Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

The secret of it all, is to write in the gush, the throb, the flood, of the moment – to put things down without deliberation – without worrying about their style – without waiting for a fit time or place. I always worked that way. I took the first scrap of paper, the first doorstep, the first desk, and wrote – wrote, wrote…By writing at the instant the very heartbeat of life is caught.

Walt Whitman

(with thanks to John Winokur’s always excellent Advice to Writers site.)


…you owe it to your readers to set yourself the most difficult challenge that you have some hope of being equal to. With every book, you have to dig as deep as possible and reach as far as possible. And if you do this, and you succeed in producing a reasonably good book, it means that the next time you try to write a book, you’re going to have to dig even deeper and reach even farther, or else, again, it won’t be worth writing.

Jonathan Franzen, from Farther Away

(and see James Santel’s excellent review of Farther Away)

Writing by Hand: Lovely or Luddite?

Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 in Creativity, Writing Gear

Excellent essay on writing by hand by Kevin Hartnett at The Millions. An extract:

Overall I think there’s greater variance in the quality of the writing I produce by hand. The good stuff I write is cleaner, more honest, less stylized, more well-considered. The bad stuff is more obvious, more ponderous, more self-involved, maybe weirder… Writing on the computer drives my writing towards some average value — I think/write/delete/think/write until I have something that’s decent but maybe less vibrant than the ideas… conceived in my head.

Do you write by hand? Is it a better way to write?

Tom Bissell talks about the role of luck in “making it” as a writer in this interview in Salon:

…our lives are subject to so many freak accidents and so many completely random occurrences that to be lucky enough to be able to work as a professional writer and get paid for it, and to think that you got there just because you’re so wonderful, that confidence will eventually just make you lazy and uninteresting.

He also talks about the tragedy of Melville’s later years, and names complacency and alcohol as the writer’s two worst enemies. An interesting interview.

Perfectionism is the voice of the oppressor, the enemy of the people. It will keep you cramped and insane your whole life, and it is the main obstacle between you and a shitty first draft. …(It)… is based on the obsessive belief that if you run carefully enough, hitting each stepping-stone just right, you won’t have to die. The truth is that you will die anyway and that a lot of people who aren’t even looking at their feet are going to do a whole lot better than you, and have a lot more fun while they’re doing it.

— Anne Lamott

(Thanks to Advice for Writers for this fine quotation.)

“Really the truth is just a plain picture. A plain picture of, let’s say, a tramp vomiting in the sewer. You know, and next door to the picture Mr. Rockefeller or Mr. C. W. Jones on the subway going to work. You know, any kind of picture. Just make a collage of pictures.” — Bob Dylan

See more excellent quotes on collage, theft, and originality on Austin Kleon‘s excellent page o’ quotes.

Katrina Kittle talks about writer’s routines and the sacredness of writing time.

And Flavorwire shows you what some famous writers did with their sacred writing time: Writer’s doodles.

And, finally, do you write better when you write by hand? See the lengthy discussion at the CBC Radio blog. Bat Terrier’s opinion: maybe not better, but writing with a vintage fountain pen on  nice rag paper is and end in itself, like eating blackberries.

The Perfect Writer’s Machine?

Posted: Monday, January 17, 2011 in Clipping, Creativity
Tags: ,

John Brownlee on the problem of finding the perfect writing machine–no more excuses. An extract:

But in the MacBook Air’s perfection as a writer’s machine, it just as silently, just as elegantly robs me of the crutch of imperfect tools to explain my own mediocrity. The MacBook Air might be the perfect laptop for a writer, but that doesn’t change the fact that I’m not nearly as suited to the task of writing as it is.

More at:

Unevenly Distributed: Disillusionment, Clark Nova, The MacBook Air & The Perfect Writer’s Machine – GEARFUSE.

Abstract painted image

Take a look at this  comic-book version of Frank Chimero‘s idea’s of creativity. Especially good on what poet Jack Myers call associational logic or what Chimero would call jumping the lines on a mind map.

Worthy and recommended.

(And Jack, how we miss you.)

Many thanks to TeslaRadio for the Chimero  link.

Image: Alfonso Calafato