Ten Signs Your Creative Writing Blog Post Might Be a Little TOO Creative

Ten Signs Your Creative Writing Blog Post Might Be a Little TOO Creative

You’re writing about something mundane, in a mundane manner. Well, yes, it is an original idea to describe every car parked on your street. It’s never occurred to anyone to do that before. That might be for a good reason.

You’re too creative to read other blogs, so you don’t realize your idea’s already been taken. You might have a brilliant, creative idea for a post—but if you don’t know that idea was taken by The Hairpin two months ago, you’re going to look like an asshole.

You read all the creative writing blogs, and you allow them to define exactly what “creative” looks like. Creative writing blogs—this one included—aren’t always all that creative: we recycle our own ideas and post whatever the hell comes to mind between 1:45 and 2:00 PM, before we have to get back to our paying jobs. Spend twice as long as that, and you can probably come up with a better idea than another variation on Harry Potter characters we’d like to fuck, even if that’s exactly what we’re going to post tomorrow. And the day after that.

Your style and/or subject change abruptly in the middle of the post. The post starts with three paragraphs of third-person observations on the life and literature of Jonathan Franzen, and then whoa! it turns into a list of sexy writers and than huh? it’s a first-person narrative about how your sister once sat on your face while you were reading Tales of a Sixth-Grade Nothing. Creative? Well…yes.

You’re geeking out a little hard. Creative writers are geeks, true, but at some point you have to take a break from the Arrested Development references to say something about Lady Gaga, or mayonnaise.

Your post is extremely short, or extremely long. A two-sentence post, or a 2,000-sentence post, might be very creative…but people will probably respond better if you put that creative gold into a tweet, or a book.

Your references are hyper-local. Local references and personal details give a piece texture and a unique character, but make them too central or too frequent, and you’re going to be a little too unique. “What Minnesota Governors Would Be Like in Bed”? That’s going to be read by five bored legislative staffers in St. Paul, and Al Quie’s ex-wife.

You’re gratuitously offensive. You don’t care about what anyone thinks, because you’re so goddamn fucking creative! If someone has a problem with your post, then that cuntface cocksucker can go rape herself! Or himself! Whatever! Yeah, you said it! And what? And what? And…nothing. (Note: offensive language when used in defense of Dippin’ Dots is completely justified, and not the least bit—contrary to what I’ve been told in an e-mail from a distributor of IttiBitz—gratuitous or inappropriate.)

Your sentences are ten miles long. It’s true that lucid, clearly-structured sentences that don’t go on meandering tangents about the coffee you’re drinking and how you bought the now-stale beans at your corner coffee shop on the day that it closed, which was also the day that you learned a hard lesson about trying to make last-ditch efforts to charm the barista into giving her your phone number by writing “you’re a cutie patootie” on your receipt, are rather conventional and not particularly creative. But when the rest of your post is about the London riots, maybe it’s not such a bad idea to just get to the point.

Your post is illustrated with a color-accented photo. Okay, this is getting a little too personal. I’m done.

Jay Gabler

Photo by Robert Goodwin (Creative Commons)