Shannon Bolithoe : A Writing Life

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Where exactly does creativity exist within the brain?

Where does creativity exist within the brain? If you’re like most people, you probably grew up being taught that the right hemisphere of the brain is where creativity and subjects like art primarily reside.

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8 Common Creative Writing Mistakes

We all make mistakes in our writing. The most common mistake is the typo — a missing word, an extra punctuation mark, a misspelling, or some other minor error that is an oversight rather than a reflection of the writer’s skills (or lack thereof).

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How Creative Mindfulness is a Super Power

In my quest to understand what works and what doesn’t for my and others’ creative work flow, I’ve come up with a metaphor for the mind. And how to use these findings as a creativity and productivity superpower.

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See on Scoop.itA Writing Life

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10 tips to learn from a creative writing lecturer

Some people enjoy writing for the sake of it, while others want to develop and improve. If you fall into the latter category then read this.

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See on Scoop.itA Writing Life

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A Curated List of Creative Writing Competitions in 2016

A list of international and local creative writing competitions planned for 2016. Opportunities for experienced and aspiring writers to get published.

Sourced through from:

See on Scoop.itA Writing Life

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How to win a creative writing competition – top tips 

How to Win a Creative Writing Competition – Top Tips
By Joe Craig

“Standing out is hard. Sometimes you just want to blend in and stick with whatever everybody else is doing. Creative writing competitions are not those times.

I’ve judged a lot of competitions for young writers, which means I’ve read through thousands of stories, each one trying to stand out. But so many of them fall into the same traps. So often I spot a promising story and wish I could give the writer just a couple of simple pointers that would take their writing above the competition…”

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Is There a Best Time of Day to Be Creative?

Is There a Best Time of Day to Be Creative?

By Dave LeClair

“Creativity while writing is a fleeting thing. Sometimes, your mind is just firing on all cylinders, and it feels like you can do no wrong. Other times, it feels like you have a million things to do and you just can’t get the words flowing. When faced with a deadline, this can be a terrifying situation. Is there anything you can do?

As it turns out, there are certain points throughout the day when creativity flowsbetter, and there’s actually some science behind it, as this infographic shows. Check it out, and see if following this schedule helps you be more creative!…”

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“Collage” your way to creativity: let the rebel out!

Source: “Collage” your way to creativity: let the rebel out!

By Maja

“You know those days when you have, like a hundred ideas what you would like to do, to write, but somehow you are having hard time to convey and articulate your idea? It’s there, you almost have a breakthrough but your thoughts are fast racing and nothing is coming out. Maybe we should try another way of expressing it?

In the post Organize your own creativity workshop! I propose having an inspiration box, with collected items that we like, that are inspirational to us. We can go step further and by selecting different items that appeal to us, we can try to express our idea or come up with a new one, by rearranging items in a collage…”

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How important is tacit knowledge for your creativity and one simple way to get more of it

Source: How important is tacit knowledge for your creativity and one simple way to get more of it

By Maja

“We could say that tacit knowledge represents everything undefined, inexplicable, unknown yet perceived knowledge by one person – usually rooted deeply in the subconsciousness and its largely based on his or her emotions, experiences, intuition, observations, any internalized information. It is the knowledge we all have, we all use – it influences our judgment, decisions and it’s kind of a framework that makes explicit knowledge viable. For first time, it was conveyed by the Hungarian philosopher-chemist Michael Polanyi (1891-1976) in his 1966 book ‘The Tacit Dimension.’…”

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Why I Write

Only a few very fortunate writers will ever eke out a living publishing novels. So why do I write?

Making up a story, an entertaining escape filled with humanity and romance, is at the core of everything. And it’s hard – very hard. Reading it over and over, researching, making changes, asking for advice, and thinking till your brain hurts. This is the place where I feel most powerful, most indomitable, and most satisfied when it works. This is peace – when you know in your gut that this is fun, that you like doing it, that even though no one has ever paid you, you do it anyway. And I also like that it’s hard! If it wasn’t, what would I be accomplishing? If it wasn’t hard, anyone could do it.

I write because it’s fun. To keep that in perspective, some people box for fun, getting their faces bashed in, bleeding and getting knocked out. I write. Writing stories feels good, it feels right, it’s fulfilling.

And yes, it would feel even better to get paid for it, but even if I never make any money I’ll keep doing it anyway.Why do you write?

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Changing Habits: Using NaNoWriMo for Inspiration

By Toni Kennedy

I suspect I appear hard-working, efficient, even productive. Every morning I’m at my desk, sitting at my computer, doing what looks like writing. Often, it is. I’m writing e-mails. I’m writing letters. Don’t get me wrong; I meet deadlines and I accomplish things. I have a lengthy list of publications. I do talks, presentations, and workshops but most of the time I feel like a slacker. Because, while I may be working, I’m often not doing the work I think I’m supposed to be doing, which is creative writing.

This is entirely internal. But my productivity, or what looks like productivity, feels at times like a bunch of rationalizations. Of course I do my work. If you don’t make it to meetings, or do the departmental tasks you’ve been assigned, you face the cold shoulders of peers who have to pull your weight. If there are real deadlines you don’t let those slip.

But to me, those tasks are like vacuuming when you know you have to clean the toilet. They’re still unpleasant, but they’re the lesser evils, the road less arduous. You’re still accomplishing something–just not the thing, the big thing, that’s always hanging over your head. The thing, in fact, you might not even be willing to talk about.

The truth is that I tackle the things I think I can handle, do them, get a vague sense of accomplishment, and then go back to feeling crappy about what I’m not doing. I have a hunch I’m not alone in that.

It’s not as if the things I’m accomplishing aren’t worthy and important. They’re fine. They’re good. But they’re not what I think I’m supposed to be doing. The problem is, often I don’t want to write. Or, like Dorothy Parker, I don’t like to write; I like to have written.

Having recognized, named, and admitted my problem; I’ve tried to think about how to deal with it. There’s always going to be something else to work on–or not. I know enough writers to know that all of them have ways in which they trick themselves into getting the work done. One of the most common is the daily word quota. I’ve long resisted such quotas. I like to tell myself that I work in spurts; if I’m not writing for a while, it’s because my mental field needs to lie fallow for a while. When I’m ready, the words will come. My problem is getting started. I like to put things off. Until the holidays. Until I’ve finished reading that book. Until I take the dog for a walk. Until, until, until.

Now I’ve decided it’s time for a change and I intend to use NaNoWriMo as the catalyst. I’ve made rules for myself. Some are common and obvious. I have decided on a quota of writing 1,000 plus words a day. Only after I meet that goal will I go back and revise. The only reading I will allow myself will be my book project; no fiction until bedtime. If getting the words down means sacrificing going shopping, there will be no new clothes. I have given myself a real deadline and know exactly what I want to produce in that time. I hope this will be a manageable amount and not crazy-ambitious.

I hope my new rules will work and that I will write a lot of words. Many of them may turn out to be unusable. But I hope that the writing will make me to do the thinking, which is getting me closer to the book. That will feel like real productivity.

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Creative writing in recovery from severe mental illness

Creative writing in recovery from severe mental illness

by Robert King, Philip Neilsen and Emma White

Creative activity has a substantial history in psychosocial rehabilitation for people with more severe forms of mental illness. Creativity has sometimes taken the form of diversional therapy, with the primary role of occupying time in a satisfying way or promoting social interaction. In other contexts, it has taken the form of an adjunct to psychological therapy, either as a window into the unconscious or as a means for promoting communication among clients, such as children for whom verbal communication alone might be difficult. Creative writing therapists informed by psychoanalytic theory have reported on the benefits of quite complex and sophisticated forms of writing, such as fictionalized autobiography. Poetry therapy is one of the longest established types of writing therapy, and has the practical virtue of brevity and the creative virtue of encouraging creative play with imagery.

The authors of this article identified three theoretical frameworks that explain why creative writing might play an important role in recovery from mental illness. These theories propose that writing can contribute to the development of personal identity, to the repair of symbolic functioning, and that it can remediate cognitive functioning. When considered in the light of a possible genetic link between schizotypy and creativity, these theories help us to understand why writing is an important and valued form of self-expression for many people recovering from severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia.

The therapeutic value of creative writing might be most effectively achieved when there is a focus on the processes and techniques of writing, and not just on self-expression. When a person develops skill in writing process, and technique builds, it is likely to enhance the capacity to develop and sustain a coherent narrative. Equally importantly, these skills expand capacity to make use of locally- or informally-available resources. Writing technique is, in part, concerned precisely with the development of this ability. A focus on process and technique might also optimize the cognitive remediation benefits associated with creative writing. This is because the development of writing technique requires the development of cognitive procedures starting with basic processes, such as concentration, and then learning rules and more complex decision-making concerning style and form. Of all the creative arts, writing is the least dependent on equipment and/or special environments. It therefore lends itself to deployment in a wide range of settings.

International Journal of Mental Health Nursing (2013) 22, 444–452

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14 Types of Creative Writing

14 Types of Creative Writing

by Melissa Donovan

“When we talk about creative writing, we tend to focus on fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry. But there are many other types of creative writing that we can explore. No matter what you write, it’s good practice to occasionally dip your pen into other waters. It keeps your skills sharp and your writing fresh. Plus it’s nice to take a break from writing the same thing all the time. Let’s look at fourteen types of creative writing. As you read through the list, identify the types of writing you’ve experimented with and the types you’d still like to try…”


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Writing is a tough job, but is worth all the hard work

By Ben Miller

“For the past hour, I’ve been staring at a blank Google Doc page. My fingers are lying motionless at the helm of the keyboard. My mind is wandering into space. Not a single idea is coming to mind. One of my many passions is sharing my opinion. As a debater in high school, I have taken a great thrill in presenting an argument. Yes, I am a nerd like that. Although we churn out articles each week, us writers don’t always have as easy of a time as it may seem. At times, a golden idea will reveal itself only to peter out halfway through writing the article. Sometimes, multiple ideas will come to mind but simply refuse to flourish into an entirely coherent thought. Time may not be on your side, and homework will get in the way of researching the issue you have an itch to write about. And there are times when your mind literally goes blank. No inspiration. No ideas…”

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Creativity, Writing, and the Ever-Changing Face of Publishing

By Marilyn Brant

“In my life before becoming an author, I was a teacher with an educational-psychology research background in creativity and culture. I was fascinated by these two topics, particularly the way creativity and culture mutually influenced each other (all the points at which they both opposed and intersected), and I chose this to be the subject of my master’s thesis.

I spent a couple of years just information gathering—reading studies on creative individuals, compiling lists of specific traits that seemed to predict a potential for creative behavior, identifying cultural patterns and situations that made for a fertile creative environment, and so on. Then I detailed the results in a document packed with quotes, not only from social scientists, but also from my favorite authors, film directors, musicians, and artists. Let’s just say the final product was on the lengthy side…and probably my first indication that writing books might be in my future, LOL. Even so, I still feel I barely scratched the surface…”