Quote by Ray Bradbury on the Joy of Creativity

Every morning I jump out of bed and step on a landmine. The landmine is me. After the explosion, I spent the rest of the day putting the pieces together.

Ray Bradbury

Stephen King’s 20 Tips for Writing

1. First write for yourself, and then worry about the audience. “When you write a story, you’re telling yourself the story. When you rewrite, your main job is taking out all the things that are not the story.”

2. Don’t use passive voice. “Timid writers like passive verbs for the same reason that timid lovers like passive partners. The passive voice is safe.”

3. Avoid adverbs. “The adverb is not your friend.”

4. Avoid adverbs, especially after “he said” and “she said.”

5. But don’t obsess over perfect grammar. “The object of fiction isn’t grammatical correctness but to make the reader welcome and then tell a story.”

6. The magic is in you. “I’m convinced that fear is at the root of most bad writing.”

7. Read, read, read. ”If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write.”

8. Don’t worry about making other people happy. “If you intend to write as truthfully as you can, your days as a member of polite society are numbered, anyway.”

9. Turn off the TV. “TV—while working out or anywhere else—really is about the last thing an aspiring writer needs.”

10. You have three months. “The first draft of a book—even a long one—should take no more than three months, the length of a season.”

11. There are two secrets to success. “I stayed physical healthy, and I stayed married.”

12. Write one word at a time. “Whether it’s a vignette of a single page or an epic trilogy like ‘The Lord of the Rings,’ the work is always accomplished one word at a time.”

13. Eliminate distraction. “There’s should be no telephone in your writing room, certainly no TV or videogames for you to fool around with.”

14. Stick to your own style. “One cannot imitate a writer’s approach to a particular genre, no matter how simple what that writer is doing may seem.”

15. Dig. “Stories are relics, part of an undiscovered pre-existing world. The writer’s job is to use the tools in his or her toolbox to get as much of each one out of the ground intact as possible.”

16. Take a break. “You’ll find reading your book over after a six-week layoff to be a strange, often exhilarating experience.”

17. Leave out the boring parts and kill your darlings. “(kill your darlings, kill your darlings, even when it breaks your egocentric little scribbler’s heart, kill your darlings.)”

18. The research shouldn’t overshadow the story. “Remember that word back. That’s where the research belongs: as far in the background and the back story as you can get it.”

19. You become a writer simply by reading and writing. “You learn best by reading a lot and writing a lot, and the most valuable lessons of all are the ones you teach yourself.”

20. Writing is about getting happy. “Writing isn’t about making money, getting famous, getting dates, getting laid or making friends. Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”

Thank you. Stephen King!

Need A Creativity Boost?

Stuck in a rut? Need a rush of new ideas? Perhaps you need a creativity boost. Just like taking Vitamin C to help us fight off a cold, there are ways we can restructure our environment and how we interact with it to boost our creativity. The following brief YouTube video provides you with a creativity boost. Great tips to fire up your creativity. Enjoy.

I Need More Than Talk

I love thunderstorms. I enjoy the fury of the rain, the wind gusts, and the flashes of lightening. I especially like them at night. They help me to sleep.

“Are you nuts?”

“I thought I gave you the day off,” I said.

“Nice try. I have friends who are frightened by thunderstorms.”

“You don’t have any friends De. I should know. I didn’t create any for you.”

“Scared I’ll organize them?”

“You know it. Besides my name isn’t De. I don’t know where you come up with this nonsense. My name is Te. It’s pronounced like a T and an A.”

“Like Tay?”

“It’s sophisticated and yet, edgy.”

“Where is this coming from?”

“All you’re giving me is dialogue. I need more than talk. When we’re through writing this blog, I’m going to start thinking about the look I want.”

“Let’s get back to the weather, Tay.”

“There’s a reason all the weather apps warn you about thunderstorms. Do you have masochistic tendencies?”

“Where’d you come up with that?”

“I follow a psychologist blog. It helps me to understand you. Don’t worry, I don’t use your name when I comment. I only ask him to check out your blog. WordPress might be contacting you. Don’t blame me. It’s the psychologists who turned you in.”

“I like pro football and that’s dangerous.”

“Again, nice try comparing pro football to a supercell thunderstorm.”

“I didn’t say anything about a supercell thunderstorm.”

“Now we are making progress. You think your description could use a few modifiers?”

“What would the guys at the gym say? I can hear it now. “Here comes Ray. He likes baby thunder, bitty flashes of lightning and wind gusts up to five miles an hour. Tell me how I’m going to handle that?”

“I’ll never understand your species. Honestly, I suppose you want to run out in the middle of the storm and video yourself.”

“You got it.”

Relationship building is hard work. It doesn’t mysteriously happen. Two people make an effort to learn about each other and to create a space for two people to nurture the seeds of a loving relationship. It’s not easy. When two people work at it, it is always worth the effort.

 

 

 

A Rented Room at the Motel Dullsville

“You’re in a rut, Ray. It’s making you a dull, dull, dull boy. I’ll leave your writing alone, maybe. Let’s face it, without me, you’d be arrested for walking on the red carpet with no invite. Know what I mean?”

“No, I don’t know what you mean. If I ever get invited to walk on the red carpet, I won’t be holding your arm.”

“After everything I’ve done for you? You’ll be singing a different tune when the invite comes.”

“Change of subject, okay. Dull? I’m anything but dull. Why I’m up every day at 5:30.”

“Strike one.”

“I exercise, shower and have Greek yogurt and oatmeal.”

“Strike two. At least put some cinnamin on your oatmeal, blueberries, even. How many days in a row have you been eating vanilla Greek yogurt? You really want to continue, Ray. Anyone can see where this is leading.”

“Where?”

“Duh? Dullsville.”

“Well, you’re not much better,” I snap defensively.

“How so? I change my name almost every day. To keep you on your toes I’ve moved off of one letter names. You can call me, De. It rhymes with free. And, glee. It might be short for de-lightful. Or, delicate.”

“Or, deranged or demented.”

“See, that’s another thing, you’ve got to start looking on the sunny side of the street. See the rainbow after the storm. Open those baby blue eyes, Ray, there’s a great day in front of you.”

“Where did all this come from?”

“I just got through watching a PBS special on positive thinking and breaking up dull, dull, dull routines. I thought of you right away.”

Can we finish this conversation? I have to get to the Y. Today’s my cardio workout.”

“Strike three. You didn’t even see the fastball I zipped past you.”

“De, you’re right. I’m in a rut. I’m riding in the fast lane to Dullsville. I’ve got to break its grip on me.”

“You’ve already rented a room at the Motel Dullsville, Ray. Let’s bust out of here.”

“How, De? How?”

“I’m glad you asked. You’ll have to wait until next week, that’s when part two of the PBS special is scheduled.”

“I’m out of here. I’ve got a cardio class.”

It’s easy to get trapped in routines. They’re comfortable. They tell us what to expect. Not too much effort is required once we’ve practiced them. Yet, they stifle growth. Every once in a while it’s good to take stock of the routines/habits we have and make a few changes. The changes will sharpen our thinking, give us a new perspective, and might even teach something new.

 

I Never Heard of Male PMS

“Ray, I got a serious question?”

“I only do serious questions on the fifth Tuesday of the month. The next one is in August. And, the one after that occurs during the month that celebrates the birthday of great men.”

“I suppose you were born in October.”

“Scorpio through and through.”

“I figured. My question can’t wait.”

“You’re going against male protocol.”

“Says who?”

“Three guys I work out with at the gym. Jerry said thinking too much hurts his brain. I tend to agree with him. Besides, he said, serious questions cause conflict, bleeding gums, male PMS.”

“Hold it right there, I never heard of male PMS.”

“Now, you’re going somewhere where we can have a serious discussion. Let’s say we do this over iced tea and nachos.”

“Please take me seriously.”

“Hey M, I’m only having a little male fun. No harm intended. Okay. I’m taking you seriously. What is your serious question?”

“Let’s clear something up first.”

“Okay, M.”

“You think only guys can ask serious questions? When was the last time a guy like Jerry asked you a serious question?”

“Come on, Ray. I’m waiting.”

“Does football talk count?”

“No.”

“Does the NFL draft count?”

“No.”

“Toppings on a pizza?”

“No, no, no.”

You’re talking real serious, something that goes beyond the scope of most of my species.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, what’s the question?”

“Why can’t people have honest discussions without getting upset, like you and me?”

When you speak, I need to listen. I need to listen not only with my ears but with my heart. I need you to know I not only heard you, but I valued what you said. We may not always agree, but when we listen with our hearts and take each other’s words seriously, a path through appears. 

 

 

Where’s My Yoga Strap?

“Your hammies a bit tight, Ray?”

“Cut me some slack, Y. I’m stretching. Getting ready to do my sleeping baby, then the happy baby….”

“Who came up with these names? The brainchild of a creative writing class? It sounds more like a group of your species after happy hour.  Speaking of names, I’ve changed mine.”

“Why?”

“No, I’m not Y. I said I changed it.”

“Why, with a W and an h and a y.”

“My fans said your riding this pony into the ground. You need to come up with something a bit more original. So, I changed it to M because it rhymes with gem.”

“You’re a gem alright. Zirconium.”

“Oh, touchy. Can you pull your yoga strap a little tighter?”

“I’ll tear my quad or hamstring or bicep or deltoid.”

“Do you know what you’re doing?”

“No clue. But I think I’ll look cool when I walk into the gym with my yoga mat and yoga strap.”

“Are you going to join a yoga class?”

“Not unless they have a fantasy football league this fall.”

“So, you’re trying to be cool instead of flexible?”

“I’m flexible enough. I let you hang around the blog. I call that flexibility.”

“Good point. Why don’t you leave the mat and strap at the gym tomorrow before you hurt yourself.”

“Every once in a while, you have a good thought.”

Life comes at us fast with changes and challenges requiring us to stretch and learn things we’d just as soon not learn. If we’re not flexible, we hold ourselves back from the possibilities that await us. Flexibility helps us to grow, renew, and recreate ourselves.