A Guide to Creating

A Book of Soul Wisdom

by Jillian Sullivan

I would call A Guide to Creating a must for all writers, whatever their status. I’ve been writing professionally for nearly 50 years and was once Jillian’s mentor. With this book she had become my teacher. ~ Joy Cowley

Here is a book to inspire, impel and sustain the person who wishes to live creatively. It is an allegory about a writer who struggles with her craft, with motivation and most of all with doubt. One day a guide, whom she calls Godfrey, turns up.

From Winter till Spring, on the beach where the writer lives, in the mountains and by the valleys and vines, the writer asks and Godfrey explains: what it is, this creative life, how to live it, and how to keep on going.

A Guide to Creating: A Book of Soul Wisdom

How do you keep going with a creative project when doubt and rejection loom larger than belief?

Do you want to live creatively, yet feel afraid?

Does fear of not being good enough hold you back from doing what you long to do?

This book will help you.

A Guide to Creating explores spiritual truths about writing and creativity. Once you’ve read it, you’ll know you’re not alone any more on your quest to write.

You’ll find you’re on the team, and always have been.

“Many people have rejected old religious structures that have no meaning for them, and have begun a search for authentic experience that will satisfy spiritual hunger," writes author Joy Cowley. "Creativity in all its forms – social, artistic, domestic - tends to take the creator beyond the personal and into the great heart of creation where there is an experience of the interconnectedness of all things. But there is not much written about this process, at least, not much written in language we can all relate to. It takes a special kind of talent to take the mystical, and present it in a form that is as simple and delicious as bread and butter pudding.

In A Guide to Creating Jillian Sullivan has done just this.”

  • About the Book

    For years I wrote one unpublished novel after another. I knew about the struggle to create, all right. I had 5 children to support. I loved writing and the texture of a sentence.Yet I faced such doubts that at times I almost couldn’t carry on.

    It was easier at the start, when I could still believe in the possibility of success.I wrote seven novels before one was published. How to keep going? I still didn’t know. I was stuck halfway through yet another novel and nervous about taking on a project to write a mythology textbook.

    A writer friend, Bridget, and I came up with a plan ~ we would text each other two random words at night and in the morning, before dawn, we would make something out of them. In this way we would shortcut doubt and procrastination and begin each day already being writers.

    On the third day, I started to write what seemed like lectures from a guide I called Godfrey. I thought I would photocopy them for Bridget. On the day I wrote there were fifty more lectures to come, I realized it was a book length project. I wrote almost every dawn over a winter, in my house beside the sea. I wrote a book I didn’t set out to write and I did it without thinking, without stopping, for twenty minutes a day. That was the first thing I learnt ~ that by simply doing it, something would grow.

    I went on and wrote the myth book, finished the novel, published two more. The fear has mostly gone. Doubt still lives on and procrastination thrives in many guises. But after meeting Godfrey in these pages, I think I know enough now to carry on. Jillian Sullivan

    Previously published by Steele Roberts as Fishing From the Boat Ramp.

  • About the Author

    Jillian Sullivan has published novels, collections of short stories, picture books, a book on mythology and a book on writing. Recently her first collection of poetry, parallel, was published.

    Her awards include the Highlights Fiction Award in the United States, and the Kathleen Grattan Prize for poetry in New Zealand. In 2012 Jillian graduated with a Master of Creative Writing with Distinction.

    Her latest book, A Way Home, a memoir of building a new life and a strawbale house in Central Otago, comes out in September 2016 with Potton and Burton

    Jillian, who is a grandmother of eight, lives in the Ida Valley, Central Otago, New Zealand, where she looks out to the mountains. For more information about the author visit www.jilliansullivan.co.nz

Jillian Sullivan

Joy Cowley

First up, I’d like to draw attention to an extraordinary book about writing, A Guide to Creating written by Jillian Sullivan, a well-published author and teacher of creative writing.

I have not read any other book that deals so effectively with the real issues of the creative process. Most of us just skate around the surface with technical stuff: plot, dialogue, character, voice, editing and presentation.

All of that is important but it doesn’t take us down to the deeper layers of writing from the heart. I’ve always taken the view that the mysterious spring of creativity bubbling up in us all, is beyond description, and certainly beyond analysis.

But Jillian Sullivan has written this clever, entertaining book as Socratic dialogue between an author and a down-to-earth wisdom guide called Godfrey who has the habit of turning up when help is needed.

I would call A Guide to Creating a must for all writers, whatever their status.

Joy Cowley, Writer, Wellington New Zealand

Reviews & Testimonials

Joy Cowley

A Guide to Creating – It’s a book of soul wisdom for everyone who has a bit of the artist in them ... It’s packed full of comfort, handy hints, truth, lovely scenery, and the glorious freedom of being.

Joy Cowley, Writer, Wellington

A naturalistic meditation on the creative life. Full of soul wisdom and the glory of the outdoors, A Guide to Creating draws insights from nature to explore powerful, spiritual truths about writing and the writing life. Thank you Jillian Sullivan for this timely, beautiful gift.

Summer Edwards, Children's Author, Philadelphia

This book is luminous, lovely, uplifting and unique. Feed your brain and your soul! Buy it immediately!

Brigid Lowry, Writer, Nelson

Not just for writers, Jillian's book is interesting and thoughtful for all levels of readers.

G Robinson

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This is not a book you will read just once, every chapter you will find a hidden meaning and each time you read it you will take something positive from it. I do not consider myself an artist or writer and am not particularly creative but when I started reading A Guide to Creating, I found it so compelling and wise that I could not put it down. I would recommended this book to anyone who needs some positive guidance in their lives.

M Robinson, Gold Coast

A Guide to Creating – It’s a book of soul wisdom for everyone who has a bit of the artist in them ... It’s packed full of comfort, handy hints, truth, lovely scenery, and the glorious freedom of being.

Joy Cowley
Writer, Wellington New Zealand

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