Are Some Creativity Myths Holding You Back?

sunset and clouds over Lac BromeAre you letting some creativity myths stop you from getting down to the creative work you should be doing?

It’s so easy to use some of these myths as excuses – I don’t have enough experience, I don’t have any truly new ideas, I don’t have the right pen, desk, laptop, I haven’t planned it all out yet…

In a recent Globe and Mail article, Harvey Schachter examines how David Burkus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., describes – and rewrites – these myths in his book The Myths of Creativity.

I found myself mulling over three of the myths from a writer’s (or any creative person’s) perspective.

The Originality Myth

“Creative ideas are assumed to be original to their creator […] But history shows ideas usually develop Continue reading

Six Weeks: Slicing Time To Finish A Creative Project

coltsfoot seedsI have so many stories waiting to be finished. Every time one pops into my mind, I drop the story I’m working on and veer off and go search among my folders, then find yet another one that I’d forgotten about but which really should be completed. It’s so easy to be distracted.

I was about to meet with my planning buddy to set out a work plan for next year when I broke my wrist.

Rather than design a work plan for the whole of next year prioritizing Continue reading

Characters, Backstories and Broken Wrist.

wrist in plaster castSometimes characters appear complete with full backstory. More often they don’t. Just as in real life, a writer has to hang around to see beyond first impressions.

Broke my wrist on Saturday. Went to emergency. Still there Saturday evening. Big tough macho fella comes in with bloody hand. Continue reading

Be Inspired: October Grab Bag of Exercises, Links, Ideas

Mother Earth, sculpture, Canadian entry at Mosaicultures Internationales, Montreal 2013

Mother Earth

I’m always excited and immensely grateful to come across links and ideas that inspire me to write and think and dream. Here are some I’ve been enjoying recently that I’d like to share with you.

Writing Warm-Up: a right-left brain exercise

  1. Touch your right thumb to your left little finger, let go, then touch left thumb to right little finger. Let go.
  2. Touch right second finger to left fourth finger, release, then left second finger to right fourth finger. Let go.
  3. Right middle finger to left middle finger. Turn hands over Continue reading

Quick-Thinking Witch Flies AND Has Fun! Dealing With the Unexpected!

Hallowe'en witch at Montreal's Botanical Gardens 2013

Montreal Botanical Gardens

A couple of days ago my husband and I were visiting Montreal’s Botanical Gardens with friends from the UK. As the sun went down, it quickly got cold so we took the ‘short cut’ through the greenhouses to warm up with the tropical plants. After a long, very pleasant walk through the greenhouses, we finally came to the last one which was filled with pumpkins decorated by school kids and a witch sitting knitting outside her house.

She was chatting away to herself, and to anyone passing by. Her nose was long and hooked, her voice high pitched, her laugh squeaky and very contagious through the little microphone. She stroked her oversize cat and Continue reading

Looking to Write Your Way Out From Your Usual? A Writing Exercise!

Fanny Fanny, a sculpture in welded bronze by César Baldacinni

Fanny Fanny
by César Baldacinni

Feel like it’s time for a change in your writing? Looking for portals that might lead you to different kinds of stories or different styles of writing from your usual? Try this exercise!

The exercise has two parts. The first – how to write this exercise – comes courtesy of Montréal poet Blossom Thom*, the second – the prompt – is from me.

You will need plenty of paper (I’d suggest good sized paper, not an itsy-bitsy notebook), and a pen or pencil.

But first, a warm up to power up both sides of the brain!

Warm Up

Clasp your hands in front of you. Note which thumb is on top. Open your hands and clasp them again, this time with the other thumb on top. Clasp and re-clasp your hands, alternating thumbs on top, as fast as you can.

Now do the same hand clasping exercise behind your back! Faster!

Part 1: Get Ready…

Using pen or pencil, you will write with Continue reading

Odd Connections and the Creative Process: Writing “Arrivals”

Arrivals notice boardI am so pleased to have my story “Arrivals”  in the new issue of carte blanche.

I started this story in response to an assignment given by Nancy Zafris in her workshop at Kenyon Review Writers’ Summer Workshop in June 2012. Nancy gave the group a list of sentences. We were to choose one as the closing line for a story.

We were given one or two assignments every day for the whole week of the Kenyon Summer Workshop. This assignment Continue reading