Writing: Creating Something Different

Writing: Creating Something Different

I have been a writer for most of my life. I enjoy the conceptual side in the creative process. The process (once I have the idea) ignites my curiosity further. Sometimes these ideas lie dormant and eventually disappear, but other times, I take action and start putting energy into them.

Every idea needs action to make it grow. Let’s compare it to the watering of a seed. However, additional elements, such as research, act as a fertiliser. (Fiction or non-fiction). Writing can be boring. If you have ever worked on creative projects for American Express, or written company profiles, you will know what I mean. 

As an advertising copywriter, I loved the creative side. A horror job would be when a client disliked anything ‘different’ – but if it was a TV Ad, the shoot would be fun. If it was a radio ad, it would be fun. If it was a print ad, I just couldn’t get excited. Unless it was a unique idea that we wanted to create. 

Unique ideas are not falling from the heavens like rain. If one of these unique ideas hits you – you must give it life. But you’re the one who has to do it. 

A great idea will never let you rest. You must feed it.

“I have an idea. You write the book and we go 50/50 in the profits.” Be careful of those who don’t want to nourish their own idea. Smile and leave in haste. 

I remember the days of browsing video shops and leaving empty-handed. Now it is flicking through Netflix and turning off the TV. I’m impatient for something different. I want it now. When I find something unique and creative, I bombard my friends with links.  

I have written both non-fiction and fiction, novels, magazine features, advertising and also one theatre play. I’m published (different pen names). But as of 2023, I am riding a wave of self publishing. I am loving the experience. Not making profit, by any means, but loving the journey.

Where is that Book of Answers?

I always wanted to write a novel. One that reflected my weird outlook on life. But lacked the necessary tools – Jack searched for a book of answers – a book that made it clear to me how I should write a novel. But I learned that I had to create my own journey. A style and process that suited me. We are all individual. 

I wrote my first book on a typewriter as computers were not around. I created my second and third books on a Mac. I wrote the next three and a play on a PC. Now I am back at the Mac. 

In the early days, I bought many books on writing but had a huge difficulty understanding them. I interviewed the writer Tony Park, and we were in sync – he didn’t understand many of the writing books either. Through Tony and others, I came to learn I was not a plotter. A plotter is someone who lays the skeleton out before adding meat to the bones. I discovered I am a prancer, often referred to as a discovery writer. If I was a plotter, it might be easier in the long run, but my brain doesn’t work that way.

Searching for an Idea. For some.

Be careful of plotters who tell you – you are wrong. A few of them dislike prancers, as if we are detrimental to the publishing world. I’ve wasted too much time listening to naysayers. Ignore them and move on with your writing. Do what feels right for you. 

In 2021 I had to depart Myanmar, where I worked in media, because of a military coup. I arrived back in Australia, a country riddled with Covid, wondering what to do. I felt that nobody wanted to hire a senior – although I never applied for any jobs! To save my sanity, I started writing my madness. 

Reading is Important

I have always been a reader, mostly of my favourite genre. But with my new enthusiasm, I started reading more books of any genre; I needed to know the writer’s process. I listened to their podcasts, radio serials and a few audio books.

Writing is a personal journey. What works for one person may not work for another. I never say that this is the right way to do it – who am I to have that right? Each of us has to follow our instincts and work out what suits us best. 

Stephen King’s ‘On Writing’ taught me a great deal, but it isn’t my sole source of guidance.
For me, the key to writing a novel was to actually start writing. I wake at 4 am and start writing, usually for a few hours – I have coffee and breakfast during those hours. I walk later in the morning and listen to podcasts, have lunch, take a nap, work on more mundane things in the afternoon and then sleep around 8.30 pm. For many, this would be boring, but for me, I love it. I have found a direction that works. 

Decades ago I created a stand-up-comedy built up from a wacky idea – a moving theatre of the absurd – it paid my way while I studied. And for most of my working life, I have created ideas, in advertising agencies, radio stations, and television stations. And spent a few years in the military – a wonderful place to experiment with creativity. I have worked in five different countries. I enjoy my life. I try not to let money dictate my choice of work – I want an adventure. If the adventure stagnates, or someone stops my adventure, I move on to the next opportunity. I have pushed my way into companies by pestering the ‘right person’ until I got the job. I never let HR Managers block my path.

I came to understand genres and had difficulty putting my work into a specific pigeon hole. Genre is a categorisation tool for librarians, enabling them to group similar styles of books together. Amazon has genre, so readers know where to find the books they love. I had so much difficulty finding my genre – I still do. I thrive on writing absurdity, humour, satire, uniqueness, and the unexpected. Many times I find books labelled similar – but they are unsuitable for my tastes. But then I find books in the drama genre that are exactly what I like. I have a deep-love of writing, and I’m fortunate that I don’t have to write out of a necessity. My writing is not driven by a monetary gain for me; it is my genuine passion. There is immense joy creating something new. Just like artists, skiers, adventurers, or racing drivers, not every cent invested in their passion is recovered. So, why should writers be any different? I write because I love the craft and the opportunity to bring something fresh into the world. This is important to note, especially for new writers who may mistakenly perceive that writing is an effortless path to riches.

How AI Helps

ChatGpt checks my scenes. I cut and paste my scene and ask for comments. I tell it not to change anything and to list any suggestions. Sometimes, it tells little lies – and changes things if you are not careful. Whilst there are programs that offer ideas and scenarios, I don’t want them. I don’t want AI creating my ideas – yes, they may be good, but I will know that an AI created it. And I don’t want to lose those special moments in life when that spark of an idea keeps me smiling throughout the day. It’s a personal thing. But on the reading side – I don’t care if a human or AI creates it – as long as it is great reading. 

Author podcasts got me and keep me inspired – some episodes are great, some are not. I take what interests me and leave the rest. Their podcasts made me realise I was like other writers who battle away one word at a time. They also have moments of despair; they want to give up; they procrastinate – they are my inspiration. From the greats, to the lesser known. 

Good luck with your adventure. Please don’t give up.

How Writers Write
The Self Publishing Show
Writers Routine
Meet the Writers
The Creative Penn

Favourite Books
Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
The 100 Year old Man who Climbed out the Window – Jonas Jonasson
Hitman Anders – Jonas Jonasson
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
The Accomplice – Daryl Ponicsan
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil – John Berendt
The Diary of a Nobody – George Grossmith and Weedon Grossmith
Dear Mrs Bird – AJ Pearce
No Orchids for Miss Blandish – James Hadley Chase
The Professor and the Madman (The Surgeon of Crowthorne) – Simon Winchester
The Dictionary of Lost Words – Pip Williams
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Haunting of Hill House – Shirley Jackson
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak
The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas – John Boyne
The Illustrated Man – Ray Bradbury
Farenheit 451 – Ray Bradbury
The Ode Less Travelled – Stephen Fry
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
White Butterflies – Colin McPhedran
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly – Jean-Dominique Bauby
A Child of the Northeast (Luk Isan) – Kampoon Boontawee
Chasing the Scream – Johann Hari
King Leopold’s Ghost – Adam Hochschild
Dark Secrets: HMAS Australia – Robert Hadler
The Moth and the Mountain – Ed Caesar
Consciously Creating Circumstances – George Winslow Plummer
Creative Visualisation – Shakti Gawain
The Power of Now – Eckhart Tolle
Psycho Cybernetics – Maxwell Maltz
It Works – R.H. Jarrett (Medium Article by Mitch Horowitz)

Writing Tools
Pro Writing Aid

Affinity Photo


Final Cut Pro
Eleven Labs