I downloaded this book ages ago, right back when I first got my Kindle, primarily because it was free. As I had yet to decide which novel to read next (I have since chosen The Iron Ghost by Jen Williams) I looked through my Kindle and found this.
You may have noticed due to my recent activity blog wise that I hit a creative block. Since starting to read the book, Nanowrimo has kicked off so I am busy trying to complete the challenge. However at the time, the title of this book appealed to me and I figured that it would be a good quick read to fill the time until I could get home to my paperbacks.
I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting much given it was a free download. However I was pleasantly surprised. ‘#4, Read, Read, Read’ suggests finding people, such as myself, who recommend and review books. I follow all my favourite authors on twitter and many of them recommend books that they like. It doesn’t take long to acquire a massive TBR pile when you put all these sources together.
Recently, I met up with a good friend who is also running a story based blog. Just as ‘#6 Tell Someone About Your Idea’ suggests, meeting up and bouncing ideas with someone does the world of good. It’s also a way to help stop procrastination; next time my friends and I meet up, I will feel incredibly guilty if I have nothing to show her.
Something I didn’t like about this book is the multiple religious references. For me, it is a turn off and makes me unable to relate. However, as this book is based on the author’s personal blog, it is their prerogative to include it. Also, it is apparent that he draws a lot of his creativity from his beliefs. In particular. ‘#11 Get Saved’ focuses solely on finding god and having him fuel your creativity. This chapter states that atheist or non-Christian person can’t be as creative as a Christian which I think is just plain ridiculous, and insulting. Other parts of the books read as if they are sermons. Again, while I understand that the author wants to share his strength, if he wanted to reach a wider audience, he would have done better to tone it down. Once I got to #12 I almost put the book aside as the constant god references started to alienate me.
Fortunately, ‘#13 Make Friends With Crazy People’ drew me back in. This is a step that I very much try to do. My only amendment to this piece of advice is to make sure that they suit you own personal brand of crazy otherwise you could end up in more trouble than you bargained for.
‘#19 Get Organised’ is something that I very much recommend. The book suggests a few methods but I believe that it is a case of what works best for you.
One thing I am particularly bad at is ‘#53 Leave Yourself No Other Option’. It’s about removing distractions so you have nothing else to do but finish your creative pursuits. So sorry mum, but that means you’ve got to go.
A part that I truly loved was this quote: “we live in the most sensory rich period of human history, and there’s so much going on that the ability to ignore things has become necessary for our continued survival.” It is in relation to saying yes and not dismissing new ideas that come along because you simply can’t spare the brain power to process them. On the flip side, saying no is just as important. As can be seen in this excerpt that I very professionally took a picture of from my kindle.
I adore the concept of creativity being fickle. It is very true, and it’s one of the things that make advice such as that contained in this book so useful.
A step that I disagree on however is ‘#69 Find Intrinsic Motivation’. The author states that those who need a reward/punishment system to work are going to be less successful than someone who works because they love their project. I love writing. I really do. I love seeing the words appear on the page and seeing characters and stories develop as if by magic. However, as I have mentioned previously, I suffer with procrastination which stems from anxiety. One of the ways that I motivate myself if by setting rewards when I meet my goals, as well as the satisfaction I get from achieving. I do not believe that makes me ‘less’ than someone who can just write without the anxiety of failure (everyone fears failure, this is normal. What I am talking about is the deliberating fear which stops you even trying to succeed). It is clear to me that the author has no idea what true anxiety is.
This is highlighted by ‘#80 Shed Chronic Anxiety. When I read the title I immediately did this:
From this heading alone it became obvious that anxiety is not something the author is familiar with. He has tried, bless him, to include it, but he has failed miserably. His advice is to ‘eliminate it without remorse’, as if it is that easy to do. Nobody likes having anxiety; if it were that simple to get rid of it, everyone would in a heartbeat. It is a complex mental health disability and it is attitudes like those of the author that encourage neurotypicals to assume those of us who are neurodivergent are lazy, faking or like the attention. We don’t. (Can you tell I am passionate about this?) But I digress.
The penultimate piece of advice is ‘#99 Interact With Art More Deeply’. At first I thought that it was a little pretentious but then it goes on to say that to be creative, when you interact with any piece of art be a student rather than critic. This resonated with me as that is one of the purposes of this blog. By dissecting everything I read, I become more absorbed in it which helps me structure my own ideas and creativity.
With 100 methods for creativity, the author does well not to be too repetitive. There are certainly echoes through the book, but they are more like reaffirming important methods and tie the whole thing together. There are a fair few contradictory points, but that is to be expected. This is not a recipe, it is general advice. As long as you take some things with a pinch of salt, this book can be very useful. I think that creativity is born in many different ways and that it is a case of trying lots of different techniques to find out what works for you. This book has such a wide variety of things to try that I do think it is worth a read. As long as you can stand the (constant) religious references and slightly pious writing style.