The Creative Cycle

The Creative Cycle

I’m intimately familiar with the creative cycle and I’m sure you are, too. Though rarely do I experience all stages of the cycle in a single hour. But such was the case today as a new story idea surfaced.

Here’s how it went.

  1. Now this, this right here, is an idea. Oh yes, this is perfect. I love this idea.
  2. Oh for fuck’s sake, there’s no obvious conclusion, there are plot holes galore, this is barely even a half-baked concept let alone a story with legs. Another ‘idea’ for the bin. An idea that was never really an idea at all.
  3. Hang on a minute, I guess I could do this, that’ll make it sing all right …
  4. Maybe this is an idea. Maybe this isn’t total rubbish. But then maybe it is … I just don’t know.

And arriving at stage four is a comfortable place to be.

As my Creative Writing tutor George Ttoouli once said—and I oft quote—if you’re not sure whether a story is good or not that’s a great place to be. If you think it’s perfect you’re likely deluded (for what is perfection but an unattainable illusory concept). If you think it’s terrible you’re likely right. But if you’re not sure, if you’re uncomfortable … well, that’s the creative sweet spot.

Of course, George likely said it much better and more eloquently than I have.

So that’s the creative cycle, from self-loving to self-loathing and all shades in between.

When things get tough, persist.

Sooner or later the cycle will come around.

Sooner or later you’ll find the creative sweet spot.

All The Audiobooks I Listened To on Audible in 2017  

I often write and speak about the benefits of reading via audiobooks, so thought I’d provide you with a list of the audiobooks I read last year, emboldening my favourite in each category. I managed to read forty-nine audiobooks this past year so naturally, I’ll be shooting for fifty in 2018.

Anyway, check out the list and let me know which audiobooks you listened to last year and which were amongst your favourites.


Kindred by Octavia E. Butler

  1. Psycho by Robert Bloch
  2. The Sins of the Fathers by Lawrence Block
  3. Kindred by Octavia E. Butler
  4. Pines by Blake Crouch
  5. The Sadist’s Bible by Nicole Cushing
  6. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  7. The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson
  8. Buddha Boy by Kathe Koja
  9. Kissing the Bee by Kathe Koja
  10. The Magic Wagon by Joe R. Lansdale
  11. The Ballad of Black Tom by Victor LaValle
  12. Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
  13. Rosemary’s Baby by Ira Levin
  14. Stranded by Bracken MacLeod
  15. The Elementals by Michael McDowell
  16. After Dark by Haruki Murakami
  17. Kafka on the Shore by Haruki Murakami
  18. Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami
  19. Lost Girl by Adam Nevill
  20. The Dark Net by Benjamin Percy
  21. Breakfast of Champions by Kurt Vonnegut
  22. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
  23. Six Four by Hideo Yokoyama


Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor E Frankl

  1. Irresistible: Why We Can’t Stop Checking, Scrolling, Clicking and Watching by Adam Alter
  2. Head Strong: The Bulletproof Plan to Activate Untapped Brain Energy to Work Smarter and Think Faster – in Just Two Weeks by Dave Asprey
  3. Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders by Vincent Bugliosi and Curt Gentry
  4. Creativity Inc. by Ed Catmull
  5. Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool
  6. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor E. Frankl
  7. 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
  8. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
  9. So Good They Can’t Ignore You: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love by Cal Newport

Short stories and collections

Fox 8 by George Saunders

  1. The Illustrated Man by Ray Bradbury
  2. The Voice from the Edge, Vol. 1: I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream by Harlan Ellison
  3. Behold The Void by Philip Fracassi
  4. Trigger Warning: Short Fictions and Disturbances by Neil Gaiman
  5. Skeleton Crew by Stephen King
  6. Let the Old Dreams Die by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  7. Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman Volume 1 by Haruki MurakamiBlind Willow, Sleeping Woman Volume 2 by Haruki Murakami
  8. Men Without Women by Haruki Murakami
  9. The Elephant Vanishes by Haruki Murakami
  10. Five Short Stories by Women by Joyce Carol Oates, Amy Hempel, Rebecca Lee, Nadine Gordimer, and Sandra Cisneros
  11. Everything That Rises Must Converge by Flanner O’Connor
  12. The Secret of Ventriloquism by Jon Padgett
  13. Make Something Up by Chuck Palahniuk
  14. Fox 8 by George Saunders
  15. Tenth of December by George Saunders
  16. Little Dead Red by Mercedes M. Yardley

Let me know your favourite audiobook listens of last year. And if you’re so inclined you can grab a free 30-day trial here:

Audible UK customers start your free trial here.