Monthly Archives: August 2011

Frank Sent This

One of the ideas I took away from this video is that you MUST be prepared to fail to be creative. If you are afraid of failing then you won’t/can’t put yourself out there with something new. You will stick with the known, the safe.

“If you are not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with something original”

“We are educating people out of their creative capacities.”

This is a fantastic presentation by Sir Ken Robinson from TED Talks. It is on the long side (20 min) but worth every second.

Is Education Killing Creativity? from YouTube

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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in My Writing


62 Steven Ort

Let me start off by saying, I don’t think of myself as a very creative person: I can’t paint, I can’t sculpt, and writing is not my strongest quality (though I’m gonna give it my best shot here).

In some cases, the inspiration to create art strikes those who have the means to run with it on their own… In other cases, the inspired party needs a hand sorting through the muck to get to the gold… This is one such post…

After sitting and staring at my laptop for what wound up being a few weeks, and calling on a friend to help me make my jumbled words make a bit more sense, I have finally decided what to do for this post.

The truth is, I felt inspired to write (or begin writing, as the case became) this post, because I live with a person who tries to be creative, I’m friends with people online who are creative, and enjoy creative works, though I can’t really create them myself.

I wanted to show what inspiration can do to even those who claim not to be creative. I ended up writing the opening part of a story that has been floating around in my head, and hope it inspires you to create your own story, or something you find intriguing.

The following story is a rough first draft, written by a novice. It is without edits for grammar, punctuation, or any content tweaks at all. It may be painful to read, so look at it for its story, not its degree of polish.

Like I said at the beginning, I am not a writer, nor do I claim to be. I got the inspiration to write this post after reading all the great posts that were done before me.

This is me, being creative.

Now, it is your turn.

Are you inspired to finish the story, or are you inspired by this beginning to do a totally different project?

Whatever you choose, just let me know… I’m curious to see where this goes too.

~You can read the beginning of Steve’s story HERE. I hope you agree with me that it is an interesting start. I hope you keep working on it, Steve. Thank you for sharing it here. ~Sue

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Posted by on August 31, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts


61 Brian Rathbone

Creativity has been a driving force in my life, though not always in ways that would traditionally be considered artistic. I remember leaving a job at a commodities trading firm partly because the company didn’t actually “create” anything physical. While working in technology as a network engineer, programmer, and inventor, I was always creating. Sometimes it was tangible things like diskless thin clients, and other times it was less tangible things like code and algorithms. I’m here to tell you that good code is like art, with the potential to be both intricate and eloquent. And bad code . . . well, it’s just plain ugly.

Creativity comes in many forms, and we should recognize it in those around us, those who create food and shelter, those who create smiles and laughter, those who create solutions to our most difficult problems, and those who create stories that remind us we are human.

As a reader, I always knew I would write. I told my wife on our first date that I would write novels–she didn’t really believe me at the time but I let it slide. There is something wonderful about telling a story. Words have become my most powerful tool, and creating is what I wish to do most.


Posted by on August 30, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts


60 Keith Dugger

This essay is also published on the author’s blog. Visit and check out his other stuff while you’re there.

Paragraph One

In a life with [days and nights and breathing and cars and TV and radio and Facebook|Google+|Twitter (Foogler) and TiVo and Netflix and iPhones and Android and Internet and nosy next door neighbors ringing the doorbell at 3am just to tell you that their Chihuahua-Great Dane-mix monster of a dog crapped in your prize petunias or fill in the blank with your favorite, but loving distraction] things can get a little hectic. Don’t be alarmed, life is not something you do, it is something that does you. What you do while it’s still around is a whole other matter (and up to you no matter what that late-night televangelist tells you).

In the context of the rest of your life, this phenomenon will be known as Paragraph One. At least to me, but only in the context of this post.

I promise that no matter what subtext of slick, icy hell life has slipped under your rug you can still be creative. Even when that shadow of your day rips the rug out from under you. Really. (Well, if the rug is actually ripped out from under you, see a doctor, or a plate tectonic specialist. And if a shadow did it, you’re on your own).

I’d be lying if I told you that I didn’t prefer to lock myself in my closet (next to a overly disturbing collection of stuffed ALF dolls from 1987; 37 at last count) and block out the real world to write about fake ones. I’d be lying and I really like to lie. A lot. (I know you believe me.) I don’t get to pick and choose (see Paragraph One) a time to write, or a place, or… Hell, who am I kidding? I don’t get to pick much of anything. I write when I can and surprisingly, the more I try to ignore these things, the more I’ve come to depend on them. I write better under pressure with noise and yelling and broken volume control.

This wasn’t supposed to be a post about distraction. It was really supposed to be a post about writing prompts, but something grabbed my attention and… Nevermind.

A creative bugbear, Sue ( and steampunk operator of, likes to throw out increasingly bizarre prompts typically in triplet and dare|beg|taunt me to write something that includes all of them. And she usually does this as I’m experiencing Paragraph One in a mindless bliss of blue static electricity or blued elasticity. I’ve come to consider her exercise as an embedded part of Paragraph One and I love it (think she’ll notice I just called her a distraction?).

Not everyone can write while undergoing the critical brain surgery that can be Paragraph One. And not everyone can write to prompts. That’s OK. You are you and without you, you wouldn’t be special. But there will be a time when you think the world is against you and 90% of Paragraph One is bearing down on you with the jaw strength of a rhino’s left eyelid, so turn up the TV and give prompt writing a try.

  1. Milk
  2. Shannon Doherty when she was cool
  3. Rocket Scientestry

See, at least one of those isn’t fiction. For the others, you’ll have to dig really deep for that creative part of your writing.

(Before everyone gets all bent out of shape… I don’t consider everything in Paragraph One a true distraction. TV loves me dammit. And yes… Scientestry.)


Posted by on August 29, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts


59 Christopher T. Miller

This essay is also published on the author’s blog. Visit and check out his other stuff while you are there…

Inspiration Through Perspiration

The more I write, the more I write. Unpacking that: the more that I work, the more I find I have things to say, and the more I write them down. I have gone through long periods of waiting for a creative spark to hit, only to find that putting fingers to the keyboard to write just about anything causes the levee to break wide open. I find torrents of words where there was nothing. Hence: the more I write, the more I write. I used to believe that The Muse had to deliver me THE IDEA. THE IDEA would spring fully-formed like an alien parasite from John Hurt’s stomach, ready to dance for me.

I learned that this was a fantasy. I took myself and my preferences out of the equation. No agonizing over what program to use, what advice to take, where to begin, what style to use, what tone to strike. I sit. I write. Nothing else.If I sit down and let the words flow, no matter what they are, it’s like water over a mill wheel. Gears turn. There is grist to grind, words to write. Ideas, both good and bad, present themselves. Often times, I cannot tell what is good and what is bad until working through the idea. The silliest things explode into something wonderful; what seems amazing fizzles out in a puff of smoke.

The more words I write, the more words come to me. I’ve come to accept the process, not the Muse, creates the ideas.

Work itself fuels my inspiration.

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Posted by on August 28, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts


58 Odin

Creativity. Art. Inspiration.

I have to admit that these three words don’t describe me to me. In other words, they’re not part of my self view. At least not at this point in time.

Many of you (I hope) know me through my blog, The View from Valhalla, where I currently provide a weekly review of a podcasted work of fiction. A few might know me for my own fiction that can be found hidden at the same blog, or delivered through the wonderful podcast, Every Photo Tells.

In neither of these endeavors do I feel like I’m being overly creative. I don’t feel like I’m creating art. I definitely don’t feel like any of it has been inspired.

What I do feel is this: everyone has a talent. I don’t think talents should be defined as something that necessarily comes easier to you than someone else. I don’t even, necessarily, believe talents are something you do better than others. In my experience, every talent I’ve ever had ascribed to me has come through hours of effort. Work.

I weekly review very talented people. People that have worked to perfect their art. People that give it away for free. Why? Because an artist desires to have their art seen, heard, felt. I simply let others see that art through my eyes. Will everyone see it the same? I hope not.

Art. Creativity. Inspiration. Effort. Perseverance. Work.

All of these traits, and many more, I see in so many of you.

Thank you. Now, get back to work and create more inspired art for me.

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Posted by on August 27, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts


57 Valerie Griswold-Ford

What is creativity? To me, creativity is equal parts pain, pleasure, hard work and sweat, dreams and visions. It’s magic. It’s science. It’s a visceral part of me, nestled somewhere deep in my chest, beating alongside my heart. Living a non-creative life would not be living.

I think my parents fostered this in me. My mother was always making something: knitting, cooking, canning, baking, sewing – you name it, I swear she could do it. And if we wanted to learn, she’d take the time to teach us. My father wrote my mother poetry from the submarine he was stationed on, sending his love on lines of words that she still has framed on her dresser. And they both encouraged us to read.

I’m not saying it was easy – it wasn’t. We were poor, even if I didn’t always realize it – raising four kids on an enlisted man’s salary isn’t easy. But we were rich in the things that mattered: love, creativity, imagination. There were libraries, museums, parks and beaches to explore, stars to count, berries to eat. Long summer afternoons spent making magic. And they always encouraged me to write.

The pain comes from many places. I’ve had two chronic illnesses since I was in college, and I pretty much live in pain a lot of the time. But that pain allows me to really KNOW my body – I know what I can eat, I know what I can do. And I know how it feels when I hurt things. This makes me very good at breaking things on my characters, which feeds into all sorts of things. (Hey, I write dark fantasy and horror a lot. This is good to know.) Also, I know how good it feels when the pain goes away, even if it’s fleeting. Especially because it’s fleeting.

Because life is fleeting. Life is beautiful, and then it ends and it breaks your heart, and yet you keep going back, because you know how much you’ll like it before the pain comes. Or maybe you’ll enjoy the pain too, because the pain reminds you that you’re alive.

And being alive is everything. Because only the living can be creative.

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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Creativity Guest Posts