Noted: T. C. Boyle on creativity

Boyle, T.C

In order to create you have to believe in your ability to do so and that often means excluding whole chunks of normal life, and, of course, pumping yourself up as much as possible as a way of keeping on. Sort of cheering for yourself in the great football stadium of life.”


Filed under NOTED, working method

10 responses to “Noted: T. C. Boyle on creativity

  1. Sarah

    ¡De verdad! I love TC Boyle. He’s one of my writing mentors; I have many, but Boyle consistently models for me what I think great story and great writing are all about.

  2. Hi, Richard. What is your favorite device for “pumping up” your enthusiasm for your own work, and for making yourself able to do as Boyle suggests? Any special solutions to those humdrum times when one finds it nearly impossible to get one’s self-enthusiasm going?

    • Oh, I wish I knew, Victoria! As my book is at the publisher’s, without even editing returning to me yet, I am in that state of trying to start something new, of thrashing about. Trying to enjoy it is the best I can come up with when it’s under way and am trying that now. Not quitting even if nothing seems to be happening is another principle I cling to. We are doing more than we realize when we try, even if we have little or nothing material to show, so I tell myself not to lose heart.

      • “Not quitting even if nothing seems to be happening is another principle I cling to.”Richard, such a good attitude to have! I have been trying to start up a new project waiting for my book to come out and the closer it is to pub date, the harder it is to get into writing new material. Writing is such an interior activity and publicizing demands such extroverted energy. Thrashing about, indeed. Yes, we should never forget we are writers first and that keeping our connection to the world of words is of primary importance.

  3. Let me loan you some of my faith in your ability, Richard. And you too, shadowoperator. And to share some of my kickstarters in low times. Finding a balance between being and doing seems to be the key for me. If I am deprived of doing (like you for the moment, Richard), I try to bask in being and trust in TC Boyle’s notion of creativity. Being will lead to doing. And will take you even deeper into it.

    What can you do? Look through all the out-takes from all those drafts? See if something sparks? Maybe your next book is already half-drafted.

    And, of course, you could write essays for magazines that relate to your book. Have you ever heard of Country magazine? It has 1.9 million readers, I learned yesterday.

    • Thanks so much, Shirley. I love your being/doing duality. I have reworked a cut chapter as an essay and submitted it to a contest, so we’ll see. And no, I had no idea Country had that many readers. Worth a review copy!

  4. I will buy pom-poms if need be to cheer you and Shirley along the way. So proud of you both. Btw, I’m a huge Boyle fan. Love the quote.