Posts tagged ‘creativity’

Oct 11 2017
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How to make the “write” work space for you

How to make the "write" work space for you

My writing space is a deeply personal realm. I enter it to make art; and while I can technically write anywhere, my home base for writing is a sanctuary for my creativity. I firmly believe that the self-expressive comfort of my desk, bookshelves, and bulletin board is directly related to my productivity and the quality of my writing. Why? Because when creating my writing space, I adhered to these three “rules”:

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Aug 08 2017
Comments Off on Tips for beginning writers: Resist distraction and embrace solitude to write more and better

Tips for beginning writers: Resist distraction and embrace solitude to write more and better

Tips for beginning writers: Resist distraction and embrace solitude to write more and better

For a long time now, I’ve wanted to say something to writers, especially to beginning and aspiring writers, about embracing solitude. Perhaps it’s an overly romanticized notion, that writing is a solitary path. Perhaps it’s even strange for me to say–me, who tries to create a community around writing through the Center and in my personal life, and who emphasizes to my students the need for community. The need for community, though, is born of…

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Dec 26 2016
Comments Off on Creativity Is A Way Of Life

Creativity Is A Way Of Life

Creativity is a way of life. It is deep within whatever it is that makes you who you are. It is an automatic process that can be monitored at random; and it is omnipresent and functions continuously. Every moment of every day stimulates the creative process whether those moments are exhilarating or mundane. Peaks of excitement in a lifetime should not have any different effect on creative activity than the lowest doldrums that you reach….

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Nov 27 2016
Comments Off on Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Creativity and the Evolutionary Impulse

Since its emergence 13.7 billion years ago, the Universe has been a creative journey into ‘something more.’  From hydrogen and helium we get complex elements.  From a supernova explosion we get our sun and solar system.  From the alembic of Earth’s oceans we get one-celled organisms, worms, vertebrates, reptiles, mammals.  From seaweed we get ferns and oaks.  This is the evolutionary impulse, individuals sharing their characteristic energies in always-greater and more complex unions. The characteristic…

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Nov 20 2016
4

Nature Inspires the Imagination

For most of my life, nature has fueled my imagination.  When I am stuck inside for too long, I get cranky.   In school I angled for the seat near the window, and 365 nights a year I sleep next to an open window.  When I cannot be outside, I bring the outside in:  jars of sand, bowls of rocks, winter twigs arranged in a pitcher. Therefore, it is no accident that when I write, the…

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Nov 13 2016
Comments Off on Imagination: The Writer’s Call

Imagination: The Writer’s Call

There is a mystery about sitting down to write, an alternate awareness, of a world where imagination and memory, and a mysterious knowing merge, indistinguishable.  A palette of our experience, and perhaps, if Carl Jung is right, the experience of everyone who’s ever lived. How did I know, for instance, when I wrote my story, “The Call of the Dove” (Cricket Magazine, volume 21, number 9, May 1994) how it felt to be a young…

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May 07 2015
Comments Off on Ellen Collins, Writing the Wave teacher, on spirituality and the creative process

Ellen Collins, Writing the Wave teacher, on spirituality and the creative process

Ellen Collins, Writing the Wave teacher, on spirituality and the creative process

In previous months, the Center community-building posts focused on Helena Clare Pittman and Abriana Jetté. This month, Writing the Wave teacher Ellen Collins shares with her colleagues an experience of what she terms the “spiritual creative” process. EA: What excites you, turns you on, makes you grin from ear to ear about your Center class? Where is the joy for you in the teaching? Is there any relationship between the pleasure you feel teaching and the…

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Nov 19 2014
Comments Off on Writing needs vs. wants

Writing needs vs. wants

Writing needs vs. wants

I read an essay last weekend called “Body Narrative: Needs, Wants, Desires,” written by Debbie McCulliss and published in the Doctor TJ Eckleburg Review, that discusses our goals as writers. More specifically, the essay discusses how to identify and differentiate between what we need and what we want out of our writing. McCulliss poses four questions to writers: What is it that you want to write? What is it that you need to write? Do…

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Jul 05 2013
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Memoir Writing: the Deep Truth

Recently, the English writer Hilary Mantel wrote this about memoirs: “It’s hard for beginners to accept that unmediated truth often sounds unlikely and unconvincing.  If other people are to care about your life, art must intervene.  The writer has to negotiate with her memories, and with her reader, and find a way, without interrupting the flow, to caution that this cannot be a true record: this is a version, seen from a single viewpoint.  But…

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Apr 26 2013
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Journal Writing

In this excerpt from a letter to a student in her online class Writing for Children, Helena explains her journal writing practice. I write in my journal every morning.  It’s something I’ve practiced for almost 35 years, is a way I collect myself, commune with myself and, frankly, God.  All my hopes and dreams, my insights, all kinds of contemplation go into that pen-tip on paper. Looking back at them is not something I ever…

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Apr 19 2013
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Moving On In Your Writing Practice

Recently, I was interviewed by writer Julie Leuk for an article she’s working on about how a writer handles a changing identity within her or his writing practice.  Here’s her third question and my answer. JL: What suggestions do you have to help writers move past the self-imposed “shoulds” of their writing career, release them, so they can embrace the “coulds” of the future? EA: I think the most important suggestion I could make is…

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Apr 05 2013
Comments Off on A Writer’s Chrysalis

A Writer’s Chrysalis

Recently, I was interviewed by writer Julie Leuk for an article she’s working on about how a writer handles a changing identity within her or his writing practice.  Here’s her first question and my answer. JL: You have started a creative writing center to help writers transform themselves creatively. The key word here is transforming, which implies change. For some people this is scary. How do you help people move past the fear of change…

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Mar 15 2013
Comments Off on The Sound Of Inspiration

The Sound Of Inspiration

In a recent post, I quoted E.B. White, who said, “All writing is communication; creative writing is communication through revelation — it is the Self escaping into the open.” I’m intrigued by this notion of writing as self-revelation, because it’s what keeps me coming back to my desk day after day.  Not because I have a message for the world, not because I have a story to tell, but because as I find the words…

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Jan 04 2013
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Why Do You Write?

Why Do You Write?

As the new year begins, I invite you to reflect on why you write.  And don’t be ho-hum hum-drum — put some muscle into it!  That special muscle available to the writer called “imagination.” As a warm-up, please read the following, excerpted from Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert by Terry Tempest Williams. Dearest Deb: You asked me why I write…. I write to make peace with the things I cannot control.  I write…

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Dec 14 2012
Comments Off on The Writer You Are Becoming

The Writer You Are Becoming

The Writer You Are Becoming

The other day I was wandering around nearby Leonardtown, after my appointment at the dentist’s and before the bookstore opened.  In the yarn store there was this woman sitting in front of a loom, doing mysterious things with her hands and feet that transformed stiff, straight rows of brightly-colored thread into soft billows of patterned fabric.  The me that has always been a weaver said, “I’ve always wanted to learn how to weave,” and I…

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Dec 07 2012
Comments Off on Inspiration Is Everywhere

Inspiration Is Everywhere

Inspiration Is Everywhere

“I don’t have any ideas.” “My mind is a blank.” I can’t think of anything to write about.” It seems as if almost everyone I’ve worked with has said something like this. Okay, I’ve said it, too. But here is the world, available to us in all kinds of dimensions, scales, emotions, colors, activities, histories and possibilities — and we can’t think of anything? A long time ago, my economics professor held up a book…

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Oct 26 2012
1

A Writer Looks at Halloween

A Writer Looks at Halloween

Halloween is almost upon us, so I thought I’d take this opportunity to share a reflection on the holiday I wrote several years ago.  “Baking for the Holidays” is excerpted from my newest book, Invitation to Wonder:  A Journey through the Seasons.  “Lay me down like a stone, raise me up like bread.”  As prayers go, this one’s a champ, don’t you think?  I picked it up from a character in Tolstoy’s War and Peace…

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Oct 12 2012
2

A Writer’s Voice

how to write, how to be a writer, writing prompts, writing tips

I’m taking a weaving class.  I’m learning on a small, portable loom, but it has all the necessary pieces of a traditional loom, and it’s great fun to learn an entirely new language, with words like “heddle” and “thrum” and “shed” and “apron” and “shuttle.” I’m learning how to “warp the loom:” to set up the long threads that provide the structural integrity of woven fabric.  It’s extremely complicated, requiring a lot of math and…

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Oct 05 2012
2

Writing Prompts Help

A recent prompt from the Center’s e-mail newsletter led me to a truly serendipitous experience.  As a retiree approaching my 75th birthday, I look around at other folks my age and see many who just stop ‘living’ when they stop working. Here’s the prompt you shared, courtesy Poets & Writer’s:  Pick a poetry book off of your shelf and open it to any page. Read the poem you’ve opened to, then write one of your…

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Sep 28 2012
Comments Off on A New Language

A New Language

how to write, tips on writing, nature and creativity

The seed of the botanical world has finally cracked open for me. I walk as though I were the first man on earth, taking slow steps, my eyes wide. I ask the names of everything I see, testing the patience of those around me, jotting this new language in pocket-sized notebooks: Marigold, begonia, pansy, violet, poppy, chive, iris, pansy, hollyhock, petunia, lilac, shasta daisy, cala lily. In the early spring, the tender shoots in a…

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