Article Title: Sharing some Thoughts on Finding Your "Creative Self" through Writing
Submitted by: Craig Lock
Category (key words): Writing, Creative Writing, Writing Hints/Tips, 'Writing down the Bones' , Natalie Goldberg Self realisation, Self-fulfilment, Creativity
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The submitter's blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

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(Personal growth, self help, writing, internet marketing, spiritual, 'spiritual writings' (how 'airey-fairey'), words of inspiration and money management, how boring now, craig!)

Publishing Guidelines: This piece (as with all my articles) may be freely published, electronically or in print.

"We share what we know, so that we all may grow."

Sharing some Thoughts on Finding Your "Creative Self" through Writing - How to Follow your Intuition, your Heart in Expressing Yourself through your Words

"I never had any doubts about my abilities. I knew I could write. I just had to figure out how to eat while doing this."
- Cormac McCarthy


This article has been largely based on an excellent book called 'Writing down the Bones' by Natalie Goldberg (Shambhala-Boston and London 1986). My piece has been adapted from Natalie's creative endeavours and I've added some bits of my own, based on my early experiences of the writing journey (and life - because you do LIVE it!).

This is a good book from a feminine (and rather "airy-fairy", like most writers) perspective, unlike this "male/macho" note alliteration) author. However, Natalie Goldberg imparts many interesting and helpful thoughts, with which I whole-heartedly agree...and that is my purpose in sharing them with you.

Let's now get straight into it...

Writers help people to see the world differently - from the writer's perspective. Through sharing and hopefully informing, I write to impel some type of action or reaction in readers and also to allow them to see things in a new way - perhaps from a different perspective. I believe that the writer's obligations to readers is to instruct, entertain, or somehow extend one's perceptions of life. "I write because something inside myself, inner and unconscious forces me to. That is the first compulsion. The second is one of ethical and moral duty. I feel responsible to tell stories that inspire readers to consider more deeply who they are."

Writing often arises from a sense of loss, where the well-spring is a sense of sadness. Often it's from an unusual set of circumstances or life crisis ('cos we writers are sensitive little souls...and my life has been one long crisis!). Many writers write to try to make sense of their lives, ie find meaning (me too!). I don't write for an audience (a particular one, at least); but write what I want "from the heart" about ideas that I want to express, or a story I might wish to a particular voice or spectrum. For me the writer is an "observer of life" and let's the reader "see the world through new eyes". I believe the writers obligations to readers are to instruct, entertain, or somehow extend one's perceptions of life. So I write not only to impart knowledge, but also to inform myself at the same time. I write to get people to "think about what I feel are important issues" ( at least to me and my life), to attempt to "open up new worlds" to others, to somehow try to extend the reader's "perception of the amazing path of life".

My writing "journey" of my various books is my life journey: one of ideas, beliefs, values and so on - of growth as a person and a human 'bean', hopefully. And* I write to try to make some difference, a better world in my 'own little way'.

And this "discovery in self awareness and self exploration", has been a fascinating and exciting journey into the unknown.

* Can I begin a sentence with the conjunctive (big word, eh!) 'And'?

I love to write and share stories that matter a lot to me, in terms of my deepest values ("the artistic temperament"??). True stories from people's lives in history, that are worth sharing with others, as they have great meaning regarding the universal human condition. So I write about ordinary people in exceptional circumstances and times, that hopefully uplift and impact others through certain people's great generosity of spirit inherent in the human condition to overcome great obstacles or adversity in their lives! In short, my various stories are about the indomitable and unquenchable strength of the human spirit

Words have such great power - to change people's perceptions...and so the world. To entertain, uplift, encourage, impact and hopefully even inspire others (that's my writing mission). The right words can uplift, inspire, heal, and create endless joy and love in our lives.

Words have tremendous power in them. However, the the wrong words can depress, discourage, hurt, and bring us sensitive human 'beans' endless misery and pain. What a powerful tool - words! And the writer's job is to use them most effectively and master them...


Always remember that writing is sustained hard work. Simply let go. Trust in love and it will take you where you need to go. Trust in WHAT you love, continue to do it, and it will take you where you need to go. You will eventually have a deep security in doing what you want. Do big salaries mean security anyway? TRUST your own mind at all times.

Here are a few more thoughts on writing...
Writers help people to see the world differently; however let us always be kind in the world. Make your story real, ie human and one that 'touches' other's lives in some way.
So the reader can somehow relate to the characters in the story- protagonist (big word, eh!) and so on.

Some other pointers (in point form)...
* Small ideas become bigger.

* Revise your work constantly.

* Strive for excellence in your work

* Ask your 'Infinite Spirit' within your heart for inspiration.

* Be totally honest to the story that is being told.

* "Use short, sharp sentences."

- Hemingway (what my dear doting 'over-the-top' mother sometimes called me - mothers!)

* "All fiction is auto-biographical."
- Forster
There is no logical ABC way to becoming a writer. Different things work for different people. No one's wrong and right. Where to write? Write clearly and with great honesty.

"If you have integrity, nothing else matters.
If you don’t have integrity, nothing else matters."
- Alan K. Simpson
READ AND TRUST. There is no security nor assurance that because you wrote something good two months ago, you will do it again. Each time we begin, we wonder how we did it before. Each time is a new journey with no maps. Handwrite, then type?? Use tools, like talking into a tape recorder.

Commit yourself to the time period for writing. You can then increase it. Keep your hand moving. Don't cross out. Don't worry about spelling, punctuation and grammar on your first draft. Lose control. Don't think. Don't get logical. Go for the jugular. If something comes up that is scary, just go for it - it is probably emotional. Inspiration means breathing in God.

Remember: first thoughts have tremendous energy. Breathing in is breathing in God. Practice - it's like running. The more you do it, the better you get. Practice whether you want to or not. Don't wait for inspiration. Feel free and write anything that comes into your head. Don't expect something great every-time you sit down to write. Simply, "peel away the layers of your heart". Continue to open and trust in your own voice and process. Learn to trust yourself and not give in to the voice that wants to avoid writing. However, doing this takes continual practice - write whatever is running through you. Write only for yourself and no-one else. Writing takes continual practice. Write whatever's running through your veins, then keep practicing.

Writers are passionate "arty-farty creative people" (a bit different to people in "normal jobs"!) - they are passionate about sharing their views and perspectives on the world. Hemingway wrote about Michigan while living in Paris. I write about diverse and vibrant South Africa in tranquil and beautiful New Zealand. Have a list of topics to write about. Jot them down. Make a list: Notice material for writing in your daily life:

1. the quality of light coming in through the window.

2. I remember...

3. A visit to the laundromat How you spend your morning Something you feel strongly about Visualise a place you really love Leaving, divorce My first memory, what is your first memory?
People you have loved, streets in your neighbourhood, or perhaps describe a grandparent.

Write about: subjects like:
* swimming
* stars
* the most frightened you have been
* how you learnt about sex
* my first sexual experience (Oh no!)
* the closest you felt to God or nature
* reading books that changed your life
* tales of physical endurance
* the most encouraging teachers you have had.
* your unusual set of life experiences

DISCIPLINE is vital in writing. Write anything. It's QUANTITY and not quality that counts. Don't worry about your talent - that will grow as you practice. If you want to write a novel, write essays or short stories, just write. You will learn HOW and develop your (unique) style with confidence. You learn by doing it. Let go of everything when you write. Use a simple beginning with simple words to express what you have written. Writing "splits you open". It strips
you and lets the world see you how you are as a human being. As such it's a "religious experience", a "spiritual journey". Write about your obsessions. Always think about writing, but remember the life of an artist is not easy.

“I make art through using materials…and words are my effective power-tools.”

- craig

Writing is a "life time self-discovery". Life is so rich. We have lived a moment that is important as a writer - we are carriers of details that make up history. Have the ingredients of your life - a mix of ingredients, like a cake. Reading poetry is like feeling the breath of inspiration at the moment Shelley wrote those words. Keep your pen moving - write a lot. Keep your heart open. Just practice writing, learn to trust your inner voice, then direct it. READ, LISTEN and THINK. LISTEN, READ and WRITE. Be precise not self absorbed.

Write about the meal you love, about food. Be specific, give the details: Where, who with, your best meal last week.

Write what YOU want: novels, essays, short stories. You will gradually acquire the confidence you need to develop the techniques required for your craft. We learn writing by DOING it and not from teachers or writing classes.

I believe writing is a spiritual experience - opening your heart to the world. Writing is a form of energy - powerful and focussed. Learn to trust the force of your own voice.

Writers write about their obsessions - things that haunt them, things they can't forget, stories they carry around in their bodies waiting to be released. Some change, some are forgotten.

Make a list - they are very powerful. What do you think about a lot? They are very powerful, because obsessions have power. Then harness that power. The life of an artist is never easy. However, there is great freedom in being a writer and writing - it's very fulfilling in doing whatever you want. Knowing yourself and what you are, what you are doing on this earth and why you were "put here"...then simply doing it. When it becomes an obsession, you will naturally begin writing about it.

Use original detail in your writing - love the power of details. We have lived. Our moments are important - that's what it means to be a writer...the carrier of details, that make up history. It's like baking a cake, the ingredients are the details of your life. You can't just list them: born in...father, mother and so on. Use details - they are the basic unit of writing. With most writers, money isn't the driving force. Percy Bsyche (spelling??) Shelley: you are breathing his inspired breath at that precise moment he wrote those beautiful words in the poem.

To be a good writer you need to do three things. Read a lot, listen well and deeply...and write a lot. Also don't think too much? Just keep your pen moving across the page. If you read good books, when you write, then good books will come out of you. Just listen, read and write. Little by little, you will express yourself through your voice. Be patient and don't worry about it. Just sing and write in tune.

Write precisely - no long descriptions about irrelevant details and characters. Know your goal and stay present with it. If your mind wanders, bring it gently back. Don't get obsessed or self-absorbed.


Where do you want to go with your writing? What are your deepest dreams? Write them down. Take them seriously. Listen to your creative voice.

Don't tell, but SHOW. About emotions like honesty, love, hate, truth, anger and sorrow. Show what made you angry. As the reader, we will read it and feel angry. Don't tell your readers what to feel. Show them the situation and the feeling will awaken in them.

Be specific - what kind of fruit is it? Not a flower in the window, but a geranium - because the word gives a far more specific picture setting the scene. However, doing this takes single-minded concentration.

Everyone has their own style, so don't worry about it. Writers are great lovers - they fall in love with other writers. A glimmer of hope for me then!

Keep your hand moving. Don't doodle, don't daydream. Write until you're spent. Writing is the act of discovery (self). We start with an empty page, or painting on a blank canvas. It's like electricity, "lighting up the world". Surrender yourself to the moment of where you are. As a writer, you are part of life around you. Love this life, because it is ours and in the moment there is nothing better. For every book that gets published, there are probably thousands that aren't. Just write another. Each one will get better with practice. Get up again after being knocked. I know all about that one - for years and years! PERSERVERE. Don't listen to doubt - it only leads to pain and negativity. Don't pay
attention to these voices, the critics. Have determination and patience to "stick at it", like superglue! (That's a simile, by the way).

Gore Vidal has a wonderful quote. He says: "As every author and every reader knows, writing well is the best trip of them all. Don't even worry about writing 'well'. For me just writing is heaven. Writing has tremendous energy. Out of hurt, makes it OK, out of love. Don't write for money. Just be kind in the world. Let go completely and just WRITE, Trust your own voices. PRACTICE. Put in a great effort. Don't just put in the time. Writing every day doesn't necessarily improve your writing. Wait till you are hungry for something to say."

If writing for a long time (months), rest for a while. Do something different. Go into your writing with your whole heart. Say, "I have to write every day." Don't follow this rule blindly. It teaches us about life - very deep thoughts, eh?

If stuck, write about a meal you love, or foods you love most. Be specific, give the details. Always be aware that loneliness goes with writing. Art is communication, compassion. Reach out in your writing to another lonely soul. You can write things like: "This is how I felt when..." It's SHARING.

Don't get caught in the trap of being 'provincial', like some (many) of the "insular-minded inhabitants of 'Sleepy Hollow'" here. Go to your region, but don't stop there. Look closely at more of the world. I try to do that at all times.

Tell your stories to friends, then write them down. Do it in 10, 15, 20, or 30 minute sessions. Work up gradually. Read no comments.

Ideas- use the amazing power of your creative imagination. How about a box for topic suggestions. Things like, My first sexual experience. Oh no...horrors!

CLAIM YOUR WRITING. Most artists find it hard to acquire peace and confidence - acknowledge it. Trust yourself. Look at your work honestly. The best test is time. If you are not sure whether something is good, put it away for a while - for say, six months. Have patience. Just let go.

Re-reading and rewriting. It's best to wait a while before you re-read your writing. Anything we fully do is an 'alone' journey - one of very intense emotions. No one else can understand what you went through. However, eventual success is not always a happy occasion - it can also be lonely, isolating and disappointing. Bit of a "let down", perhaps! If they want to publish, say "that's nice"; but just continue to write. If they don't, have
the same reaction.

Writers challenge themselves and their readers in new ways, They find new niches. I want to continually test my own writing "limits", the "boundaries of my imagination."

You can plan to inform, impact, enchant, dazzle, enlighten and uplift people in your writings: with light-hearted words of entertainment, of suspense, sadness, words of laughter and love.*

“One writes to teach, to move or to delight.” Rodolphus Agricola
For me writing has been an intriguing journey into the unknown - a great journey of self discovery. Writers , like musicians, say that "the music is in them and they just want to get it out... so I'll just continue writing "till I drop". Through your words you may even lead some people from darkness into the light. It all depends on your ATTITUDE - THE KEY TO HAPPINESS AND WRITING SUCCESS.

HAPPY WRITING 'till you drop' and
GOOD LUCK* in getting out the music that is in you.

Shared by Craig Lock (Eagle Productions)

* which is sometimes defined as where 'preparedness meets opportunity'

Submitter's Note:

As mentioned previously, the material in this article was largely sourced from an excellent book, 'Writing Down the Bones' by Natalie Goldberg (Shambhala-Boston and London 1986). Thanks for sharing your wisdom, Natalie...which I'm passing on and sharing in the form of this article.

"The world's smallest and most exclusive bookstore"

All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children - MINE!

What's the definition of an aspiring author?
A waiter!

What's the difference between a writer and a family pizza?
The pizza can feed a family of four!


How's this for powerful writing and the impact and beauty of the written word...

"Someday, after we have mastered the winds, the waves, the tide and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love. Then, for the second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire."
- Teilhard De Chardin

* Robert Ingersol suggests this great truth:
"In the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love can hear the rustle of a wing."
I think this is one of the most beautiful lines in all of English literature,
so sharing with you.

"It took me 15 years to find out that I had no talent for writing, but by then I couldn't give it up, because by then I was too famous to give up."
- Robert Benchley

"The world would have you agree with its dismal dream of
limitation. But the light would have you soar like the eagle of your sacred visions."
- Alan Cohen

To end off, how's this for a simile...

"Her breasts heaved like untethered Zeppelins."
Time then to write that Mills and Boon romantic novel, Craig!


You don’t have to be like this great metaphor...

“Full many a flower is destined to blossom unseen and waste its sweetness on the desert air."
- Thomas Grey (from ‘Grey’s Elegy’)

So shine your own bright light of YOUR “creative self” through sharing your writings with the world

Author's Bio: 

Craig is a writer, who believes in (and loves) sharing information with a touch of humour, as well as encouraging and helping others to find their talents and gifts, to strive for and accomplish their dreams in life - whatever they may be.

The various books that Craig "felt inspired to write" are available at and

Craig is currently writing two novels ‘Stirling’ and ‘The Prize’. Perhaps even true stories! But then can a novel be a true story or stories (because I thought novels had to be fiction)? I’ll leave you to further ponder on that question..

The submitter's blog (with extracts from his various writings: articles, books and new manuscripts) is at

"The world's smallest and most exclusive bookstore"

All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children - MINE!

What's the definition of an aspiring author?
A waiter!

What's the difference between a writer and a family pizza?
The pizza can feed a family of four!