhai says:

        Re: I come for the skunk!

        Completely understood! I hope he doesn’t object too much. =) I will send you an email post haste. =)

        Also as a silly side note, I love the ‘Novel Conundrum’ layout. I was using it for awhile, but it was still in ‘beta’ and had problems with some browsers using the comment function. Now that they seem to be all worked out I may have to stick it on again… =)

    • Eugie Foster says:

      Re: I come for the skunk!

      Hee! If you want to send Hobkin a GoPets shirt, drop me an email and I’ll get you my address. I’ll do my very best to get him into it. If successful, I assure you I’ll take and post beaucoup pictures, but as a caveat, our last effort at dressing him was met with passionate resistance, and I’m only willing to give up so much blood in the name of tormenting my skunk.

  22. zhai says:

    I come for the skunk!

    …well, not really. =) Actually recommended that I read your journal because of mutual interests, and I’m fascinated by all that you’ve accomplished so far with your writing. Then she mentioned Hobkin, somewhat in context with a conversation we were having about GoPets.

    I was wondering if you’d like another shirt for him? =) Specifically, this one? I was involved with GoPets when it was still in beta, and just found out about their CafePress store, so I’ve been going crazy getting swag, and I would find it endlessly entertaining to see a GoPets shirt on Hobkin. ;)

  23. madwriter says:

    I have two responses for you, Eugie.

    The almost-but-not-quite flippant response is: I’ve heard of you, but not the guy you dated in college.

    The second is that while we may not consider ourselves creative if we compare ourselves too much to the masters (I still feel like a “faker” who’s just happened to have published some stuff), there’s nothing like living in a county where creativity is frowned on and disparaged to make you realize how lucky you are to do what you love to do.

    Let me explain: On one end of this county we have the college I work for, which is an island of creativity. On the other end you have a lake, where you can find all sorts of creative people. In the middle, though, you have an overall desolation where the county is the only world most people know, where creative means what color you paint your truck, where any expression of individuality besides the gun you choose to go hunting with is ruthlessly crushed. Any artistic aspiration–aside from singing country music–is looked down upon and ridiculed. Reading is a waste of time.

    And so, not by coincedence, you have severe problems with alcohol. You have girls having babies in their teens because their family life is so horrible they want someone who will love them. You have men and women alike in their 30′s who have pinched faces and look twenty years older. You have relentless poverty not necessarily in financial terms, but terms of the individual.

    My wife is from this county but all the way back to her earliest memories her mind roamed far beyond it. I never would have guessed she was from this area if I she hadn’t told me when we met.

    So yes, Eugie, you are creative :), and you should be thankful for it. I just define “creative”, really, as creating something above and beyond your daily survival needs–and of course, you’ve done a lot more with writing than that. Try to imagine life without writing, and be thankful that you do it!

  24. madwriter says:

    I have two responses for you, Eugie.

    The almost-but-not-quite flippant response is: I’ve heard of you, but not the guy you dated in college.

    The second is that while we may not consider ourselves creative if we compare ourselves too much to the masters (I still feel like a “faker” who’s just happened to have published some stuff), there’s nothing like living in a county where creativity is frowned on and disparaged to make you realize how lucky you are to do what you love to do.

    Let me explain: On one end of this county we have the college I work for, which is an island of creativity. On the other end you have a lake, where you can find all sorts of creative people. In the middle, though, you have an overall desolation where the county is the only world most people know, where creative means what color you paint your truck, where any expression of individuality besides the gun you choose to go hunting with is ruthlessly crushed. Any artistic aspiration–aside from singing country music–is looked down upon and ridiculed. Reading is a waste of time.

    And so, not by coincedence, you have severe problems with alcohol. You have girls having babies in their teens because their family life is so horrible they want someone who will love them. You have men and women alike in their 30′s who have pinched faces and look twenty years older. You have relentless poverty not necessarily in financial terms, but terms of the individual.

    My wife is from this county but all the way back to her earliest memories her mind roamed far beyond it. I never would have guessed she was from this area if I she hadn’t told me when we met.

    So yes, Eugie, you are creative :), and you should be thankful for it. I just define “creative”, really, as creating something above and beyond your daily survival needs–and of course, you’ve done a lot more with writing than that. Try to imagine life without writing, and be thankful that you do it!

  25. neo_prodigy says:

    i think writing in general is often over looked as an art form. its been my experience that many people take for granted the fact that it takes skill, talent and creativity to forge worlds from one’s imagination and even moreso to convey those thoughts to others.

  26. neo_prodigy says:

    i think writing in general is often over looked as an art form. its been my experience that many people take for granted the fact that it takes skill, talent and creativity to forge worlds from one’s imagination and even moreso to convey those thoughts to others.

  27. nojojojo says:

    The capacity of creative people to feel self-conscious about their creativity, and subsequently to malign others’ creativity to make themselves feel superior, never ceases to amaze me. Your painter ex-boyfriend is like my opera-singer ex-boyfriend, who tried his damnedest to make me feel as though his art was important and worthy of having substantial time devoted to it (he was getting a degree in it, wow), while mine was just silliness that I should set aside whenever he wanted attention. Granted — I was a much worse writer in those days than I am now (with a greater tendency to gripe about lesser talents, to my everlasting shame); I could probably stand to be taken down a bit. But the fact remains that he wasn’t Pavarotti either, and I encouraged him.

    And the worst insult my artist father ever gave me was when in anger he said, “You’re not a real writer, that’s just something you do to keep me happy.” To this day he claims he meant something different from what he said (and to this day I have not forgiven him), but the fact remains that when he wanted to hurt me, he chose to attack my creativity.

    Creativity isn’t honored in this society. Oh, the successful creative types — the handful that exist — get showered with accolades, but the same people who worship them would in a heartbeat tell their daughters or sisters or cousins not to bother trying to pursue a career in the arts. There’s no money in it. You’ll never make it. So every one of us who is creative has a huge chip on our collective shoulder because we’ve had to defend our creativity over and over again and demand that others see value in it. And there’s a sore point somewhere deep inside us that wonders constantly whether creativity is really worth all the effort required to develop it.

    This is common. I’m still dealing with it myself, so I can’t offer any advice on dealing with it to you.

    But fight it. Don’t listen to your self-doubt, which is really societal doubt in the value of the gift you have. Don’t listen to the doubts of others, who echo society. *You* know there’s value in it, paycheck or no paycheck, accolades or silence. So enjoy it, and whenever you’re in that euphoric writers’ high mode, think about all the non-creative people out there who will never get to experience such bliss.

    And then say, “Nyah nyaaaah…” =P

  28. nojojojo says:

    The capacity of creative people to feel self-conscious about their creativity, and subsequently to malign others’ creativity to make themselves feel superior, never ceases to amaze me. Your painter ex-boyfriend is like my opera-singer ex-boyfriend, who tried his damnedest to make me feel as though his art was important and worthy of having substantial time devoted to it (he was getting a degree in it, wow), while mine was just silliness that I should set aside whenever he wanted attention. Granted — I was a much worse writer in those days than I am now (with a greater tendency to gripe about lesser talents, to my everlasting shame); I could probably stand to be taken down a bit. But the fact remains that he wasn’t Pavarotti either, and I encouraged him.

    And the worst insult my artist father ever gave me was when in anger he said, “You’re not a real writer, that’s just something you do to keep me happy.” To this day he claims he meant something different from what he said (and to this day I have not forgiven him), but the fact remains that when he wanted to hurt me, he chose to attack my creativity.

    Creativity isn’t honored in this society. Oh, the successful creative types — the handful that exist — get showered with accolades, but the same people who worship them would in a heartbeat tell their daughters or sisters or cousins not to bother trying to pursue a career in the arts. There’s no money in it. You’ll never make it. So every one of us who is creative has a huge chip on our collective shoulder because we’ve had to defend our creativity over and over again and demand that others see value in it. And there’s a sore point somewhere deep inside us that wonders constantly whether creativity is really worth all the effort required to develop it.

    This is common. I’m still dealing with it myself, so I can’t offer any advice on dealing with it to you.

    But fight it. Don’t listen to your self-doubt, which is really societal doubt in the value of the gift you have. Don’t listen to the doubts of others, who echo society. *You* know there’s value in it, paycheck or no paycheck, accolades or silence. So enjoy it, and whenever you’re in that euphoric writers’ high mode, think about all the non-creative people out there who will never get to experience such bliss.

    And then say, “Nyah nyaaaah…” =P

  29. dionycheaus says:

    I always thought that what seperates creative people (or artist types) from other people is the need for the [many extraneous activites, some of which may be artistic] somewhere in their soul. It’s nice to be agreed with–even if neither of us knew it. :-)

  30. dionycheaus says:

    I always thought that what seperates creative people (or artist types) from other people is the need for the [many extraneous activites, some of which may be artistic] somewhere in their soul. It’s nice to be agreed with–even if neither of us knew it. :-)

  31. dream_wind says:

    Phew. I’m glad I’m not the only one that suffers occasional (OK, frequent guilt).

    I sometimes find all the other little creative projects, like embroidery, cooking, growing cactus etc. actually calm me down and get me in the right frame of mood when I start to write. I can’t write when I’m snarky (which is my usual state of mind) so doing some small project to completion, even if it’s only baking cookies, gives me a sense of accomplishment which allows me to tackle big projects.

  32. dream_wind says:

    Phew. I’m glad I’m not the only one that suffers occasional (OK, frequent guilt).

    I sometimes find all the other little creative projects, like embroidery, cooking, growing cactus etc. actually calm me down and get me in the right frame of mood when I start to write. I can’t write when I’m snarky (which is my usual state of mind) so doing some small project to completion, even if it’s only baking cookies, gives me a sense of accomplishment which allows me to tackle big projects.

  33. Damn, no wonder you didn’t think you were creative with all those negative tapes your mother played for you (constantly rewinding and replaying). When your child brings home a shapeless lump of clay with a few bright specks of paint on it, you are supposed to praise them to the heavens, not crumble their burgeoning egos. Enough said on that point.
    Clearly, there is craft that goes along with all creativity, techniques and skills that must be learned, even for the very talented few who take to art or writing or whatever like a baby duckling to water. Writing takes both creativity and a great deal of craft, perhaps a bit more craft than some pursuits because the structural demands placed upon our creative geniuses by language. You are at the very least an accomplished journeyman well on your way to becoming a master. I would kill for a review that called my work “profoundly strange.”
    On those other creative pursuits, I firmly believe that looking at the world and at art from different perspectives is as important for the writer as it is for the visual artist. You are merely on a search mission for new subjects after an arduous November locked in the writing padded cell. Before you know it, on of your protags will be crocheting an afghan as they plan some great coup or fiendish plot. Crochet away!

  34. Damn, no wonder you didn’t think you were creative with all those negative tapes your mother played for you (constantly rewinding and replaying). When your child brings home a shapeless lump of clay with a few bright specks of paint on it, you are supposed to praise them to the heavens, not crumble their burgeoning egos. Enough said on that point.
    Clearly, there is craft that goes along with all creativity, techniques and skills that must be learned, even for the very talented few who take to art or writing or whatever like a baby duckling to water. Writing takes both creativity and a great deal of craft, perhaps a bit more craft than some pursuits because the structural demands placed upon our creative geniuses by language. You are at the very least an accomplished journeyman well on your way to becoming a master. I would kill for a review that called my work “profoundly strange.”
    On those other creative pursuits, I firmly believe that looking at the world and at art from different perspectives is as important for the writer as it is for the visual artist. You are merely on a search mission for new subjects after an arduous November locked in the writing padded cell. Before you know it, on of your protags will be crocheting an afghan as they plan some great coup or fiendish plot. Crochet away!

  35. basletum says:

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said here? I think the long bout of un-moderated creativity left you drained, as you said. It’ll come back. Next time, keep it in moderation. Sure, writing 5000 words or more in a single sitting puts you on Cloud 9 (I know it does me), but so does running 50 laps when you only need to run 10. The brain gets fatigued just like the body does, and the two types of fatigue often co-relate. If you write an average of 1000 words a day, don’t write more than 1500 to 2000 words even if your brain is bursting with ideas for the story. The ideas will still be there when you get back to it the next day as long as you keep something for the next day (and you might even have thought of something better). Sure, doing it that way requires a lot of patience, but it keeps the pump continuously primed (more or less).

    At least, that’s what’s been working for me. We each tend to find different things that work for us, but perhaps you’ll find something of use in this long-ass comment. :)

    Btw, finished reading “Ascendancy of Blood”. Loved it! Now if only I could come up with plot twists like that….

  36. basletum says:

    What can I say that hasn’t already been said here? I think the long bout of un-moderated creativity left you drained, as you said. It’ll come back. Next time, keep it in moderation. Sure, writing 5000 words or more in a single sitting puts you on Cloud 9 (I know it does me), but so does running 50 laps when you only need to run 10. The brain gets fatigued just like the body does, and the two types of fatigue often co-relate. If you write an average of 1000 words a day, don’t write more than 1500 to 2000 words even if your brain is bursting with ideas for the story. The ideas will still be there when you get back to it the next day as long as you keep something for the next day (and you might even have thought of something better). Sure, doing it that way requires a lot of patience, but it keeps the pump continuously primed (more or less).

    At least, that’s what’s been working for me. We each tend to find different things that work for us, but perhaps you’ll find something of use in this long-ass comment. :)

    Btw, finished reading “Ascendancy of Blood”. Loved it! Now if only I could come up with plot twists like that….

  37. keesa_renee says:

    :hugs: Hey, you’re creative! No one who’s ever read any of your stuff would argue with that.

  38. keesa_renee says:

    :hugs: Hey, you’re creative! No one who’s ever read any of your stuff would argue with that.

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