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Roland's Creative Writing Blog

Inspiration, tools and techniques to develop your creative writing.

The Pathway to Unlocking Your Creativity

Posted by roland
After working as a journalist and columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, Good
User is currently online
on Thursday, 05 April 2012 in Roland's Blog


Writing is very much an art and a craft.

Good writing doesn't just happen because you were handed the talent from above.

Dara Marks, PHD and author of INSIDE STORY: The Power of the Transformational Arc, writes, "New ideas, even great ones, seldom rise to the level of consciousness fully formed. They often begin as a jumble of thoughts, impressions, feelings, and images that can be as confusing and contradictory as they are inspiring and compelling.

"However, most of what we know is unconscious, which makes getting to this information difficult, especially if all we have to rely on is accidental or inadvertent moments of insight and clarity. A successful writer must, therefore, develop and hone an effective process to gain access to the knowledge that lies within.

"Therefore, what is needed in the way of writing tools are instruments of excavation that can unearth the bounty of self- knowledge that lies beneath the surface of our own stories.

"The method for getting to the emotional heart of a story is not a divine secret bestowed only on the anointed. All writers have a well of valuable feelings and insights; it’s just a question of knowing how to tap into them."

In other words if you want to write in a way that will move, entertain and engage others, you have to do three things - tap into the power of your imagination, put in the work and learn the craft.

Craft being the tools and techniques that a writer needs to master in order in order to tell a compelling story.

The writer needs learn how to:

  • Write in a way that draws readers into their fictional world

  • Develop compelling characters that engage readers

  • Build creative tension and keep those readers turning the pages

  • Use structure to create a story that takes readers on an emotional journey that ultimately rewards them with a moving and meaningful experience.

As John Tullius, author and founder of the Maui Writers' Conference, said, "I don't care how talented you are. It's not about contacting your muse. Success comes from talking the time to learn the craft."

When aspiring writers start learning the tools of the craft and combine that with the power of their own artistry via their imagination, the quality of their writing jumps to a whole new level and they experience the great pleasure of accessing their creativity and seeing it flourish.


We are always thrilled to see and be part of the profound and inspiring journey everyone goes on.


One of the goals of the course is to help people discover whether they want to make writing part of their life. If writing is your thing, developing a writing habit will enrich your life.

Here are some thoughts and insights from a few participants (both live and online courses) which shows why the course is called Unlocking Creativity.

"I have discovered I have a voice! I have an endless supply of characters waiting to be born. I can't wait to meet them. I have been empowered tonight."

People make a huge shift during the first session.


As Jasmine, one participant wrote, "I walked in her tonight  full of doubt and apprehension, but leave feeling I have accomplished something good. I've learnt to trust my inner voice and let the words flow." This is the aim of the first session in our Four Week Unlocking Creativity Course.

"If the imagination is a fragile muscle and needs constant work and attention' then I know I have been on an intensive exercise regime for the past four weeks during my online Unlocking Creativity course and I'm much fitter than I was!

This course was a gift to myself as part of my long-service leave. I decided at the very beginning that I was going to do absolutely everything I could do to get the most out of this course and I haven't disappointed myself.

I have sucked it all in and spat out as much as I could! Any podcast, any film clip, very quote and every exercise - I have immersed myself in it all and I have come out the other end as a different person."


"Well, I did it. I sucked up my fear and insecurity and I completed the writing course! Over the past few weeks I've felt happy and confident and "suddenly" have energy...this course was the reason for all of it.

If it takes 21 days to build a habit, and I really think I have done it. I don't want to go back to life four weeks ago when I did not leap out of bed in the morning and stay up late at night, to write the next exercise or read the work of others. I don't think I've ever seen me "bursting" with passion for life and activity, but here it is!

This course has been one of the most amazing things I have ever done. I am no longer afraid to write junk, I am no longer afraid of people reading my junk. Now I just write."


"Right now, exploring this skill is what I want, but I still fear what I have to give up to make it a reality. I think the enjoyment that this has given me each day makes me think that I'm on the wrong path, or at least that I should be looking for a way to get off it.

I have missed making the time to write and I didn't realise how much until now. I remember spending hours and hours on the computer in the high school typing out short stories and film scripts and novels just because it felt great to do so.

Life has gotten in the way until now. It's time to make it happen."


"I have loved the writers' course and at the same time it has terrified me. It has been both a liberation and an unkind mirror. The writing itself was surprising. I was surprised at how 'inside' it I felt and at how playful I could be with character and situations.

It was a strange process, all the more so because I would think later about how I was posting stuff that felt exposing and stuff I couldn't believe I'd written, let alone shared. At the same time that made me feel bolder. It was like a mischievous secret, I had a new secret power - my imagination. That was a wonderful gift.

All in all it was a very humanising process and I realise that having a 'voice' no matter how small or simple, gives us great power."


Click here for more information on Unlocking Creativity live or online courses.

For more information about all our creative writing courses and classes please go to our home page.

After working as a journalist and columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, Good Weekend and The Financial Review, Roland Fishman committed himself to the process of writing fiction, which he believes nourishes and expands the spirit of both the writer and the reader.

He started The Writers' Studio in 1992 and since then, he has personally guided thousands of people through his unique step-by-step process. He has also published three books.


Website Design Tuesday, 29 January 2013

I like your writing skills, I think you have in depth knowledge about the topic that is why you are able to write such a great post. I want you to write more such posts. I will bookmark it.

roland Sunday, 30 June 2013

For some reason I just read your comments thanks for your email and please send us an email with a link to your website. Thanks Roland

WeezLabs Thursday, 27 June 2013

I really enjoyed reading this post, I was just wondering do you trade featured blog posts. Thanks for sharing your Blog with others. You really share valuable information.

roland Sunday, 30 June 2013

Thanks Weez Labs. At this point we are not in a position to share blogs, but that may change down the track. If you send us an email with your site I will see what I can do when we have a IT upgrade. And I'm glad you find the info valuable.

scott herford Thursday, 08 August 2013

'contacting the muse' yes, inspiration is for the amateur.;)

After working as a journalist and columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, Good
User is currently online
roland Friday, 09 August 2013

I reckon you need to keep the inspiration and apply the craft. Two different skills.

scott herford Friday, 09 August 2013

I like to think of the muse this way, maybe not true - still useful.

"Writer’s Block is a myth, a chimera. It is a bogeyman spoken of around the fire by deluded writers too afraid to deal with the bitter truth. Writer’s block is not the departure of the muse. Because writing itself is a con, it’s a bait and switch and the muse is a slut who skipped town at dawn the night after you slept with her. Why would she stick with you? There are rock stars out there and writing is just hard goddamn work. Mental ditch digging. Anyone who ever used a shovel and hit a rock along the way knows what I mean. Writer’s block is not an obstacle to writing. Writer’s block is writing. When you stare at the wall, you are looking at the very spot through which the muse exited. She went that-a-way. Through the sheet rock. And she was laughing. Laughing at you for believing the lie. The life of the mind… Ha ha ha."

Brian Hegeland

After working as a journalist and columnist for The Sydney Morning Herald, Good
User is currently online
roland Friday, 09 August 2013

That's great Bryan. One of the great talks about creativity. Someone asked Thomas Keneally where his stories came from and he said - 'Somewhere over the rainbow.'

S Monday, 23 September 2013

Imagine an artist who is visualising a painting they are about to begin work on. If there is no love and joy there is only the opposing forces of skill and technique against the effort (pain) of doing so. Their skill may be enough on its own but self-generated inspiration is like life’s ability to “find a way.” It can trump pain with love and appreciation of the work. Inspiration’s process involves the artist (and later audiences) to become one. (From an unpublished book I wrote in 2010, :))

Roland Monday, 23 September 2013

I really like that. Beautifully put.

Randy Barnhart Friday, 31 October 2014

I enjoyed Unlocking Creativity immensely and am very sorry the course is over. Roland and Richard were wonderful teachers. I learned so much from the other students as well, both in class and on the writer’s board. The structure of the course helped me dig into my imagination and pull out stuff I never knew was there. I came to know people who began class as a bunch of strangers and through sharing their work, insights, and gentle critiques, became a close group of writers. I still need to gain confidence as a writer and to trust my instincts, but this class gave me the push I needed to begin writing every day. Perhaps after the Writer’s Gym class I will be ready to try the course on writing the novel.

Roland Fishman Sunday, 02 November 2014

Hi Randy

I'm so glad you enjoyed the course. It was great having you on board. I'm hoping you will take the leap and start your mystery novel with us. I'm sure you'd really love the journey.

Let me know if you have any questions.

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Guest Tuesday, 23 December 2014