We wrote about creative people a couple of days ago; we’d seen an interesting article which you can access here:
The article contained a list of attributes of creative people – this list has been expanded into a complete book, Wired to Create: Unravelling the Mysteries of the Creative Mind, by Carolyn Gregoire and Scott Barry Kaufman.
We’re going to share that list again, but with additions from someone who is creative in a different way from the Dragons… we write… she – well, look at what she does:
- they daydream
- they observe everything.
- they work the hours that work for them.
- they take time for solitude.
- they turn life’s obstacles around.
- they seek out new experiences.
- they “fail up.”
- they ask the big questions.
- they people-watch.
- they take risks.
- they view all of life as an opportunity for self-expression.
- they follow their true passions.
- they get out of their own heads.
- they lose track of the time.
- they surround themselves with beauty.
- they connect the dots.
- they constantly shake things up.
- they make time for mindfulness.
- they motivate others
- they have a ‘can-do’ attitude
- they support others on their creative journeys.
Here is a challenge – think about your writing; do you:
- observe everything?
- work the hours that work for you?
- take time for solitude?
- turn life’s obstacles around?
- seek out new experiences?
We challenged the Dragons to consider these things, and here is what Lois answered:
- I daydream.
- I observe everything.
- I write when it best suits me; this might be different for other people, but I think I am an owl when it comes to really writing and being creative. Now that I no longer have a day job I can write all the time… and I do! However, late is best for me!
- I enjoy having periods alone, solitude allows me thinking time, reflecting time, dreaming time, resolving time
- I try to use difficulties as a positive thing… I am more able to do this now than when I was younger, but I think I always had that glass half-full attitude. I try to turn life’s obstacles around… I don’t think I use writing as therapy, but i certainly try to be creative and ‘think outside the box’ to face up to challenges
- I’m always up for trying new things, going to new places, doing different activities, eating new foods, cooking unusual recipes… trying to write in different ways, I look for new experiences.
- The list included the intriguing notion of “failing up.” I struggled for a while to understand this, but it means that failure in writing is not bad, especially if you use it to improve something or make it better. In a simple way, I think every time I rewrite something it is because the first draft has failed; rewriting makes it better… but maybe not good enough and that too might fail. It might take many failures to get something the way I want it!
- I ask the big questions… and little questions… I talk to people, and listen. I had my optician’s life story a couple of weeks ago! I’m not going to ‘borrow’ his life for any of my stories, but some aspects might trigger new ideas.
- I watch and listen to people all the time; I don’t mean that I eaves-drop, but if I catch a phrase or odd sentence as I’m walking around, I ponder on it and maybe use it to inspire something. Today a couple of teenage boys in school uniform walked past me and one said to the other “…and Johnny said I had to face her with it, and have it out with her…
- I take risks with my writing… or do I? I certainly have for my latest novel, Radwinter; I wrote in the first person, which is unusual although not unknown for me, and that first person was a man and a young man… But that choice of narrator was not very adventurous or risky… or was it?
- I do indeed view my life as an opportunity for expressing myself, maybe in my choice of career, as a teacher, and now in my vocation as a writer; everything I see or do, hear or observe, think about or imagine is like a fertile vegetable plot and I have a virtual basketfull of seeds and cuttings!
- At last I am following my true passion, but I think in the past I have done things, pursued things in an almost headstrong way; the success or failure of those pursuits mean I now have a headfull of experiences and memories.
- I get out of my own head… some people think I live in my own head too much, along with hundreds of characters and a whole new and imaginary world all around me… but I guess I do try and lose my own ‘self’ and become my characters
- I certainly do lose track of time – which can be a good thing if I’m waiting for something, but not such a good thing if I’m late for an appointment because I’ve become lost in thought
- I do like beautiful things, indeed, but if I am somewhere dull I can imagine something more interesting
- I think I do ‘connect the dots’, I think I do make connections and links which is vital in writing for inspiration, and then to make things hold together
- I constantly shake things up – I like being unconventional, spontaneous, and I guess in some ways eccentric, although I think I prefer to think of it as quirky!
- I make time for mindfulness; yes I do
- Do I motivate others? I try to! I certainly encourage everyone I meet who mentions writing to do it themselves
- I think I have a can do attitude – maybe the secret is to do whatever it is differently if it’s a tricky challenge
- Yes, 100% do I try to support others on their creative journey!
Here is a link to Gregoire and Kaufman’s book:
… and here is a link to Lois’s books:
Here is what Richard answered:
- I daydream – more than I think I should
- I observe everything – even the mundane can be beautiful, everything is wonderful.
- I write when it best suits me; it may be any time of day but my best time is when I am out of bed before anyone else and then ideas, themes, plots and characters just “occur”. I know not from whence they come but come they do – happily.
- I must have my “alone time” – this is usually when out walking. I love to walk in wild places and look at everything – the bark of a tree, the walk of a beetle, the age and journey of a rock, the endless circular journey of the water, rock, nitrogen etc cycles.
- I have a sciency/engineering background so I look at a glass that is half full – no, half empty – no, it was just badly designed for the job it was meant to do. It uses too much material, it is too heavy, it is too big, it consumes too much energy during its manufacture and life. Everything can be improved. I love the word “Optimisation“
- “There is nothing new under heaven” but what there is, is an infinity of different ways of experiencing the same thing in a different way, describing it or comparing it. An ant is small compared to us but huge compared to a molecule.
- I understand this as meaning that a “fail” is an opportunity to start again and do it better. I enjoy editing and improving my work.
- I enjoy thinking about “what ifs” . What if ice didn’t float on water – that gave me a short story.
- What if cats understood quantum theory – would they have a box where a man is dead or alive – like Felix Heisenberg. etc – all it takes is a small tweak to the laws of fisicks.
- I enjoy writing about my thoughts:- On time, wonder, silence, smells – anything!
- I tend to start with the skeleton of a character and then add complexity from different people I have known so the final character is moulded by the events in the plot into a fully formed mélange. Sometimes the character reverse engineers the plot in spite of me, the author, being theoretically in charge-
- I take risks with my writing, I try anything. If it doesn’t work —> 7. I save everything in a journal, nothing I write is wasted, it will eventually be used.
- I do mine my life experiences and use them in my writing. I have lived a fairly long time and been to many places so I feel I have many experiences that I can use.
- I fell in love with writing by accident. I took a short course called “Start writing fiction”. I thought it was great!. I went on to take two more Creative Writing courses and haven’t looked back. I so enjoy “making up lies and writing them down”.
- I enjoy beauty – especially natural beauty – not just the obvious things like sunsets. Perhaps breaking open a piece of rock and finding inside a fossil that has been waiting for me to come along and be the first to see it many millions of years after its death. People that do extraordinary things – leaps of imagination with little evidence for example like many great scientists. Nothing in nature is boring or uninteresting – explore the wonder.
- I like looking at things with a different viewpoint. I have a weird sense of humour – I enjoy the bizarre and have a love of puns and giving different meanings to words. If the right word doesn’t exist then I will make one up.
- I enjoy living in the moment while letting my mind travel where it will.
- I think everyone should try writing because everyone has a lifetime of experiences in their head. But! Only write if you must. You will know when you HAVE to write, then go do it. Be like Goethe, “Begin it, begin it now“
- Yes, I can do it – but not necessarily how you intended it to be done. Lateral thinking is 50 years old. I think of myself as a lateral creative.
- Yes, I try to support others on their creative journey.
… and to our other Dragon, Richard’s books: