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 →

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 →

Honduran refugee: Writing helps me survive

Jorge Madrid is a Honduran activist whose opposition to current right-wing president Juan Orlando Hernández saw him receiving death threats and having to flee the country. He was also a student leader when then President Manuel Zelaya was overthrown by a coup in 2009. He says the stealing of the elections in 2017 and direct... Continue Reading →

In the Netflix / social media era, is it really necessary to read fiction books?

When I can settle down into a book, I feel like someone who has been running frantically for days and is finally home. Reading is one of the most fulfilling things I do, and it is easy – no transport or planning necessary. Yet after a long, exhausting day of work, I often find that... 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 →

Writing for liberation exercise: dealing with depression

The battle against depression (short or long term) has many fronts, including, in my opinion, the battle for a humanity and environment-first world where we are less alienated at work and among each other. But what makes writing such a powerful tool for both personal and political problems (which are invariably linked) is that we... Continue Reading →

Who Owns the Words?

J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potty series, was asked by her publisher Barry Kunningham to use just her initials (she made up the K), as he thought boys might be wary of a book written by a woman. Many people assume that Harper Lee is a man, Charlotte Bronte originally published as Currer Bell... 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 →

Writing for liberation exercise: Combating stereotypes

In the story and creative world, there's two fairly obvious things wrong with stereotypes: They tend to reinforce prejudice and discrimination, and reduce the particular group of humans down to just a few elements (but people are complex and aren't just their appearance or intelligence or food choices). They are boring to read and don't... Continue Reading →

3 short Adrienne Rich poems for a dose of realistic wood-stained hope

I like how her poems etch out a determined resistance using nature-based and human metaphors that link the personal with the political. Dreamwood In the old, scratched, cheap wood of the typing stand there is a landscape, veined, which only a child can see or the child’s older self, a poet, a woman dreaming when... 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 →

The harm done by claiming writers aren’t professionals

Many people would put creative writers (novelists, poets, investigative journalists, satire writers etc) in the hobby basket, alongside people who like camping, stamp collectors, and amateur basketball players. And for many creative writers, that might well be the case. But for others, writing is not a side gig, a Sunday morning past time, or a... Continue Reading →

Writing for liberation exercise: word portrait

Ask a friend, or someone you know who feels comfortable with you- ideally a person feeling pain or suffering in some way - if you can word-draw them. The idea is that they sit in front of you, quietly, and you can observe them. Instead of drawing, you'll write down words.  Maybe you'll notice the... 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: Madlib poem

The purpose of this exercise is to have some fun, play with those creative juices, and get them flowing for ideas to come. We're going to use someone else's poem though, so the product coming out of this obviously can't be used elsewhere: but in the process of doing this exercise or afterwards, who knows... Continue Reading →

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