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How to Kill Creativity

Updated on July 23, 2009


Writers, at least those who are successful at it, must learn how to continue a creative streak while under attack from administrators or editors. the first manuscript I submitted to a publisher got me a rejection slip so harsh, brutal, and uncompromisenly without praise that i consequentoly threw up then burned the papers.

Good writers are also good readers. They love to read and as a result, develop an ability to recognize a good sentence when they see it. Creative writing is more difficult.  One should expect some hard work to devolp this skill. It never hurts to have lots of friends who will read your work and give you honest critiques.

After a few more rejection slips I began to listen to what the editors were telling me. I paid attention to the rules, followed the market for manuscripts wanted, and finally got an actual meeting with a genuine writers agent. Much to my surprise, I found out that I really didn't know much about writing, and couldn't tell him exactly what i had published. His advice: Take more creative writing classes. Don't write for yourself but for your audience. Keep writing.

I took on a master's program that required tons of reading and writing, about three papers per course, plus a thesis at the end. Then another one in a different field seemed reasonable. finally, a tome for a PhD; which I modified and published in book form. Every now and then an envelepe will arrive with a small check, a very small royalty check, which serves as a reminder why I never gave up my day job.

I have learned to follow the editor's advise and not be too thin skinned. It's just another paper among many papers. I quit counting the words. The paper is as long as it needs to be. After editing, sometimes a whole paragrah or page will go to the round file. "Where did that come from?" Or, " My God, what is the matter with you?" That belongs in another paper you haven't written yet!"

One time I remember counting words and got stuck at about 3000. There I stopped and there I was stuck for several hours. When the juice stops flowing, sometimes it just won't start without a few hours sleep, or a heavy meal, or no meals or sleep until the job's done.

Sometimes though, my cat has had enough and will come sit on the keyboard to let me know that it's time to go to bed. and who would know better what's good for me? She refuses to read my work, brushing it aside with a casual flick of her paw and disdainful glance in my direction. "where's my filet mingon", her eyes say. "You don't want to see me really angry."

How right she is. I could never stand to see a female angry, especially when the anger was directed toward me.


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      healthfreaked 8 years ago

      i always find the best way to be creatoive is not to force it. when it comes to writing sometimes im having an "on" day, and other days im not. If its not an "on day", and i dont htink a good cup of coffee and in a pretty coffee shop can help, ill just put the assignment off till i feel more inspired and can do it properly.