Re: Creativity (was RE: Samples Query)

Subject: Re: Creativity (was RE: Samples Query)
From: John Cook <john -dot- cook -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 15:36:29 -0500

On Thu, 21 Oct 2004 15:45:13 -0400, Downing, David
<daviddowning -at- users -dot- com> wrote:
> Hmmm... Now I always wanted to write fiction as well as documentation,
> but never had any luck getting anything published, and one comment
> several editors made was that my ideas weren't original enough. Could
> that have something to do with why I seem to be better at technical
> writing?
> -----Original Message-----
> From: cchris -at- toptechwriter -dot- us [mailto:cchris -at- toptechwriter -dot- us]
> Sent: Wednesday, October 20, 2004 11:31 AM
> Subject: Re: Samples Query
> [snip]
> Technical writers aren't usually hired for their flashing genius and
> creativity, they're hired for their knowledge and ability to explain
> complicated subjects; so eccentrics need not apply.

I started writing creative fiction again when I turned 40 (a year ago)
and have honing my chops in that way after hours the same as I do for
my day job. I've joined a number of groups that have similar
interests for accountability and have resolved to undertake the
NaNoWriMo challenge this year, (, writing a 50,000 word
novel from scratch in 30 days in November.

I figure building fiction creativity is the same as any other endeavor
- you start out slow and gradually take on greater and greater
challenges. It's like any other muscle that needs to be pushed and
stretched, growing through hard work and adversity. You are both your
greatest fan and worst critic.

The fact that you were trying is worth something to me. Originality
comes through hard work, just like anything else.

Sci-Fi author David Gerrold writes that he figures that the first
million words are really just warm-up for the real deal and you may as
well burn through those first waves of schlock to get to the good

I think, then, that the question isn't whether you are original *now*,
it's whether you have to fortitude to be original *down the road*.
You will suffer hard work, setbacks, and some admittedly awful
writing. Sooner or later, you will either break through to the next
level or find something you're more interested in or better suited to.

For me, I'm committed to writing it out. If I'm not completely
creative today, I'm certainly creative enough to *think* I can do it
down the line, and I'm going to give it everything I've got.

I keep a personal writing blog at, soon to be a
single-purpose creative writing journal at

As for me, I'm looking at going after the second star to the right,
and straight on 'til morning.


Johne (Phy) Cook
Wisconsin, USA


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Creativity (was RE: Samples Query): From: Downing, David

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