Thursday, January 21, 2010

Seven Steps to Empower Your Creativity

posted by Nancy

Today we welcome author, instructor, real human being Mary Buckham as she discusses empowering your creativity. Even if you don't feel creative, or never thought of yourself as creative, you may learn that you really are and how to enhance your latent abilities. I loved Mary's Silhouette books, Invisible Recruit and The Makeover Mission. They have great plots, plenty of boom, and strong heroes and heroines. Taking the Break Into Fiction workshop was a mind-blowing experience (in a good way, no actual boom involved, except the bombardment of ideas), and I'm excited to have her join us today. Welcome, Mary!


I love January, not for the post hustle and bustle of the holiday season, but as a season of reflection, of slowing down and taking stock prior to making New Year’s goals that stick. I usually give myself all of January to decided and clarify. Lately I’ve been reading a book by John C Maxwell: Thinking for a Change: 11 Ways Highly Successful People Approach Life and Work. With lots of quotes, anecdotes and insightful questions Maxwell opens avenue of thought I found helpful to writers or anyone really, in particular a chapter on Creativity. Because being creative and living our creativity is at the heart of every writer. I’d like to share what I learned from Maxwell as well as my own experiences as an author, an instructor and a human being.

“Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso.

Were you aware that 90% of five-year olds see themselves as highly creative? That in itself is not amazing, but wrap your minds around the concept that by the age of seven, 80% of us who saw ourselves as creative no longer believe we are. That means only 10% of seven-year olds believe they are creative. By the time we reach our teens that number drops to 2% and remains fairly constant throughout our adult lives.

So if you are a writer, or a painter, or sculptor, etc., count yourself among the few who have never, ever given up on a gift given to many, but realized by few.

To savor and honor that gift here are seven steps to continue to empower your own creativity.

Step 1) Remove Creativity Killers. Sometimes the words are said by others, sometimes from within, so if you catch others, or yourself saying any of the following then you’ve run into a Creativity Killer. Follow the Rules. Don’t Ask Questions. It’s Hard. Be Practical. Be Serious. Think of [fill in the blank]. You Can’t Afford [fill in the blank]. Yes, But ….. You Don’t Have the Time. You Don’t Have the Money. Don’t Be Foolish. The list goes on and on but you don’t have to buy into the Creativity Killers.

Step 2) Develop a Creative Environment. You know best what spurs ideas, fuels your passion, creates energy. Is it color? Certain objects? A wide horizon? A secluded space? Honor your sacred creative space, whether it’s a desk top, a room or something else, and it will honor you. So take a good look at your working environment. Does it foster your creativity? If it doesn’t, how can you change it?

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow” – Charlie Bower

Step 3) Surround yourself by people who support you and challenge you to be the best at what you want to accomplish or do, not what they want you to accomplish or do. The more time you spend with creative people engaging in creative activities, the more creative you will become. Conversely, the more time you spend with nay-sayers or limited thinkers, the more time . . . you can fill in this answer. Who are you surrounding yourself with?

“Reaching new goals and moving to a higher level of performance requires change, and change feels awkward, but, take comfort in the knowledge that if a change doesn’t feel uncomfortable, then it’s probably not really a change.” John C Maxwell.


Step 4) Challenge yourself constantly and be willing to feel uncomfortable. Delight in exploring something new, something different for you. What have you done lately to push your comfort levels? To challenge yourself? When have you broken your routine? Driven a different route home or read in a genre different than the ones you usually read? When have you tasted a new cuisine? Explored a new location? Daily we’re given opportunities to push our limits, so what’s holding you back?

Step 5) Creative thinkers don’t fear failure. Why? Because they hold a different expectation of what failure means. Didn’t achieve what you had hoped for? For many this is considered a failure, but what if it meant something different? Any situation holds the seeds of new knowledge, self-awareness and new direction.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C Maxwell

Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid. It means getting out on a limb, knowing that the limb often breaks! And if it does, take that opportunity to spread your wings and fly!

So what about you? What does creativity mean to you? How have you faced the highs and the not-so-highs of being creative or wanting to feel creative?

Feel free to comment and out of those who do comment one name will be drawn for a copy of BREAK INTO FICTION™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells or a Fiction book of your choice depending on the genre you love.


Mary’s BIO:

Mary Buckham is an award-winning fiction writer, co-author with Dianna Love of BREAK INTO FICTION: ™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells from Adams Media [June 2009], co-founder of www.WriterUniv.com and a highly sought after instructor both on-line and at live workshops around the country. To find out more about Mary, her Synopsis and Query help, her Lecture Packets, Workshops and Writing projects visit www.MaryBuckham.com

91 comments:

mariska said...

come on : )

mariska said...

Hi Mary, Welcome to the lair !
I'm not so sure whether i'm a creative person or no *g*
what i know now, i need to to take my 3yos to bed. it's his Nap time :)

be back again soon !

Anna Campbell said...

Mariska, people are starting to talk!

Nancy, you bring us the most interesting guests! Mary, welcome to the lair. I loved your column. Great quotes!

Actually I have to say one of the things that is positive for my creativity is hanging around with the Bandits and the Bandit Buddies. I really love the positive, zingy (some might even say crazy!) atmosphere in the lair.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, guys, don't forget it's Day Four of the Bandita invasion of the Romance Dish Today. Some absolutely gorgeous vignettes featuring an absolutely gorgeous guy from Caren, Christie, Susan and Kirsten. Can't wait to see how the punters finish them off today. Yesterday was amazing!

Angie Peters said...

Hi Mary,

What a fantastic blog post and I love those tips!

Allowing my creativity free rein is something I struggle with daily as it's difficult to transition my mind from the daily grind of the day job to a relaxed, creative state. Also, something I struggle with constantly is silencing that inner critic in order to write creatively.

I'm going to try some of your tips. Something that works for me is doing a writing challenge like NaNoWriMo which entails writing daily at speed. Eventually, the creative side of the brain kicks in as writing daily becomes a habit no matter how tired and stressed I am.

PinkPeony said...

Hi Nancy!

I have "Break into Fiction" and it's fantastic! Great tips. I need to create a more inviting work space for myself. I sit in the kitchen in full view of the fridge. Not a good thing. My creativity comes in spurts. I liken it to playing Yahtzee. Sometimes you get a good roll and then there's nada.
Congrats on the GR, Mariska!

Nancy said...

Mariska, congrats on the rooster! Anyone who can invent adventures for him is definitely creative.

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna--I also thought, as I read Mary's blog, that hanging here is a great way to surround yourself with supportive people. We definitely have that here.

Nancy said...

Our appearance at The Romance Dish is http://www.theromancedish.com, so after you comment here, pop in over there and see what today's banditas are up to!

Nancy said...

Hi, Angie--Isn't that inner critic a pain? It can throw up serious roadblocks.

Several of my friends do NaNoWriMo and find it very helpful, just focusing on putting words on the page and worrying about fine-tuning later.

Lots of RWA chapters run BIAW contests with similar focuses.

Nancy said...

BIAW is Book In A Week, for anyone not familiar with the term (I hit publish too soon).

Nancy said...

Hi, PinkPeony--Yahtzee, huh? For me, it's Tetris. I watch the blocks fall, flip them around, and let my subconscious go.

Nancy said...

Mary and Dianna Love are doing an all-day workshop for Georgia Romance Writers on April 17, Building A Story That Sells. A description is on the chapter website, though registration info isn't yet up:

http://www.georgiaromancewriters.org

Susan Sey said...

Good morning, Nancy! Thanks for bringing Mary by! I was just feeling like I was in a creative rut and am suddenly feeling inspired.

Congrats, Mariska, on the GR! Are you guys going steady yet? :-)

Anna Sugden said...

Mary!! (waving madly!!) Great to see you here - now that I'm back in Cambridge, you can visit any time for that cream tea *g*.

You already know that I love Break Into Fiction and your other courses - so I'll only do minor fan-girl stuff LOL. I also loved that week you and Dianna did last year with all those quotes from fabulous writers.

I find it easy to come up with ideas and love brain-storming. My problem is putting my bum in my chair consistently enough to get that down on paper. And I think part of that is driven by the fear of not doing an idea justice.

I think one of the drawbacks of the publishing process is that it is full of negative reinforcement of ones' creativity. Thanks to RWA, the romance community and people like yourself and Dianna, there is a counter-balance that is invaluable. I too couldn't survive in this game without my wonderful writing pals - like the awesome Banditas - and our BBs (who have faith in my selling a book even when I'm not so sure it will ever happen!)

What I have learned, though, is that I have to write in my own way and following my own process. Short concentrated spurts of work would probably drive everyone crazy - but it's about as much as my brain can handle. Giving yourself permission to be who you are is key!

Margay said...

I love step number five. That says it all.
Margay

EilisFlynn said...

I loved this! Mary's going to be giving an all-day seminar next month for my chapter (on "From Thought To Plot," I think), so I'm curious about how I can work this into that. Thanks, Mary!

Kirsten said...

Hi Mary, thanks for visiting the Lair! You know what's funny -- even though I write and paint, I wouldn't describe myself as creative! Amazing. I just loved hearing your list of ways to empower your creativity.

For me, having space is crucial, and sharing ideas with other people really helps my ideas grow. I love to talk through my plotting dilemnas with my poor, long-suffering family.

Now that I'm writing children's books, I can use my kids as sounding boards, which is even more fun!

Janga said...

Oh, I needed this. This week I'm going batty trying to complete some articles for an encyclopedia, and it's as if the fact-based writing has anesthetized my creativity.

Hey, maybe I can justify my escape from dry writing to visit here and at other blogs. I'm not procrastinating; I'm surrounding myself with creative, supportive people who foster my creativity. :)

Cassondra said...

Hi Mary!

(waving madly)

Welcome to the lair. I LOVE this blog! I need to be reminded so often to not do things which smoosh my creativity. I'm in process of trying to create a writing/painting space for myself, so the timing on this is absolutely perfect.

Break Into Fiction is fabulous, so for any of you who haven't seen it, go get it! If you're a pantser, no worries. The questions Mary and Dianna ask are not ones which shove you into a corner. They open your thinking to different directions and help you take the characters and the conflict to new levels of complexity.

Mary, I especially love the part about surrounding yourself with creative people. This is so true!

Were you always aware of your creativity in these ways? Will you tell us about your own journey to writing and discovering how to nurture your creative soul?

MsHellion said...

I've seen this book; and I've been dying to get it...but I'm one of those learners who feels if she's not able to answer EVERY single question with in a thoughtful, well-written essay format ala Hermione Granger, she has failed the pop quiz.

So I'll answer the first question or second question somewhat decently, but the other three on the page, I can't answer. I can't begin to answer because the answer sounds contrived and off the fly...and my creativity shrivels up. And it makes me sad because I know the book is only trying to help me. *LOL*

I know it's Me and not the book. *LOL* I would love to take the seminar someday, if I get the chance. I know it would be very inspiring and creative and I'd go home on cloud 9.

I need to find a better place to write. Currently I like to write in bed mostly (it's probably the sheets), but I only write a few pages at best before stopping for the day. I need a place where I can pound out the pages. *LOL* I could swear I used to be able to do that. *sighs*

Karyn Gerrard AKA~Drew said...

Some great tips, some I will take to heart, for I am not feeling very creative today, LOL! Funny how that goes, some days, it just pores out of you like a waterfall, other days, it is as dry as a desert.
Guess you got to go with it when its flowing!
"Don't fear failure", love it!
~Cheers

Nancy said...

Hi, Susan--Thanks for stopping by when you're busy over at the Romance Dish. Great vignettes y'all turned in over there.

Nancy said...

Hi, Anna--I know what you mean about worrying you won't do justice to the idea. Ideas can be scary sometimes, can't they?

Nancy said...

Hi, Margay--Thanks for stopping by.

Nancy said...

Hi, Eilis--I went to Mary's all-day seminar at Heart of Carolina, and it was great. Thanks for stopping by.

Nancy said...

Hi, Kirsten--I like bouncing ideas around, too. Sometimes they take twists I'd never have thought of for myself.

Nancy said...

Hi, Janga--It can be hard, I think, to switch modes. I can't go directly from class prep to fiction. I need something in between--a TV show, music, a movie--something that creates a mental break and lets the switch flip.

And all those bloggers will surely appreciate your support.

Nancy said...

Hi, Cassondra--I also can't say enough good about Break Into Fiction. It's different in its approach from other programs, and it's a very good melding--at least for me--of character and plot turning points.

Nancy said...

Hi, Ms.Hellion--I'd find writing in bed very hard. The positioning doesn't work for me. I need something more upright, or my hands don't seem to sit properly over the keys. Or something.

Good luck with your quest for space!

catslady said...

I'm not a writer but I did want to do something in the art field. Unfortunately I grew up with a family that did all the steps to kill creativity. The good news is I must have done the right things for my youngest daughter who currently is in college for art :)

Kirsten said...

I would like to be a creative person. Often I try to write a (short) story about an idea or dream I had. It always starts out ok but I don't make much progress and will decide to call it quits. I guess I lack enthusiasm or I need some encouragement. On second thought I might just need to train my attention span. So few hours a day and yet so much to do or think or feel or .... well I definitely need to do some serious exercise.

Donna MacMeans said...

Hi Mary - Welcome to the lair (and Nancy thank you so much for inviting her).

Before I began writing, I used to paint. I remember reading a book titled Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. It began with a statement similar to Mary's. We all know how to hold a pencil, and most have eyes to see a subject - so why can't we all draw? The answer is - we can. But due to all those critics and naysayers who told us we were doing it wrong - we started to believe that we couldn't draw well. The critics take root in our heads and we listen to them.

Now I write and the critics are still there. When I feel that I'm a fraud and not very creative at all - I do an exercise that's in that drawing book. I take Picasso's line drawing of a person, turn it upside down (to throw off the critics) and draw what I see. My version is pretty darn close to the original - something I couldn't do if I tried to draw right side up.

So I guess it helps to "turn things upside down" to stimulate the creative process - at least it does for me.

Thanks for the thought provoking post!

Mary Buckham said...

Anna C ~~

Gold stars you for bringing up an outstanding point - surrounding yourself with creative people who are also positive and challege you. A win-win scenario all around! Thanks for having me visit this great group and sharing your insights!
~~ Mary B

Mary Buckham said...

Angie P ~~

How right you are to find structured activities that allow creativity - and NaNoWriMo is a perfect example. BIAW also work and so do Accountability Groups -- where you put forth a challenge goal - one that stretches your creativity and because the group is expecting you to produce you can give yourself permission to move in a creative direction. Thanks for jumping in today!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Dianna Love said...

Mary -
Brilliant bits of advice throughout your whole blog. No surprise there.

Mary said -
"Surround yourself by people who support you and challenge you to be the best at what you want to accomplish or do..."

I certainly do and Mary is one of the most creatively supportive and generous people I have ever known. You will always walk away from one of her workshops with something of value for your writing even if it's a workshop you've seen by others many times.

Dianna Love said...

Hi Nancy -

Thanks for the mention of our Power Writing Day in April for GRW. It's a new program we created just for them. You're the best!

So nice that you brought Mary over and the blog is wonderful.

Mary Buckham said...

Pink Peony ~~

I'm so delighted that you're enjoying BREAK INTO FICTION. Dianna and I created the book and its templates wishing we were able to use it when we were starting out! I just did a BIF Plotting two-day retreat last weekend and it was so fun to see writers expand their possibilities and look at the structure of a novel in a solid and exciting way! Thanks for touching base today! ~~~ Mary B

Nancy said...

Catslady, I'm so sorry your family wasn't more supportive. I also focus on not making the mistakes I think my parents did. The boy, for example, is free to like things I don't happen to, and i don't give him grief about it.

Nancy said...

Hi, Kirsten--Good luck on picking up those ideas and running with them. Once you have something started, at least you have something you can go back to if you like.

Mary Buckham said...

Susan ~~

Isn't it amazing how one minute we can feel stuck and then with a little nudge here or there - the rut opens into a clear path! Blue skies do that for me [can you tell I live in the PNW so I don't need a lot :-)], talking with upbeat friends, breathing deep, smiling -- small nudges that can produce bit results! Thanks for popping in and here's to lots more creativity!
Cheers ~~ Mary B

Nancy said...

Donna, did I know you painted? That's so cool. Your sketches of your trip to the Caribbean were great.

Nancy said...

Hi, Dianna--Thanks. I'm looking forward to that workshop very much. I don't think registration info is up yet, but I'm sure it soon will be.

Nancy said...

Mary, "small nudges" is such a great phrase. Enough small nudges, and a person can actually become confident. Or enthusiastic.

Or, if they go the other way, discouraged.

Mary Buckham said...

Anna S ~~ You are the best! And trust me one day I will come calling for cream tea :-) Cambridge is so one of my favorite towns - I love the Fitzwilliam Museum. Dianna and I keep brainstorming doing a BREAK INTO FICTION event or several in England - so who knows! You hit the proverbial nail with this truth - Giving yourself permission to be who you are is key! Keep that in mind and you'll make leaps and bounds! Thanks for sharing! ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Margay ~~

Delighted that can appreciate giving a different definition to the word 'failure'. As writers we sometimes forget the power of words - especially the words we use against ourselves. Can you imagine the things we could achieve if instead of 'failure' we heard clarity, redefining our path, an attempt made, being in the game? As my hubby says 'No' is one step closer to a 'Yes'. Smart man!
Thanks for posting today! ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Hey Ellis ~~ So fun to see a fellow PNW writer here! We'll have a great time next month. THOUGHT TO PLOT is the program Dianna and I designed to stimulate creativity before we sit down to plot a novel. Using the TTP concepts followed with the BREAK INTO FICTION templates sets a writer up to clearly see fresh directions and tight, tight plots. What a win-win. See you in February!!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Kirsten ~~

Thank you for stopping by and sharing! I hear what you're saying about not thinking of ourselves as creative. I grew up in a family of visual artists - painters, art gallery owners, jewelry makers - you name it they could whip out amazing items. Except for moi :-) It took being married to an artist - and his feedback - to make me realize writing was creating. Duh! So sharing ways to allow more creativity with others is a mission and a joy! Best of luck with your children's books!
~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Janga ~~ I sooooo hear you! There is so much in our everyday world that can leach the joy and stimution of creativity from our very marrow. Just giving ourselves permission to play is hard - not with a gadzillion must-do things on our daily agendas! I grab the timer somedays to un-guilt fun activities - like reading blogs or checking out Craigs list in cities like Mumbai and Jakarta. Tale about whole new worlds opening up. I'll officially give you permission to step away from the must-write and have 30 minutes of free-fun!!!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Helen said...

Congrats Mariska he he really loving being at your house

Hi Mary
Great post Ladies I love to be positive I reckon if there is something that you really want to do if you put you mind to it you can.
I have always encouraged my children to be positive and go for what they want in life and to learn by your mistakes.

As for creativity you have some great ideas I am happy reading other peoples wonderful creations LOL.

Have Fun
Helen

Gannon Carr said...

Hi, Mary! I've heard nothing but rave reviews about yours and Dianna's workshop!

On the days I'm not feeling very creative, I just do "nothing"--well, not exactly nothing, but just stress free things like reading one of my "comfort" books, watching a fun movie or something mindless on TV, looking through catalogs, etc. It eventually recharges my batteries.

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Cassondra! So fun to see you here and can't wait to see you on the April BREAK INTO FICTION cruise - that'll be a blast! As for my journey to writing and creativity I can admit it was rocky, windy and full of speed bumps! I truly started writing when my two-month old son died of SIDS. I had three other children at home and had to dig deep, way deep to find a reason every day to get up and face the world. A good friend said she'd always wanted to write and would I write with her. Sometimes we're sent angels in disguise. So I wrote. Here and there. When I could between jobs and small children. Not knowing what I was going to do with my writing but taking baby steps back to being present in the world. After that I could not stop. To me writing is a gift given to me by my son and I owe it to him to do something with it.
So don't follow my path :-) but know that even in the darkest hours the spark of creativity can keep us going.
Thanks for stopping by today! ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

MsHellion ~~ Gold stars you for honoring your own process. Dianna and I would love to see you at a BREAK INTO FICTION plotting retreat - I do believe we'll be doing a cruise out of Florida in 2011 so who knows :-) As for writing in bed -- I know that's where I started simply because I could hide from the kids there [sometimes]. Down side to it is it can wreck havoc on your body -- I'm currently doing intense physical therapy simply because of bed-writing :( DOn't tell my therapist I'm answering this from the bed -- egads!! Bad Mary!
Take care and thanks for sharing ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Karyn G aka Drew :-) Yup - if we wait for creativity it can be like that pot taking forever to boil. Giving ourselves permission to be passionate about something, anything though can so easily translate into stronger writing. I collect ethnic textiles so the day a package arrives from Uzbekistan or Yemen is a day that I'm grinning all day. Of course I think I'm soooooo on the radar of Homeland Security too with all these funny wrapped packages. . Thanks for visiting today and have fun stirring your creative juices!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Nancy ~~ Mega thanks for having me visit this great group of creative folks! I knew the lair was a great place to hang out and now I know why!!

In appreciation ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Catslady ~~ Gold stars you for allowing your child what you were never given. One of the coolest things I've discovered about creative people is that the flame of creativity is a hard one to extinguish. It can die way back, heaped with negativity and practicality and 'shoulds' but deep down the flame lives. It's never too late to fan that flame for yourself. Check out Julia Cameron's THE ARTIST'S WAY -- it can unleash your own creativity no matter how long it's been dormant!
All the best ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Kirsten ~~ try having simple no expectations fun with your creativity! Sometimes we start and the minute we hear the 'rules' the list of 'shoulds' our creativity goes scampering. Treat your creativity as a small child that needs to be coaxed out to play, or your best friend who's been wounded and is learning to trust again. Give your creativity a name -- ask her or him what his name is and you'll find out - and go slow -- let them guide you vs feeling your need to giude them. Best of luck taking baby steps and enjoying the process.
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Donna MacM ~~ Thanks for sharing a great resource! I've heard of that book but have never taken the time to indulge. Some days I swear I think knowledge is supposed to come by osmosis - simply by having a book on the shelf. Giving oneself permission to open up the pages, linger and learn - now that's a real treat :-) I like the idea of thinking upside down too. A child would have no problem with thinking that way and that's what many times our creativity is - a timid child who's wary of being abused if they pop up. SO here's to more upside down thinking!
Thanks so much for sharing ~~ Mary B :-)

MsHellion said...

A cruise out of Florida? I'm so there! *LOL*

Mary Buckham said...

Hey Dianna! When I grow up I want to be you -- right now I just want to catch up with you :-)) Folks when I talk about being around others who make you stretch I think of Dianna -- I love, love, love finding another writer who not only analyzes everything -- but is constantly thinking - how can we make this bigger, better, bolder - from a plot to a media campaign. My wish for everyone here today to find your own Dianna and be prepared to run to keep up!!

Thanks for stopping by - you rock!
~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Hello Helen ~~ Thanks for popping in today and bringing up a very important point. We learn so much more from our 'mistakes' than we ever do from everything going right that it's a wonder the word mistakes has such a negative connotation. Let's call a mistake a learning opportunity or a clarity point or one step closer to our eventual goal. Someone once said that an expert is only a person who's made every mistake at least once and learned from them. So let's call ourselves experts in progress

Thanks again ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Gannon - smart, smart lady - giving yourself recharge days! It's amazing how a recharge day can get you up and running so much faster and better than slogging through on low-energy, minimum creativity days. Here again we can learn from kids -- when they get tired they fall apart until they can rest and then it's go, go, go. So if we can avoid the fall aprt stage :-) by actively recharging we'd be so ahead of the game.

Thanks for sharing a great point! ~~ Mary B :-)

Beth said...

Welcome, Mary! Thank you for such an inspiring post *g*

I so agree about surrounding yourself with people who support you! Not only am I lucky enough to have the fabulous ladies here in the lair, but my family is very supportive. Best of all, they're very understanding when I zone out when I'm working on a new story :-)

Cassondra said...

Mary said:

know that even in the darkest hours the spark of creativity can keep us going.


OMGOSH, what an inspiring story. You used writing to bring you back to life after something completly devastating! THAT is a powerful testimony for allowing creativity to flow. Thank you so much for sharing that. It's amazing the things you don't know about people even after knowing them for a while. I am always so inspired when I read about people who've written through difficult times. Too often I use life as an excuse to stop doing the work.

And yes, I'm totally JAZZED about the Break Into Ficton writing cruise! I've never been on a cruise before, so we'll see whether I'm seasick the entire time. Ha!

Mary Buckham said...

Beth ~~

I think zoning out should be encouraged more in our world :-)) Afterall isn't zoning out another way of saying going deep inside to tap your creativity? I worry about our children's lack of zoning out time as we structure so much of their lives. Let's start a campaign for more daydreaming [another word for zoning out] :-)
Thanks for sharing and power to the zone! ~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Thank you Cassondra! I think there can be inspiration all around us -- even when we can't see it :-) Our challenge is to keep going and believing -- which is why we write inspiring fiction!
Till April ~~ Mary B :-)

jo robertson said...

Hi, Mary, a heart welcome to the Bandita Lair. I've been fortunate to enjoy your classes.

Great post, Mary. I think many people are afraid to follow creative dreams. I've been lucky to have a family of very creative people who actually led me to develop my own creativity.

Mary Buckham said...

Jo ~~How delightful to see you here -- thanks for stopping by. I love that you have a creative family -- I think we are all born into the family we need to be born into to learn the life lessons we're meant to learn. Some of us need challenges, some of us need to learn to follow our own bliss in spite of our family of origins, some of us just get lucky and are given the support. Next go around I want to share you family - okay? Thanks for sharing and stopping by ~~ Mary B :-)

Liz said...

Mary, it's good to be reminded of, well, everything you said here today. These can seem unnecessary or even silly to have to pay attention to, but promoting one's wherewithal to be creative when one is involved in creative work IS important.
Thanks!!
Liz

Nancy said...

Helen, your creations this week have been pretty great, too! Your Romance Dish offerings were very engaging.

Nancy said...

Hi, Gannon--I have to take recharge days sometimes, too.

Nancy said...

Mary, that's such a heartwarming story. I didn't know you'd lost a child and can't imagine what that would be like except really awful. You wrote: Sometimes we're sent angels in disguise.

I believe that. Things we don't expect to turn into much can sometimes make a huge difference.

Nancy said...

Ms.Hellion, it's raining and in the 40s here. I could so go for a Florida cruise!

Nancy said...

Beth, I don't think supportive families can be underestimated. I'm lucky to have one, too. And, as you note, the Lair.

Nancy said...

Mary, I've always zoned out at times, sent my head to Mars or Neverland to see what I could find there. My mom used to tease me about it, but sometimes Mars is a refuge in addition to a wellspring.

Just read that over--does it make actual sense to anyone but me?

Nancy said...

Hi Liz--Thanks for stopping by today!

Nancy said...

Mary wrote: Nancy ~~ Mega thanks for having me visit this great group of creative folks! I knew the lair was a great place to hang out and now I know why!!

I've enjoyed it. I knew you had great ideas to share!

Mary Buckham said...

Hi Liz ~~ Thanks for stopping by and doing a great job of recapping. Sometimes as creatives it's all out go but it's real easy to see that creativity shift from a flood to a trickle if we don't have enough in go :-)
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Judythe Morgan said...

Hey Mary--
Awe-inspiring words! Poignant personal example. As always you challenge me and push me on. Empower MY creativity through thoughts like this, through BIF, and though your fantabulous synopsis templates. Thank you.

Creativity is like a vein of gold you have to keep digging until it shines. That’s my pearl of wisdom on the topic. That, and don’t let anyone ever, ever, ever stifle your God-given gift of creativity!

Romance Bandits, I can feel the creative energy just reading old posts. I’ve add you-guys to my blog read list!

Nancy said...

Judythe, we're glad you could stop by and that you like what you see. We'd love to see you back anytime!

Lady_Graeye said...

Hi Mary!
Great Blog!!
Wonderful words of wisdom, I wish I could attend one of your classes. Your words are so encouraging. Thank you!

Mary Buckham said...

Lady G ~~ What a cool name :-)) In my next life I'm going to insist on a great name. Yes - I could get creative and come up with one in this life but I like something to look forward to . Glad you enjoyed the blog and thanks for stopping by!
~~ Mary B :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Judythe ~~ Ah - super gold stars for this -- Creativity is like a vein of gold you have to keep digging until it shines.Much much better than waiting around for creativity to zap you -- go ahead and dig for it :-) Love it! Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Nancy said...

Hi, Lady Gra_eye--Glad you liked the blog, and thanks for stopping in today. :-)

mariska said...

I think i'm so creative when I'm in my kitchen. i mean i can invent some other chocolate cakes or brownies based on the original recipe *grin* does that count ?

Nancy said...

Mariska, I'd count cooking as creativity. I'm terrible at it, but I admire people who can do it!

Anna Sugden said...

Don't know if Mary will see this - but if you guys come to Cambridge to do a workshop you know you have somewhere to stay, right?

Mary Buckham said...

Mariska ~~

Oh cooking creativity - I so missed that gene! Yes, there's cooking [or calling for a pizze delivery like moi!] and then there's creative cooking. I soooo am coming to your house -- to research of course :-) - let me know when the brownies come out of the oven!
Cheers ~~ Mary B - who oly got the creative eating gene :-)

Mary Buckham said...

Anna ~~

Cream tea, you, Cambridge - what's not to love! Watch out - we may get there sooner rather than later and we will make Cambridge rock! And London. And Plymouth. And ...
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Linda Rader said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mary Buckham said...

Hi Linda and thanks for stopping by! If it's help the poll was not one simple question but a series of questions geared to a five-year-olds understanding. You're spot on in questioning though and that in itself is a sign of creative thinking. Thanks for sharing!
~~ ary B :-)