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Creative Writing Advice, Exercises, and Examples

Updated on May 23, 2010

Books on creativity. Books on creative writing. Books on creating a creativily written book on creative writing.

Creativity is Everything

Obviously, creativity is a large part of writing and art. It’s also an important part of business, engineering, invention, design and more. It’s the conception that allows societies to progress. Creativity is everything for some people, while others let it die... but why? Artist and writer Hugh MacLeod writes in his book Ignore Everybody: And 39 Other Keys to Creativity that “everyone is born creative; everyone is given a box of crayons in kindergarten. Then when you hit puberty they take the crayons away and replace them with dry, uninspiring books on algebra, history, etc. Being suddenly hit years later with the ‘creative bug’ is just a wee voice telling you, ‘I’d like my crayons back, please.’" Whatever it takes, get your crayons back.

I was at work yesterday when one of my younger co-workers was trying to pawn off her homework for a creative writing class. Work was slow and I had some time, I decided to help. I selected the following prompt: Suppose you find a stray key one-day. explain where it came from, what it does, whom it belonged to etc. (1 page). I never took any creative writing classes in college, but wish I had. Over the subsequent hour, in between some actual work, I managed to scribble out the following on some notebook paper. Warning: I am aware that I do need practice in the writing department, but who cares. It may have been a waste of time, but at least it kept the right side of my brain warm for a bit. Enjoy.

An End to Boring Weekends

It was Friday afternoon as I walked home from another boring day at school, completely apathetic about the homework that would soon consume my boring weekend, once again. I bent down to tie my shoe, my 20 pound backpack fell to the ground. Perfect. As I reached down to pick it up, I noticed a stray key on the ground. My initial thought was to forget it, leave it…but I didn’t. I picked it up. It was still warm from having spent it’s entire day lying on the hot concrete. It’s teeth were barely visible, worn down, and caked in mud. I put it in my pocket and headed home. On the way, I couldn’t stop thinking about the key. Where did it come from? Who was it’s lawful owner? What was it used for? I arrived home, emptied my pockets out onto my desk, and procrastinated on the couch for the rest of the afternoon.

Attempting to sleep that night was futile. I was tired from doing nothing all day, but I couldn’t stop thinking about that stupid key. A friend had once told me something about a key that town mayor's held, like a universal key to every door in the city or some shit. Maybe this was it? Maybe it was a key to another dimension where the trees are made of cotton candy and cars are made of cherry-flavored Jello. Maybe it opened up a grand, ski-in/ski-out castle somewhere high in the French Alps. Or maybe it was just a stupid key. Whatever it's origins, my imagination was turning this key into much more than the dirty paperweight on my desk as it currently was. I closed my eyes, and eventually, fell asleep.

The next morning I awoke after a night of strange and eerily life-like dreams. I dreamt that the key I had found had the ability to open every door in my city. I had a blast with it. I spent hours at the mall, running around like a kid in a candy store, literally. I stuffed my pockets from the mall’s candy shop and set off on a sugar-fueled rampage. Next stop was the music shop. I slid the key into the door lock, turned, pushed, and was immediately excited by the smell of brass guitar strings and fresh drum heads. I plugged into the biggest amplifier and wailed on the finest guitar, filling the mall with my talented guitar skills, or rather lack thereof. I was overwhelmed by the key’s capabilities! Time to move on. I headed into the department store and picked out the most expensive digs I could find. Next, I hit the food court to take advantage of the all-you-can-drink Slurpee's that this holy key had kindly blessed me with. I didn’t dare touch the left over food, besides, I was too hopped up on Sour Patch Kids to be hungry. I visited a few more of my favorite shops...I woke up.

Of course trying to fall back asleep and continue the dream was impossible. I crawled out of bed and glanced over to my desk, the key was missing. Confused, I shrugged it off and shuffled to the bathroom to take a piss. I looked in the mirror and noticed how fresh I looked that morning, and wearing all new clothes? Tags still attached. Now I was really confused. Where did these come from? I returned to my room and sat on my bed to think it over. There, in the corner, was a pile of stuff: guitar, stacks of CDs, books, clothes and more. I reached in my candy-filled pocket and pulled out the key. It was still warm like it had been the day prior. Was this really a dream? I turned on the TV for some Saturday morning cartoons but instead got the news, “Local mall burglarized last night. Police currently have no suspects. Police have reason to believe it was an inside job as there was no sign of forced entry…” I would no longer have a boring weekend.


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    • jdaviswrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Davis 

      8 years ago from California

      Those are some brilliant words..."we have to walk the path of wonder and awe to relate." It's very true. Thanks for the encouraging words...

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 

      9 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Hahahaha I enjoyed your hub. Glad you decided to get your crayons back. It's amazing how one can use all those colors to create and paint and ideas coming to life! I work with small children and I am blessed by it because we have to walk the path of wonder and awe to relate with them. Thanks for the link and for this wonderful creative hub! Thumbs up! :)

    • jdaviswrites profile imageAUTHOR

      Jeff Davis 

      9 years ago from California

      thanks raging bull, big hugs to you as well.

      and thanks coverley, thats the nicest thing someones said about my writing. i thought i was no good, but your helping build my confidence

    • coverley1 profile image


      9 years ago from Victoria, Australia

      Loved it, funny, entertaining and magical. I thought it was very creative. Add some illustrations and you have a children's book. Good luck, but I think you are on your way.

    • Raging Bull profile image

      Raging Bull 

      9 years ago from Melbourne, Australia

      Charming piece, and I can personally relate to what you said: having let go of my creative side for many years, and I tell you what, that was destructive to my soul. Then I got my crayons back!!!

      Big hugs

      Billie Raging Bull

    • matt35 profile image


      9 years ago

      always entertaining and thoughtful.


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