Craft,  Creativity

Take 5 Friday: Advice from Greek Mythology

By Christine Hennebury (with contributions from Alex Drodge)

This week’s Take 5 Friday is brought to you courtesy of storytelling, my love for ‘transferable skills,’ and my 18 year old’s course in Greek Mythology this past semester. 

While the characters in Greek mythology are known for things that have little or nothing to do with writing, I’ve decided to ask a few mythological figures for some writing advice this week. 

Backgrou


Artemis – Goddess of Wild Animals and the Hunt (and lots of other things)

While there is little physical danger in the hunting of words, there is still the potential for peril. That is why you must choose your targets wisely.  Select a project that suits your weapons, your skills, and the time you have at your disposal and improve your abilities as you go. May your arrows find their target, word hunters.

Prometheus – A Titan known for helping humankind by stealing fire from the gods

If you do not yet have what you need to thrive as a writer, you must ‘steal’ from the gods. Just as I stole fire from the gods for humankind, and then they made great use of the flame, you can observe the skills of your writing deities and learn from those skills. You should not steal their words, of course, that would be unseemly, but you can practice their methods and improve your own work.

Athena – Goddess of Wisdom and Strategic Warfare

Brave warriors of words, do not stumble onto the battlefield unprepared! Before embarking on any project, you must understand what you want to accomplish and you must have a plan of your own devising. Choose wisely and make good use of your resources, whatever they may be. Do not simply follow what has always been done, decide for yourself how to proceed and then follow your plan to success. 

Narcissus –  a hunter known for selfishness and vanity

My friends, do not do what I have done. Do not become so caught up in your own perspective that you cannot see that anything else exists. Unless you want an audience of one, you must share your work with trusted companions. Others will see what you cannot – both strengths and flaws – and your work will be better for it. 

Demeter – Goddess of the Harvest

Like the earth, your writing will follow a cycle. There must be a time for planting, a time for growth, a time for harvest, and a time for rest. You will have a time when you are cultivating ideas, a time when you are growing them, a time when they are shared, and, then, a time for you to rest. Do not confuse one part of the cycle with stagnation, the next part will come in its own time.

Are you ready to take some of this ancient advice? Let us know in the comments!

Christine Hennebury’s storytelling career began when she was four and her parents didn’t believe her tale about water shooting out of her nose onto the couch – they insisted that she had spilled bubble solution from the empty jar in her  hand. Luckily, her skills have improved since then. Christine makes up stories, shares stories, and coaches other people who are working on stories, in Newfoundland and Labrador, Canada. Find out more about her  at  christinehennebury.com  or visit her on Facebook .

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