Category: improvisation

Type it out

On Finding Fiction Late In Life.

By Donald Ray Pollock, interviewed at NPR

When he first started writing, Pollock says he typed out a story by another famous writer at least once a week in order to learn how to put dialogue together and move from scene to scene.

“John Cheever, Hemingway, Flannery O’Connor, Richard Yates, Denis Johnson, and the list goes on and on,” he says. “If the story wasn’t overly long, I’d type it out. And I’d carry it around with me for a week and jot notes on it, and then I’d throw it away and do another one.”

Briefcase Syndrome Of Creativity

 By D. W. MacKinnon from “Genius and Eminence”

“One of the most striking observations we have made is that the creative person seldom fits the layman’s stereotype of him. In out experience he is not the emotionally unstable, sloppy, loose-jointed Bohemian. More often it is the unoriginal and uncreative person who appears to be artistic, clever, emotional, whereas we discover ourselves using such adjectives as deliberate, reserved, industrious, and thorough to describe truly original and creative persons. Among ourselves we have jokingly described this cluster of traits characteristic of the creative person as “the briefcase syndrome of creativity” — closer, if you will, to the notion of professional responsibility than to the Greenwich Village Bohemian or to the North Beach Beatnik.

The truly creative individual has an image of himself as a responsible person with a sense of destiny about himself as a human being. This includes a degree of resoluteness and almost inevitably a measure of egotism. But over and above these there is a belief in the foregone certainty of the wroth and validity of one’s creative efforts. This is not to say that our creative subjects have been spared periods of frustration and depression when blocked in their creative striving, but only that overriding these moods has been an unquestioning commitment to their creative endeavor.”




By John Cleese


McKinnon: ability to play, childlike purposeless exploration.

Open mode and closed mode: You can’t be creative in the closed mode. You can’t get any focused work done in the open mode.

To get into the open mode you need:

  1. space
  2. time
  3. time
  4. confidence
  5. humor

What is the point of solemnity?

Notes by by  at Brainpickings