“You know, the whole thing about perfectionism. The perfectionism is very dangerous. Because of course if your fidelity to perfectionism is too high, you never do anything. Because doing anything results in…it’s actually kind of tragic because you sacrifice how gorgeous and perfect it is in your head for what it really is. And there were a couple of years where I really struggled with that.”
“All writing is difficult. The most you can hope for is a day when it goes reasonably easily. Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block, and doctors don’t get doctor’s block; why should writers be the only profession that gives a special name to the difficulty of working, and then expects sympathy for it?”
Confession time: the latter half of the summer was slow for me productivity-wise. As difficult as it can be to read a quote like this I always appreciate the solid kick in the ass that it brings. Writer’s block is a myth, an easy excuse for the struggle that comes with the work. No one says writing will be easy. No one says writing will be fun. But when it’s all over there is no denying how rewarding it can be.
THUNDERCLAP! It is Friday. That means it’s time to share a few interesting links I’ve found throughout the week. Some of these I mention on Twitter, if you’re not already following me there, please do! Have a link I should feature in the upcoming link pack? Let me know! All right, let’s get to it:
Old Broken Road:
Check Out The First Old Broken Road Print Proof
In case you missed it. Last night I received my first print proof. I was able to take a few photos to show some of the details.
Ask Kami: How Do I Deal With Writer’s Block?
As authors we all face times where we struggle with writing. Often those struggles are lumped together under the banner of “writers block.” But the reasons are often more complicated. Author Kami McArthur (@Kami_Marynda) delves into common causes that form the brick wall. Good advice.
Famous Writers On The Creative Benefits of Keeping a Diary
I don’t keep a diary, but perhaps I should. Brain Pickings explores the concept around the “elusive art of solitude” with thoughts from everyone from Woolf to Thoreau to Plath. Maybe in 2015, I’ll start small with The Standard Memorandum.
Banned Books That Shaped America
Last week was Banned Books Week a time when we reflect on all the amazing piece of literature frightened people try to censor. This is a great list of incredible books that have been banned/challenged but have still had an incredible impact on American society.
The 12 Weirdest Reasons For Banning Science Fiction And Fantasy Books
io9 examines some of the strangest reasons that famous sci-fi and fantasy books have been challenged. My favorite was the reason behind banning, The Wizard of Oz, why? Theologically impossible. What?
Little Free Libraries Add Charm To Neighborhoods
If you have followed me for any length of time you know I’m a big supporter of Little Free Libraries. I think the idea is swell and I’d encourage everyone to get involved. Swapping books with neighbors is a great way to build community.
Twilight In Arcadia 2013 – 2014
The work of Adam Miller harkens back to a classical approach to painting, but the tone, and subject matter holds a mirror to modern society. Love this stuff. (Thanks to Kari-Lise for the submission.) Oh, Miller’s work contains naked people. Consider yourself warned.
What Rot: A Look At The Striking “Transi” Corpse Sculptures
Atlas Obscura explores the strange “transi sculptures” which depicts the body in transition after death. Fascinating stuff.
Emma Watson: Gender Equality Is Your Issue Too
It’d be nice to think gender equality is universal. The stark fact is: it isn’t. Often modern society puts on blinders and goes about believing it’s not a big deal. Which hurts far more than we realize. Thankfully, folks are working to change that. Emma Watson’s speech in front of the UN is both brave and incredible. As a man and a feminist, I completely side with her, and I have joined her #HeForShe movement. Everyone should read this speech it’s smart and poignant. Be the change you want to see in society.
All The Comments On Every Recipe Blog
This is true. This is all so very true.
Lovecraft Story of the Week:
This week, instead of highlighting a story. Let’s visit one of Lovecraft’s most well known poems. Thro’ the ghoul-guarded gateways of slumber…
Gif of the Week:
I went to a family reunion this weekend, not mine, my father-in-law’s family reunion… his extended family reunion. For me it consisted of a lot of standing around by myself, explaining what I do for a living to random strangers, and trying to describe where I live to other Seattleites. However – in the midst of this awkwardness – I had an interesting conversation with a nun-turned-landscape-photographer and she asked me a very pointed question:
How do you stay creative?
It it put me on the spot. You see I work as a user experience designer during the day and that’s a creative gig, at night I come home and write speculative fiction which also requires a lot of creativity. So how do I stay creative? Three answers popped into my head:
1. Study others creative process, and use what works for you.
This is why this and other writing blogs exist, it’s why writing groups are formed, it’s why online forums are created, it’s why we go to workshops and conventions, it’s why Stephen King published “On Writing.” As we post, read, comment, and write we’re forming a community, a community that builds off on another, as we build off each other we strengthen one another. Those connects and the strength that comes from them is just as important for staying creative as anything else.
2. Never stop learning. Read everything.
Read everything you get your hands on. The good and the bad and the boring: books, blogs, articles, tweets, and newspapers and above all don’t read only in a specific types of genre. You can glean great ideas from everything. A lot of writers justify reading only a certain genre because they write in that specific genre. I was one of them. Don’t do that. Branch out. There’s good ideas everywhere use them to fuel you creative fire.
3. Push through creative blocks.
This is the hardest one of the three.
There’s times where I sit down open my laptop and nothing happens. I stare at my screen and… nothing comes… the blinking cursor flashes it’s mocking laugh and I grow more and more frustrated.
It’s easy to close my laptop and walk away, turn on a game, grab a beer, watch an episode of Breaking Bad, basically do about anything other than write. I try very hard not to do this, instead I force myself to write. I write anything, could be a conversation between two random characters, it could be the description of an ancient city, it could be a shopping list, it could be a blog post. I just write! Forcing myself though my block shakes me out of my funk. Before I know it I have put aside my throwaway scribbles and I am back into whatever project I sat down to work on in the first place.
That’s how I stay creative. It’s not anything ground breaking, but it works for me. How about you? What do you do? How do you stay creative? I’d love to hear from others on any and all topics (not just writing) share your ideas in the comments!