Craft, Family, Imagination, Real Life, Writing

Creating, one way or another

What a week to start a new book. I’ve had only one uninterrupted day so far, and no writing will occur on this day or night either. Don’t misunderstand; I’m not complaining. I’m still accessing my creativity. Two days this week I worked on a major craft project. Emily wanted us to make a doll. Great! Then she saw a stuffed filing cabinet in a book and wanted to make that. Darn.

Of course, she doesn’t use the sewing machine, so the actual work fell to me. Her role was head designer. The “doll” she chose was not in a craft book, meaning there was no pattern or directions, so I had to create my own.

In typical Emily fashion, she wanted a modification. She wanted the file drawer to slide in an out, with removable file folders. Barely had I mused aloud how we could manage that on essentially a stuffed rectangle, when she came up with a solution. She’s a natural problem solver.

The original cabinet was tan and gray … a boy. Not too exciting. Then we went shopping for the materials, and I found out Emily was thinking bright pink and lime green. Cool! I decided, since our file cabinet was a girl, she should have eyelashes and hot pink lips—instead of heavy eyebrows and huge teeth like the boy version.

A tiara was Emily’s final touch. Mine was a second-degree burned index finger (glue gun accident). But surely, I also gained some new brain cells with all that that designing and engineering.

Cute, you’re thinking, but this is a writing blog. So does this have anything to do with writing? Of course it does. Writing takes this same kind of imagination. Good writers use their crafting skills to take a tan and gray idea and transform it into pink and lime … with a tiara!

How are you using your literary craft supplies today?

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Block, Books, Inspiration, Motivation, Read, Reading, Tips, Words, Writing

Are we creative enough?

The simple answer to that question is NO. We may never reach our full creative potential, but we should strive for it. We should never limit ourselves. Our souls should always reach for more.

So, since I’m not satisfied with my current creative expression, how do I progress? This speaks to an earlier statement I made about how reading and writing are two stages for me—filling and emptying. When I find myself struggling to express, it’s likely because I’m depleted.

Some call this depletion writer’s block. I recognize it as a need for a refill. I need to read. And I need to read great writing. That doesn’t necessarily mean I need to choose a classic from the high-lit shelf. I need to choose a book written by a great writer in the genre that inspires me, likely the genre I write.

Certainly, I need to read something I love. Something that thrills me. Something that wakes the drowsy muse within me. It’s likely I won’t read that whole book at once because, as I read, ideas will rush toward me like a swollen river. A river of words. My own words. I’ll put the book down and let those words flow through me to the pen or keyboard.

When I’m emptied out, I’ll pick up a book again. Creativity is a process. Ebb and flow. Never ending, as long as you open yourself to more.

Go, now, and create.


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Advice, Doubt, Fiction, Goals, Musings, Writing

The #1 Killer of Creativity

For me, perfectionism is the #1 killer of creativity. Nothing I do ever meets my standards. Sometimes I lie and pretend I’m satisfied with the results. Sometimes I remember not to point out every fault and just smile and say thank you when I receive praise, but even when I do, I’m thinking of those faults.

Knowing that my creative endeavor will fall short saps my excitement, drains my energy, murders my enthusiasm almost before I begin. How could it not? Where does this standard come from? Nothing is perfect. Everyone knows that. So, why do I expect the impossible of myself?

Perfectionism is a denial of self. If I can’t accept that where I am is a good place, I can’t ever move forward. I won’t ever improve because eventually I will stop trying.

Perfectionism is selfishness. I can’t fully appreciate anyone else’s work either because I’ve set myself up as judge. I see its flaws and temper my praise.

Perfectionism is arrogance. Who qualified me to set this impossible standard? If nothing is perfect, who am I to think I can achieve what others can’t?

Perfectionism is death.

Let it go and create.


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Fiction, Imagination, Memory, Writing

Remember imagining aloud?

Was there any time we made better use of imagination than during childhood? Hours, the whole day, spent pretending with friends, or siblings, or alone. I remember what I requested for my sixth Christmas: a cowboy hat, guns and holster, and doll dishes. Boys or girls, I was ready to play with anyone.

I think I must have been the chief “imaginer” in my circle, the director of play. I might have been bossy. 😉 I remember using the phrase “Now you say …” quite a lot. Sometimes I preferred to play alone with my dolls, probably because they always did what I said.

One of my favorite things to do was to clothespin one side of an old quilt to the backyard fence to make a tent—excuse me, covered wagon. This was during the era I read Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. What adventures my children and I had as pioneers.

Baby dolls turned to Barbie’s, played with alone or with friends. And favorite movies had to be reenacted, with or without dolls. Oh, and then there was school! Not real school, which I loved, but play school, which I also loved. One particular friend and I played this until junior high—yes, this was back in the dark ages, when children were children.

We had an elaborate set up in her basement, with books, and notebooks, and real school papers we’d saved. In our schoolroom, we had a world map and a globe, fancy. Even better, we had a chalkboard, a real slate one, and fairly large! Her father hung it on one wall for us. We took turns being the teacher and the student. This was serious stuff.

As children, we were actors. We were writers. Some of us still are. Using my imagination, I play. Only now, I do it on paper, and I’m still saying, “Now you say …”

♦ ♦ ♦

After I wrote this, it sounded familiar to me, so I checked my blog archives, Sure enough, I’m repeating myself. 😳  Here’s a link to my earlier post about childhood play, if you care to read it: https://lindacassidylewis.com/2009/11/07/cultivating-a-fiction-writer/

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Fiction, Imagination, Inspiration, Reflections, Time, Writing

What is this thing we call writing?

Since I don’t watch a lot of TV, I missed the debut season of the series LOST, even though two of my sons had independently mentioned they thought I would like the show. So, right before the second season started, I loaded up our Netflix list and my husband and I watched the whole season in a week … or was it a weekend. Whatever. The experience was intense.

In case you don’t know what LOST is about, it’s the story of a mysterious island that, seemingly, is under control of the forces of good and evil. These forces control the lives of certain people, at least to some degree, and eventually bring them to the island. This series focuses on the survivors of a plane that crashed on the island.

WARNING! Possible spoiler alert in the next paragraph:

This final season seems to be showing us that these “survivors” are leading lives in two dimensions: they crashed; they didn’t crash. Of course, this is an examination of the nature of time and existence, which is something I consider daily. And naturally, I like to consider it in the light of writing.

What is the nature of The Muse? What exactly is this state we call creativity? Do we truly “make up” our stories or do we channel some alternate reality, or past life, or even future life, if you consider time a man-made convention. Are we simply recording the collective unconscious?

Your thoughts?

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