Thinking is the Enemy of Creativity

16 Feb


I can’t be more specific than that. I never know when I’m going to get around to posting these things.  Such is life.  I’m busy with my outside, real-world job, so my writing muse has been squeezed into a tinier corner of my schedule.  She’s not happy about it but that’s just the way it goes.

Somebody asked me the other day what do I enjoy most, writing blogs, articles, or books?  Without a doubt I love writing novels most.  I love the free-flow of creativity. I love giving birth to new characters and allowing them to grow on their own.  I love that magical moment when I’ll see something, or hear something, or smell something, and my muse taps me on the shoulder and whispers “it’s time to write.”

So I’ve been bitten by the creativity bug and I don’t imagine it going away anytime soon.


Don’t think. Thinking is the enemy of creativity. It’s self-conscious, and anything self-conscious is lousy. You can’t try to do things. You simply must do things.

Ray Bradbury

This relates to another question I was asked recently.  Someone wanted to know if I planned my short story series….and the answer is no, and the same answer applies for my novels.  For me, it almost always (99% of the time) comes from a random idea.  The idea will come to me and I’ll write a paragraph, or a “chapter” about that idea.  Then I sit back and turn things over to my muse and the characters in that paragraph.  Every novel I’ve written and every short story series I’ve written has begun the same way.

For me, planning is obstructionism.  It’s why I don’t outline a novel before writing it.  I have no clue where the novel is going when I start writing.  I let the characters take me there.  Usually, about ¼ of the way through, I see the ending….then the rest just flows.

Please note that I have nothing against the concept of outlining….it just doesn’t work for me.


I have none on this topic.  Creativity comes from different sources and in different ways for all of us.  Find your way and follow it.


As I write this the incubator is humming.  There are forty-eight quail eggs inside of it, the temperature is ninety-nine degrees and the humidity at fifty-six percent.  It will continue to do its thing for seventeen days at which point, hopefully, forty-eight baby quail chicks will be hatched.

For me it’s the perfect metaphor for the creative process.  I shove an idea into my personal creativity incubator and then wait patiently for the idea to hatch and grow.


The second publication of my first novel, The 12/59 Shuttle from Yesterday to Today,” should be released next week. Hot on its heels will be my first pulp-fiction, the Billy the Kid Chronicles,” which I’m expecting to release by the end of this month.  Write, publish, repeat….my mantra.


Another question asked of me last week, one most writers debate from time to time…which is better, traditional or self-publishing?

It’s not a matter of which is better…it’s a matter, these days of practicality.  The odds of securing a traditional publisher and/or agent are practically non-existent.  That’s the fact of the matter.  Statistics bear it out.

So, should you try it? Be my guest, but don’t bet the farm on it.  My suggestion, and it’s just my suggestion and nothing more….self-publish and market like a mad man on speed.


Say hello to Eldon!  One hell of a writer, he is…stop by and find out for yourself.



Have a great week of writing.  I’ll catch you down the road eventually.

Thanks, as always, for stopping by.


“Helping writers to spread their wings and fly.”

24 Responses to “Thinking is the Enemy of Creativity”

  1. Janine Huldie February 16, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    Aw, happy to see you are here today and admit that I am not a big planner myself and yet being a mom I have to sometimes make a plan more than I’d like to. However, nice to be able to sometimes just go with the writer’s muse and with you on this more than you know. Happy Tuesday, Bill and wishing you a wonderful rest of your day now, too!! 🙂

    • Billybuc February 16, 2016 at 9:51 pm #

      Janine, you amaze me, in a very good way. No matter when I post something, there you are. Thank you so much!

  2. denisewa58 February 16, 2016 at 10:10 pm #

    You are right! I have been thinking a lot lately. My father-in-law passed away recently, and I haven’t been able to write a thing! Thankfully, things are settling down, and my creativity is coming out of the closet again!

    • Billybuc February 16, 2016 at 10:16 pm #

      Denise, I’m sorry for your loss. Take the time you need. Your muse will let you know when it’s time to start again. 🙂

  3. 1authorcygnetbrown February 16, 2016 at 10:36 pm #

    I find it amazing how creativity works differently with different people. I can’t start writing until I know the end. The beginning may chance over the rewrites, but the end is definite for me. Also, I do outline and it actually makes it easier for me to get into the flow. Different strokes for different folks!

    • Billybuc February 17, 2016 at 1:21 am #

      Most definitely, Donna. I suspect you are in the majority. I know a lot of outliners.

  4. Audrey February 16, 2016 at 10:47 pm #

    You are always an inspiration Bill! Dance with your muse my friend!

    • Billybuc February 17, 2016 at 1:21 am #

      I’m dancing, Audrey! Thank you for your kind words.

  5. Cynthia February 17, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    Gotta say, I’m proud to know you and I’m proud of you: your ability to crank out novels, articles and write: you’re amazing. Your endurance is inspiring.
    Invariably, it makes me think of my journey. These days the real-world job takes up about 50 hours of my week. It’s definitely hard to get around to the fun stuff: writing, art, etc.
    I can say this: when I was writing novels, I learned something: my characters never could come to life and I was never satisfied. I would work and re-work them. Even after I had others critique my writing, they would feel the same way. I wasn’t discouraged: it just told me that I’m more suited for non-fiction. Whether I planned it out my characters, plots, and whatever. All this to say that you have a gift.
    But even then, there was still always something missing when I was writing all the time. I’m learning now that I can’t just do one thing: I’m learning that whenever I write, I have to do art, too. And whenever I do art, I have to teach, too. And whenever I teach, I have to get out in nature, too. And so…we follow what inspires us. Thank you for following your muse. You’re teaching us to follow ours. 🙂 Always.

    • Billybuc February 17, 2016 at 2:56 am #

      Lil Sis, what your comment tells me is you have gotten to know yourself very well. You are learning more about you daily and following a voice only you can hear, and I think that is fantastic. Thank you for your kind words and heartfelt message…it means a great deal to me, my friend.

  6. Jo Miller February 17, 2016 at 3:22 am #

    I’m reading your posts for inspiration, and they certainly are inspirational. But I sometimes feel a little inadequate reading them. See, I don’t have a real-life job. I just play a lot, and I still don’t get a great deal of writing done. I’m having fun, though. And enjoying the writing that I’m doing.

    Take care.

    • Billybuc February 17, 2016 at 4:03 am #

      Jo, I’m having a hard time finding a problem in playing a lot and enjoying yourself. 🙂 Thanks for tagging along with me.

  7. Graham. February 17, 2016 at 6:40 am #

    Hi Bill. Always good to read your pages. Your ‘other life’ has now taken over your time I see, does this give you a more rounded view of the world I wonder. Keep smilin’

    • Billybuc February 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

      Graham, that is certainly the hope. I found, for me, I needed to get out among my fellow humans. It’s good for me to see the people I write about, and there is no shortage of stories out there. Thanks for being here, my friend.

  8. phoenix2327 February 17, 2016 at 6:17 pm #

    ‘Thinking is the enemy of creativity.’ Well said. I believe if you get an idea to do something, you should just go ahead and do it. If you overthink it, you’ll end up talking yourself out of what could be the time of your life. I agree the same happens with the creation process. Think too much about settings, grammar, tenses etc. and you’ve just overthinked the fun out of it.

    Hope you’re enjoying your new job and good luck with those chicks.

    • Billybuc February 17, 2016 at 6:56 pm #

      Zulma, I actually ran into this on my other job yesterday…. I darn near overthought a problem and missed the solution right in front of me. 🙂 Thank God I’m not that smart. LOL

  9. Greg Boudonck February 18, 2016 at 12:03 am #

    As always Bill, I just love your newsletters. Yes, thinking can be a huge enemy of creativity. But, with the freelancing jobs I have had lately, I find myself having to think…hmmm….It is probably time to start another book; but oh, I have 2 already started but have not done anything with them lately. But my days are so full. It seems I am a freelance wanted man. What to do? Maybe I need to think about it; but Bill and Ray said no!

    I’m gonna go add a chapter to my book. Thanks Bill!

    • Billybuc February 18, 2016 at 3:55 am #

      Greg, in my opinion, you’ve got a very nice problem. Good luck with whichever you choose…you are a success, my friend, and I celebrate with you.

  10. MelChi February 18, 2016 at 6:35 am #

    Thank you, Bill – reading your blog posts always make me feel good and inspired… I almost want to start planning a novel I’ve been wanting to do for years, but I know that’s not going to happen – not now anyway. One day… the dream is still there, I WILL write and publish that book. I love that quote about not thinking… just doing. That’s the problem with us dreamers LOL, too much thinking, not enough doing.

    Hope you have a wonderful day my friend. 🙂

    • Billybuc February 18, 2016 at 2:42 pm #

      Mel, you are so young. My goodness, I didn’t start writing novels until I was 62…so there is more than enough time for you. Thanks for stopping by. It’s always nice to hear from you.

  11. marcoujor February 19, 2016 at 1:04 am #

    Inspiring and balanced life balance incorporating your passion for writing.
    So lovely to catch – hope all is well in your world. Love, Maria

    • Billybuc February 19, 2016 at 1:05 am #

      All is well, Maria, thank you, and I hope the same for you. Best wishes with your new book.

  12. eldonarsenaux March 21, 2016 at 1:36 pm #

    Heya Bill, thanks for the shout-out! I liked the quote by Bradbury. I think… I will just whistle along to the tune of life. Walmart at two in the morning is inspiration in a toaster, half-burnt types pop out all of the sudden, in the corner of the kitchen section. You can’t wait for them to go cold. Adios,


    • Billybuc March 21, 2016 at 1:46 pm #

      Eldon, the shout out was all my pleasure. As for the toaster….I hope for immediately cooling so you can taste that delectable meal. 🙂 Thanks my friend.

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