Five books on the creative process

September 23rd, 2011 by

Specifically re fear and its relationship to the creative process. I own three of these five books. How about you?

13 thoughts on “Five books on the creative process

  1. Did any of those books actually help?

  2. malefice says:

    Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit is a great bok .It gives you a lot of confidence and motivation .
    Il will try to read the other .Thanks

  3. malefice says:

    ps:I wish i could edit my messages :(
    I always make mistakes!

  4. James says:

    I owned the War of Art. Thought it was a little too simplified. It says stuff that’s kind of common knowledge.

    By no means am I knocking it. Sometimes it just takes hearing/reading what you already know to get past your fears.

    Noel Fisher raved about it when I was on The Riches. It’s def worthwhile if you just want to confirm you aren’t crazy by being afraid. That many people go through it.

    Fear is my biggest obstacle in writing. I often tear myself down before I even get the chance to finish.

    It’s the single most destructive thing to my writing process. Nothing else comes even close.

    1. I’m genuinely and sincerely curious as to what you are fearful of when writing.

      1. I can’t speak for James – but I have been absolutely paralyzed the last few years, and it’s only recently that I’ve realized that what I was brushing off as “laziness” or “lack of discipline” is something much deeper.

        I’ve re-written this a couple of times to try to make it clear what the fear is without getting too personal here…

        I’m terrified that I will write, and it will be ordinary. And that I won’t get better.

        I was one of those smart kids. “Gifted.” Went to college when I was 16. When I was first tested, my IQ was less than one in a million for my age. Now I test around 1 in 10k. Not bragging, it’s just a statistic – if anything it’s embarrassing to admit, considering how little “use” I’ve made of that. Which contributes to this fear.

        I’m still articulate and insightful – so people listen to the way I talk, to my insights, and expect that it will translate to something exceptional in my writing… and it rarely does.

        My fear is that I’ll be exposed as a fraud.

        With several losses in recent years, this fear has become stronger.

        It’s often called “Imposter Syndrome.” It can be especially tricky in the arts, where skill can be highly subjective.
        Here’s a link that might provide more insight:

        1. Scott says:

          Laura, your words really hit me. My initial instinct is to try to do or say something to ease your ‘pain,’ so I thought of Annie Lamott’s great piece called Shitty First Drafts.

          Then I’m not sure if you saw this post about my family — two PG (Profoundly Gifted) sons — and what a blessing and curse that can be.

          Finally — again I’m not sure if you saw this — but it is probably my favorite video ever: Dare To Suck.

          Beyond that, please email me if you feel inclined to continue the conversation.

          1. Thank you.
            The post about your sons was really helpful and put some things into perspective.

        2. Laura,
          similar story to yours.

          In order to get over the confidence bump, and to find a barometer of my ability, I’ve been entering competitions which provide feedback.

          I started out with the ScriptVamp Attention grabber, which is a monthly, in which you submit the first ten pages of your script. I didn’t win, but I did place, and the feedback I got was enough to encourage me to continue. Then I entered the CWA with a tv pilot, and managed to get to the semis. And I made sure to follow up, so that I got more detail on what the feedback meant.

          While I have entered other contests on a whim, I’ve been careful to gradually increase the degree of difficulty in these ones that give feedback, so that each subsequent entry should represent a step forward in my development. It’s important, imho, to be able to be objective, and this kind of feedback, which generally doesn’t hold back and I feel I can trust it’s honesty, is working for me.

          imho, if you manage to place in a contest, that means you’re not an imposter. You might not be very good yet, but you definitely belong and are not wasting anybody’s time. Just be aware, that every so often, you will take a step back, and it’s nothing to be concerned about.

      2. Scott says:

        Let me throw in this GITS post I did on fear. May add something to the discussion.

        1. I heard a great quote from Jon Stewart today: “Success is buried deep in the garden of failure”

  5. The black ink spilled on the page may as well be blood at times.

    Our hearts and souls thrown out there for the world — then four cold and faceless little letters end it all. P-a-s-s. Six to twelve months for some… years for others slammed to a halt by four little letters.

    I’m sure that can get into someone’s head and never let go.

    But we just can’t let that happen. Once again — the only way out is through.

    As dumb as it sounds I’m betting the number-one reason writers fail — they quit.

    We just can’t let that happen.

    Frustration hampers me more than fear but I bitch and moan… but I move forward.

    The only way out is through.

    My plan — let my fourteen-thousand words squash their four little letters.

  6. Atlanta says:

    What a great list of books. From Rollo May, “insightful and compelling case for art and creativity as the centripetal force, not a mere tangent, of human experience, and a foundation to science and logic,” added high on my reading list, with more Rollo to follow.

    So creativity (crucial to entertainment, including stories that frame our experience, innovation, design, and everything bright and sparkly nature didn’t make herself) rocks, and makes work fun, and creatives have always paid for that pleasure (fighting for decent work conditions and fair pay, from Galileo to Mozart to CGI talent today). It should be the opposite. Creatives should get extra well paid, so we can spend all our time making pretty things that entertain humanity and envision new worlds. A creativity sur-pay.

    Re creativity, study came out recently, “while people explicitly claimed to desire creative ideas, they actually associated creative ideas with negative words such as “vomit,” “poison” and “agony.” As Archie Bunker would say, “ah, jeez.” Fear from inside and out. Ah, jeez. At least we get the fun of making pretty things and seeing new worlds.

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