Creative Writing Advice from Neil Gaiman

Questions for Generating Creative Ideas

As creative beings, it is in our nature to be curious. Whether it is the colors of a leaf, the way the feathers of a bird are situated, or what kind of information a dog gets from sniffing every bush and lamp post. The answers are what fuel our creativity, feed our Muse. When investigating anything we see, hear, smell, touch, taste, or think about in our environment, we exhaust the basic five ‘W’ questions, plus the ‘H’ of how.

The Discipline of Procrastination

Living a creative life requires discipline. There is always something that is set aside so that we may write, sing, dance, sculpt, cook, paint, or play our instrument. Most of the time we’re okay with what we bypass in order to engage with our medium. We always seem to be teetering on the edge of loving our Muse, listening to our critic, being bold with new words and dark lines, and hiding from the judgments of the world.

Timed Creativity: Ready, Set, Go!

Creativity is all about play. You are only limited by your mind, not your imagination. We are all artists, if we choose to walk the edge. Revel in the chills that chase themselves up your spine at the spark of something that begins to take shape, an idea or thought that wasn’t in existence before you decided to take your imagination out for a romp in the park.

Writing Workshops

I attended a workshop called Automatic Writing. The instructor played a guided visualization CD, something she said our left brain would listen to, then she would ask us questions, to which, with our left brain occupied, the right brain could flow with answers that were from that part of us that is often ignored for most, or all, of our lives.

When the Creative Well Runs Dry

What do we do when it seems as if the spark of creativity is nowhere to be found, and despite our best intentions to bring it back, it remains, stubbornly, aloof and silent? Even professional writers, poets, chefs, painters, sculptors, and photographers slip into a place where things seem to have dried up. If there is any amount of perseverance, we try something new, different, something to get the waterfall of ideas once again cascading over the edge and out our medium to share with the world.

All About Play

Sometimes, completing the obligations of where we earn a paycheck can take us out of any ‘play’ mode. But when it comes to partaking in hobbies, or our art, it’s easier to find that fulfilling. There is a certain peace that arises when we don’t take things so seriously. If we can laugh at ourselves because we did something silly or are having fun, then we can stay out of the ‘adult’ part of us. When we sit down to write, giving over wholeheartedly to the ‘child artist’ within, and just play with the characters, the plot, the setting, there is a change in attitude, in how we breathe.

Destinations of Solitude, Part II

In my last article, I droned on and on (and on) about where on the West coast you could go to get away. You want places that will provide solitude away from the demanding life I’m sure you have to write. In this article, I’m going to chatter incessantly about the East Coast.

Create Content That Your Customers Want To Read

Some simple tips that you can apply to create content that your customers want to read. If you want people to read your content and trust your business more, those tips are important for you to follow and implement in your content marketing strategy.

Into The Black

What do you want me to say? That I had a happy, idyllic childhood. Played tea-party with my sister. Picked up shells barefoot on the beach. Took pictures of happy, smiling faces of enduring love with a camera that still used film. Went swimming with my father, mother, younger brother and sister. Soon realized though that all children have a complex about themselves. I don’t own the bragging rights to having a manic depressive father, a hot, moneyed, glamorous, glossy-haired, well-traveled sister who lives in spiritual poverty and who I think has no wisdom, only a terrifying book-knowledge about numbers. And she’s the go-to-person if we need financial advice. But enough about me. Yes, from an adult perspective I can honestly say I love my parents. For what it’s worth they are still married but they lead separate lives. They sleep in separate beds. I’m glad I’m not married. I’m glad I didn’t have those kids. No sunny road for me. No Canada for me either. I have chosen ‘the self-imposed exile’ of a writer. It suits me. Sometimes I go outside, sit in my mother’s garden, meditate and tell myself that I was one of the lucky ones.

Stone Voice

Recovery. Now that’s the easy part. The moment you feel a sense of profound, yet exhilarating displacement from the world around you, you are collectively, coolly, perhaps even elegantly losing touch with reality. The images are brighter. Tension’s machinery is cruel. Depression is frustration multiplied by the unknown and a thousand different other exquisitely-negative feelings. You feel pain of the mind but it is unlike anything that you’ve ever experienced before. You’ve become the introverted, withdrawn square peg that can’t fit into the extrovert-exhibitionist of a round hole. If you’re feeling negative it means either you have reached a personal milestone in your life or a personal crisis or both. You dream. And every dream has the same line. You’re on a downward trip, sailing past faces staring back at you love and hope written all over their crooked smiles. You search for the familiar, you sense there must be recognition of who your were in that previous life, instead the images become brighter. Technicolor hallucinations, hypomania, manic episodes, psychosis (I know what you’re thinking, that I shouldn’t even go there.) What is mental health awareness without mention of that exit into hell’s districts. Recovery. Now that’s the easy part.

Alexandra Wallace Smith’s Idea of Privacy

It was a very big first step. It was my giant leap back into the world, the planet, humanity and soul-defying gravity as it were. I can hear the two them talking, laughing, and drinking wine circling love’s world, temptation country, lover’s country, and the split personality of the mushroom of the black light of the fabric of the night. my brother’s girlfriend has taken off her shoes. They are both watching a film on television. I feel inspired. I think I am inspired by the intimacy between them. The wind here resonates with the euphoria I feel inside my heart, the heat, the color of the day and its song chills me to the bone. I feel as if the wind is in pursuit of something. I am in pursuit of something. The flowers are dead. I must rinse the vase out and put fresh water in. Nasturtiums. Violets remind me of Jean Rhys. They were her favourite. I am reading about the growing intimacy between a man and a woman. A DH. Lawrence novel. It is kind of a ballad of the growing intimacy between a man and a woman. Both relationships have put wheels, machinery in place.

I Love You Bessie Head

It’ll either be a case study of whose sob story was the most stimulating. It’ll be asked after the group sessions, discussed, debated furiously, ‘Who was the most attractive?’ I was the one who felt for all my childhood years a sense of imprisonment by brick walls, detachment. There was no mother-daughter relationship. There was a lack of mother-love. Did she not feel a sense of duty, a moral obligation to love, to love but I was mentally ill. And it showed. It was hereditary. Passed down from my father’s lineage. It found its way into my physical body. So far my bipolar experience has been a perpetual balancing act from one day to the next. A scary tragedy. I wanted a perfect world. Friends. I wanted to shop for pretty dresses instead of having a dress rehearsal after rehearsal of how to be sane. It became my tragi-comic addiction. Of course crazy is comical. Sometimes it’s madness because everything that I do or say has to be structured if I’m to remain sane. My self-pity bores me to death. There’s a window. I have skills. There’s damage. But I’ll rather straighten it out myself thank you.

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