Unleash your creative beast – and write a bestseller

One man who let his creative beast run free was author Hunter S Thompson, played here by Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary
28 Aug 2013 @ 9.42 am
| Education
One man who let his creative beast run free was author Hunter S Thompson, played here by Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary
One man who let his creative beast run free was author Hunter S Thompson, played here by Johnny Depp in The Rum Diary

lizzi-linklater-headshotThink you’re not creative? Think again. Lizzi Linklater knows how to prod your imagination into action

At this very moment there is, inside you, a creature of yearning creativity struggling to be noticed. It thrashes around roaring, trapped in a cage of rusty neglect while you sternly tell yourself that creativity may not be for you and your busy life.

And yet it is. It really is. And here at the Centre for Lifelong Learning at York University the upcoming year offers you the chance to unleash that struggling, piteous beast into a place of well-stretched splendour, basking in new-found sunshine.

What’s that you say? You don’t think you have it in you to be creative? Well maybe I can persuade you to think again.

How to be creative

The empowering of your imagination, the creativity of your being, is yours for the prodding (I can swear to this because I am a proven Master Prodder).

Just ask yourself: how often do you visualise yourself (looking fabulous, obviously) in that big, fat lottery winning scenario? Or etch out in vivid detail what will happen the next time you see that special person who’s caught your eye?

Or mentally hurl yourself into the turquoise balm of a Mediterranean sea whilst sitting on your dreary, chocolate stained sofa? Often, I bet.

You are, therefore, creative.

And it’s not just me telling you this. Here, sitting studiously alongside me, the staunch Merriam Webster Dictionary also whispers:

Imagination is the act or power of forming a mental image of something not present to the senses or never before wholly perceived in reality.

Indeed, our very existence is littered with an infinite “What ifs…” and “Maybes…’ as we rumble along, often terrifying ourselves with our imaginations. The cat over the road that reads your mind; that awkward neighbour who feigns flamboyancy; and the postman who walks your street with an empty mailbag, never delivering…

Stop dreaming…

Have I convinced you? Let me turn to specifics and have you fix your gaze on how you might channel your frustrated creative self into the wonderful world of writing.

Have you ever dreamed of writing the next bestseller? Fantasised about how your stage play would pan out? Found yourself flirting dangerously with a poem?

Have you witnessed yourself hurling that tedious, tiresome novel into the nearest bin? Seethed with disappointment at the closing scenes of a play? Grunted miserably into your popcorn at a poorly scripted, overrated blockbuster?

Could you do better?

…and start writing

It is, then, time to take action for, as I have just gone to a great deal of trouble to show, we are all creative, imaginative beings.

I am often asked how it’s possible to teach people to write and the answer is actually quite obvious. Like any art form (dance, music, painting) there is much to learn, and what the dancer, the musician and the artist must possess from the outset is a passion for their subject, a desire to plumb its depths, a willingness to open up to new challenges and a hunger to become familiar with technical aspects.

That’s the pact: you bring the dedication and desire and I’ll be right at your side with a lorry-load of brilliantly structured creative writing techniques.

I will also lead you to read as widely as possible, to write relentlessly, to espouse your considered opinions and, often hardest of all, get you to begin to believe in yourself.

So, do check out creative writing at Lifelong Learning. We have a raft of online and face-to-face courses and, quite apart from me, an arsenal of brilliant friendly tutors.

Let that beast free.



  • Elizabeth Linklater teaches a range of accredited creative writing modules at the Centre for Lifelong Learning, both face-to-face and via online delivery, alongside a range of other tutors exploring novel writing, poetry, short stories and scriptwriting
  • The full range of accredited creative writing modules can be found here
  • Follow Lifelong Learning on Twitter @UniOfYork_CLL
  • For more information or to request a copy of the current brochure, email Lifelong Learning, or call 01904 328473
  • To download a PDF version of the brochure, click here