Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity – Part Two

Bird by Bird: Anne Lamott’s Timeless Advice on Writing and Why Perfectionism Kills Creativity

pt 1 bird by bird

I tell my students that the odds of their getting published and of it bringing them financial security, peace of mind, and even joy are probably not that great. Ruin, hysteria, bad skin, unsightly tics, ugly financial problems, maybe; but probably not peace of mind. I tell them that I think they ought to write anyway.

pt 1 6 birds on a log in a row

My writer friends, and they are legion, do not go around beaming with quiet feelings of contentment. Most of them go around with haunted, abused, surprised looks on their faces, like lab dogs on whom very personal deodorant sprays have been tested.

But I also tell [my students] that sometimes when my writer friends are working, they feel better and more alive than they do at any other time. And sometimes when they are writing well, they feel that they are living up to something. It is as if the right words, the true words, are already inside them, and they just want to help them get out. Writing this way is a little like milking a cow: the milk is so rich and delicious, and the cow is so glad you did it.

Good writing is about telling the truth. We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are.


pt 6 3 owls on a tree branch

Weekly Writing Prompt #22

Weekly Writing Prompt #22
Week of 1st February 2016

DOOR Template Instructions=====================

(5) Words: | SENSE | SECURE | WALK | TIME | ALONE |

Poetry Suggestions
Haiku (5 – 7 – 5)
Tanka (5 – 7 – 5 – 7 – 7)
Shadorma (3 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 5)
six lines – no rhymes – multiple stanzas [your choice] – just follow meter
Nonet (9 – 8 – 7 – 6 – 5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1) progression downward of syllables
Cinquain (2 – 4 – 6 – 8 – 2) five line poem on any theme with the earlier mentioned syllable pattern
’28’ Form (4 x 7) or (7 x 4) lines & syllables or lines
The Eco/The Echo – Word count (3 – 5 – 4 – 6 – 6 – 3) A four stanza poem
Blackout Poetry – See Poetry page at top of Blog
Circular Poems – See Poetry page at top of Blog
For further instructions
Fictional Suggestions
Flash Fiction (500 – 300 words)
Any Genre: Mystery – Sci-Fi – Fantasy – Horror – Literary
***You have room for one main character
***You have room for one scene
***Get to main conflict of scene in first sentence
***You have room for a single plot
***You have room for a single, simple theme
***SHOW anything related to the main conflict
***TELL the backstory; don’t “show” it
***Save the twist until the end
***Eliminate all but essential words

These are not set in gold
Use your best judgement

Remembrance: Marcel Proust #30

Remembrance: Marcel Proust

Moments from
“Remembrance of Things Past”


“But genius, and even great talent,
springs less from seeds of intellect
and social refinement superior to those of other people
than from the faculty of transforming and transposing them.
To heat a liquid with an electric lamp
requires not the strongest lamp possible,
but one of which the current can cease to illuminate,
can be diverted so as to give heat instead of light.
To mount the skies it is not necessary
to have the most powerful of motors,
one must have a motor which,
instead of continuing to run
along the earth’s surface,
intersecting with a vertical line
the horizontal line which it began by following,
is capable of converting its speed into lifting power.
Similarly, the men who produce works of genius
are not those who live in the most delicate atmosphere,
whose conversation is the most brilliant
or their culture the most extensive,
but those who have had the power,
ceasing suddenly to live only for themselves,
to transform their personality into a sort of mirror,
in such a way that their life,
however mediocre it may be socially
and even, in a sense, intellectually,
is reflected by it,
genius consisting in reflecting power
and not in the intrinsic quality of the scene reflected.”

― Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove, Part 2

Marcel_Proust_(Père_Lachaise) side by side hotel - grave

Sandglass #21

Weekly Writing Challenge #21
Week of 25th January 2016

DOOR Template Instructions

Shadorma ( 3 – 5 – 3 – 3 – 7 – 5 )
six lines – no rhymes – multiple stanzas [your choice] – just follow meter
~ ~ ~
~ ~ ~

hourglass shaped supernova in progress

Supernova in progress – rare celestial phenomenon


Silence warns

Life’s jagged edge cuts

Eyes drip blood

Turn to sand

Heart pounding as drums echo

Time is closing in


© jk 2016


the secret keeper Weekly Writing Challenge #21