INKSTAINED: ON CREATIVITY, WRITING, AND ART
*This review first appeared in Rue Morgue Magazine #191, Nov/Dec XMas issue 2019*
Capturing the heart of John Urbancik’s podcasts across 2017 and 2018, InkStained proves essential reading for any writer looking to hone their craft. Hell, it might even appease readers who ask, for the millionth time, where writers get their ideas from.
Part how-to, part stream of thought, Urbancik describes his creative process with selfless abandonment. While occasionally straying from his own beaten path, it’s during these diversions we glimpse the writer’s mind. The author discusses everything from how to capture inspiration from a mundane job to how a focused day at the cemetery can spark the next published novel. We get a sense of walking in the author’s shoes as he discusses not only how to cope with the ongoing rush of creative traffic demanding to be heard, but how he personally thrives within it as a writer, an adventurer, and as a man. It’s as if Urbancik graciously cracked open his skull, handed over the scalpel and told us to “have at ’er.” In fact, this book takes such a deep dive into John’s writing life you’ll probably want to roll over and smoke something when you’re done.
And, while you’re free to read at your own pace, you’re also encouraged to put in some work. Designed to keep your creative gears greased are various challenges scattered throughout the book. From writing seven stories in seven days to self care suggestions to sampling other art forms, prepare to lay waste to any excuses you might have for not getting more from your muse.
Although some passages do get hammered home a bit severely, most will have you re-reading to ensure you’re absorbing as much of Urbancik’s wisdom as possible. For this reviewer, the book managed to spark one completed story and outlines for more. What will InkStained do for you? Your mileage may vary, but you don’t want miss finding out.