Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mary Buckham visits Micole Writes Romance

I told you that I wanted to give back to all of my writing friends over the next couple of months. I am so excited about my guest!!! Today I have brought Mary Buckham and she is blogging about creativity as well as doing an a giveaway.


I’d like a share a few thoughts on creativity. Because being creative, and living our creativity, is at the heart of every writer.

“Every child is born an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.” – Pablo Picasso.

Were you aware that 90% of five-year olds see themselves as highly creative? That in itself is not amazing, but wrap your minds around the concept that by the age of seven, 80% of us who saw ourselves as creative no longer believe we are. That means only 10% of seven-year olds believe they are creative. By the time we reach our teens that number drops to 2% and remains fairly constant throughout our adult lives.

So if you’re a writer, or a painter, or sculptor, etc., count yourself among the few who have never, ever given up on a gift given to many, but realized by few.

To savor and honor that gift here are five steps to continue to empower your own creativity.

Step 1) Remove Creativity Killers. Sometimes the words are said by others, sometimes from within, so if you catch others, or yourself saying any of the following then you’ve run into a Creativity Killer. Follow the Rules. Don’t Ask Questions. It’s Hard. Be Practical. Be Serious. Think of [fill in the blank]. You Can’t Afford [fill in the blank]. Yes, but. You Don’t Have the Time. You Don’t Have the Money. Don’t Be Foolish. The list goes on and on. Great news is you don’t have to buy into the Creativity Killers.

Step 2) Develop a Creative Environment. You know best what spurs ideas, fuels your passion, creates energy. Is it color? Certain objects? A wide horizon? A secluded space? Honor your sacred creative space, whether it’s a desk top, a room or something else, and it will honor you. So take a good look at your working environment. Does it foster your creativity? If it doesn’t, how can you change it?

“A new idea is delicate. It can be killed by a sneer or a yawn; it can be stabbed to death by a quip and worried to death by a frown on the right man’s brow” – Charlie Bower

Step 3) Surround yourself by people who support you and challenge you to be the best at what you want to accomplish or do, not what they want you to accomplish or do. The more time you spend with creative people engaging in creative activities, the more creative you will become. Conversely, the more time you spend with nay-sayers or limited thinkers, the more time . . . you can fill in this answer. Who are you surrounding yourself with?

“Reaching new goals and moving to a higher level of performance requires change, and change feels awkward, but, take comfort in the knowledge that if a change doesn’t feel uncomfortable, then it’s probably not really a change.” John C Maxwell.

Step 4) Challenge yourself constantly and be willing to feel uncomfortable. Delight in exploring something new, something different for you. What have you done lately to push your comfort levels? To challenge yourself? When have you broken your routine? Driven a different route home or read in a genre different than the ones you usually read? When have you tasted a new cuisine? Explored a new location? Daily we’re given opportunities to push our limits, so what’s holding you back?

Step 5) Creative thinkers don’t fear failure. Why? Because they hold a different expectation of what failure means. Didn’t achieve what you had hoped for? For many this is considered a failure, but what if it meant something different? Any situation holds the seeds of new knowledge, self-awareness and new direction.

“The difference between average people and achieving people is their perception of and response to failure.” – John C Maxwell

Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid. It means getting out on a limb, knowing that the limb often breaks! And if it does, take that opportunity to spread your wings and fly!

So what about you? What does creativity mean to you? How have you faced the highs and the not-so-highs of being creative or wanting to feel creative? Feel free to comment and out of those who do comment one name will be drawn for a copy of BREAK INTO FICTION™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells or a Fiction book of your choice depending on the genre you love.

Mary’s BIO:

Mary Buckham is an award-winning fiction writer, co-author with Dianna Love of BREAK INTO FICTION: ™: 11 Steps to Building a Story That Sells from Adams Media, co-founder of and a highly sought after instructor both on-line and at live workshops around the country. To find out more about Mary, her Manuscript, Synopsis and Query help, her Lecture Packets, Workshops and Writing projects visit

Thank you Mary for all of the great creative advice, and thank you readers!!!!

Happy writing and being creative! ;-)



Kat Duncan said...

Hi Mary and Micole! Great post, Mary. I've been fighting the creativity killers all my life. I think you have to allow yourself to be a bit "selfish" with creative pursuits. Thanks for some great guidelines. I'm going to share this with my two grown daughters...

Micole Black said...

Hi Kat,

Nice to see you here, thank you for joining in on the blog this morning. I think Mary did a great job giving us ideas n how to keep our creativity up.


Micole Black said...

Good morning Mary. Thank you for being a guest here at Micole Writes Romance.


Sharon Marie said...

Hey Mary, What a treat to read your post this morning. I could relate to so much of what you said and particularly the part about finding yourself out on a limb. I'm purched there now with the voices in my head. At least I'm never alone. ;-)
Sharon Marie

Danielle Monsch said...

Happy St. Patrick's Day to you all, and what a wonderful way to start it!

I think most 'creative' people have somewhat sensitive natures - it's why we feel the drive to express and share emotion either by music, art, or the written word. The downside to that nature is we often just want to hide and duck when things get to intense. What is it we say? "I just don't feel like it."

The artists that succeed are the ones who have managed to shore up those sensitive impulses somewhat and figure out what they need to do to work through the hard stuff. I love that Mary gave us some practical tips on how to accomplish that and different ways to look at common situations.

As always, Mary Rocks!

michal scott said...

Hi Micole,

Thanks so much for having Mary on your blog. She has been one of the most supportive people I know.

Anna Taylor Sweringen

Micole Black said...

Sharon Marie, Danielle, & Michal, thank you so much for stopping in. It has been my pleasure to have Mary here on my blog. I am glad that you have all stopped in.


Anonymous said...

Hi Kat ~~ Gold stars you for sharing with your daughters -- that's one of the best gifts we can give our children -- encouragement! No matter what their age :-) Thanks for stopping by ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Micole ~~ thanks for having me visit ~~ I arrived a bit later than expected but I'm thrilled to be here!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Sharon Marie -- sometimes those limbs can feel pretty precarious but remember -- that's also where the fruit resides :-)

Gold stars you for pushing your boundaries.

Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Ah Dani ~~ thanks for your kind words. Being a creative is a gift, but like many gifts it requires special care. Not kid gloves but valuing it for what it is even if it's different from everyone else around you.

Thanks for popping in here today -- always fun to see ya!

Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Anna ~~ I didn't expect to see you here -- how fun!Not as fun as sharing great pizza on Long Island :-) but I'll take what I can get!!! Thanks for your thoughtful words ~~ they made my day!!

Cheers and happy writing ~~ Mary B :-)

cttiger said...

Great fun reading your blog, Mary. Surprise, surprise...I can relate to almost every point. I'm going to start with the easy one: my writing space. Clearing the distracting junk to the dumpster should help!

Tracy H. said...

Mary, thanks for giving us permission to do what feels right to us even when we know that many people will frown on it.

Anne Van said...

Great article Mary! I love this line, Creativity requires a willingness to look stupid. No kidding! That's how I feel every time I stare at the blank screen. : )

Thanks Micole for having Mary stop by your blog!


lori said...

Great article, Mary. I am hoping that I can get rid of those creativity killers! It's a day-by-day process...

Lori :)

Anonymous said...

Tiger ~~ Thanks for stopping by -- it's amazing sometimes what a little decluttering can do to stabilze our ability to focus more on our creative pursuits. I'm not talking about all clear all the time -- perish the thought -- but if our external world gets overwhelmed so can our internal world!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Tracy ~~ Cool thing about permission is we control our own -- even if it doesn't always feel that way :-) That's taking responsability for our own creativity - every day by our choices. Thanks for stopping by and sharing!
Happy writing ~~ Mary B :-)

Sheryl from Boston said...

Hi Micole and Mary,

Mary, as usual, great post on creativity.

I've always been an artist with pen and ink and watercolor and I've shared with my kids in their joy of their own art. Our number one rule is "Turn an oops into something special. There are no mistakes."

I recently had a very eye opening moment regarding naysayers. I had just come through a rough spot with my Dad and mentioned to my MIL (who I'd always seen as supportive) that it had completely killed my writing schedule. Her response was, "Well it was good that you made your Dad a priority, it's not like you're putting bread on the table with your writing."

In hindsight, I should have said, "If I don't ever make it a priority, it will never put so much as a cracker on the table."

Micole, thanks for giving us a chance to hear from Mary.

Anonymous said...

Anne V ~~ I think that as we get older and are responsible for knowing the answers -- whether at work or running our homes or raising our children --or whatever -- it gets harder and harder to say - hey, I don't understand, or, I need help. But how can we learn anything new if we're not willing to risk. Even if we have to go into a dark closet and rant and rave :-))) for feeling stupid -- the truth is do whatever it takes to explore what you don't know!!
Thanks for popping in today ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...


Just like your class, so helpful!! For me creativity is listening to my heart and not being afraid to follow through. Along the way, there are road blocks and brick walls that cross my pass, YIKES, but I find asking questions till the right answer pops helps. Also, having a support group that you can be honest with is also a way around or through brick walls.

Thank you again,

Elizabeth W. Gibson

Anonymous said...

Hi Lori ~~ You hit the nail on the head. Every day we get to start fresh and move a little closer to our gifts. So we mess up one day -- it's not the end of the world. Just a reminder that wha we've been given is special and worth the struggle. Think about your favorite book growing up -- or one that helped you at some point in your life. And then think about how the world would have been a little less if that author didn't choose on a regular basis to keep on writing and doing whatever it took to see that book in print.
Here's to more great choices ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Sheryl ~~ So sorry that you had to experience a slap from someone you saw as a supporter. But you're spot on -- the only way you will guarantee that there is no reward for you or anyone else is to give up. So keep moving forward!!

Cheers and happy writing ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Elizabeth ~~ I love this ~~~asking questions till the right answer pops helps.And if the right answer doesn't pop ask different questions :-) I play a game when I get stuck -- I ask the question and then get excited to discover where I'll hear the right answer -- sometimes it's from a friend or a total stranger making a comment in the groery store line or a headline in the news or a TV commercial -- but I expect to hear the answer within 24 hours and it's always there! Thanks for sharing and swinging by ~~ Mary B :-)

Sonali said...

Hey Mary,

I feel like I've moved in with you :)

Great blog. Exactly what I needed to hear. Especially, the part about the work space. Time to get out that paintbrush and buy that furniture. (maybe after this really intense class I'm taking:))

Being around my creative friends, just makes my creativity soar. It's like going to a place where everyone speaks your language, your way!

Note to self: Stop using those creativity killers you listed with my kids. Somedays, your list sounds like the sum total of my conversations with them. Sigh.

See you again in a bit, and thanks for the great blog!


Barb H said...

Hi Mary,
Really good suggestions on creativity, especially on not listening to the negatives that can slip under our defenses and demoralize us--sometimes without our realizing it.

Barb Huddleston

K.M. Rix said...

Hi Micole and Mary,
I really enjoyed your blog today. I have fixed up this nice writing space in a comfy area of my house, but I find myself sitting at my kitchen table to write instead. Hmm, what's that about? I guess it is due to my kitchen being located at the center of activity and I can multi-task more. I need to work on this. A creative person does need a space of their own. Thank you for sharing Mary and Micole! I Love your Pacing Class, Mary! Kellie M. Rix

Sheryl from Boston said...

Wow, just had to add. That as usual I've also learned a lot from reading other's posts and Mary's responses to those posts. Just like in class.

(I'm going to be asking a ton of questions to no one from now on. :D)

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Barb ~~ delightful to see you here! Yes -- those niggly creative busters can grow and fester -- but only if we let them. Sometimes it helps to write all the worries/fears/hurts on a piece of paper and burn it. Poof! All gone!! I'm into easy solutions :-) Thanks for stopping in ~~ Mary
B :-)

Anonymous said...

Hey Kellie -- thanks for scooting on over here. If the kitchen works for you then use it! Sometimes it takes a bit to break in a new space and sometimes patterns keep us glued to the old one - as long as you're making something work for you! having a creative space is different than an office space for the business of writing -- FB, blogs, emails, Twitter, etc -- so maybe take advantage of the fact you curently have two different locations. Hope this helps and delighted you're enjoying the class!

Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Neecy said...

Hello Micole and Mary,
This is a great blog and came at such a good time for me. Mary's book sounds like it may help me a ton as well.
It was nice to meet you!

Anonymous said...

Your comment about what age kids see themselves as creative got me thinking. I hadn't realized I was doing this, but I often day dream about being back at the farm I grew on as kid. It always makes me feel creative and empowered and, well, just plain happy. And then I feel like writing. And it's probably also when I do my best writing.
Thanks for making me think about my creative process, Mary and Micole!

Anonymous said...

Hey Jacqui ~~ Oh -- way to channel your inner child -- how cool is that!! Thanks for sharing -- I'm sure this will help others!

Cheers ~~ Mary B :-) loving people's posts!

Anonymous said...

Neecy ~~ Thank you so much for taking the time to pop in -- I think anything that keeps us putting one foot in front of the next is a good thing :-) We don't have to take giant leaps all the time -- baby steps will get us there, too!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Lisa McManus Lange said...

Great post! I appreciated #3 about surrounding oneself with creative and supportive people. Great reading! Lisa

NJ said...

Mary, your insights on creativity are as strong as your class on Pacing! As someone who works in the business world,where "yes,but" is so common, it's good to be reminded not to let this seep into writing! Litz

Anonymous said...

Hey Lisa ~~ I didn't expect to see you here -- how fun! Do I get to see you when I return to Vitoria this September? Fingers crossed :-)I'm glad the hint about looking closely at who we surround ourselves with -- I especially like finding people who make me stretch!!!! Cheers and thanks for swinging by ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Litz ~~ How fun to have you stop by and share! I always listen for the yeah, but phrase when someone asks for help. If you give a suggestion and the first words out of their mouth are '"yeah, but" it just means their not ready to listen so there's no point in offering more ideas etc. Also works with teenagers .

Cheers and thanks again ~~ Mary B :-)

EngridE said...

Hi Micole & Mary :-) Really enjoyed this blog about creativity. I, like Lisa M Lange in the post above, find #3 to be an important aspect in living a creative life. I find friends & family, who love & support me, still ask as I'm scribbling down an idea for a scene (as an example) "Do you really have to write this weekend? Can't it wait until Monday?" Grrrrr.... I think creative minds, no matter if they are into music or art or writing or quilting or etc, share the same creative "mojo" with other creative minds. Thank you for sharing. (Now back to my assignments! :-) Engrid

Anonymous said...

Hi Engrid -- thank you for stopping by and sharing. Being creative doesn't happen in a vaccum and the more we can acknowledge and honor that the better the world is.

Again -- thank you ~~ Mary B :-)

Ellen R said...

Hi, Mary.
I remember the shock I felt when I moved from grade school to junior high and found out that I wouldn't be able to do any more creative writing until my junior year in high school! So sorry, we were told, only analytical writing from now on. It's taken me forty years to return to the sixth grade!

--Ellen Russell

Anonymous said...

Ellen -- what an insightful comment - it actually sounds like an great opening to a woman's fiction novel -- it took me forty years to return to the sixth grade! I love it as my heart breaks -- great to know you found your way back!! Thanks for sharing ~~ Mary B :-)

Micole Black said...

It is so nice to see how many people have stopped in and visited Mary's blog. It is a great blog and sounds like it has sparked tons of creativity, which is exactly what I was looking for. I think Mary is just the sort of gift I was looking to give back to all of my readers. Thank all of you for stopping in and Mary, thank you so much for being a guest. I hope the comments keep rolling in.

Happy writing friends.



Mimi Barbour said...

Great blog Mary!
Can't wait until we meet again on Sept 10th in Victoria when you're scheduled to do an all-day workshop with the VIC-RWA group.
Love your workshops...

Anonymous said...

Some days it's just me and the clouds.
I remember days as a wee child looking up at clouds, and hardly a day goes by that I don't check out clouds for their size, shape, and volume. I guess they were my first inspiration.
So, my earliest memories of creativity when we kids would lie on the ground and describe what creatures we saw in the clouds.

Lisa McManus Lange said...

Hi Mary, Yes! it's me....see you in Victoria! Micole, this was great to have Mary on here! What a great post!

Micole Black said...

HI Lisa,

It's great to have you stop in. Thank you for stopping by.


Anonymous said...

Hey Mimi -- thanks for popping in here and I can't wait for September either!! It'll lovely to see you and all the VIC-RWA folks! Till then -- happy writing ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Hi Rita ~~ I know what you mean about clouds. When the guy I was going out with was willing to stop and really look at the clouds with me I knew he was the one :-) It was my cloud test! Keep enjoying them -- every day!
Cheers ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...

Micole ~~ Thank you so much for having me here today ~~ it's been a blast! I'll stop back tomorrow to pick a winner of the drawing! Cheers and happy writing to one and all!!

~~ Mary B :-)

Christina said...

Love, love, love working with Mary's positive and encouraging energy! She gives it to us straight while constantly nudging us to "go deeper" in our thinking, pushing those pre-conceived boundaries in our heads. For me, creativity requires courage. Step out of my comfort zone, take a deep breath and leap off that self-invented cliff. Ahh...that's where the "cliff-hanger" comes from! You're a gifted teacher, Mary. I'm grateful to have found you, and in my own backyard at that!

Micole Black said...

Thank you for being a guest.



Anonymous said...

Christina ~~ thank you for your very thoughtful comments -- you made my day :-)) plus you earned gold stars by challenging yourself by taking a jam-packed day-long workshop with me. Way to push yourself!!

Cheers and thanks for swinging by ~~ Mary B :-)

Anonymous said...