Writing for liberation exercise: Powerful metaphors

Like everything with writing, creating powerful metaphors comes with lots of practice, and more hard work and crappy writing than most people are comfortable with. Metaphors are not spontaneous bursts of genius.

Exercises and tools to help you or your group be more creative in life

Following on from my post on the importance of creativity to everyday life and to struggle, here are some activities you, your workplace, family, organisation, or other types of groups can try. These tools can help you generate ideas when you are at a loss for how to solve a problem, or they can help... Continue Reading →

11 ways creativity is important in life and struggle

We typically associate creativity with art, writing, and music. And while that is spot on, creativity is also a life skill. In essence, it is the ability to think beyond the obvious, outside the box, and to use one’s imagination to create new, good, ideas and things. So, practising creativity through the expressive arts can... Continue Reading →

Using distance to increase creativity

When I was living in Venezuela, I struggled to write creatively about it. Instead, my first novel was set in my home country of Australia. The novel I’m working on now is set in nearby Mexico City rather than Puebla, where I live. It’s a great set up, because I visit Mexico City enough to... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercise: squiggle drawings for non-linear thought

I often do this activity with kids - turn a squiggle into a drawing - but this writing exercise takes that a step further. Close your eyes and draw some random lines, circles, loops, zigzags, or whatever, on a piece of paper, or using a paint program. Then, open your eyes and turn what you... Continue Reading →

The importance of making up stories for kids

The benefits of reading books to children are well known, but making up stories for and with them is the pinnacle of care and teaching. The good news is, it isn't about telling a perfect story. Instead, it's about giving interactive attention to the children, creating memories, passing on morals and culture that are important... Continue Reading →

Talent isn’t “in the testicles” – Leonora Carrington: Surrealist paintings and quotes

Her painting technique is a bit rougher, and her paintings overall are darker, but that isn't why we study Salvador Dali in school instead of another surrealist painter, Leonora Carrington. Dali once said "talent is in the balls" to explain why there were no female painters with the same stature as Michelangelo. He was part... Continue Reading →

Writing to sell or please others limits creativity

How many mind-blowing, thought-provoking and beautiful books or films can you think of that were created while trying to please others? Doesn't the most impactful, memorable writing boldly challenge the status quo, play with aesthetics, and startle us instead? Here are some reasons why writers should steer clear of pleasing others: 1) When a writer... Continue Reading →

Why non-plated food epitomises everything that is wrong with the world.

Non-plated food is lacking in imagination and a symptom of societal stupidity. In rich countries and the wealthier areas of poor countries it has become trendy for restaurants to serve food on cutting boards and slates, as well as “deconstructed” meals in cups, juice in watering cans, sausages in skulls and hanging from branches (seriously),... Continue Reading →

How creativity is killed in the Majority World

Watching a video of Jim Carrey painting, you can see he has a wonderful sense of play and colour, as he creates a range of giant paintings in his warehouse-sized studio. He bashfully covers a canvas double the size of my bedroom with paint, and he pours thick, luscious acrylic paint from cans in wonderful pink... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercises: Quick creativity

Creativity is, in essence, new ideas, new ways of seeing things, new combinations of old things. Sometimes when we're writing - articles, novels, stories, songs etc - it can be hard to chill and get into a creative frame of mind. The following super-quick exercises can be helpful in opening you up to new ideas... Continue Reading →

Stress and oppression can hurt or help creativity

  Today is a tough day. I'm dealing with stuff and there's a tight knot in my chest and work is taking twice as long because my concentration is off, to put it mildly. There is worry crying out from behind my head, knocking on my door, demanding attention - but it'll only make things... Continue Reading →

The most unfashionable words possible

In these times where we are bombarded with bullshit, where news is advertising and advertising is entertainment and our minds have been made into sloth juice by meme-life and quick-fix social media, we have a duty to be unfashionable writers.  In these times where what we read - the food our brain is fed -... Continue Reading →

Creativity exercise: photo challenges

A lot of people on social media are doing the 7-day black and white photo challenge, so here are some more creativity-provoking photo challenges to try. After you're done, you could even use them as story prompts or for mini writing exercises (with a vignette for each photo). Note, for these you could do one... Continue Reading →

Creative Free Web Apps for Rebellious Writers

OneLook: This is a beautiful, multi-functional thesaurus, and reverse dictionary. Look up the description of that word you can't think of, and the site makes at least 100 suggestions. You can also look up single words, and the site suggests synonyms that can be sorted by the letter they start with, rhymes with..., primary vowel,... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercise: play like a child

Last week in class, I watched my tiny kids turn pillows into castles, physically eat and swallow a "pizza" we made out of much spilt glue and coloured-in vegetables, and act out the animals of the masks they wore. I wish I had that amount of imagination, that much freedom in my mind to think... Continue Reading →

Is your writing boring?

I admit I have a longstanding fear of being boring. Or I'm convinced that my writing (and my conversation) is artless and unoriginal. The reality though, is far from that, and in life and in writing, I seem to break most of the rules. I guess in this sense, I'm most sensitive about something that... Continue Reading →

The way I write

I write in a ball. Stuck half way between solid ground and dreamland. Half asleep. So many people say they do their best writing when they are angry or sad and there are huge raging monsters to rip out and beat up. I have moments like that too, and I love the slick oil hard... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercise: understanding creativity

What is creativity? Let's do this exercise, then talk about it. Write a list of ten uses for a toothpick. Then, if you are working on a poem, article, story or even a drawing, write a list of ten alternate ways you could have done it, or ten alternate endings, or beginnings - whatever alternative... Continue Reading →

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