I drew a skeleton but it came out as a cartoon style skeleton, wasn’t my intention, I had hoped for it to look like some serious gothic artwork, but no, it’s comical instead.
Then a few days later I drew a cartoon style hedgehog and the expression on its face is more sinister than my attempt at the gothic skeleton, funnily enough I put both of these into a drawer and forgot about them for several months, then when I was sorting through my drawers I came across the two pictures and put them into the art pile I made, both were cut out and around. I didn’t realise it until I walked away and came back with a drink, that they both, together looked rather comical. The hedgehog was between the legs of the skeleton looking upwards at it, the skeleton looking nervous and the hedgehog sinister, made me think of a silly idea for a short story about a demon hedgehog gynaecologist and this skeleton being its patient – however, this idea is too dumb; I am not going to do it.
Tag Archives: creativity
I drew a skeleton but it came out as a cartoon style skeleton, wasn’t my intention, I had hoped for it to look like some serious gothic artwork, but no, it’s comical instead.
Gathering creative inspiration
I once read somewhere, though I can’t remember where exactly that for your personal creativity to be as original as possible and for you to develop a noticeable personality for your followers you need to be selective about what you put into your brain. Therefore, you must be choosy about what you want to learn and what you expose your brain to… the kind of stimulus you give your brain will determine the kind of work you are likely to produce.
With the above being said, it has some bearing to me. I have noticed that I am not easily influenced by regular fiction or classics or best-sellers, though some of my favourite books and stimulus have been best-sellers, by and large most of my stimulus has only been heard of by people of certain small sub-cultures.
I regard myself as a fantasy writer with a bit of horror thrown in the equation or vice versa. I am not really sure if I write more horror or more fantasy; though I suppose the readers of this blog will perhaps state that I am neither really, but a poet; I have however said in the past, that I do not put many of my stories up on the blog because I am never really sure if they are finished or not and even then, I am unsure if publishers will publish them if they’ve been on my blog first.
The things that stimulate me or have stimulated me will be noted below, I shall include music, movies, programs, books, individual people, artists and more and this list shall grow and grow over the years.
It will not be written like a list because I would like to explain the lure.
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey has been mentioned on this blog before as a favourite of mine. I am not fond of stories regarding winter because I have an excellent imagination even in the blazing heat of the hottest summers on record and I would be sitting down reading books with snow in, feeling freezing cold – but this particular story gripped me because not only did it teach me about farming life in Alaska, it taught me that the best stories in the world always end in a way you are not expecting it to. It was the first book I ever read where the ending made me feel numb and a little bit angry, but not in a bad way.
Monty Python has always influenced the humour in me and their influence is often shown in my family fantasy stories. I love their silliness and the seriousness their jokes come across as, it is like their characters are acting as normal as anyone would in the same circumstances and why would it be any other way? Monty Python and Terry Pratchett have been very good in teaching me that life isn’t always the same in every world and that there are many ways a society can live and it would be perfectly normal to that society to be that way… I mean… why not?
Of course Terry Pratchett will get a mention on his own with disc world being a huge favourite series for me, his humour has no bounds. In fact, his is the first piece of fiction that is over 20 pages long that my seven year old son has started to read. In the last few days I have been reading 12 pages a night of Sourcery. He is so thrilled by it that it isn’t proving to be a very good bedtime story at all for him, far too stimulating! My son is quite a serious fellow really, he has a sense of humour but I think most of it got squashed during the ventouse, though he tries to joke occasionally bless him. He does how ever find it amusing if not weird that there is a world in this book where bed bugs will wave goodbye when the mattresses run away and that luggage will walk away from time to time and hassle publicans for crisps.
Ransom Riggs is a new favourite of mine, I only started reading him in mid-march 2017 and I didn’t discover him through his debut book either, I discovered him through “Tales of the peculiar” and I am so glad I did. His stories aren’t just good, they are haunting. They feel like they have been around for centuries, I swear I knew these stories from somewhere before, they feel so familiar, but I can’t put my finger on it. I did my research, they are not copied, he is just so good that it feels old… the stories feel as old as Beowulf to me. They feel like they are part of societal fabric. I can see me developing an obsessive readership type love for this author if he carries on like this in the future! Part story-teller, part mesmerist I think.
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold is shocking, too shocking for some people to read beyond the first chapter, but to me it is a beautiful story if you can get over such a horrific subject. For me, it is about how a person’s spirit lives on even in death and how they can still influence the living by how they think and feel about the living – basically, the more the spirit thinks of the world, the more the world will feel the loss of the person. It also talks about the wonders of being dead; the freedom to create your own little haven and that paradise is whatever you want it to be, there are no real rules to paradise and the story ends in such a way that it shows that justice isn’t always done in a black and white way.
Susan Hill is a favourite, particularly her story called “The Man in the Picture”, it has a theme I adore more than most themes – a theme of a carnival, Venetian balls, Venetian masks with a dark veil. I love how it is almost like the picture of Dorian Gray, but with its own unique story. You can also sense a little of Roald Dahl’s The Witches in this story too.
The Nowhere Emporium by Ross MacKenzie is again a subject connected to mesmerism and carnival or more to the point circus acts and magicians as a matter of fact, mesmerism, circuses, carnivals, fantasy, comedy, horror, theatre, oddities, mimes, jokes, harlequins, jesters, pirates, gothicness, insanity and surrealist things draw me – they provide me with inspiration, which is another reason why I love the music of Nox Arcana as they provide music for all of these subjects.
I love the band Misfits and the insane clown posse, once again, circus and dark themes. I like Melanie Martinez as she is like someone who fell out of the suicide squad movie.
I like Batman purely for the villains, mainly Joker and Harley Quinn.
I used to watch WWF but I stopped shortly after The Big Boss Man died, I haven’t been updated with them since, I haven’t a clue what’s gone on since that big event. I wasn’t a huge fan of him, but I stopped watching it because I couldn’t get it on TV anymore in my area because my parents gave up digital. But I loved WWF and WCW because of certain themes wrestlers had, my favourites were, The Undertaker, the insane clown posse with Luna and the oddities, Kurgan, Giant Silver, I loved Gold dust and Raven, Vampiro, the misfits in action, mankind, Dude Love, Doink the clown to name but a few.
Up until 2015 I watched TNA on Freeview, I stopped watching when Mickie James left mostly, but I also liked Brian Kendrick.
There is an unknown author out there called Alex Weinle of which I won a giveaway of his debut anthology of short stories called “The Decapaphiliac”, he is excellent and is a new Neil Gaiman in my opinion, though there is absolutely nothing wrong with the real Neil Gaiman – this author is similar. I recommend them. He lured me with his fantasy, dark humour and the fact that he seems rather fond of cafes and market places like me.
I like dark humour a lot, I like Jimmy Carr and the mesmerist magician Rob Zabrecky, and they lean on the humour I tend to have the most, I have this Victorian quality about me, a seriousness that looks severe and when I am in a playful mood it can often be mistaken for insanity or instability.
Alice in Wonderland and the Wizard of Oz are as classic as I would go as far as literature is concerned, though I do love classic gothic horror especially by HP Lovecraft and the likes.
Neil Gaiman I am a fan of, the kind of darkness I love – Coraline, smoke and mirrors etc – delicious for the hungry mind.
Freaks the 1932 horror is wonderful too – I like it – to me it has a dark humour but also a moralistic undertone. Once again part of the pull for me is the circus theme.
Cirque de soleil also pulls me because of the circus theme, vampire circus, the night circus, Hetty Feather, Oz the great and powerful and the circus mesmerist feel of Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka.
I also like Victorian asylum themes; I love Dracula for that, Nightmare on elm street, Angels at my table, Chaplin the movie and once again, music from Nox Arcana with the album Blackthorn Asylum.
All these things, dark, mesmerising, surreal are what I love and what fuels my creativity.
I literally soak myself in everything that inspires me, if it doesn’t inspire me or grips me, then it goes, I don’t waste my time on it and my selectivity is unusual, it is strange and it is hard to find kindred in this type of darkness.
I just wish I would knuckle down and work harder and get brave enough to finally take the plunge and kiss my work into the black hole that is the post box and send it on its merry way to a publisher and onto your bookshelves, flying to you with black and white butterfly wings.
I do not recommend NaNoWriMo to any writer who has been writing for a while, whether published or unpublished to partake in NaNoWriMo unless they are used to writing more than 1700 words per day under pressure. In fact I would even stretch to say, unless you are used to writing at least 2000 words per day, because when you do NaNoWriMo you become obsessed with having certain amount of words rather than good quality work. This can be especially true for those writers out there (and I am one of those writers) who are highly competitive outside of writing in every other thing – this feeds my competitive nature far too much.
The work I have done on NaNoWriMo is shockingly awful; it is the worse stuff I have ever, EVER done. It will take me much longer to edit the first draft than would have been usual for me. I am dreading to re-read what I have done and for the record, no, I haven’t won NaNoWriMo and I will not by Wednesday, simply because I stopped writing the novel altogether last week at 37,504 words. I am disgusted at myself for the quality of work I have done; I am not used to creating that kind of garbage. With that said, the novel in itself isn’t too bad an idea; there are many wonderful things that have happened during the NaNoWriMo challenge, some of which are pleasantly surprising and helpful to enhance the richness of the plot as a whole, but in practise, the story is unemotional and I missed several key points in my plot because of the word count.
I suppose the speed of NaNoWriMo assisted mainly in the brainstorming phase of my writing; I certainly had a brainstorm for something interesting to happen in the novel outside of my key elements as often as once every ten paragraphs approximately. However, simply sitting back and doing my daily journal does that if I concentrate purely on the current novel I am working on; something of which I hadn’t had the energy to do throughout the challenge. I had no energy to do any other form of work in writing or art; it was starting to burn me out. I had no energy to read books or even update my personal diary and morning pages.
The entire challenge zapped me; it absorbed me and ultimately slowed me down. I wrote less per day than I would normally, ironic because of the word count obsession, but it did indeed; slow me down by 800 words per day.
I think I could have kept with the challenge despite the shoddiness of work, if there was more support. However, my region seems to be a ghost town, hardly anyone has been seen on any of the forums or the chatrooms provided, the only support I had got were from people who were not doing the challenge and were writers who look at the challenge with a sympathetic eye. I spent ages sitting around waiting for someone to talk to from the NaNoWriMo site, even trying to seek out NaNoWriMo writers from twitter and other places to come up against a social brick wall.
NaNoWriMo although was a terrible experience for me, was still fruitful in its way. I brainstormed through the toil and was provided with small gems to make my plot as a whole sparkle. But I have a lot of extra unnecessary work to do, when editing comes around. Let me put this into plainer terms… The first chapter of the novel will be completely deleted and replaced with only a nice, neat three paragraphs and that is only the first chapter. Something I am not used to doing, I am not used to creating that amount of rubbish.
I am bored with the novel at the moment, I won’t continue with it perhaps until way after New Year. Meanwhile I will start reviving my blog again and work on the other two novels I wanted to do during the challenge, without the panic that I shall be a failure unless I reach 50k for just one novel in 30 days.
As I said before, I wrote more outside of the challenge, than I did within it.
So, will I be taking up NaNoWriMo challenge 2017? You must be joking? Of course I won’t.
I appear to be losing the plot 17k into my NaNoWriMo novel, it seems to be going against my plans and I am getting to the point where I need some sort of support and though my region is lovely, it is a very quiet and unsocial group. There is usually no one but the bot in the chatroom, the forum isn’t very active and people are generally slow in my region to respond to E-mails. There doesn’t seem to be a region group for people who are in Warwickshire, UK, so I have chosen to be in the region UK other group, I had thought of leaving the group to join the West Midland Birmingham group which is near me, but I don’t know if I can swap regions in the middle of NaNoWriMo month or not?
I feel that although I am working faster on my novel than I usually do, I think it is my worse work so far. I know first drafts are notoriously shitty, but I think mine is getting to the state of time wasting and the point of no return.
The novel I am writing was planned to a t before the month started, during the month lots of new things and scenes have been added and I have forgotten to include some of the original detail, it’s just a mess and I am not sure if I want to carry on till the end and then clean up the mess at the end of the month or just ditch it now and say I failed NaNo this year.
It’s all full of dialogue, very little action and descriptions and I can’t just write a novel based on dialogue, it’s more or less like a film script, in fact I think that’s what it is! I want it to be a novel, not a film script.
I don’t really want to fail this year, I don’t want to ditch the story per se, but it is a terrible, terrible mess and I just wish I had people to talk to about this who are also participating in NaNoWriMo and who are veterans of it, so to speak.
For the last two days I have posted later in the day, not the morning like I usually do because I have been busy with my son. It is the October half term, I am still getting over what was now discovered to be a mild case of pneumonia, and thankfully they caught it with strong drugs on time. I luckily had a doctor with the savvy to take a swab from me, something that’s getting rarer these days – intelligent and compassionate doctors.
I never heard of pneumonia of the ear, but it explains why my infection has lasted a solid 5 weeks this time around.
Anyway, I have tried to work hard and make various posts for scheduled posting to stick to my promise of a post a day, but for some reason or other the posts I have chosen to write aren’t time compatible. I have been thinking about Christmas and New Year a lot, so a lot of the poetry and discussions I’ve written are schedule for 6 to 9 weeks’ time.
In those discussions I’ve spoken about how I feel about various festive traditions and songs, such as “Marshmallow World” by Bing Crosby and “Susie Snowflake” and the idea of the Krampas etc.
I don’t know why my mind is set in mid-winter but I find it very enchanting, however, it is not time compatible just yet.
Stick with me
I cannot work in silence when I am writing; I need music all the time. For me, silence can be painful and headache inducing, as much as having television on in the background is also another disturbance and headache waiting to happen.
There are only two times when silence suits me without invoking a headache; when I am walking in nature, woodlands, pathways next to canals and fields etc., or being driven somewhere by car. I dislike conversations in cars, I don’t like talking, and I like to zone out and forget I am in the car because I tend to feel sick when I acknowledge I am in a car. I can imagine other places quite easily when I am not spoken to and in a car, this therefore makes it difficult for my body to realise it should be sick. I also cannot read in a moving car, but I am perfectly relaxed at reading on trains and in busy cafes.
Travelling on buses and in cars makes me tired as well as daydreamy and any more than an hour in either and I am asleep, unless I am very tired or woke up early on the day, I tend not to sleep on trains, I love trains, I have a passion for them which has certainly rubbed off on my son Henry.
We take regular trips on trains just because; we are trying to get into a habit of going on the Severn Trent valley steam railway every couple of months. I like to look at the scenery around there, the river Severn is the most beautiful river I’ve ever seen, which doesn’t say much because I’ve only ever seen three rivers personally up close.
Music therefore is a very important tool for my writing. I like listening to instrumental music mostly, such as that found from Nox Arcana, Apocalyptica, classical music, but sometimes I will listen to lyrical music from all styles and eras, such as Patsy Cline’s Honky Tonk Merry-Go-Round, Movie Soundtracks, Kesha and many others.
If it weren’t for music I don’t think I could be as emotional in my writing as I am with it.
When I was little I had no imagination, seriously. I didn’t find my imagination until I was around 9yrs old, I remember teachers from the couple of schools I was allowed to go to complaining that my stories were too realistic and that I lacked imagination. I was browbeaten by them to develop an imagination and my mum helped with that – by the time she was finished with me my life was destined to be a writer from the age of 11. It was decided for me and I have to admit I fell into it.
I am not saying for one moment that I don’t enjoy writing, I do. But a writer’s life was chosen for me, not something I found I wanted, it was literally thrusted upon me.
When I look back through my therapy and my creative recoveries, I have noticed that when I was a child I had planned to be a mother or a teacher and that I had a huge interest in art and fashion. I had quite vain thoughts as a child, but all of this was discouraged out of me and by the time I was 16 I had forgotten the art life I had wanted for myself and writing took its place. I know writing is an art form in itself, but I meant painting, sculpture etc., all those other art forms were discouraged simply because my talent lies in writing, not drawing my mum often told me.
I was thrilled when my cousin Shane bought me oil paints for Christmas one year, my mum dreaded it and didn’t encourage me to continue, despite the good painting I did of some obscure Aztec ancient god. My dad was proud of it, but she looked at it as an expensive past time that she wasn’t looking forward to smelling.
Since living with Paul, he believes I have talents in both but my main skill is writing simply because I don’t practise art enough. In fact he is right, because I practise less than two hours a time approximately once every couple of months. Whereas writing, I am practising almost every day for over an hour.
A lot of the time I just draw with pencils or a biro and never colour it in. When I do really good drawings I am scared to paint them, because I tend to ruin good sketches with painting them wrong. I have done excellent work that was ruined by paint. A large African elephant in the Sahara, when painted, all the excellent detail was destroyed and it became cartoonlike, yet it was coloured in with watercolours, watercolour is my main medium.
I do chalk pastel art too, but again, I am frightened to preserve it, as I tend to over spray and my work is literally washed away.
I am self-taught in both art and writing.
Music is vital for me to work, this is the primary reason why I can’t work when my son is awake or at home, his noises drown out my music a lot. He also wants the TV on all the time and that drowns out the music too. Unlike most writers and artists I don’t like isolating myself in a room alone, I like to be around people, particularly people who respect music and respect the fact that I am working – a child can never do those things, they don’t understand; So, reluctantly I have to work around him and this is something I am dreading when I become professionally published – my time then has to work around the editors I am appeasing and for me, that’s going to be a nightmare.
Just sit and write if you want to be a writer. Guess what? When you publish anything on your blog you are a published writer, did you know that? As stupid as it sounds, I never knew this until a friend told me this online earlier today.
Yes, anything you put on your blog is considered “published”, so you must congratulate yourself right now for being a published writer already. Anyone who tells you otherwise doesn’t fully understand the ways that the internet can assist someone to actually make a career for themselves.
If you have followers, you shouldn’t look at them as mere readers, they are your fans and you should take care of your fan base and make sure that they don’t get bored by waiting for new material for too long. All of this has been said to me by a good creative/artist friend, things I had never thought of myself and believed them.
I am motivated by the fact that I have hundreds of followers, I am very sad for them that I’ve neglected to give them more material that they obviously loved enough to follow my blog.
I feel ashamed of myself for letting them down.
The wakeup call I got from my friend today has made me realise how popular I am and how much I have succeeded just by simply having a blog.
It is my duty to my followers (my fans) to give them regular new material as often as possible.
As a writer we are entertainers, it is our duty to keep our fans entertained, if we fail to do this, we fail them and even more so ourselves because we will then lose that vital fan base. So keep your blog active. This is something I am definitely going to do now and this awakening is so important to me that I am seriously thinking about printing this post out and putting it on my wall next to my desk!
I hope that this post has helped other bloggers realise how successful they’ve become too, without realising it.